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…