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

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Saturday and Sunday; or, Reversals of Fortune

Sometimes there's so much to say, I can't find the heart to sit down and write about it. Last weekend was that kind of weekend. We had dinner with friends on Saturday night in the neighborhood and then met for lunch with my BIL and SIL and nieces on Sunday at their country club.

I was dreading the family visit all weekend. My mother-in-law had called the day before and told me that she had lunch with J (the BIL) that Saturday and that he had asked if "there were any babies yet" for Sloper and LG. My MIL responded by telling him he needs to speak with us to learn about how things are going, and he said, "They didn't have another miscarriage, did they?" in a worried one of voice. Again she told him to talk to us about what's going on, but that we're "struggling."

My MIL brought this story to me like it was some amazing evidence of how deeply my BIL and SIL care about us. "See?" she said. "He's thinking about you. I know they want you to have kids."

Yeah, I kind of figured that already. Obviously they want their kids to have cousins, and LG and I are the only way they're getting any. And they're not evil. I know they don't wish us ill.

But hearing that he made what basically amounted to small-talk chit-chat at lunch about our problems (over a year later!) isn't evidence of some extreme compassion and sympathy. I'm not angry that she told me this, but it also doesn't change that I think their reaction to our situation has royally sucked. It doesn't change the fact that I think they are incapable of having real, human connection with us on this point, or that they don't put their own events, needs, and desires over our incredibly deep sorrow. As I said to my MIL, "I don't know what I'm supposed to do with this information." Go out of my way to inform them and make them comfortable with this? Um, no.

So I was not feeling super charitable about this lunch visit and was wondering why we were making the effort to head out to Suburblandia and see them. And yet, it was fine. I held the 8-month-old niece, who is very sweet and smiley, and I saw that she has the blue eyes neither of her parents do (eyes like mine) and managed only a twinge of sadness. Our three-year-old niece was sweet and funny and very cuddly once she got over some initial shyness. LG and his brother disappeared to another part of the club for a while (a sports bar, it turned out, where they could watch some football) and I thought that maybe J was going to bring up the last year and ask how things were going. But he didn't. And LG thought that maybe S (my SIL) was asking me how things have been. But she wasn't.

Still, for all my dread of these situations, I'm very good at getting in and getting out with minimal fuss and distress. And if I wasn't my usual bright and sparkly self, if I was a little more quiet and subdued than usual, I don't think it was extreme enough for anyone but me to notice.

So Sunday was alright, despite my worries. But Saturday...

We had dinner with, among others, our Queens friends and their one-year-old son. These are the friends whose son was born the day we had our first bad ultrasound with the m&m. They are the friends who miscarried their first pregnancy almost exactly two years before we did, then tried to conceive for over a year before finally hitting the jackpot with an IUI. We are very close to them, and while we don't talk about IF and loss frequently, there's a current of understanding that flows through all our interactions and helps make things comfortable.

I noticed at dinner that Queens Wife wasn't drinking, and my radar went up. But Queens Husband was, so I thought that perhaps they designated a "Sober Sister" (as it were) to watch their little boy and drive home.

But as we peeled off from the rest of our party and walked them to their car a few blocks away, they confirmed my suspicions. They were twelve-weeks pregnant, unexpectedly but quite happily. They were due in June, just like her first pregnancy and mine.

I didn't feel that sharp spike of jealousy in the gut the way I usually do. We hugged them both and asked some questions and told them how happy we were. And in that moment, I truly was. Something raw and pointy lay underneath that happiness, but I pushed it far down. Lawyer Guy and I left them at their car and walked home to our apartment, and the night was very crisp and clear, and we both talked of other things and knew we were thinking the same thing, and it felt good to be together, whatever the circumstances.

I didn't let myself think much more about our friends' pregnancy the rest of the weekend. And then Monday morning, Queens Husband texted LG. They just had their NT scan. The results were not good--the baby's skull didn't form right. They had to terminate.

We both cried for them and ordered a basket of food to be delivered to their house and texted and e-mailed and offered to help them with anything they needed. She had the procedure yesterday and tomorrow they leave for Thanksgiving in New England.

