"Stay positive, everything's going to be fine."

Okay, do I appreciate these words from folks? Sometimes.

But not usually and I'll tell you why. People are so fucking uncomfortable with just saying, Hey, I'm sorry, that doesn't sound good but I'm here for you if you want to talk. So they blurt out ridiculous bullshit that has not an ounce of truth and it's more than annoying to me.

Case and point. I was reading one of the infertility boards and a woman just went in for her ultrasound at nearly 7 weeks and the doctor still can't see the heartbeat (incidentally, I knew it wasn't cool when no heartbeat was seen at 6 weeks but hey, I was still thinking "positively."). What brought her in for ultrasound a week later was red spotting. Okay, so far I'm still on board with the positive thoughts. But then she drops the bomb - the beta bomb! The number should have been in the range of....oh....say 500-350,000. Listen, it's a range, right? Yeah, I get it and though I'm not a rocket scientist, I know somehow that being much closer to the top end is a good thing.

When I experienced my chemical pregnancy last month, my beta level was 15.5 on d12po. If you look at the "range" on the beta sites, I was "in range." But I didn't ignore (and you'd have to IGNORE) the other stats - the ones about 90% of pregnancies with betas under 100 at 14dpo being doomed (okay, I'm not exact on those stats, but close enough and you get the gist). So, yeah, I knew the fat lady was just behind the curtain, ready to belt one out.

So the woman on the board tells the others that the beta is around 15,000 and in 2 days only jumped to 18,000. I felt awful for her, crushed - it was heartbreaking - I recognized the familiar sound of that obnoxious behemoth of a woman about to sing her sad song.

You know what the women on the forum did? They did the predictable. They ignored the pathetic beta results (which were pretty dismal) and focused instead - AND SOLELY - on the spotting and the lack of seeing a heartbeat at nearly 7 weeks. They reminded her how many women in the group had spotting and went on to deliver healthy babies. They assured her that a heartbeat would be seen a few days later, that it was still too soon. But not one of them said "Hey, don't worry about that beta, my beta got to 15,000 and then increased by only 20% in 2 days vs. 100% and I had a beautiful healthy child." Nope, not one of them told stories of how betas so early on in the pregnancy increased by 80% less than expected and all turned out well.

Why? These ladies aren't stupid - often times, they're more educated than the health professionals themselves. If I'd posted a secured $50,000 bet to each of them with the right answer and asked "will she go on to have a successful pregnancy or not?" Every one of those women would have suddenly said, Nope - not with that beta problem.

But instead, they insisted it would all be okay and deflected from the BIG FAT ELEPHANT in the room which was NOT the spotting and NOT even the missing heartbeat. IT WAS THE BETA!

How is it helpful to try to build false hope in someone, knowing the situation is most likely doomed? Why do that? When people do that to me, I don't appreciate it, I resent it. I feel like they're mocking me.

Why must it be so difficult to say to someone, I'm sorry, That sounds difficult, My heart goes out to you, I'm here to talk, Be well?! Why must we go out on a limb and encourage others to believe it'll all be okay, when we know it won't be.

Ironically, my way is perceived as cruel. Lying and providing false hope and encouragement is kind.

What a fucked up social structure we've embraced.

(yeah, I've been in a bad mood for days - work is unbearable, my boss is a mess (when she's even in) and I'm just down and out!)


Kami said...

I have thought the same thing so many times. I try to take the clue from the poster. If she is worried, then I say I would be worried too. I don't usually say "your doomed" because what good does that do?

Sometimes the poster is obliviously positive and sometimes it is because the clinic is giving them false hope and then I just don't what to say. "Your clinic told you it could be ok even though your beta is low and dropping? Don't believe them. It's over." But even saying something vaguely hopeful feels wrong too. In these cases I have opted to just not comment at all.

To argue the other side for a moment: One of the reasons I like my RE is he is straight up about the odds. I met someone who also went to him and thought it was awful that he told her he was concerned because the baby's h/b was so low at 8 weeks. Four days later, at her OB appointment, she found out the baby had died. Even after learning the baby died, she thinks he should have sent her on her way feeling positive.

Sky said...

Kami, you nailed it girl. It isn't that I want people to intentionally burst someone's balloon or the shred of hope they may have. Nor do I want someone to reverse what their clinic tells them.

But somewhere in a response I feel like we have a responsibility NOT to encourage a woman with one sac and a dropping beta that she needs to be "positive" and that "anything is possible" and "things work out all the time."


Yeah, miracles DO happen, I'm not going to deny that. But I don't think we should pump people up who are so delicate already with a miracle expectation.

Why is it so hard to say, Hey, I feel for you, try to relax and whatever will be, will be.

And thank you for the story of your RE - THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!!!

The doctor who was honest with her is "bad." If he said "oh, it's probably nothing and the baby's just peachy, go get a crib already," that doctor would have been her hero, even when she heard the devastating news weeks later that the baby died.

Ugh! Why do so many women live up to what men think of us - that we're weak, irrational and stupid!

Please, for the sake of the sisterhood - STOP IT!