Monday, February 14, 2011

Infertility never leaves

"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.


  1. Hey Augusta...hugs. IF will always leave its sting. I wonder if the pg announcements even after our DE baby will leave their mark on me as well. I already feel jeolous of recent pg announcements because they didn't have to have an RE and a medical health care team to make a baby...they got to do it the old fashioned way and that makes me sad sometimes too. Hope you're feeling better today and renewed with the hope of your upcoming cycle.

  2. I'm reading this post and crying. For you and for me... because I've been where you are so many times. I don't have the words to make you feel better, Augusta, but do I wish I did! Hope is a tough thing... we let it creep in time and time again. I am channelling all of my hope your way for a successful DE IVF because you so want and deserve this. And I want it for you and Mr. A. Its your turn, Augusta.

    Thinking of you.

  3. Simple Soup sounds like the most wonderful tradition!

    ML and I had a very similar conversation as we were skiing this weekend, about all the mixed up feelings that we have when we hear pg announcements.

    This is going to be our month, my dear.

  4. You're right. It never leaves. And your dinner party analogy (complete with lobster forks) is an apt one. I'm sorry, lovely. It's not that you aren't happy for your friend (I know) it's just that the happiness is bedeviled by everything we've been through, and continue to go through. At the root of it is this simple fact: it isn't fair. Saying it doesn't change anything, but there it is. It's not. And that's not something we can get over easily.

    I'm glad that Mr. A had such a lovely birthday. I'm guessing that having you on hand was the best ingredient.

  5. Augusta, you've put all this sorrow so beautifully. Infertility robs us of both the joy we have in our own lives and the happiness that we feel for others. I like to think that it's a bit like not graduating high school. Almost everybody makes it out and only the losers end up at extended ed. I know that it's not sealing one's fertility fate to taco.bell jobs, but it's certainly lonely and frustrating to be passed over so often. And, to lose yet another friend to the mommy club hurts more than words can say. I had tears at my desk reading this.

    I am also certain that you and Mr. A passed each other at some point on that run. I like to imagine all of the ways you could have met, but didn't until the moment for both of you was ripe. I am hoping you are recharged for what's ahead and that the grain of hope grows into something that's enough to carry you over this dreadful hump.

  6. Oh Augusta, you have such a way with words.

    I had a similar conversation with a friend today. (The one who I knew was pg, and she knew I knew, but we didn't talk about it) I hugged her and asked the right questions, but my heart broke in a million pieces once again. Just when I feel like I can be at a happy place for someone, infertility slaps me in the face.

    Hugs to you my dear friend... and that Sunday Soup sounds fabulous but I can imagine it is also a challenge at times.

  7. Ah, Augusta, my heart hurts for you and Mr. A. It sounds like your friend's heart hurts for you, too. It is completely unfair, and there's nothing any of us can do to change it. I hope your week's off to a good start this week so far.

  8. Oh my dear Augusta, I have been in that place and I too hate the conflicting emotions that are inflicted with those announcements. I'm so sorry, it really is so painfully unfair at times. Even now into this pregnancy I think because of everything we've been through I have an extremely difficult time just being happy for those who get pregnant without any complications. It's just so hard to accept that the road is so incredibly difficult for some of us and so impossibly easy for others.
    Holding so much hope for you with this cycle and sending loads of love ((hugs))

  9. Augusta, I am sorry you were in that difficult place this week. We have all been there and you are right, infertility never leaves us and has changed our perspective and the way we react to the joyful pregnancy announcements of others. Sorry your weekend ended in a low note. Hoping that soon you will be able to share your pregnancy announcement with friends.

  10. Oh Friend...why, oh WHY must you make one of Augusta's precious weekends end this way, particularly after all the nice parts! Personally, it seems cruel to ask you to absorb this news face to face, but it seems have-sex-get-pregnant types feel it's discourteous to not do it in person? I don't know, but I sure am a huge proponent of the e-mail announcement. Anyway, it's true--whatever happens, IF will never leave. I can only hope that it morphs into something you get to look back on, sagely contemplating the lessons you learned from it on the journey to motherhood (though I'm in the middle of writing something about that NOT equaling being glad you went through it...)

  11. HUGS, dear ((Augusta)). So sorry the weekend ended in such a difficult way, and never, ever feel guilty for your own feelings. They are incredibly important to all of us and we're glad you share them here. The trapeze act analogy got me *right here* (puts hand to heart) and I send you love and comfort, as always. XOXO, Oat

  12. You know anything I can try to tell you. Just because you shouldn't or should doesnt mean you can. I am so sorry to hear all this pass. The thud of the trapeze is horrible. It is a scary risk your friend can never comprehend.

    Thanks for sharing. I know it isnt easy for you. The indulgence is all mine.