Patience, reflection and time – Part 1

I needed over a week to process what happened and then write about it. I honestly didn’t know what to write because I couldn’t process how I felt. Every time I tried my heart felt empty and cold, my throat tight. Today’s story required patience, reflection and time. I’ll start at the beginning.

My friend M is a wonderful person. She has the kind of soul that shines bright before her. Have you ever fallen in love with a girlfriend? Someone you meet and are transported back to childhood days where you immediately want to come up to them and invite them on your side of the monkey bars and give them the other half of your grape popsicle? We became good friends. Several years ago, I confided my problems with trying to conceive, my worries, my fears. She is one of the few people IRL I felt comfortable doing this with. She (39) is about the same age as I am (40). After the years, I could tell that our conversations, my confessing how I wanted having a family in my life were affecting her. She admitted a year ago she was talking to her husband about having a family too. He already had grown children and was preparing more for early retirement than starting over. This was a great source of conflict for her. We supported each other, we talked. When MrBeep agreed for us to try for a family we chose to get married. She, M, agreed to be my Matron of Honor, the only person I chose to stand up with me.

But life gets busy I had not seen her in a while. She lives an hour away so most of our time together required a bit of time and organization. She was going to school and working both a regular job plus an internship. We’d chat online briefly but I knew what little time she had left in a day needed to be spent with her wonderful husband and dogs. So I maybe saw her once in the six months before she finally called and invited me to go to a farm for u-pick blueberries. She suggested a date in the middle of the weekday morning.

Before I left my house that morning, I knew it had the potential to be a “hard infertile day”. Most people take their families to blueberry farms to pick berries. I have seen the blog entries from mommies who take their kids and toddlers, but I am typically fine around families. I try to keep myself positive and optimistic and look the situation as something I hope to have someday rather than something I don’t have. I also really wanted some delicious and cheap northwest blueberries.

I arrived at the farm and noticed her car wasn’t there yet, so I got out of my car and started to douse myself with sunscreen. Her car pulled up, but she didn’t get out. She called me over to come to the car and have a seat. This was not unusual since we both do this to have the other hear some new music we’ve discovered. I got in and she gave me a piece of paper, a hand made card. I read the front and opened the card and there was a ultrasound photo with a clearly defined baby’s face. I was stunned. I wasn’t sure what to say. I was happy for her and turned to say, “Congratulations! What a wonderful surprise and wow this ultrasound looks very detailed, how many months along are you? Four? Five?”

“Seven,” she answered. And then she moved her sweater aside and there was a cute, perfectly round basketball sized belly.

It was like someone hit me square in the chest with a baseball bat. I could hardly breathe. I have never, NEVER reacted this way to finding out someone was pregnant. One half of my brain was jumping up and down cheering for joy the other half was just still. Stunned. I knew I had to stay calm. I knew I needed to act my normal happy self. I didn’t want to ruin this day for her, but I knew it would be tough for me. I gave her more hugs and congratulations then we both got out of the car and walked toward the entrance. We grabbed picking buckets and headed out to the fields.

I kept the conversation light, asked about her husband and her mom. She told me they were so worried due to their age that they kept it a secret from everyone, including her mom (with whom she is very, very close) until she was 5 months along and had the results from amnio. She explained how scared she was when a pre-screening test came out positive for abnormalities. I told her I was sorry she had to go with all that stress alone, but that I understood why she would want to keep private and how happy I am to know that everything is normal. I joked I would love some privacy myself.

To a certain degree inward, my mind was razor focused. I didn’t need to make eye contact. We were crouched down, finding the best looking and ripest berries on the bush while we talked. Inwardly I meditated on the positive side of things, and the patience I needed to exercise to stay calm and keep breathing. I didn’t want to do or say anything I would regret, anything to make me sad, anything to hurt my friend. But it was so hard. We were completely surrounded by families. There were mommies and grandparents with tons of kids excitingly calling out that they found a spider and here’s another handful and look at me look at me. We were in a row all by ourselves, but I was surrounded and drowning.

