I am pretty good at picking up on subtle social/emotional changes in people based on the words they choose; their facial expressions; the prosody, speed, and volume in their voice. In fairness, this is a fairly important part of being a psychologist. What I've noticed over the past few months is a distinct change in C's mentality.
In the beginning, we were both excited. He would joke after intercourse that we just made a baby. We would talk a lot about our future child.
I figured out really early on that I wasn't ovulating (thank you OPKs) and began Clomid far before we would have ever been considered infertile by the standard definition of 12 months. Technically, I had only been off birth control for about 6 months and we were only seriously "trying" for 1-2 months.
Six months in, as I was inconstantly responding to the Clomid, and more often not responding, my frustration level was increasing. C, on the other hand, was calm and collected. He told me that, "I assumed it would take several months and we really haven't been trying for that long," ignoring the obvious fact that I wasn't ovulation and wasn't responding to medications.
After nine months of continued frustration, continue lack of response to any oral medication they threw at me, C stopped being overly reassuring. He turned into "the rock," a role so many husband's assume. He would attend appointments and would provide words of encouragement. He was very supportive. But I could tell that he was supporting me, not us. He wasn't allowing the discouragement to affect him, to become emotionally involved himself, likely feeling that he needed to hold it together for me. He was on the outside looking in, and feeling helpless that there was nothing he could to truly comfort me. He was feeling bad for me, not with me.
This continued even through our injectable cycle, when I did respond (beautifully, I might add) and we did have a very real shot at pregnancy. Maybe he still felt the need to be guarded, to not get swept away in the possibilities.
Then things changed. If was after I melted down, we began talking IVF, and ultimately decided to cash in our life savings.
It was gradual at first. A random comment about our future child. Jokes about "creating a baby" during our nightly injection routine. Talking about specific treatment details with some of his friends and family. He would still come to my monitoring appointments, but this time he would take a picture to capture the moment, as if he knew that these moments were ones we would like to look back and remember someday. The talk of our hypothetical child(ren) increased and I could tell that his wall was slowly crumbling. It was solidified the other night that he informed me he wanted to scan in our embryo pictures, "just in case something would happen to the originals."
He was hooked, invested, in this. He's not just excited because I'm excited. He's excited for himself. He's hopeful all on his own. This is no longer about him being a wonderful support for me. This is about us finally being in this together. Together sharing in the joys and excitement. Together sharing in the possible disappointment and let down.
A large part of me is so happy to see this shift, to know that we're in this together and that he's emotionally invested. A smaller part is nervous. If things don't go well, he will suffer double. I know he'll still be very upset for me, but he'll also be very upset for himself. But I suppose this is the potential cost of caring: twice the reward or twice the let-down.