28 week update: Apparently, my cervix is back to it’s normal, lengthy self. The peri actually spent some time pointing out how nice it was (though without all those flattering adjectives), and why he was pleased, and illustrated with his hands (how when I bear down, my cervix compresses, but doesn’t open). So, all’s well on the cervical front. I’m still on bedrest, but I have permission for a weekly outing (”as long as you’re not going on a 4 mile walk,” he said. Ha!). So that’s good news all around.
While we were in the waiting room (because the peri was running 45 minutes late - not unusual) another patient came in who was huge - bigger than I am. Turns out, she’s the surrogate for our new friends G & V. Which we learned because G walked in to the waiting room just after huge-preggo-woman. So we chatted with the two of them for a while (they had the appointment after mine, so it was going to be a while...)
We were talking with G about various childbirth and prep classes (since last time we saw them was at the infant CPR class) and it occured to me that in a room of pregnant women, she regularly introduces herself as “expecting twins by way of a surrogate.” Now, the other day I had a long conversation with my mom about “telling” and about which people get which information (ranging from the fact that we’re having twins, to due dates, to the vague mention that we had some help, to more detailed info about IVF). What I have, in contrast to G, is the luxury of privacy. (At least when my mom isn’t telling people whatever she’s telling them...) I can choose to tell people as much or as little about how these twins came to be as I want. And I do. Mostly, I don’t bring up the IVF. People ask if twins run in the family, and I answer (not really, though there are some). But unless it seems like the person might be going through infertility or have some other knowledge of the topic, I don’t generally expand on our methods of conception. As I said to my mom, for the most part, you wouldn’t tell people what position you were in if you conceived the “old fashioned” way (if you even knew), so why would it automatically be anyone’s business how we conceived?
On the other hand, it’s not something I’m hiding. When I think it’s appropriate, I share varying degrees of information. One example: When J told people at work that we were expecting, and expecting twins, mostly they gave the standard responses (Do you know the genders? Do twins run in the family? Oh my god, twins!). But one woman asked if we’d been trying long. See, there’s a flag - that she thought to ask meant she had a clue. So he told her, yes. And yes, we had help. And they had a chat about this woman’s secondary infertility and how she only has one child (which we knew - he’s 17 or 18 now). Another example: The other day I was sitting in my neighbor’s kitchen chatting with her when her DIL and the DIL’s sister came over to drop off the grandson for the night. And they mentioned that they knew someone who had just had twins - with an egg donor. And it seemed like the next step in the conversation was how lucky we were not to have done that or something. So I said something vague about having had some help. No details for them, but I didn’t want them to have the mistaken notion that this was an easily achieved pregnancy.
I don’t know who else knows, really. Most of my school colleagues don’t, except for one who also did IVF. (More people know about hers, but then, she’s single so people were going to know there was some intervention there anyway. Plus she needed more support during the cycle. My hats are off to people who do IVF on their own - I can’t even imagine. But I digress.) My work colleagues don’t, except for one who has 10 year old B/G twins, and when I told her I was having twins, she told me about her pregnancy complications and the fact that she’d done IVF. So she knows. Some of my mom’s friends know. And of course, I have no idea who else my in-laws or my parents have told, or who has pieced it together. I mean, I wasn’t being vocal about it, but nor was it this huge secret. It just was.
So what’s the point of all this? I don’t know, really. I think on the one hand that infertility is this taboo subject, and I wish more people could/would talk openly about it (coughJuliaRobertscough. And on the other hand, how I conceived my children isn’t necessarily a topic of public conversation. So at times I feel like I’m walking a fine line between being too open and too secretive - between having my own private life, and being an ambassador for those that can’t speak out for whatever reason.
I would have thought this would end with the pregnancy, but I suspect that walking around with non-identical twins will continue to elicit (likely obnoxious and ill-informed) questions and comments, both about the twins in general, and about how I “got” them. And I don’t know what I’m going to say.