Then she asked me how my IVF went back in June. I had never called and told her what happened, she knew that I was going to keep things to myself, but I think she was hoping that I would give her good news…but I had no good news to tell. So in the middle of that field, I calmed my soul, steeled myself and quietly told her about things going along well, then the drug not working, the retrieval and transfer and finally being pregnant for only a few days. I told her that we would try again and these things happen and how complicated IVF is, but that it was really hard because I really only have a few chances left.

Then she did it. She was trying to be comforting. I know this. She said, “Oh, sweetie, I’m so sorry. I completely understand.”

That’s when I shattered.

“No you don’t understand” I whispered, starting to cry. “No one I know has any idea how this feels. None of my friends truly understand how it is and I don’t have anyone to talk to and I don’t want to burden anyone.” I was overwhelmed with a sense of loss and sadness. One side of my brain kept thinking, how could she do this to me? How could she take me here, in public, to give me her news? Why would she ask sensitive things of me while I was surrounded by pregnant bellies and happy families? How could she stand there, 7 months pregnant with everything tested and declared OK and tell me that she understands? What had I ever done to deserve this utter disregard of my feelings?

But that’s not how things are, I knew. M is my friend. I love her and know she would never do anything intentionally to hurt me. It just happens sometimes. We do our best to consider the feelings of others, but it is impossible to see the world from every perspective.

This is not my destination. I will write more about the rest of the day, my thoughts and feelings. Please understand that I love my friend and this is not an open invitation to berate her. My entries on this day are a journey to a new understanding of myself using patience, reflection and time.

To be continued…

20 comments on "Patience, reflection and time – Part 1"

Pie on August 30, 2009 at 1:07 PM said...

It is heart-wrenching to read that, I'm so sorry you had to go through that pain. It's happened to me too, to many of us I'd venture to say. It is such a struggle to have such conflicting, but very real, emotions.


Beautiful Mess on August 30, 2009 at 1:10 PM said...

Oh sweetie, I'm so sorry you were hurt. I understand she didn't mean to hurt you and you love her very much and that hurt you more. I hope your friend understand that you are not mad at HER, just sad about your situation.

I'm thinking about you and sending you lots of love and peace.

Sprogblogger on August 30, 2009 at 1:16 PM said...

I am so sorry you're having to go through this and that it's creating a distance - however temporary - between you and someone who sounds like a really good friend, a really good person.

I was talking about this to someone today, how sometimes - a lot of the time these days, it seems - there just isn't anything that anyone can say that I want to hear. No matter how well-intentioned.

Thinking of you tonight.

Sunny on August 30, 2009 at 1:52 PM said...

I'm so sorry you were in that situation. :( You're right, I'm sure your friend had no intention of hurting you. But that doesn't always make us feel better, unfortunately. While I can't understand the frustration of exactly what you are going through with your IVF cycles, I too have been hurt by the well-meaning words/actions of good friends.

Thinking of you.

meinsideout on August 30, 2009 at 2:29 PM said...

I am so sorry, that had to hurt very, very badly. I get really angry about how IF, loss and all that we have to go through really isolates us. I am sorry that you feel alone sometimes.

Phoebe on August 30, 2009 at 2:43 PM said...

It is true that no one can understand how difficult IVF is until they have been through it themselves. I'm hoping that you and your friend can find a way to connect.

An old friend of mine and I did not keep in touch very well for several years. She kept secret her own IF hell until I started going through it. When she did tell me, I felt sad that she had to go through it alone and without my support. She did have children once she had some procedures to help her, though she never did IVF. Unfortunately, she has said some things about IVF that hurt me, showing that she didn't really understand what it was like. I just try to keep this in perspective that she can't really understand how hard it is, not having been through it herself.

JJ on August 30, 2009 at 2:51 PM said...

Wow...I read this earlier today, and I had to take time and process the emotion of it all. Im sorry you had to grapple with all these feelings--I had a similar situation with my good friend right after our IVF still stings to think about.

Hope your friendship is strengthened in the end by it all...big hugs!

Clare on August 30, 2009 at 3:24 PM said...

God, IF tears us apart. Nothing hurts more than when someone you respect and love says all the wrong things even though you know they don't mean it. I'm sure she would be mortified if she knew she'd hurt you.

It's hard if not nigh on impossible to find someone IRL who gets it. Sending a million hugs.

