First of all I have to apologise for not updating my blog for the past few days, I was struck down with the flu (again!) and haven’t had the energy to log on. But I’m here now and I do have a story to tell.
I do want to sincerely thank the lovely people who commented on my last blog post. I didn’t get a chance to respond to you each individually at the wedding, but just seeing your messages come through during the evening helped me to endure. I wouldn’t have made it through without you guys.
I’m still in a bit of shock at what I witnessed, actually. I suppose I should give you all a bit of context…
On Sunday we attended the wedding of my husband’s best friend from high school, a lovely guy named Josh. The boys still play football together so they see each other regularly. We socialise with Josh and his [now] wife Diana occasionally, and I see her perhaps four or five times a year.
To be honest I’m not head over heels for Diana and I know Doug doesn’t really like her either. She’d told me several months ago that she’d been offered a promotion at work, but turned it down because there was no point climbing the corporate ladder when straight after the wedding she was going to get pregnant and leave work to raise her family. That kind of shit makes me bitter and turns me off people. I hate people who are so confident about their ability to conceive. Don’t rub your fertility in my face and then expect me to want to come round to your place for dinner.
Needless to say, I wasn’t exactly looking forward to the wedding. In fact, I spent most of Sunday morning sulking because I really didn’t want to go and not just because of the gloating future pregnancy thing. I mean seriously, what kind of people get married on a Sunday? They were going to have an open bar but anyone who indulged would have a hangover at work the next day. What a waste! Plus, the wedding venue was a two hour drive so it meant even if we left straight after speeches we wouldn’t get home until after midnight. Not to mention Doug was going to know almost everyone at the wedding, including all the grooms family, whereas I would know virtually no one. Given the fact I was suffering from terrible menstrual cramps and was still upset about our recent round of treatment being unsuccessful, I wasn’t in the mood to make nauseating small talk with strangers.
When we first arrived, before the ceremony even started, Doug went straight up to one of his footy mates, Lucas, to say hello. I’ve met Lucas several times before, but had never met his wife Sandy. She was standing next to him sipping a glass of champagne and at first she seemed nice enough. We chatted mindlessly for a while and she told me about a wine tasting she’d attended the week before.
As we all made our way through to the area that had been set up for the ceremony to take place, we noticed there were very few seats. It was a very casual garden wedding and majority of guests were meant to stand for the duration of the short ceremony. Lucas immediately took one of the seats, telling me that he was allowed to sit down because he had pregnancy fatigue. I laughed because I thought he was poking fun at the fact he was overweight.
After the ceremony, we moved to the reception area and ordered more drinks. I’m off caffeine and alcohol (because I’m sadistically dedicated to my IVF regime) so I ordered a lemonade. Sandy had another champagne, and then scoffed down some raw salmon sushi that the waiters were bringing around. After a while Sandy turned to me and asked if I could hold her glass of champagne because she had to duck off to the restroom. Of course I obliged.
“Poor thing,” Lucas said. “She’s always running off to the toilet now. She’d best get used to it. Six more months of this to go!”
I frowned at him but said nothing. I still couldn’t really understand what he was talking about, and if he was trying to make a joke I clearly didn’t share his sense of humour. Later on, as we were making our way to our table, I pulled Doug aside.
“Is Sandy…..pregnant?” I asked.
“Yeah she’s just gone 12 weeks.” he replied. “Lucas told us at footy practice last week. Are you okay? You know she’s sitting next to us at the table? I’m sorry I had no idea.”
Completely disregarding the fact that I was going to have to endure sitting next to a pregnant lady all night (I know…what are the chances…) I started to become seriously upset.
“Do you not see her?” I hissed at Doug. “Do you not see her drinking alcohol?”
“Surely it’s non-alcoholic cider?” he asked.
I love my husband, I really do, but naivety is rarely a character strength.
“Of course it isn’t!” I rolled my eyes. “They aren’t serving non-alcoholic cider. Why do you think I’m drinking lemonade?”
Doug’s eyes went wide as he realised the obvious truth. We were going to have to sit next to a pregnant lady all night, and we were going to have to watch her down champers. Excellent.
After sitting at the table for half an hour and listening to her go on and on about how terrible it was to be pregnant, and how she was so tired all the time, and how awful it was that she couldn’t drink as much as she wanted, I finally had enough. That’s when I ran off to the bathroom and posted my last update.
I wanted to scream at her “What do you mean you can’t drink as much alcohol as you want?! You should be upset because you can’t drink ANY alcohol anymore. NONE.” I wanted to smack her in the face for being so selfish. I wanted to tell her she was being a total dickhead, tell her she was extremely lucky to be pregnant and that she should stop complaining. I wanted to confess that I would kill to be in her place, and never take a pregnancy for granted like she was. Instead, I ran away to the bathroom and cried. That’s mostly the same thing, right?
