Discomforts and suffering

As the inveterate reader of this blog has certainly noticed, late pregnancy is a time of many discomforts.  In the second trimester you can ignore your pregnancy from time to time, in the third trimester that becomes impossible.  Heartburn has settled in permanently, a good night’s sleep is a relic of the distant past, I get out of breath just turning from one side to the other at night, while the belly cries that  it is going to split open like a watermelon left in the hot summer sun.

But you know what?  It’s not a big deal.  It’s all just discomfort.  It will be over soon.   For all the physical discomfort these days, there is no comparison to the ‘discomfort’ of going through an IVF cycle.   Folks, after 8 cycles, I can tell you: this is nothing.

I was reading a book the other day that talked about the nature of pain.  Researchers have discovered, the book claimed, that there is a distinction in pain between the sensation of pain itself and the sense of suffering from pain.  It is apparently possible with some anesthetics to have the sensation without the suffering, and, as strange as it sounds,  it is also possible to have the suffering without the sensation.

I thought this was a good metaphor for thinking about the difference between the pain and discomfort of late pregnancy and the pain and discomfort of IVF cycles.  Maybe on an objective measure (“sensation”) things are now equally or more difficult.   But on the subjective measure (“suffering”), an IVF cycle has this beat, hands-down.  In late pregnancy, chances are that everything is going to turn out fine, we will end up with a live baby in our arms.  It’s uncomfortable, but you get through it and there is an other side.  With IVF cycles?  You get the discomfort of injection after injection, the pain of bloated ovaries, the insanity induced by drugs, and then layered over all of it you get the abject suffering of not knowing if it will work… this time, or ever.

Now that is hell.

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1 Comment »

  1. Lisa said

    That is such a great metaphor and so very true!! I (we) suffered through our IVF’s. We struggled every day with the physical AND emotional aspects of them.

    Pregnancy is completely different. Now, I’ve had a very easy pregnancy, until recently. It’s only in the last week or so that I’ve felt the kinds of discomforts I know others have had for far longer. But, you are so very right – while I “feel” the discomforts, I, in no way, can say that I am “suffering” from them!

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