Thursday, June 28, 2007

Hot Forks, Sharp Knives, and Rusty Nails

My best friend is named Kelly. She is smart, beautiful, funny, a former airline pilot, a talented artist, and a true joy to have in my life. She and I met because I worked with her husband. They didn't even know each other when I started working with him, but later they started dating and got married. Before they got married, she and I lived together in an apartment for a while.

She is also a little kooky. She tends to make things much harder than they should be, and she takes really strange approaches to certain tasks. But I don't care, that's part of why I love her so much. She keeps me entertained, I don't want her to change one bit. Plus, she'll tell me what she *really* thinks when I ask her (and sometimes when I don't).

Kelly and her hubby (also K) got engaged 5 months before me and Kevin. Kelly and K got married 6 months before us. Kevin still works at the same company where K (Kelly's hubby) and I did, so we all know each other very well. It's a wonderfully comfortable friendship that I treasure like gold.

Even before we got married, Kevin and I started TTC. Call it intuition or call it paranoia, but I just had a sense it wouldn't be easy. Kelly and K thought we were crazy to start working on kids so quickly, as they were enjoying their time traveling and going out on their boat. However, after Kevin and I had been trying for a year, they thought that maybe they should try too. Just in case it took a little while.

Kelly and I both feared that she would get pregnant before me. Whether it was luck or not, I did manage to get pregnant first. Kelly got pregnant 5 months later. Kelly and K's daughter is smart, funny and amazing. She has a fiery strong personality and a cold stare that could hurt even an apathetic 14 year old's feelings. She keeps them on her toes, and they do their best to be good parents to her. Our daughters play together like siblings -- loving each other one minute, beating the snot out of each other the next.

When Kelly and K's daughter was 2 months old, Kevin and I started TTC #2. Kelly and K thought we had lost our minds. As you can see from the info on my sidebar, that was over 2 years ago. We're still trying.

Last summer, after Kevin and I had been TTC for over a year, Kelly and K decided they should try again too. They admit that they can barely handle the daughter they've got, so we were all a little surprised. Plus, they were getting ready to buy a business and move from Maryland to Florida. Seemed like crazy timing, but oh well. I even said to her, point blank, "What am I supposed to do when you get pregnant before me?" I know that's a terribly selfish thing to say, but it's something I can freely say to my best friend. She said, "C'mon, we have to be in this together or it won't work."

She was right. She was always in it with me, always supportive, always willing to listen. She knew more about my cycles and RE appts and suspected symptoms than my own husband. When Kevin and I were undergoing our IUIs, she would call me as I was driving to the Doctor's office, then she'd call an hour later to see how my follicles looked. She worked incredibly hard to understand all the terminology, procedures, and drugs that I was working with. Perhaps part of her was using it as an opportunity to educate herself in case they had trouble conceiving #2. But probably not, because she stated repeatedly that they would "never be able to" do what Kevin and I were doing. She was truly just trying to support me.

So I shot myself up with drugs, gave dozens of vials of blood, and subjected myself to countless wanding sessions with the dildocam. Then the 1st IUI failed. And the 2nd. And the 3rd. She was crushed. I suspect that was for many reasons. First and foremost, it was because she knew how badly we wanted a baby and it hurt her to see us struggling so much. But also, I think she was scared that, as the months went on without a BFP for her, that they'd have to consider this route.

In December 2006, Kevin and I were at his parents' house for an early Christmas. I had brought my Lu.pron in a cooler and was busy bursting blood vessels all over my stomach injecting it. However, it was our first IVF and I was excited. Truthfully, I was alternately scared shitless and excited, it was nervewracking for sure. I was patiently awaiting the arrival of AF so that I could start the heavy duty stims in preparation for a retrieval.

I knew Kelly's AF was due to appear while we were visiting the in-laws, so we kept in contact every day. Out loud, I said all the right things. I said I wanted her to get pregnant, and I said that I was sorry it had been taking a few months. But inside, I'm not sure either of them were true. I didn't want her to get pregnant before me, and I wasn't all that sorry it was taking a while because misery loves company.

