Saturday, March 18, 2006

An urban legend in the flesh

A woman at work, very senior in the company and in her mid-fifties, stopped by my desk the other night to ask how I was feeling, and why I was there so late when I should be home, propping up my swollen feet. Well, you see, I am a little bit afraid of going home and staying home and having nothing else to concentrate on...I mean, I don't want to think too much about it...not that I don't want to think about it, I can't think about anything else...and I don't mean I think I'll jinx it, or something...not superstitious...I'm just...nervous, I guess. Blather blather, ramble ramble.

She looked at me rather keenly and started in on the story of her first daughter, now nineteen, and how she had stayed at work right up till the day her daughter was born, then brought her right back to the office a few days later so she could finish up a deal. But, she said, my first daughter was adopted, so it's not like I had just given birth.

I smiled a little, quietly assuming the infertility link, and asked whether it had been hard to make her bosses understand that adopting a child was just as much work, and just as worthy of a maternity leave. She said it was hard to make them grasp the point, but, being a partner in the law firm, it was more her own career drive that kept her at the office so long.

Plus, she said, I didn't know I was also pregnant at the time. I might have taken it easier if I'd known.

Her second daughter is now eighteen. She went on to tell me that she had been doing infertility treatments--at that point in the mid-1980s, just Clomid IUIs--for five years straight without success. And then she adopted and immediately got pregnant.

And the month she did get pregnant? No Clomid, no IUI--just sex. Just like normal people. Sex, of all things.

Now thirty-six and with two infant daughters, she assumed her reproductive life was at an end and didn't think about it again for a few years. Nearing forty, though, and beginning to read about the improving success rates of IVF, she thought she might give it one more try. So, for two months, she and her husband timed intercourse while she got herself set up with a new RE. On the third month, she went in for a wanding and was told on CD 12 that she had no eggs maturing that cycle. That, in fact, she was probably heading rapidly into menopause.

Four weeks later, with her period understandably late after the anovulatory cycle, she felt a little "funny" and decided to test, just on a whim. Daughter #3, now fourteen, was born nine months later.

I couldn't quite believe that I had this woman right in front of me--this walking, talking urban legend, purveyor of unwanted hope and that tiny, tinny voice in the ear that says, Maybe it could happen to you someday, too.


Anonymous Alex/ Infertile Gourmet said...

I am so sorry about the scare...I missed it as I am catching up on my reads. I am so very glad that things are going well now.

Crazy about that woman. Amazing.

1:34 AM  
Blogger electriclady said...

Wow, that is ridiculous. TWO urban legends in one? You realize that this means you are now qualified to dispense that classic little gem of wisdom, "This woman I know at work? She tried for YEARS and as soon as she adopted/relaxed, she got pregnant!"

9:04 AM  
Anonymous Wavery said...

What a personal history. It's very nice she felt she could share. Just goes to show how irresistible you are, Bugs.

11:46 AM  
Blogger Millie said...

Totally awesome story.

I remember getting upset with my mom when she said 'you know a lot of people get pregnant after they adopt'.

I told her that just wasn't true. But it happened to her best friend and two other women she knew. She only knows one family who adopted and didn't get pregnant. So my 5% overall was her 75% in a very small sample.

Nice to have such a supportive woman at your work.

12:54 AM  
Anonymous thalia said...

Tell her on no account must she ever speak to a journalist, or we'll all be toast with our families for ever...

5:54 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

I didn't really believe these women existed. Like Thalia, I was convinced they were something conjured up by the media. Picking my jaw up now.

4:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a product of the urban legend. My mom tried for 5 years, finally adopted and then was pregnant 6 weeks later. We're 11 months apart. And she had another one a few years after me!

Now the escaped prisoner with the hook for a hand...that one I'm still thinking is an urban legend.

4:54 PM  
Blogger Dream Mommy said...

I hope that happens for me. (yeah right).

11:43 AM  
Blogger Lady in Lexington said...

I know two people that adopted and became pregnant immediately afterward. One was my high school biology teacher (isn't that funny) she became pregnant two months after she adopted. The other was my best friend who also conceived three after she adopted.

4:19 PM  
Blogger Zarqa said...

That really is incredible. I recently heard this gem: "my friend had twins through ivf at 36 and then got pregnant on her own the next year and the year after that...the last one was an accident" I don't know, I automatically become distrustful. And I don't know if it really helps either. Stories like this plague we with thoughts of well, what is wrong with me then that it's not happening for me? But they are hope-inducing too. And I totally envy your finding someone who shares such things with you.

5:25 PM  
Blogger Ova Girl said...

Have been offline for ages and only now able to catch up. So sorry about these last weeks, how terrifying. I'm so glad things are looking better now. Thinking of you.

3:59 AM  
Anonymous Alexa said...

I too am behind on a lot of my blogs and only just read about the scare. A little late for my sympathy, but ah well. I am so glad everything turned out alright. I hope you have grounded the kid for scaring you like that.
As for the urban legend woman--how astounding. Maybe their really are former-pet alligators roaming the sewers as well...

8:05 AM  
Blogger Em said...

I know we all hate the 'relax...just have sex' advice but I really think there is something in it. I got pregnant on an unmedicated cycle where we had sex for enjoyment rather than because we had to. I was looking forward to the next treatments and not worrying as much.

12:35 AM  
Anonymous Elle said...

My aunt is one as well -- nothing for years, although they didn't pursue infertility treatments in their small town -- adopted a baby boy and wham, got pregnant a couple of months later. She is also one of those who didn't cotton to the fact that she was pregnant until she was like 6 months along. It just didn't enter her realm of thought. My cousins are a year apart.

Personally I think it is a matter of time. I remember reading that many unexplained couples who get pg through IVF would likely get pregnant on their own given enough time, but it might take a VERY long time. After waiting years trying naturally and going through the adoption process surely for some couples their time just comes. But who wants to wait that long?

4:11 PM  

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