Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What a difference a year makes

Just about one year ago I was having a meltdown because (a) I was 39 crashing into 40; (b) my first IVF cycle had been cancelled because of a cyst; (c) I was actually doing an IVF cycle and; most importantly, (d) I wasn't pregnant despite about a year of trying.

This year? This year I am 26 weeks pregnant, 40 years old and ok with it most of the time, and feeling pretty good. I don't have to bring syringes and drugs through the airport and I am obsessing over the perfect gender neutral crib bedding.

And for this difference -- this tremendous, life altering change, I am thankful. I could cry every time I think about how happy I am that modern science worked for me.

Many of you all are still on the road to parenthood, and I know how hard this time of year is, because I have been there and wept and moaned and raged. And I hope that your path leads to a family in a way that brings you joy and leaves you at peace and that you don't dread the next holiday season.

I'm wishing you all the very best for this Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What should I do? How should I feel?

I've been mulling over this post for a long time, and I'm finally ready to put it out there because, well, I'm kind of just fed up. Here's the story:

About a year ago when I was just embarking on IVF #1 after about a year of trying (and clomid, drug of the devil), I was in hiding. We've all been there -- other people's lives just look too good when you are in the pit of despair. But I came out of hiding and confided in one of my friends and she mentioned that another friend, S, had also kind of dropped off the map. So I took a leap of faith and emailed S to see if she and I were both trapped in the same circle of hell and whether she wanted to get dinner and commiserate.

As it turned out, I was right, and S was already the veteran of 5 or so IVF cycles, had lost both of her tubes (don't ask me how/ why) and was still very much not pregnant. We had a good dinner where we shared and laughed and even cried a little about how horrible it all was and generally just commiserated.

Subsequently, we got together a couple of times and emailed when things were bad and generally just kept up on how each other was doing or when another friend did something horribly insensitive, etc.

In February we had a big girls trip with 11 of us (3 without kids, to include me and S) and it was hard. It was fun and I'm glad I went, but it was hard to hear about kids and second and third kids all the while knowing that my recent beta was a whopping 5.2. And it was hard for S as well. That was visibly obvious. And when I checked in on her after the weekend to try to get together her response was "I need some time -- let's just connect in June."

So I get it. People need to retreat to their comfortable places when they are emotionally not ready to deal , and I don't presume to know how bad it was for her or what she went through, but it kind of pulled the rug out from under me and took away a source of my support as well. But again, when things are bad, we all get very focused on the "me" and not so much on the "you." But it kinda sucked anyway, especially since I went on to fail IVF #2 at that time and could have used an IRL friend who "got it."

Then, against all hope, FET #2 from our first IVF cycle actually worked and I got pregnant. And so I didn't contact S during the summer because I wasn't telling anyone I was pregnant, and I thought that sharing with her would just be cruel. But I agonized over it -- I agonized over not checking in on her and over how I would tell her if the pregnancy continued. Because frankly, I never thought she would get pregnant -- she had done 10 IVF cycles at that point and was thinking about giving up.

After I started coming out to our mutual friends, I was very clear with each person I told that not everyone knew. The Boy and I had decided that the best way to tell S was to send her an email right around the same time I told other people. That way she wouldn't find out from anyone else and she wouldn't have to pretend to be all kinds of nice to me on the phone or in person -- it just seemed like the most respectful and kindest way to deal with what was a really a very difficult situation. But because I was still agonizing about it, I tested my plan with another friend, C, who knows both of us -- and our IF issues -- well. And when C said "don't worry about it -- S is 22 weeks pregnant," while I felt relieved and happy for her, I also felt a little bit kicked in the gut, because it was clear that I was a whole lot more worried about how S's feelings than she was about mine. And I also felt like an idiot, because apparently all of our friends knew she was pregnant except me!

I executed on my plan anyway, and sent her a short note letting her know that I was 15 weeks pregnant and that most of our other friends did know. Her response? "I'm so glad for you. I'm also pregnant, due on Jan 2." It seemed kinda terse. But I soldiered on as if all was fine and set up a plan to meet for dinner, which we did a few weeks later. Dinner left me feeling kinda cold and sort of like she'd rather be home organizing her sock drawer. And she hasn't responded to my two emails since.

I've talked to a couple of other friends about this and two have had similar experiences. And S has said to multiple people, including me, that she doesn't think she will ever get over her experience of IF. And I get that -- trying and failing to get pregnant for well over a year and doing IVF cycles changed me too.

But we are both now pregnant and it has actually kind of worked out. And it would be pretty cool to have a friend in NY who has a kid the exact same age. But she's just shut me out, and I can't get past feeling sort of betrayed and hurt by her. And so I'm essentially writing off the friendship. She doesn't appear to want to be friends and she doesn't really appear to care about my feelings or experience of pregnancy after IF. And I don't want to make it a "thing" and even address this -- I'm just kind of done. Sad at how things turned out, but done. But I guess I'm wondering whether I'm giving up too easily or should at least have the conversation before I check out completely.

Gah. Interpersonal relationships are so messy.

Friday, November 12, 2010

I'm still here

And all is well. I've just been crazy busy at work since we got back from vacation and in the evenings either I am falling asleep at 8.30pm or the Boy has commandeered the computer to watch NHL games that aren't on TV (yeah, our lives are exciting like that). I'm reading on my bberry, though, but I just can't figure out how to comment.

So what's going on here? Vacation was fabulous. We ate truly spectacular food, did tons of walking around each city, and had some great travel adventures. Everything really worked out perfectly.

Funny thing? It appears that I now look pregnant. A couple of little old Italian ladies were really sweet -- one wouldn't let me go through the metal detector at a museum because "it wasn't good for the baby" (this communicated in Italian and sign language).

A couple of takeaways: Rome is not a stroller friendly city. Very narrow sidewalks, cobblestone streets, and kind of crazy traffic. Paris -- much more stroller friendly, and loads of French people wheeling their kids around. Other takeaway? We actually noticed. And noticing people with small children and not being hurt or angry about it was, well, kind of wonderful.

I think it's because I can feel the little wiggler moving pretty much all of the time (except for an inordinately long time yesterday, which completely freaked me out, but that's another story) that I actually have some amount of confidence that we will have a real live baby early next year. So much confidence that tomorrow I am -- wait for it -- going to order a crib and dresser and glider. And I agreed to a shower and I've started allowing people to give me seats on the subway. I'm pregnant for what may be the only time after nearly 18 months of trying, and I'm starting to enjoy the hell out of it.