Three on One

How was your weekend?  I hope it was excellent.  Oh mine? Well, ahem.  In a word it was: awful.  I am still reeling a bit.

Let’s back up.  In March, I had a weekend planned with my three college roommates.  We were to spend the night in New Jersey (we are all within three hours drive) at my friend Mary’s house.  Katie and I would drive up together from DC and Jenny would come up from Baltimore.  We were all to meet at Mary’s Saturday by lunchtime.  Katie called me the day before sounding awfully sick with a cold and said she couldn’t come, she was too sick.  Since we had a quiet weekend planned, I had a feeling I knew why she was really sick.  I was right, just weeks later she announced she was pregnant.  Anyhow, the other three of us had a great time catching up.  I knew that Mary had been trying to conceive for a little while, and I was sort of relieved she wasn’t pregnant when we showed up.  We talked a bit about how getting pregnant wasn’t as easy as people scared you into thinking while in high school and college.  I was in the middle of my second IUI cycle, so I explained a little about what we were doing.  Jenny, who just got married last year, said she didn’t want to TTC until next summer (that would be, summer 2014).  She kind of joked that since I’d been trying 2 years, and Mary for over a year, maybe she do it sooner.  Then quickly added that she didn’t think they were ready.

In June, Mary called with her news (I wrote a little bit about it here).  She got pregnant pretty much right after I saw her in March.  Her news was hard for me, but I had known it was coming and I knew she’d tried for awhile.  I was happy for her.

This brings me to this weekend.  This was Katie’s baby shower weekend, here in DC.  Since it was local there was really no way for me to get out of it.  I had been preparing myself mentally.  Baby clothes and baby bjorns aren’t as hard for me to deal with as pregnant bellies, so I concentrated on the time before the shower when I’d be with my two very pregnant roommates.  I knew they’d both want to talk a lot about their pregnancies and the like.  I knew all this.  I prepared myself.  I was ready to grin and bear it.  I was ready to act excited about strollers and birth plans.  I felt comfort that Jenny would also be there.  She and I would be able to drink and tease the preggos about how delicious the wine was and that we needed to talk about something else now and then.  I would have a buddy. I figured she’d help me stay a bit steady and remind me how it can be really fun to *not* be pregnant and that’d help me get through some of the pregnancy talk.  I thought maybe they’d ask what was up with me, or maybe just Jenny and I would chat about it during a quiet moment.

What happened was not what I had prepared for.

At lunch on Saturday, Jenny, who was to be my safe haven for the weekend, waited until we’d ordered and then excitedly announced to us that she was 13 weeks pregnant.  To say I was blindsided is an understatement.  I felt like she’d kicked me in the stomach.  My insides churned, I felt my face lose it’s color and I heard Mary exclaim “oh my god that’s awesome!”.  I reached down deep and faked a big smile.  I could feel tears rushing in, but I somehow held them at bay.  I wanted to run to the bathroom, but there was no way I could just exit the table at that moment without it being a scene.  In that moment the last thing I wanted to talk about was my infertility and if I burst into tears, that’s all they’d want to talk about.  My mind was screaming “get the hell out of here!” but I sat frozen with the fakest smile I’ve ever smiled on my face.

In one sudden whoosh, I lost my one team member for the weekend.  Instead of playing 2 on 2, it was now 3 against 1 and I was solo. While I’ve had difficult pregnancy announcements in the past, normally they’ve come with some warning.  I have almost always had at least a small inkling it was possible before the announcement came.  But this time, I was knocked over, I was shocked, but in the most terrible way.  Usually I am able to muster some happiness, find the part of my heart that isn’t burned up with grief and let that part give my happy congratulations.  But this time, I couldn’t find any happiness.  I was just so overwhelmed with how unfair this all is.  How I’ve been trying since before she even got engaged.  How I thought I’d be pregnant at her wedding last summer and waited until the last minute to buy my bridesmaid dress.  How she was so sure they would wait until next year.  How she got pregnant the first month she even tried.  How I had let my guard down about this one person and my heart just got the shit stomped out of it.

I have no idea how I made it through the lunch.  When I could, I went to the bathroom and sent some stressed out texts to my husband and to my infertile sister in law.  My SIL talked me off the ledge and helped me find my nerves of steel.  I spent the rest of the day, dinner and that evening surrounded by some of my best friends chattering away about maternity clothing, doctor’s advice and nursery colors.  All while I fought hard to not break down.  Each time I went to the bathroom I was in danger of dissolving into tears that I wouldn’t be able to contain.  Feeling so lonely while surround by people is one of the worst feelings in the world.

No one mentioned my infertility.

I guess I can’t blame them.  It was clear by the amount of wine I started to drink that I did not have happy news to share.  There was no easy way for them to inquire about it, while sitting there incubating lives in their bellies.  But at the same time, I wish just one of them had thought to pull me aside and acknowledge how hard this must be for me.  Maybe they were following my lead, which was to ignore ignore ignore the tears that kept threatening to overflow.  Maybe I hid my angst so well they didn’t really notice.  To be honest, maybe I really didn’t want them to say anything, since I am sure I would have felt mortified at my tearful response to any inquiries.  No one likes to cry in front of a group.

