Has it seriously been a week since I've posted? I don't think I've gone this long without writing something since I started this blog. Amazingly, quite a few of you wonderful ladies have emailed me separately to make sure I'm still alive. I can't tell you how much it means to me that you care.
I want to make sure the following statement isn't misconstrued in any way at all as a complaint, but... I've been sick as a dog and damn tired too. What's most jacked up of all is that I honest-to-goodness have a smile on my face as it's hanging in the toilet violently refusing whatever it was I just shoved down my gullet. So no complaining here, just an excuse for my absence.
I have been working on another post about our personal definitions of Infertility, but I clearly can't figure out what the hell I want to say since I keep re-writing portions of it. Grrr. I'll probably just put it up here in a day or two and be done with it.
For my rant today, I'm choosing to bitch about a woman at Megan's school. She's a perfectly nice lady, but she's forced me to experience wave after wave of whacky emotion so now I don't like her anymore. Let me explain...
This woman is beautiful. Tall, thin, blonde and pretty. She's clearly well into her 40s (I suspect her late 40s) and looks great. The first time I had contact with her was in Chapel the first week of school. Megan is in Nursery School at an Episcopal Church where they go to Chapel every Wednesday morning, and I always go for the service. This woman was sitting in the row behind me, with the other Nursery School mothers, talking to a person sitting next to her. She pointed to the twin boys in Megan's class and explained that they were hers.
So we'll stop right there. I'm thinking, "Hmmm, in her 40s? Fraternal twins? Smells like IVF to me." I silently smile, feeling a warm kinship with this woman. It's slightly tainted, of course, because SHE clearly enjoyed a successful IVF cycle that resulted in babies, which I have not yet, but I digress.
Here I am, feeling all fuzzy about her, like we're sisters or something. She goes on to the others sitting near us, explaining that she's got two girls as well -- one is in 1st grade and one is in Pre-K. Now I'm feeling even more sappy toward this chick, trying to tally up all the IVF cycles she must have endured to get all these flippin' kids!
Then she says it . . . the sentence that makes my blood run cold. With a half-laugh, she said, "The twins were a COMPLETE SURPRISE." I swear to you that if I hadn't been in the House of the Lord, I would have turned around and spit on her. Who the F*CK is 40+ years old and gets SURPRISED by twins? Someone out there clearly really hates me to put these type of women in my path.
After that, the warm embers of sisterhood that I felt inside for her turned into white-hot, boiling jealousy and anger. I planned to shun her for the entire year. Unfortunately, that was not meant to be.
About a week later, we were all at a birthday party for one of the kids in the class. The woman was there chatting with some other parents. I was making myself very busy glaring at her and wishing that her hair would catch on fire or something.
Then, she says another crazy thing: "My husband and I got married late in life, so we had trouble having kids. Our first two are IVF babies. So imagine our surprise when I found out that I was pregnant -- with twins."
Okay, okay, okay. Now maybe I don't hate her as much. I can see where twins at that stage of the game would be a huge shock. I'm back to liking her, and probably even flashed her a sappy, knowing smile shortly thereafter (which she probably interpreted as me being a raving lunatic).
Let's recap: love her, hate her, love her again. I'm a total basketcase.
Fast forward to this week. I had drop off line duty on Wednesday. This means that I stand near the entrance of the school and let kids out of their cars. The Moms or Dads pull up, and I open the door then help the kids out and off to school. I love it since I'm such a crazy extrovert -- I get to grin like an idiot and shout "Good morning!!" to dozens of people before the clock has even struck 9am. That's my idea of a good time.
The woman pulls up (in her Mercedes SUV, thank you) and I let her kids out. I already recognize the twins from Megan's class, but I get to see the other 2 kids. When I comment on them, she explains that the older boy isn't actually hers but that she carpools with the neighbor. So I said, "Oh, where is your oldest, then?" She reminded me that 1st grade starts at 8:30am (Kindergarten and below starts at 9am) so that child is already in school. The she said, "That's amazing that you even remembered I had 2 older ones."
Little does this woman know that her childbearing life story has been a source of an emotional rollercoaster for me. I'm such a loser.
At pick up time, I was there early, so I was the first car in line. When I got out to move the cones so that we could pull around to pick our kids up, I noticed that she was in line behind me. She waved so I walked back to her car to chat. I explained that I remembered she had 2 older children because of what she said at the birthday party about the 2 IVF babies. I also said that the irony of her situation hadn't escaped me -- that, without knowing how many embryos she transferred each time, the possibility of multiples with IVF is high and she got a singleton each time. Only to naturally conceive twins. Ironic, huh?
I wish she had just said, "Yeah. We feel really blessed." But she didn't. Know what she said?
"Did I say IVF? I didn't mean IVF. I didn't do IVF. It was artificial insemin... um... uterine fertilizat... um... vitro... no... um..." I finally said, "IUI?" And she said, "Yes! That's it! IUI."
WHAT. THE. FUCK?
You can't even remember the name IUI when you have done more than one of them? Ridiculous. I was back to hating her. Of course it only got worse.
She said, "Emily, our oldest, was really quick. I got pregnant with her on the first try. I even had that vanishing twin thing. But then Courtney took forever. I had to do 5 IUIs before I got pregnant with her. If that one didn't work, we were going to have to try IVF and I really didn't want to do THAT." Imagine her making a face like she just bit into a rancid lemon.
Did I reach into her stupid Mercedes SUV, rip her out through the window opening, and beat her down right there in the school parking lot? No, I'm a bigger person than that. Ha! No, I'm not. I just don't want to get my kid kicked out of school for her jackass Mom fighting in the parking lot.
Instead, I said, "Well, it took a year and a half to conceive Megan. We did Clomid, HSGs, all sorts of other stuff. Then it took almost a year to conceive another, but I miscarried at 8 weeks. Then we did 4 IUIs and 3 IVFs. During that time, I had another miscarriage at 7 weeks. It's been a long, hard road." Oh, and P.S., I hate you.
She looked at me like I had 14 heads. But, I'll give her credit, she composed herself and said, "I'm really sorry you're having so much trouble. I hope it works out for you." Thankfully they motioned to us that we could start driving around to begin pick up, so I just walked back to my car.
Now I have no idea how I feel about her. It mostly pisses me off that she acted so coy and stupid about the IUI thing. That was just dumb. But, I have to hand it to her that she didn't say something outrageously stupid after hearing my sob story. She didn't say "just relax" or "it's God's plan" or "when you're ready, you'll have a baby" or "go see my doctor" or anything maddening like that. She said the right thing. So I guess I have to sort of like her now.
This is an unnecessarily long-winded story just to explain how I let my interactions with 1 person jack with my emotions. I am definitely looking forward to a day when I'm not so wrapped up and inexplicably invested in other people's fertility stories. It's draining.
For those of you on the other side of this raw, raw pain (who have either welcomed a child into your family via birth or adoption, or who have embraced a child-free life), I want to ask: Does it get better? Do you stop getting jealous and bitter about other people's successes? Or will this go on forever, like a tatoo that I never chose to put on my forehead, but seems to always be there?