K on August 30, 2009 at 4:28 PM said...

I know all about feeling alone in this mess that is IF. And I know all about having that one or two IRL friend(s) you feel safe enough to confide in, only to have it blow up in your face later. As you've said, M did not mean to hurt you. But, she did. And you're left to pick up the pieces sort of on your own. (A process that hurts in and of itself.) I'm very sorry for the unique pain you are experiencing now. And I'm very sorry you're alone too, in this mess. I'm not far away, if you ever want to meet sometime.

mekate on August 30, 2009 at 4:54 PM said...

Oh love,

Sending love
and a big ole "I get it"-- not that it helps much but it might help a little.

Kate on August 30, 2009 at 6:18 PM said...

Oh, what a heart-wrenching day. Sounds like you handled things pretty well, all things considered.

Mrs. Gamgee on August 30, 2009 at 8:46 PM said...

Oh hon! My heart is breaking for you... I am proud of you for holding out and trying not to let your sadness affect your day with your friend. But I am also proud of you for saying what needed to be said... and doing so in a non-confrontational and clear way. My prayer for you is peace for your mind and heart, understanding from your friend, and patience to allow yourself to feel what you need to feel and process.

Sending you many ((hugs))

Rotten on August 30, 2009 at 9:58 PM said...

I lost a friend after my miscarriage because of how she reacted. To this day we still do not speak. I am not sure if we will ever repair our friendship. I am not sure I want to... not yet anyway. Just as you said of your friend, I know she did not do any of what she did on purpose or with any intention of hurting me, but over a year later, it still stings. You are in a tough spot. I hope you find the resolve that works for you.

darkblack on August 31, 2009 at 11:12 AM said...

Understanding is not the right word. That's the problem. Our friends and family mean to say that they empathize with our situation, which is fair.

Others may not have gone through what you have, but everyone has felt heartbreak, loneliness, helplessness, and pain. They may not understand the journey, but they can empathize with where you are at. Heartbreak is universal, the cause is secondary. I think we can take our friends and family at their word, they do understand on a fundamentally human level.

Kate on August 31, 2009 at 12:12 PM said...

that is painful to read. I'm sorry you had to experience that, and yes you can't say you understand when you just don't. You really just don't. *hugs* Hang in there.

jill on August 31, 2009 at 6:17 PM said...

Oh no, what a heart wrenching situation :( I'm sorry you had to go through that.


One Who Understands on September 1, 2009 at 7:48 AM said...

My heart aches for you. That kind of news is always hard to hear let alone in public. I am so sorry.

Thank you for your support. Yes, I had to "vent" today and then remove my venting. It wasn't fair to all parties to vent before everything was out in the open. Things have been resolved and are back on track. I am still planning on blogging about it, just not in the way it was previously done. I appreciate you.

val on September 1, 2009 at 8:28 AM said...

Infertility is a very sensitive topic to talk about. I know first hand how hard it is to see or hear things that may trigger a raw emotion. My sis-in-law has done 5 IVF cycles as well as me as a surogate but theres been no luck. I myself have a daughter and its hard to see the look in her eyes when she looks into my daughters face. However we have realized that our friendship and love for each other makes that raw emotion into something we can share and make easier to deal with!

K on September 3, 2009 at 12:58 PM said...

Was just checking back to see if there was a Part 2 yet...

Thanks for your comment. I will ship you some pesto if you like! ;)
You can email at speclk2 at hotmail dot com.

FET Accompli on September 5, 2009 at 8:12 AM said...

I am just catching up now. I cried when I read this post. I remember around ten months ago, when we were in the throws of psychologists and doctors and paperwork trying to get things together with our surrogate. It seemed like a never ender stream of uncertainty.

And then came the first announcement: my youngest sister-in-law - preggo. And a couple weeks later, the next announcement: another sister-in-law - preggo. And finally, the one-two punch. My closest friend, PREGGO. All preggo within a couple months of each other. And me, years of Big-C, and waiting, and more waiting, and hoping, and they all breezed by like it was nothing.

I know that wind-taken-out-of-you feeling. That dizzying feeling. I am so sorry about this, what a day it must have been just to keep it together. Wish I could give you a hug.


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