The only thing that would have made it okay was if I was pregnant too.  If I had also been guarding news and was ready to get advice on what jeans to buy and what crib is on sale. There’s no one to blame for the fact that I am not pregnant.  There’s no reason, there’s no cause, it just IS.  But I hate that infertility is taking my friends from me.  It’s taken so much already, and I resent with every bone in my body that it’s taking my joy from me too.  I want to be excited and gushing with my friends.  I want to feel happiness and joy for them.  Instead I feel angry, resentful and so fucking sad.  All for something none of us have any control over.

I made it through the shower, it was easier than the day before had been.  There were non-pregnant people to talk too.  I drank more wine.  It was over in less than three hours.  However, I barely made it in my front door before I broke down.  It was nuclear, the bomb of emotions I needed to deal with.  I haven’t cried that hard or that long since my miscarriage.  I let everything out.  I am so tired, so worn out, so full of resentment, so angry, so jealous, so full of longing.  I am sad.  I am bitter that I can’t be happy for my friends.

I am so ready for it to be my turn.

11 thoughts on “Three on One

  1. Oh wow, that is so much to handle at once! I’m sorry. I’ve had several friends get pregnant soon after saying they were planning to wait, or even that they didn’t think they wanted kids. When they ended up pregnant soon after, I was always like “Wait! You lied… that’s not fair!!” Stupid, I know, but I felt like they tricked me.
    I’m glad the shower was easier for you– that’s rough too. I do think your friends should have said something supportive to you. Even if they thought you were avoiding the topic– I feel like it’s the job of good friends to SAY something. Very few do though. I’m sure they hope for it to be your turn soon too, though.

    • Thank you so much for your sweet comment. It does feel like I got lied too! Even though I know, logically, it’s not the case. I do agree that someone should have said something, but I also understand how it’s awkward. It’s common for people to stumble and mess up when dealing with grief and trials of others. So I try to be patient with my friends who don’t get it. I have lots of great support so I try to be thankful for that, instead of annoyed at how these few let me down. I am thinking of pulling the plug on going to the next baby shower though…I’ll feel dramatic admitting it’s too hard, but I think that sometimes attempting to protect myself from these kinds of things is okay. Though, really, no one is left to get knocked up so there can’t be any surprise announcements at the next one! Sigh. Pass the wine.

    • Yes, it’s true. My SIL (who went through 5 years of IF before having her kids through IVF)) said that at some point she just assumed that every woman she knew was pregnant. It was the only way she could keep herself prepared. I think I’m at that point too, better to just assume every woman of child bearing age is about to tell me they’re expecting….

  2. Ouch. I can totally relate. I’m so sorry you had to endure a whole weekend of this. It is so hard already, feeling alone makes things feel even worse. I don’t know how you did it. I wouldn’t have made it through lunch xo

  3. That would have been tough for anybody to handle. I personally do not go to any baby showers anymore. Luckily (?) most of my close friends have already had babies so I don’t have to endure sitting through a baby shower for a very good friend. You did a very good job holding yourself together. I am very glad that you have your SIL who could help talk you through things when needed. Friendships are fragile when one friend is on the difficult journey of infertility while things just happen so easily for others. I am slowly sharing with my friends about how to communicate with me in a better way. I am so sorry you had to go through with the horrible scenario.

  4. Thank you for your kind thoughts. My SIL is a god send, honestly. I’m so lucky (is that the right word?) to have someone in my immediate family who has gone through all this. She just gets it. All I had to text her was “Jenny showed up pregnant, f*ck” and she sent like 5 texts with advice on how to deal with it. One was something like “find your nerves of steel for the outside, cry on the inside, and drink wine (in the bathroom if you need too)”.

    I definitely think sometimes fertile friends need help with knowing how to help us. I had to tell my husband that I didn’t need him to cheer me up or say things like “this is all going to work out, I just know it”, I just wanted him to agree with me, in that moment, that things SUCK. That’s all I need from him really is to listen to me cry, give me lots of hugs, and maybe shell out the ice cream in emergencies. It took him a bit of practice, but now he’s very good at it. Friends might need the same guidance too.

  5. I just found your blog somehow surfing infertility blogs. I am right there with you. Last month I got my period while at a baby shower. The other day I counted up all my Facebook friends that have either announced a pregnancy or had a baby since we started trying. 47. And I’m not one of those people who has 700 friends.

    I also had a very similar vacation last spring where two friends (out of three) surprise announced they were pregnant (the other has two kids already) and I spent miserable weekend in Miami crying bathrooms. I don’t have any real life friends who understand infertility and I have to agree with you. I’m ready for my turn.

    Congrats on your pregnancy. I hope I get there some day.

    • I’m glad you found me! It is so hard, those times when you are surrounded with friends getting the one thing you want most in the world. It’s unlike anything else, since it’s so out of everyone’s control. I hope it’s your turn soon too, and in the meantime that you can find some peace. XO!

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