"Did hope not make it hurt less than usual?" he asked.
Sadly, the answer was no. Not at all.
That was Mr. August and I at around 8pm last night, after a very good weekend together, a weekend that ended on a low note.
The birthday extravaganza was really fun. I took Mr. A cross-country skiing at this place close to where we live. We like to pretend that we met there skiing before we actually met in 2004. We both used to ski there quite a bit and it's fun to imagine our paths having crossed before they officially did. The day was sunny and not too cold, and the snow conditions were ideal. We were flying! I then took him out for a late lunch to a restaurant that sources their ingredients locally and we both really enjoyed the feast. In the evening, we babysat Sattva's darlings while she and her hubby went out. We relished every second of it, clearly. Ginger was her adorable self and Anne, her older sister, was sweet and fabulous. She really took to Mr. A, and he successfully made her giggle all evening long. We had a fabulous time with the girls. We even got to hang out with Sattva and (hum, what shall I call him) Crow and that was really nice. It's been great to get to spend more time with them than we use to.
Sunday was pretty low key, as it usually is for me. I need to recharge the battery before heading back to my intense job on Monday morning. I made brunch for Mr. A and I, and gave him his birthday presents. I was glad that he really liked them. We went for a shorter ski where Mr. A farms, and then ingredients for supper. Well, Mr. A was planning on going to Simple Soup on Sunday* but I tend to avoid this beautiful community tradition these days. In the end, Mr. A. decided to stay home and have supper with me.
Before that, I knew I had a tough task to face. My friend had summoned me for tea, specifying that it should be before or after soup. That smelled like a pregnancy announcement from a 10 mile radius. She was going to announce it at soup, and was wanting to tell me at about the same time, but not in the group format. My friend is very sensitive and I appreciated that she gave so much thought to how she was going to tell me (she was friend from example #1 in this post). I was resigned. I knew I had to go through it and even if I wasn't looking forward to it, I had to just go and do this. I knew this poor friend would be feeling nervous about telling me and probably wanted to get it over with.
So, after much skirting around the issue, she finally told me. I expressed the appropriate joy at the good news, which I did feel in part. She acknowledge that if our DE IVF failed, it might be hard for us to continue to be friends, which I appreciated. My friend is nothing if not pragmatic, and she's seen how far I've pulled back from other couples who have had babies recently. We sipped our tea, ate our carrot cake (yes, with gluten and dairy, which gave me a bellyache). I asked all the appropriate pregnancy questions. I prayed for it to end.
While I managed to put a good meal on the table after that, I pushed the plate away halfway through and started to cry. I just wish it was different, like Mr. A said that hope would have transformed my reaction to pregnancy announcements. It made me feel selfish to cry and be so absorbed by my own sorrow, instead of being able to celebrate. Or at least being able to continue peacefully with my evening. I turn this one around in my head a lot: the one where I am happy for others, feel distressed for myself and feel guilty for having my own feelings. It always creates this conflict inside, where the range of emotions are like poorly matched dinner guests who are going at each other with their lobster forks.
The truth of it is that our friends just had sex and got pregnant. If they have a miscarriage, they can try again and will likely get pregnant. We have to drop 10k and hope with every fiber of our being that we get embryos and that they implant, and then grow. If that doesn't work, what will there be? Years. Years of waiting to adopt. Another 10k. Another bout of depression.
Thank you for indulging me in my morose state. Infertility never leaves. Even when there is so much to hope for at this stage. I continue to want to commit my heart to hoping. But I also have to face that we are doing a high trapeze act without a net below us. If it works, our hearts will be a flutter and the crowds will roar. If it doesn't, the thump on the circus floor will be followed by a hard silence. The crowds will go home, mumbling to each other something about those trapeze artists and their broken bones.
*Simple Soup on Sunday is a little tradition that folks in our community of friends have started a year ago. People sign up for a Sunday, and they make soup for everyone. It's meant to be brief, but a time to all come together and catch up before the start of a new week.