I’m going to admit now that the drinking wasn’t as bad as I made it out to be in my last post, although I don’t know why I feel the need to defend this woman. I did mention that she was sitting at our table getting drunk, but I was a bit emotional at the time and perhaps exaggerated. Over the course of the evening she consumed four glasses of champagne. Hardly enough to get her blind drunk. But four glasses of champagne is four glasses too many WHEN YOU ARE PREGNANT. I can’t make any excuses for her there.
After finally making it through dinner and speeches, everyone was given some time to mingle between tables while the cake was being cut and served to guests. Everyone at our table got up and hit the dance floor, but I felt unwell so I stayed behind. Doug did his husbandly duty and stayed with me, even though I knew he really wanted to go and have fun with his mates.
It was at that moment that the mother of the bride approached us. Can I just say, I’ve met Diana’s mother once – Josh and Diana were hosting an Australia Day BBQ at their place 9 months ago, and her mother came over to drop off her dog. Diana’s mother has a toy poodle, the same as us, so we’d chatted for a while about the similarity between our two dogs. She seemed like a lovely lady, if not a bit overbearing. I’d seriously spoken to her once in my entire life.
“Hello my dear girl Sadie!” she cried out dramatically, embracing me tightly. “How are you feeling?”
“I’m good, how are you?” I lied, trying to untangle myself from her. “It’s been a beautiful wedding and Diana looks stunning.”
“Yes it’s a beautiful wedding.” she agreed quickly. “But I really want to know how your IVF is going.”
I’m sorry…………………what? No, really? I mean, excuse me? You just said what now?
“We’ve actually just failed another cycle.” Doug said, jumping in to save me. “It’s a hard time for us at the moment.”
I just stood there, with my mouth hanging open, like a stunned mullet (how’s that for an Australian colloquialism!). I didn’t even know how to react to this woman, who I had met on ONE PRIOR OCCASION, asking me how my extremely personal battle with infertility was going. I’d specifically asked Doug not to tell Josh about IVF, because I hate being put into these exact situations. I don’t like the added pressure that comes with people constantly asking how our treatment is going, especially strangers!
“You know I hear there’s a clinic in Sydney that does testing on the embryos before they put them in your uterus to make sure they have no genetic problems.” said the mother of the bride. “Maybe you should fly to Sydney for treatment?”
“All clinics offer that service.” I said sharply, trying not to come across as too rude.
But seriously, now she was offering me advice? She didn’t even know what she was talking about. If it wasn’t her daughter’s wedding day I’d have said something a lot harsher.
“I know a naturopath in the northern suburbs who gets a lot of girls pregnant.” she persisted. “Do you want me to give you his phone number?”
“Actually,” Doug said quickly, before I could open my mouth again and say something I’d probably live to regret. “Sadie has blocked fallopian tubes, among other problems, so a naturopath isn’t really going to help us. Thank you for the suggestion though.”
“Well I’ll pray for you” she said, reaching out to pull me into another tight embrace.
That one actually annoyed me the most. Doug and I are both atheists, but we have absolutely no problem with religion and firmly think others should believe whatever they want to believe. But somehow, this woman had invaded my personal space on both a physical and mental level, offered me ridiculous advice without prompting, and then told me she would pray for me. I didn’t want anyone praying for me, especially when I hadn’t asked them to help me in any capacity. This is someone who I would never in a million years have confided in. She had no right to know about my infertility, let alone tell God about it. I felt violated.
After she finally walked away, it took Doug and I a considerable amount of time to figure out how Diana’s mother had come to know about our fertility treatment. We have since pieced it all together. Doug had confided in his best friend Ben. Ben and Josh play football together and live nearby to each other so they catch up regularly. Ben would have let it slip to Josh, who then went home and told Diana. Diana is the biggest gossip around, so she’d obviously told her family and possibly everyone else at the wedding.
Suddenly I felt very self conscious, and couldn’t shake the feeling that everyone was staring at me. Was I the freaky IVF girl? Did everyone know my secret?
After a tiring and upsetting wedding, we drove the long two hours home and crawled into bed at just past 1am. I was exhausted and just wanted to hide from the world.
When my alarm went off a few short hours later and I dragged myself out of bed to get ready for the start of another arduous work week, I felt like a blanket of pain had been thrown over my body. Sore throat, headache, blocked nose, aching muscles, burning eyes. The dreaded flu was back. How unlucky can one girl be?!
Thankfully I’m on the mend now. I’m glad tomorrow is Friday. I’m going to try to take it easy on the weekend so I can be healthy again before our trip to Adelaide on Wednesday. Touch wood nothing else goes wrong for me between now and then!