Just want to document a few conversations, thoughts, and feelings I have had in the last few weeks.
Remember my infertile pregnant friend? She continues to be pregnant (which is a good thing) and send me messages. I have opened up a little more and have asked her more about how she’s doing. I want to be a better friend and am frankly getting better with responding to her.
A couple of weeks ago, she was telling me that she was feeling very tired. I commented how this pregnancy has not been nice to her. She said that everything has been fine and she is supposed to feel this way at this stage. Then she went on to tell me the details of how many days of pregnancy she has left and how she’d miss her baby’s kicks because they are really strange but amazing and entertaining.
I don’t know about you. I am okay with engaging in a conversation about facts of the pregnancy but… how amazing and entertaining her child’s kicks are? Not the visual I would want.
She went on to ask me to let her know if I wanted recommendations to any REs at the Big University Clinic that she works at. Yup. She works with REs. I should appreciate her thoughts. But I don’t. She wants to help but she doesn’t know that she’s not helping. I have already told her that I have gone to see one of the REs there and I have decided against going there. I know more about the lab of that clinic than she does, I’m sure. I told her, “I’ve done enough research in the last two years; More than i would like to.”
And guess what she asked me next? She wants to do gender selection the next time when she tries for number two. Yup. She’s already thinking about doing gender selection while she is still pregnant with her first baby. She asked me how one would go about doing that. She said they would want a boy next time since she’s carrying a girl. What? Okay. I am not too okay with that question coming from someone who is still pregnant with her first girl to someone who is still struggling to have her first child. I know that doing IVF for gender selection is a very personal choice. I will not judge her for that. BUT, talking to ME and asking ME how she should do that? I guess she doesn’t know that it’s very tough for me to empathize with her at this moment because I myself would just die for A BABY. I am not thinking about if I could have a boy or girl. I just want a healthy take home baby. And yet, she asked ME how one goes about doing IVF for gender selection. She is assuming that all will go well and she will have enough embryos in the pool and they’ll be healthy and normal with both male and female. I know she has tried to get pregnant for four years so she did struggle. But still. I was shocked by that question and the assumption that she makes. At the same time, I am envious of the naivete that comes across. The happiness of being a pregnant lady. The innocence of thinking that IVF will give her what she wants without any problems.
At the end of the conversation, she said, “I just hope that you don’t need to go down to Southern California (for another clinic). As long as you are producing eggs, the process will remain hopeful for you.” Yes infertile pregnant friend. I remain hopeful too.
The next day, she asked me a question that I had dreaded the most. She asked if we wanted to get together with her and her hubby during the break. I have been hoping that she wouldn’t ask that question. I have not seen her since she got pregnant. There are people that I feel fine hanging out with. Somehow it’s been tough to bring myself to see her. I feel guilty for not being a good friend but she really has rubbed me the wrong way with her insensitive remarks that I just want to avoid her. I didn’t respond to her immediately. I just wanted to think through it. Eventually, I decided not to come clean and just said to play it by ear because Bob has to work and we were still trying to figure out a trip out of town. We left it at that. I know I am not being a very good friend that shows grace. I just don’t feel ready to see her and her belly.
The next day, she asked me a bunch of questions about the names of some famous Chinese women. She said she was trying to come up with the Chinese names for her baby girl. Oh boy. I think I had enough on that day. I DO NOT want to be a part of her baby naming process. So I chose to respond some and then kept my mouth shut.
I think I need a break from her.
I want to talk about a friend of mine. I’ll call her Anna. We’ve been friends for a few years and I know that she’s been trying for a baby for over four years. She is one of those few people in real life with whom I share my story. You know the sense of camaraderie when you’re struggling with the same thing. She is a couple of years younger than I am. Her hormones all checked out. Her husband’s SA was fine. She was diagnosed with unexplained infertility. Periodically we would get together for dinner to chat and update each other on our lives. Bob and I also see her and her husband at church on a regular basis. I know that she had tried one IUI which didn’t result in a baby. They are in the no IVF camp and IUI is the extent they would go as far as fertility treatments go. Right before getting together with her last Friday, I asked Bob how he would feel if Anna announced her pregnancy to me during dinner. He said he would congratulate them and feel happy for them. I don’t know how sincere we both were when we talked about it. I mean, it did cross my mind that she could be pregnant but I was also not really prepared for her pregnancy news since it hadn’t happened in the past four plus years.
Came Friday dinner. Anna asked us why we suddenly decided to go away for a few days. So I explained to her what had happened in the last month with the IUi cycle that was converted from the IVF and the Christmas cycle that is never meant to be due to the cyst. After my long explanation, I asked her, “How are you guys doing?” This question was actually loaded. She knew what I meant. She suddenly had this half smile on her face and answered with this drawn out “Gooooood”. In that moment, I knew. And then I scolded myself for being stupid and not really preparing my heart for it. I should’ve prayed for my heart to be open to whatever answer that would come out from her mouth. But I didn’t. I depended on myself. Then I experienced this sudden sharp heartache that lasted for more than a few moments. I found myself asking her, “Is this what I am thinking it is?” She nodded. She was six weeks along. Very early. I am the first person she’d told other than her parents. You know the mixed emotions of feeling very happy for someone that their long wait is finally over but at the same time feeling sorry for yourself that it wasn’t you who could make such an announcement? I know she had been dreading telling me and wanted to see if I had good news to share before she segued into her good news. My heart kept on tugging while I asked her the details about how she found out. Her second IUI worked. She did not expect it to work. There was only one follicle and her husband’s sperm count was 4.5 million, which was way lower than the 300 million that he had the first time (even more than the Angry Birds Bob had!). She went in with zero expectations and was already thinking about trying injections for her next IUI. Here she is. Pregnant at 6 weeks. It really only takes one.
I recovered quickly from her news and we went onto have a normal conversation for the rest of the dinner. I even managed to ask her about her symptoms and the other details. Bob, on the other hand, was not doing as well. He responded with “Good for them” and left it at that. I know he’s hurting that we don’t have the same good news to share. It doesn’t really matter if they have struggled like we did. It still stings to be the one left behind. I hope that one day we will be totally free of negative emotions and be able to rejoice with friends who share good news with us, regardless of how long they have been trying. But we’re not there yet.
Bob’s Second Cousin had a housewarming party on Saturday. I just didn’t feel like attending this time. It’s more about not wanting to mingle with people that I don’t know than not wanting to hang out with her and her baby. Bob went while I finished sending out our Christmas cards and decorating the tree. I was perfectly content to just have a peaceful night without trying to smile and listen to some strangers’ conversation. Bob came home late that night and told me that he had left his nice down jacket at Second Cousin’s house, some 45 minutes away. So we had to go back there on Sunday to pick up the jacket. Of course we couldn’t just go but to sit and have some coffee and biscuits before we parted ways. No escaping seeing Second Cousin and her baby. The baby continues to be very cute. He woke up from a nap. When I clapped my hands together to get his attention, he beamed with a big smile, extended his arms, and leaned forward to come to me. So I held him for quite some time while he placed his head on my shoulder. He was a good snuggler. Well, then his mom went on to talk about all the gruesome details of her birth and the few days after her birth. To my surprise, I was not that bothered by the details and wasn’t thinking that, well, at least you got a take home baby out of it. This is a huge improvement for me. I was genuinely feeling sorry that she had such a bad experience with the hospital and the doctor at a time when she was supposed to be joyful with her new baby.