My Sister, the super fertile

On this blog I’ve touched a bit here and there about my brother and his wife and their struggle with infertility.  They had a rocky road that finally brought b/g twins into their lives via IVF.  My SIL was such a comfort while I was struggling, and she and I now share a bond that none of the rest of the family really understands.

My sister, on the other hand, is apparently a rare breed of super fertile.  She has an almost three year old son, who was conceived 6 weeks after going off the pill.  She’d been on the pill for 15 years and had no concept of her natural cycle.  At the time she was living apart from her husband and everyone assumed it’d take them awhile to conceive.  Nope!  Happened right away.  My journey didn’t start until after she was pregnant, so of course I was thrilled for her.  I had my miscarriage when her son was just 6 weeks old, so his age has always been sort of a marker for how far behind we were getting.  At one point I thought we’d have kids born within a year of each other.  That became two years, which is now three.  His birthday is 2 days before my due date and he’ll be three years old.

Last summer my sister had told me that they were thinking of trying again in summer 2014 and I tensed with dread.  We were thick in the failure of multiple IUIs with no explanation to be found.  I realized I was staring down the very real possibility she would get pregnant with her 2nd before I could get pregnant with my first. I was filled with a rolling anxiety.  Of course I’d never wish fertility issues on my sister.  I was happy for her that pregnancy had come so easily for her.  But this was mixed with the heavy grief that I’d have to welcome a new niece or nephew while struggling so mightily.  I’d been through it with many babies outside the family, but not within my own immediate family.  The thought was enough to bring immediate tears to my eyes.

Thankfully, as you know, I got pregnant this past fall.  I’m 34 weeks now and staring down mere weeks until I am a mother myself.  So this dreaded family issue was solved for me quite nicely, for which I’m thankful.  My sister was visiting in April and mentioned SEVERAL times that she was finishing her pills and then they were going to try.  She kept mentioning this to me and I kept thinking what a mistake it was to announce to everyone you were going to start trying.  I knew it would make things so much worse if it happened to take her only a few months to get pregnant this time.  My SIL and I kind of chuckled about her fertile-naivety.  You can probably guess what happened next.  My sister stopped her birth control pills at the beginning of May.  She called me on Friday, May 30th and told me she was pregnant, she’d taken a test that morning.

This news went over much better since I am currently about to give birth to my own kid, of course.  But I have to admit, a part of me still stung with grief about the unfairness of it all. We’re so closely related, yet it was SO hard for me and SO easy for her.  I’d never wish her to follow in my path, but I have to say I did sort of secretly wish it would have taken her at least a few months.  Just so she could know what trying for multiple months was like and perhaps get a small window into what my life was like for over 2 years.  I’d never tell her this, of course.  I know she feels a bit of “fertile” guilt, being the only one in the family to be able to snap her fingers and make a baby.  I don’t want to make that worse, because it won’t solve anything.  She’s lucky!  She should revel in her good fortune to actually, you know, be able to control her births.  But obviously this has brought up some conflicting emotions for me.  However I’m mostly trying to concentrate on the awesome side of it all which is my baby will have a cousin within a year of her birth.  I’d spent so long watching my nieces and nephews get older and further away from the stage of life my kids will be, and it made me sad.  My first pregnancy I was so excited would be so close in age to my sister’s baby.  In some ways, it’s a comfort that I’m still getting that cousin-close-in-age, it’s just with each of our 2nd pregnancies.

I guess the take away here is that the wounds of infertility run deep.  Even though I’ve felt so healed and content during this pregnancy, there are still things that can remind me of my past pain.  And, I think this is obvious, I am SO grateful that I was hearing this news while big with child.  Pregnancy might not erase all wounds, but it sure as hell does help…


10 thoughts on “My Sister, the super fertile

  1. I know how you’re feeling…sort of. Thankfully there is a large age gap between me and my sisters (5 years to the middle one and 8 years to the youngest,) so there wasn’t the threat of them getting pregnant before us, but the entire time we were trying to conceive, I had this irrational fear that one of them would get pregnant accidently. Thankfully that didn’t happen.

    I am interested to see how I react when they start having kids. Due to the large age gap, I’m sure (well, I’m hoping,) we’ll be done building our family by that time, but I’m afraid that if they’re able to conceive easily that I will have feelings of jealousy. Of course I don’t want to wish infertility on either of them, but I can see myself getting angry/jealous/sad if they’re able to conceive on their first try.

    I’m so happy that your baby will have a cousin to grow up with. What a special bond they’ll have!

    • Yeah, it’s a weird mix. I’m happy for her that it comes so easily, because I’d never want her to struggle like I did. But it’s mixed with a twinge of jealousy too…she is older than me, just by 3 years though. I so hope you are done building your family by the time your sisters are having kids so that it can be all auntie joy :).

  2. I so know where you are coming from. My sister who’s a year older than me had her last child when she was 39. While we were trying for one my sister had two children in between. She’s got 4 kids now. My brother has 5. WTF? I am now 21 weeks pregnant now, but don’t take any day for granted. I wish you all the best 🙂

  3. It definitely helps. My situation with my siblings is pretty similar. My sister had my niece a few weeks before my first miscarriage. They are planning to start trying for #2 this summer (last she told me). She feels she can relate to my miscarriages because it took them four months of trying before she became pregnant with my niece. I don’t have the SIL who did IVF though, I have a SIL (and brother) who got pregnant with her first child their second month of trying. That niece is now two weeks younger than my daughter. I feel so lucky to have my daughter, but still feel a little sting when I think about my siblings having child #2 when I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to. Maybe I’m just greedy. Even if they both go on to have three or four (or six) kids though, the blow will always be at least a little softened by my daughter’s existence.
    It will be nice to have cousins close in age. Even three years isn’t a big deal when they’re a little older. I’m very excited for you & can’t wait to read about baby’s arrival!

    • You are so not greedy to think about #2. It can feel that way, when you know so many women are still aching for their #1, but everyone’s lives are different. And if you want 2 kids and feel uncertain about it happening, that’s a completely valid thing to fear. I hope it happens for you.

  4. It sounds very tough. I only have a brother who is older and got married way earlier than I did so it never bothered me when they tried for a baby. I was very happy for them (and for me when I became an aunt). My female cousins that I am semi-close with are usually not married or don’t have kids. So I don’t have that experience having a sister who is super fertile. I am so glad for you that you are expecting yours as well, but I can understand why it stings a bit that your sister didn’t ever have to wait. It just happens for her.

    • It’s a different experience than watching friends have babies, that’s for sure, it can sting a lot more. But also better because obviously I ADORE my nieces and nephews. It’s some more of that old familiar “happy for you, sad for me” line that becomes an infertile’s mantra at times…

  5. My husband and I have been TTC for 15 months now and my sister who is only 19 months older then me is 23 weeks pregnant with her 4th child. I love my niece and nephews, but man it hurts every time I see her growing belly!

    • Watching a pregnancy so closely can be SO hard. I always found it was easier once the actual baby was here. Hopefully you’ll be pregnant soon and the cousins will be nice and close in age :).

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