Imagine the ugly scene that followed when Kelly called me on my cell to tell me that she took an HPT and was pregnant. I was crushed. I have no idea what I said to her, but I'm fairly confident that it was appropriate (my Mom taught me well). The second we got off the phone, I ran up to the bedroom where we were staying, flung myself on the bed, and cried like a teenage girl who was just dumped at the Prom. I'm really not prone to dramatic displays like that, so everyone was a little alarmed. But we all got over it. The bummer is that the cycle we were gearing up for turned out to be a bust (I was over-suppressed by the Lu.pron), so that was yet another kick in the teeth.

The biggest bummer of all was that exactly 1 year earlier, in December 2005, we had learned of our first miscarriage just 1 day before boarding the plane to head to the in-laws for Christmas. So I was a wreck that year too. It's a miracle they still love me and that they still want us there for the Holidays.

Geez, what a long freaking post and I haven't even gotten to the point. Sorry.

Just before the 12 week mark in Kelly's pregnancy, we were going out to dinner with a group of girlfriends. Kelly was torn about whether to tell them she was expecting or not. She really wanted to get past the 1st trimester and the nuchal translucency testing before they told too many people. So she hemmed and hawed about it for a while.

I don't have to tell you guys how it feels to hear a pregnancy announcement. Like a hot fork in the eye, a sharp knife in the gut, a rusty nail through your foot. Bad, bad, bad, it feels bad. Therefore, when I was given the opportunity to know up front that a pregnancy announcement was going to be made, I decided to skip it. I asked her, "If you are going to tell everyone you are pregnant at dinner tomorrow night, please let me know. I'd like to create an excuse to show up late. As you know, I have a hard time with pregnancy announcements, and as soon as they are done gushing all over you -- rightfully so -- they will all look at me with those sad, pity-filled, puppy dog eyes. I would just rather avoid the whole thing."

At that, she said, "Oh, right. I hadn't even thought of that. Well, that settles it, I'm not going to tell them." Luckily, I know Kelly well. I knew she wouldn't be able to avoid telling. The minute she refused wine before dinner, they'd be on her like white on rice, and she can't lie for shit. So I did create a legitamite excuse for being late to dinner, and she did make her announcement before I got there. Everyone there got to fawn all over her without holding any of it in check to save my feelings. They got to talk about how great it is to have kids so close together (everyone in the group -- except me, of course -- has 2 children under 3 years old).

For about a week after that, Kelly was a little cold. When you talk to someone every day (sometimes multiple times a day), it's easy to pick up on uneasyness. I finally asked what was wrong, and she said, "When you asked me not to tell them about the baby while you were there, you made me feel guilty for being pregnant." I said I was sorry for making her feel bad.

But that's not true. That's EXACTLY how I want all pregnant people to feel. (Except people like us who struggle, they are grandfathered in to receive genuine joy.) For everyone who gets pregnant naturally, easily, quickly, by actually having sex with their husbands, I am angry. I want them to feel lucky and blessed. But I also want them to feel guilty because I can't get pregnant. I want them to slink around, to avoid rubbing their bellies, and to tell me that they are sorry 100 times a day that I am not pregnant yet. I really do want them to feel guilty.

It's an ugly thing to say, I know. It's not even rational, but it's true. I am surrounded by breeders -- that's what my sister calls people who get pregnant easily. Almost all of my friends are breeders. They have lapped me in the baby department, and it makes me so angry. Don't *even* get me started on the people who ACCIDENTALLY get pregnant. Worse yet is that while I'm desperate for them to feel guilty and terrible for me, I don't want one ounce of pity from them. Truly, they just can't win. Goodness knows I already covered this topic in a
prior post, so I don't need to beat that horse to death anymore...

What are they doing that I am not? Are they better people than me? Is God mad at me? Why must I continually feel so left behind? So defective? So broken? Gee, you don't think that it's because, just maybe, I am evil and deranged and have the nerve to state on the world wide web that I want them to feel guilty? Nah, I'm sure that's not it.

Since all that drama (including another unsuccessful IUI), we've done 2 IVFs. When the first IVF actually worked, Kelly was beside herself because she was so happy. Now she could finally discuss pregnancy stuff with me and not worry about me melting down. We even went shopping for maternity clothes together (I didn't buy anything because, at just 6 weeks along, I wasn't nearly comfortable enough with the idea that this pregnancy would work -- rightfully so, it turns out). The day I called to tell her that we lost that baby and I was having a D&C, she was absolutely speechless. Mostly, I'm sure, because she felt sorry for us. But I have to imagine she felt sorry for herself too because now she was going to have to tiptoe around me with pregnancy nonsense all over again.

