A blog about babies: the babies I lost, the babies I never had, the baby who made me a Mama.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Are You Feeling Lucky?; or, Always Something There to Remind Us

My dinner with Clueless Preggo was really kind of swell (I'm on a Mad Men bender now that the new season has begun, so expect lots of "gangbusters" and "donneybrooks" peppered throughout my posts for the next 12 weeks). She loved the gifts, particularly the cotton sweater. We talked about a lot of things other than babies, though I asked a few of the obligatory questions and listened to a few of the obligatory stories. And she asked at the end of the evening how we were doing with our efforts, to which I said something evasive and vague about enjoying the summer. But mostly we talked about work and school, her new apartment, things going on the city, tv shows, and gossip about friends-- the usual New York chit chat. (With more on gossip about friends to come).

Since then, however, I've been thinking about luck: who's got it, how we find it, where we see it, how we define it.

I blog a lot about how lucky I am. It's mostly to remind myself to feel lucky, even though making a baby has not turned out as I thought it would. It's also because I know my life is really good, no matter how depressed I get at times, and I want to treasure all the beautiful blessings that have been given to me.

For Clueless Preggo, I think I'm a walking, talking, occasionally-bleeding-out-a-baby reminder of her own luckiness. And this is because I suspect she's been feeling rather unlucky generally in this pregnancy. She didn't belabor this, but in explaining why she decided to find out the gender (girl) of her baby, she said that she "thought it would help her bond" after "being so sick and unhappy at first" and "not wanting to be pregnant." She of course immediately retracted the last statement when she became aware of her audience ("It's not that I wanted the pregnancy to end, of course not, etc. etc.). But I get the impression that with working until midnight many nights a week and being really ill she was feeling pretty sorry for herself for a while. Which, you know, may be valid and understandable, but I don't have a lot of sympathy for it and I won't cluck and hover and give ah-babies to someone who gets to have a baby right as soon as she decided she wanted one.

So yeah. I get to be a great big blinking reminder of "Be Happy That You're Pregnant!" just by sitting down for dinner.

But I'm not immune to the reminders, myself. At the end of dinner, Clueless told me a little about a mutual friend of ours, a former sorority sister of mine who wound up going to business school with Clueless and becoming her very close friend. Sorority Sister was married a year ago to a very kind, smart man (who happens to have gone to high school with my best friend, Doctor Lady. Just another day in the urban Northeast, I suppose).

Clueless told me that Sorority Sister and her husband learned a few weeks ago that he has an incredibly rare type of lymphoma. He's thirty years old. They're going to have to freeze his sperm before he starts treatments so they can hope to have children one day. There's a 70%-80% chance of remission after five years. Which is better than they feared, but still.

Clueless told me not to be prurient and gossipy, but to ask for my thoughts and prayers for this couple. I was completely gobsmacked at this news. I can't believe that this is happening to one of my peers, to someone in the same place in life that I am. Lawyer Guy and I held each other extra hard that night, reminded of how incredibly lucky we are to have each other right now, no matter what comes in the future.

It's not nice to be the indicator of someone else's good luck, so I'm not going to contact Sorority Sister and say anything. She didn't tell me this news, and she and I haven't spoken since Clueless's Christmas party last year, so I just don't think it would be appropriate (though I'm open to hearing otherwise). But I will be praying for them and thinking of them and hoping that they can leave this episode in their lives behind as quickly as possible. They're a wonderful couple who I can tell truly love one another, so I'm sure that even in this they've managed to find the joy and luck in being together. But I hope that they have even more to celebrate soon.

Among the gifts I gave Clueless was an elissa hudson Etsy print that I had framed. AMB linked to these prints at her blog a few weeks ago, and I loved them just as much as she does and quickly picked the one for me. A family of giraffes--Big, Medium, and Little--and right below them the statement "Lucky Little Family."

I didn't get that one for Clueless, lucky though I think she is (I gave her the penguins in pink). I'm saving the giraffes for myself. I'm saving it for the kind of luck you get after misfortune, which is maybe (if you make it there) the luckiest luck of all.