As much as I may have felt jealous and a little sad when they told me their pregnancy news, I am devastated that this is the result. It seems so unfair--that they've had to undergo two very different but equally traumatizing losses, and even their beautiful, hard-won son doesn't make up for that. I find myself wondering why this kind of suffering has to be concentrated on the same people over and over again. Why can't it be one miscarriage per customer, no exceptions, and no more than one for everybody? Why can't it be lost pregnancy or IF, never both? I know the world doesn't work that way, and I'm sure people with ordinary, loss-free fertility would be horrified to think I'm "wishing miscarriages" and problems on them. But wouldn't life be easier to navigate if we could all share this burden?

Like losing a parent--it happens at different (more or less tragic) times for different people, but if you live long enough, your parents will die. I think we have tremendous sympathy for those whose parents die because of this sense that it will be us facing the same thing one day. But reproductive troubles aren't like that, so they're easier to dismiss or ignore. It's horrible to wish they were more universal, and yet I do. Hey, I'm surviving them, so Ms. Fertile Franny can too.

I'm rambling now because there's no real ending point to this. Lost pregnancies suck. Infertility sucks. Lack of sympathy sucks. Having to trudge on when you just want to scream sucks.

This all sucks.


  1. oh my goodness, so much going on. First of all, I am so sad for your friend. i am not sure if you know my entire story but we terminated our baby boy at 15 weeks after a fatal diagnosis (started at NT scan but took a few weeks for an official diagnosis). I have nothing to compare that pain to. If you feel comfortable giving her this info, there is a website that was helpful to me. http://aheartbreakingchoice.com/
    I wish notobdy would ever have to go through that experience. you can also point her to my blog.
    Sorry to hear that your relationship with your BIL and SIL is so complex, it sounds a lot like my brother and SIL with us. They sometimes will talk to my parents about us, but never ask us anything (and said nothing when we lost the baby). It is hard to be around them and their 2 year old daughter.
    thinking of you...

  2. The first part of your entry was very timely. I just talked about how our friends and family can you silence and avoidance when dealing with our infertility, and how irritating it is to us.

    As for your friend, I feel so sad for her and anyone who experience a m/c. In this case, it's worst almost, b/c termination require your consent, which cannot possible something you want to do deep down regardless of the issues at hand. I feel terrible for anyone who has to make such a decision.

    It also took me back to the early part of our TTC journey. A close friend of mine got pregnant really easily. I was so jealous, but of course at the same time happy for her. Well, at around 5 months along, they had to terminate (a few days before xmas). I felt so sad for her and guilty for ever being jealous.

    If only you were right -- one sad/trying event per customer.

  3. I am so incredibly sorry to hear about your friends' loss. :-( That's heartbreaking, I cannot imagine having to terminate. It's just so horrible and so horribly unfair. It sounds like you and LG are being very supportive and there for them during this time, I'm glad that they have such caring friends like you.

    Your BIL and SIL situation, ugh, it just sucks. It's just like my SIL/BIL, they say they care, but when it comes down to it, they have never come through for us or made any attempt to put our heartache ahead of them. They've never asked what would make things easier for us, they just do what's more comfortable for them which is avoid the situation as much as possible.

  4. I am incredibly sad for your friend. But glad that she has you to send her food and offer her continuous support. It's going be a long, sad road for them, and I know you'll be there. And being there for them may also be good for you-- hey, another 'benefit' of spreading the misery around (picture extreme, wry irony here).

    I don't wish the pain was spread around-- I am glad that most are spared. But I DO wish that those spared the pain would appreciate it more. Eric and I went to a new parent class last night, taught by a therapist, and she told us to "appreciate this blessing, as there are a LOT of people who would love to be in our situation, expecting a baby." I kind of loved that she threw in that acknowledgement, but I hated that she needed to say something like that at all-- and I believe it is true that most people welcome a child with some ambivalence, since they don't know the pain of the alternative.

  5. Oh Slopie, what a tough weekend! I feel horrible for your friends and hope they can get through this tough time with the support of friends like you and LG.

    I give you so much credit for handling your in-law situation so well! For the most part, we've kept our infertility story to ourselves so I'm not sure what to expect this weekend while visiting family. I'm guessing I'll get some questions from my SIL who knows about my previous miscarriage. I always dread those questions regardless how well-meaning they are. I know she asks because she cares, but tries not to want to pry too much. Sometimes I wish she would pry a little more, because then I wouldn't feel like she just asks because she feels like she should.