I didn't even tell her when we did the 2nd IVF. My big plan was to surprise her with the 6 week sonogram. Ha, that's hilarious. Instead, I could have told her about it with the message from my nurse explaining that my beta was negative. Oh, wait, I didn't get that message because I did my big F YOU to the IF universe and boycotted the beta entirely. Anyway, when I did tell her, she just took it in stride. As if I had said our freezer was on the fritz again. I think she's over all my IF drama and just doesn't even know what to do at this point. I truly don't blame her.

Kelly is now 34 weeks pregnant and expecting another girl. I'm still jealous every single day, and that makes me sad. The first time we went out somewhere and she was wearing maternity clothes, I cried in my car on the way home. Why can't I be happy for my best friend? She would be truly, completely thrilled for me. Why can't I do the same?

These are rhetorical questions, they don't really require answers. Infertility has turned me into a werewolf. One minute, I'm fine. The next minute, I've sprouted fangs and claws and have grown thick fur all over my face. It's just ugly and I don't like it. Plus, there's the whole hot fork in the eye, sharp knife in the gut, rusty nail in the foot pain to contend with. That really sucks.

Wow, what a bummer of a long post. Sorry for the novel. I guess I just needed to get that off my chest. I promise that my next post will be witty and funny -- even if I have to stock it with random jokes!


Caro said...

I like the werewolf analogy, no if only it was as predictable as a full moon.

TeamWinks said...

I think your reactions are normal, and honest. I can truly appreciate that. It sounds like you are in a tight spot, walking on a tight rope. We're here to catch you if you fall.

Kate said...

I am currently avoiding two friends who are due in July. It's hard.

Somewhat Ordinary said...

Wow, love ther werewolf analogy-that was totally me 2 nights ago!!

I often feel the same conflicting emotions as you. You want people to feel bad, but you don't want pity-I feel the exact same way. My best friend is so understanding but she is also super fertile and I dread the day she announces she is expecting #2 (if it is before I'm expecting #1) because I know I won't be able to handle it. I know the day I announce a pregnancy she will be overjoyed and yet I feel so horrible that if she gets pregnant before me I won't be able to feel that way.

Reproductive Jeans said...

It's always healthy to vent! And we are the best listeners=) Like Winks said-does seem like a tight rope walk, but we are all here for you=)

Inconceivable said...

I told my husband that I swear IF has cause dme to be bi-polar. Is it really healthy to have polar opposite feelings ALL DAY LONG for 5 yrs? {hug} Thank you for eliquently writing my feelings that I can never seem to verbalize.

Needles said...

Are you sure you're not me?
Damn....I agree with you 150% and I support you and all your negativity, anger, frustration, happiness, confusion, etc- ALL OF IT! I have felt the exact same way...You are so normal even though you probably question why you feel these emotions. It just hurts. Pregnant bellies hurt when theyre not your own. Its the way the world works and its unfirtunate....but you are on the money honey.

Miss K said...

excellent post - i just told my husband last night that I wanted to have sex and get pregnant like "normal people".

Amy said...

I like the werewolf analogy too -- only I feel like the full moon peeks out at me several times in one day. Is that possible?

You are not evil, just suffering through IF. The yo-yo of emotions are enough to make anyone feel like they're gonna break. Take care.

Cibele said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cibele said...

I am sorry, I guess we are both feeling the same way as you could see on my last post )thanks for commenting). IF sucks, it hurts and I don’t know what to do with those feelings...
I just over heard my brother in law talking with my husband about how concerned he is about having another baby, how he will not have time for nothing besides raising his 3 kids (wife is expecting # 3, of course it was not planned, and baby # 1 was born the day I got married, baby # 2 announced when I stated TTC and born the day I had my m/c... talk about stealing my thunder) My DH is a much better person than I am.. he said to his brother: it is just a phase, the will grow up soon…” all I want to do is to scream at him... I wish I could trade places with you.!
I hope that better times come for us soon my friend, I hope that God can hear our plea and we can get there sooner than later before we loose ourselves .

