No posts for a month, then ya’ll get two posts in one day. I’m nothing if not unpredictable.
I just needed to share this snapshot of my life with you guys. It pretty much sums up why I have stopped talking to friends and family about my infertility struggles. I used to talk to a lot of people about my trouble falling pregnant. By a lot of people I mean maybe a dozen – a few people at work, some close friends, and lots of people within my family. But those who I confided in kept reacting in ways that I hadn’t hoped, or anticipated that they would react. They kept coming out with the wackiest crap…
“Maybe this is God’s way of telling you that you shouldn’t have children.”
“Mother nature wants you to be a career woman.”
“If you were supposed to be a mother it wouldn’t be this hard for you.”
“Why do you need a child? Dogs are so much better anyway.”
“You want kids so bad? Ugh take mine, they’re driving me crazy today.”
“It’ll happen if you relax. Just relax. I said just relax. Are you relaxing?”
“But your husband has red hair. What if you go to all this trouble and end up with a ginger baby?”
I’m sure you get the picture. In general, people suck. So I’ve stopped confiding in them. Now if they ask me how I’m going with “you know, the whole IVF thing” I just say fine thank you and change the topic of conversation.
Thankfully I get great ongoing support from my husband and my mother when I need it. My brother Alex has moved home to Melbourne and is living with us temporarily while he finds his own place, so he’s around as well if I need help. He makes me laugh like no one else can so he always lightens my dark moods. I also have a cousin, Phoebe, who I see and speak to regularly. She is supportive without being pushy and often comes to my appointments with me if my husband can’t make it. With the four of them in my life (and the virtual support I receive on wordpress!) I don’t really need anyone else.
But tonight I received a phone call from an old friend. We used to be really close and tell each other everything – we spoke every single day. I leaned on her for support during my first cycle of IVF, but she doesn’t want children so she could never really relate to my struggles and we drifted apart. Now we talk maybe once or twice a fortnight, usually via text message, and only exchange superficial pleasantries. I haven’t actually seen her for a few months. But tonight when she phoned, I just felt like I really needed someone to talk to who wasn’t already in my inner sanctum.
“Hi,” she said when I picked up the phone. “How’s your day been today?”
“So shit.” I said sadly.
“Me too.” she groaned. “Why was your day shit?”
I took a deep breath and decided to just tell the truth.
“I had two embryos transferred recently. I tested positive on two pregnancy tests yesterday but this morning the tests weren’t great. I think this is another chemical pregnancy.” There was silence on the phone so I translated my last words into laymen’s. “An early miscarriage.”
Again, there was silence on the other end of the line.
“That sucks.” she finally said, then without taking a breath she continued. “My day sucked because I had to go to the doctor today.”
“Oh no!” I gasped, immediately trying to push my own problems aside. “Are you ok?”
All types of awful scenarios flashed through my mind. Was it serious? Did she have cancer? A sexually transmitted illness? Diabetes?
My friend sighed heavily and I could almost hear her rolling her eyes through the phone.
“Lately my tongue has been really white,” she said. “And I heard that means something is wrong in your body. So I went and saw the doctor but he just told me I’m a hypochondriac. Can you believe it?”
Then it was my turn to be silent. I mean….wait…what? I’d just told her I was most likely having another early miscarriage and she was more interested in talking about the colour of her tongue? The colour…of her tongue? Could I believe it? Actually no, I couldn’t. Who did she think she was? Miley Cyrus?
“Why don’t you just drink more water?” I said flatly. “Maybe you’re dehydrated.”
“You think?” she asked, suddenly perking up. “How much do you drink each day?”
“At least two litres.” I replied. “Normally two and a half litres, but that’s because I’m doing IVF.”
Once again, she completely glossed over my words and ignored the fact I’d mentioned fertility treatment.
“Shit that’s a lot of water!” she said. “I don’t drink anywhere near that much. Ugh I just hate stupid doctors so much! I’m glad I don’t have to go see doctors. You know what I mean?”
No, I don’t know what you mean. I go see doctors all the friggen time. I’m doing IVF. Remember? REMEMBER?
No matter how far I travel in my infertility journey I am always surprised by the insensitivity of others. I do understand that it’s hard for those who are uninformed. I know that sometimes they don’t know what to say, they can’t relate to me, they don’t know how to make me feel better. But sometimes a simple “I’m sorry this is happening to you” goes a long way to making me feel less isolated.
Towards the end of our conversation she suddenly brought up pregnancy again.
“It’ll be great when you’re pregnant.” she said flippantly.
“I’m pregnant now.” I responded through gritted teeth.
“Yeah but I mean when you don’t lose the baby.” she replied as if she hadn’t said something offensive. “Like, when you’re showing.”
“Why?” I asked, unsure where the conversation was headed.
“Some pregnant chicks look fat but I reckon you’ll look ok.” was the only explanation she offered.
After that, I ended the phone call pretty quickly.
I had to laugh about it, otherwise I would have cried. I have enough stress and negative energy buzzing around my body at the moment, without adding shitty friends to the equation. I’ve had blinding menstrual cramps all day to add to the stress of the fading positives on my pregnancy tests, I’ve had a killer headache since lunch time but obviously couldn’t take any medication, I’m being bombarded with photos of my sister-in-law’s new baby and I have to be at work at 6.45am tomorrow for a work meeting I do not want to attend. Life is hard enough!
Thank goodness for peanut butter ice cream. That’s all I can say!
P.s next post will definitely be about the mother-in-law. Promise!