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.


  1. Weird! I don't know what you should do! It sounds like you two aren't especially close, but only started to bond over the sharing of IF. And maybe she doesn't want to be reminded of that or something? If she'd been a close friend, I'd email her and ask her WTF?, but if not, I'd just wait until the babies are born to get in touch again. She might be more receptive then. I kinda understand her not wanting contact with other pregnant people right now, out of fear that she'll go on to lose her baby and then have to deal... but after her baby is here, she might be more amenable to hanging out and talking about what the pregnancy was like for her. Or, since she is kind of being a snot (telling all her OTHER friends!!), maybe you should just forget it... Sigh. SO hard.

  2. For what it's worth, I could be easily compared to S. A really good friend of mine from a previous stage of life and I figured out that we were both simultaneously trying to get pregnant. I had recently had my miscarriage and wasn't dealing with it well, having a hard time conceiving after, etc. She had a different IF issue and was starting the IVF process. I was in town visiting and we totally bonded. Her first IVF failed, and I was very sympathetic, and then her second one was a success. I sent her a congrats note but never talked with her again. And she was moving and busy and all of that, so we just kind of fell off of each other's radar. But I was more the lame friend because I even went for a job interview in the town where she lives and didn't get in touch (and she even found out I was coming and wrote to say she'd love to see me...). I just couldn't bear to see her and her little baby. I still haven't told her that I'm pregnant. For some reason the feelings are so raw and I just can't explain it. It's irrational and rude, but I kind of just want to run away and hide not only from the IF pain but also from the memory of what it turned me into (angry, bitter and jealous, and that other people could/can see that, especially if I make overt friendly efforts now). Not sure if any of that makes sense. But I guess what I'm trying to say is that it might be worth letting the past be in the past and not read anything into it other than that she went through a horrible time like you did but is handling it differently (and not well). But forgiveness would maybe be very much appreciated -- and not mentioning having to talk about it either, just getting to pretend like that horrible phase never happened. If that makes sense.

  3. ugh, this sucks S. i found it weird when you mentioned it at the time that she told the fertile friends before you, but i have to think that she didn't know how to tell you bc you were going through something similar. with that said, i don't really get what's going on here. 10 ivf cycles before getting a bfp has to be as rough as it comes. i'm hoping like hell that she's not comparing the two of you and thinking that your "mere" (you KNOW i'm saying this with sarcasm) few ivf's in comparison are not the same thing. bc that would just be outrageous and you've suffered more than your own share. since she's acting distant to everyone else as well, i'm gonna assume that she's just terrified that, should she talk about her pregnancy, the baby will not get here in one healthy piece. and like lesley pointed out, i hope that the birth of both your children brings her around. until then ... i think you've tried plenty. i wouldn't write her OFF, but know that it's not you. it can't be.

  4. wow, this is so hard. I wish I had words of wisdom for you, but I don't.
    I have a friend from college who went through yrs of IVF and RPL before her baby came. She was very clear to our college group that nobody could possibly understand her and removed herself from our circle, even me with budding IF issues. I was not allowed back into her life until my first failed ivf, as if I earned the right. She has now re-friended everyone and things seem fine. But, I learned a big lesson. I do ask for time and am not always the best friend but I try to do so in the most understanding, sensitive way possible. Clearly S does not know how to do this.
    Wishing you well.

  5. This is so interesting, because I can't imagine what's causing her to selectively cut you out of her life! The very person it seems like she'd most want to talk to! The explanation that you remind her of her suffering kinda makes sense, except is she ever going to forget? I think the logical choice is to just give up--whatever her reasons are for not wanting your friendship right now, she's clearly got 'em. But if you're feeling up for some conflict, it could be fun to confront her! (Wherein fun means you'll probably find out she's got a specific grudge against you for something you have no idea about, or she just hates you for no logical reason...) The idea of just letting her be and waiting to see if she renews contact is probably the most adult.

    Anyway, I was being kind of facetious here, and I do understand that this is hurtful and mysterious and sad. I just can't wrap my head around it!

  6. There's no way to know of course, but her behavior makes me think she ended up using donor egg. Even if you had a hard path on the way to your baby, it's possible her path was lots harder still. And she *doesn't* think that you can relate.

  7. It seems pretty clear that you still value the friendship, so I say that that ball is firmly in her court. It's painful to lose any friend much less another if-er. But, the signal I'd get that she didn't bother to tell you she was 22 weeks seems clear. I'm sad, because that's pretty shitty if you didn't have good news too.

    Let it slide for now and if she comes around, demand a good explanation. Otherwise it may be a foxhole friendship that doesn't make sense outside of battle.

  8. This is very tough. As someone who buries herself in aloneness when the going gets tough, I understand the urge. And I wonder if she didn't tell you about her own pregnancy because she felt similar things to what you felt in thinking about telling her. And just flaked. It wasn't a nice decision, though, and it doesn't sound like nice behavior.

    Anonymous' comment above regarding donor egg clicked for me, somehow. I think it's a wonderful thing, and something I've thought about a time or two. But that may, to some people, also feel like a very lonely path, especially if there are any lingering, conflicting feelings about it. Sounds like she feels like she's on a very separate path, whichever one it is.

    But that wall is a tough thing to deal with. And I agree with Misfit - maybe let it slide for now?