Marie-Baguette said...

I think all of us infertiles feel the same as you. Even when I got pregnant and went through a heartbreaking reduction I was jealous at all those fertiles who never have to face that kind of decision. On my good days, I can pretend we have this medical problem, like some people have cancer, but people with cancer can talk about it, and we can't, and you never say "you could just adopt a new pair of lungs" to a cancer patient, when people keep telling us "whey don't you just adopt". That's it, I am ranting! Sorry!!! Just to end my story, infertility happens to perfectly good people and fertility happens to cokeheads... Being good or bad is irrelevant here

Changing Expectations said...

I completely understand where you are coming from. It is so tough to smile and be nice when inside your emotions are like a tornado. I am sending good thoughts your way. Hang in there.

Thank you for all of your comments on my blog and for keeping up with my calendar. I really appreciate the support.

Natalie said...

My best friend - who I love dearly and has absolutely been right beside me this entire journey - started trying I think a month before we started trying. She got pregnant right away... obviously, I did not. She just mentioned trying for their second and... I couldn't help it. What flew through my mind first was frustration and anger and fear. Fear that she was going to end up with two healthy kids and I still couldn't get even one.

It's bound to put a LOT of strain on a relationship, even a close, close reationship. It puts a chasm between people and it's a horrible feeling. And there's really not much we can do about it. I hate it.

Kate said...

Thank you so much for your kind words. They really helped. :)

Lea Bee said...

i just wanted to say i know exactly, exactly how you feel. in my case, my sister got pregnant with twins on her 3rd cycle off b/c pills and her 2nd cycle trying. we actually both got pregnant at the same time (first i had a chemical, then a + from an IUI that turned into a m/c) but...well...she's still pregnant and i'm not.

anyway, it is so trying because i want to be happy for her...she's my family, my sister, and it's not her fault she got pregnant(with twins!) with essentially no effort. but it does tear me up to see her in her maternity clothes, doing all that sh*t, and i'm no where even close. it is very very hard to deal with.

Sticky Bun said...

This is a great post. I SO know what you mean. It's just all so spectacularly unfair, made even more so by the fact that we're surrounded by fertiles (for whom we're supposed to be overjoyed for their good fortune) all day everyday. (well, that's slightly hyperbolic. But only slightly...)

It's just so hard. I really wish we all lived closer to one another, so at least we could go out for dinner and drinks and a good laugh with people who really know what we're going through--people who wouldn't pity you (despite all good intentions not to), and we'd know that we wouldn't have to cry the whole way home...

Hang in there! We're here for you and are thinking of you...

Bean said...

OMG -- I know exactly how you feel. In fact, I wonder how you got in my head and wrote precisely my own thoughts and emotions! I don't have much else to add, except in response to "Why can't I be happy for my best friend? She would be truly, completely thrilled for me. Why can't I do the same?" Of course, she'd be thrilled for you, she has no reason not to be. She doesn't need to feel envious or jealous because she didn't have to struggle for it. And I hope that doesn't seem to disparage in anyway your friend, or any friends of IFs, but let's face it, it's true. It's pretty easy to feel happy about other people's good fortune, when you already have what you want. Not so easy when you have to watch everyone else get (and easily in many cases) what you've struggled for and still don't have. Thanks for you honesty!

Chili said...

Love the werewolf analogy! So spot on!

This is my first visit to your blog (followed a link from Bean's blog), and I will definitely be adding you to my reader!

Great post.

Paula said...

I have felt the same exact way. . . I have a friend who has just had one child and now concieved her second and is out the first trimester, all in the shorter time than my DH and I are trying for a healthy first.

Geohde said...

Hi there, found you via the blog roundup.

I freely admit to being kicked-in-the-guts-sick-and-jealous when I hear others are pregnant.

It's normal.

Kami said...

Oh I know how you feel. My sister got pregnant 4 months after we lost our son. At first I tried to be happy and supportive and then just told I couldn't see her any more. We talked almost every day, but rarely in person.

I hope it doesn't make us bad people, but I still feel bad. I feel bad right now because as much as I can relate to how you feel - and so I know you can relate to how I feel - I am jealous that you were able to have your mutually genetic baby. Why you and not me? Why your best friend and not you?

Wishing you strength when the baby is born.