    You're getting close to test day, aren't you - this weekend? I think I'm about a week behind you. I'm really hoping this is our cycle:)

  6. Gah. That's a rotten turn and there's nothing more gut wrenching than getting a glimmer of envy only to have it met with such horrid news. I'm sorry, Sloper. You are absolutely right that this bad news seems to cling to those with so much struggle already and it's so unfair. The fertility fairy has been cruel beyond belief.

    On that MIL front, screw her. I find people's interest in fertility issues disingenuous in cases like this. It's more to explain why you guys aren't keeping up with the normal way of things. The answer is that you are giving it your all. Giving it everything you've got and even more than that, and that's all she needs to know. That and it hurts and shut her yapper about it to other people. Take care, enjoy the turkey and company, and hopefully the turkey isn't your company.

  7. i'm so disappointed in bil and sil. they each had you guys alone, and NOTHING?? not even a "how are you guys doing?" prod? dayam. some ppl are just emotionally stunted and flat out retarded. i'm just glad you got through the day and it's over!

    i am sooo sad for your friends. to say that what happens sounds traumatic is an understatement. i'm 200% in agreement with you that this pain has to be spread out. it should either be trouble getting pregnant or RPL and not both. and regarding the first, no one should have to do much than pop a pill to get pregnant. and regarding the latter, no one should have more than one miscarriage. even one sounds way to painful, but i guess since this is fantasyland and we're spreading the pain to fertiles, it makes it sound not as bad?? not really.

    ugh. sending you big fat hugs all around :o)

  8. So sorry for your friends. They are lucky to have you as a support system.
    The BIL/SIL situation is hard. There's never easy answers when it comes to family..Hugs to you.

  9. I think the idea of sharing the wealth, as it were, is brilliant. We're living with a seriously capitalist distribution of conception troubles at the moment, and I think a little socialism is just what the doctor ordered. I'm so sorry your IL's aren't stepping up; that's totally lame. Hugs to you.

  10. Oh, I'm so sorry for your friends.

    I completely feel ya. Sometimes I can't help but wish this IF and miscarriage crap was more universal--less stigmatized.

    Your BIL/SIL sound a lot like most of my family. They're not mean or bad people. They just don't know how to talk about this stuff...so they don't. It's lonely and kind of heartbreaking.

  11. I'm so so sorry about your friends. And I've often wondered why it is that infertility and miscarriage go hand in hand too often. So damn unfair. The in law situation sounds frustrating. Especially the part about each of them being alone with one of you and not even making a gentle inquiry. Maddening.

  12. This post was really heartbreaking and made me tear up. It really is all so f-ing unfair. And your BIL and SIL totally and completely suck. (So does MIL.) Ah, Slopie. I am hoping so incredibly hard that your miracle finale to this purgatory is just a couple of days away. xoxo

  13. Oh, Sloper, how this post struck such a chord w/me today. I teared up about your friends bc I, too, felt that way when my high school friend got pregnant earlier this summer only to suffer another miscarriage, her third, at 8 weeks. I wept for her, too, and told our mutual friend between sobs how deeply emotional this is and why, why is this happening to us? It's not fair. And it sucks. And not once have I enjoyed this infertile journey. I wish I never had to go through it no matter if it's made me stronger or not. Thank you for this post. It's what I felt, too, but haven't written down. Xoxo

  14. I'm so sorry for your friends. What a terrible decision to have to make. That was so sweet and wonderful of you and LG to send them food and reach out to them. And I agree with you completely on the unfairness of this striking the same people again and again. I agree so, so much.

  15. I am so sorry to hear about your frienspds loss. Making the decision to terminate would not be easy. My heart breaks for them. You and LG are wonderful friends to reach out in their time of need. This world needs more people like you

    I am also very sorry for you SIL and BIL lack of compassion and understanding. If they could only make that small effort to reach out to you both maybe they could begin to understand the pain and heartbreak. How dare they open themselves to the shitty world of IF and loss, the horror.

    Big hugs, Sloper.

  16. I found your blog through misfits blog.
    I am in the RPL boat too :(

  17. Oh no. I'm so very sorry to hear about your friends' loss. How heartbreaking.