  1. Thanks for sharing those prints! A. Dorable. I think you're right not to contact Sorority Sister--at least, not without the go-ahead from Clueless. What devastating news, though. So sad. I hope everything goes in the direction of healing and wholeness.

  2. Oh, my gosh. I am thinking of your friends.

    I had an eerily similar experience on Saturday morning. A dear friend from high school was in town to celebrate her engagement with her girlfriends. Over brunch, she shared with us that her fiance had lymphoma at age 22 and that he'd frozen sperm before treatment to ensure he could (hopefully) have children someday. He is fully recovered, thank the lord, but they are already undergoing testing and doing sperm analyses, etc. 1) This story made me realize health is NEVER something to take for granted. Never ever ever. 2) I was so impressed by my friend's honesty and frankness. She was an open book to all of her friends--so truthful about how desperately she wants kids (even tho she JUST got engaged!) and how seriously they are taking this getting knocked up endeavor, so they can begin building a family as soon as they say "I do." It was an eye-opening experience.

    Your post is a really poignant reminder of how lucky we are, even when we feel totally the opposite in the baby-making dept. xo

  3. I'm so sorry to hear about your friends. I always assumed I'd been dealt the IF card because I was so lucky in all other aspects of mine life. The mantra, SOMETHING's gotta go wrong, if that makes sense. You are such a dear friend to Clueless and those prints are darling.

    I agree to wait until your sorority sister contacts you to share the news before contacting her.

  4. Yes, you are lucky (to have LG and to be studying something you love and to live where you love, etc)-- and I know you will be lucky in the baby department soon as well. I was interested in your take on how it feels to be the reminder-of-luck. Was there no positive feeling associated with being able to remind clueless that she IS lucky to be pregnant (but working till MIDNIGHT- sheesh)? I had a student who became quadriplegic after a fall from his bicycle about half way through the course, and it made me so so so guilty for having ever complained about anything at all... it was like this incredible gift that he gave everyone who knew him tangentially, this feeling of incredible luck. But I am sure he is not at all happy to be the bearer of such a gift. But after all, you are NOT infertile and you will be having a child that you will treasure more than anything, so to be the luck-reminder-bearer, well, maybe that isn't such a bad role to play in clueless' life, in the meantime as you wait for your baby (who is coming soon!)

  5. What a beautiful print! It will look perfect in your nursery. (Which, I hope you get to start setting up soon.) I'm so sorry about your friends. Stories like that make me so sad, but they also remind me how truly lucky I am to have a wonderful husband by my side and that we are both otherwise healthy people. I'll be thinking of your friends and hoping for the best possible outcome.

  6. "I always assumed I'd been dealt the IF card because I was so lucky in all other aspects of mine life. The mantra, SOMETHING's gotta go wrong, if that makes sense."

    I have often thought the same thing, AplusB.

  7. I'm so sorry about your friends. Those things remind me that although I may not have a baby, I'm so thankful to have my health.

    Very sweet print.

  8. I love the print, hon. It's perfect. I am so sorry to hear about your friend.

  9. I love the giraffes and applaud the fact that you are keeping that one for yourself. I'm also glad the dinner with your friend went well though, yeah, I'd have a freeze response to how tough her pregnancy was at the start, yadda yadda.

    I'm so sorry about your other friends. But glad we live in a time and age where he can freeze his swimmers and they can STILL go on to have the family they want after his treatments are done. I know it's a tiny silver lining, but still glad that those tiny linings exist.

  10. that was a great reminder to remember to focus on all the good luck you have going on in your life when you're so focused on the one bad luck right in front of your face.

    I am so sorry to hear about your friend, the thought of having to face that with my DH would scare me. He is my rock and without him I know life would be a lot rougher!

  11. I hope the best for your friends. Their story definitely is a reminder of how much we really have.

    That's a great little print, too. I actually just brought a little framed print for my hopeful future baby's room. It's the only thing I've ever bought for a dream that's not yet realized. But I saw it and knew I would regret not buying it if things actually DO turn out the way I'd like.

    Gotta have hope...