#Microblog Mondays: Friendship

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Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

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Wow, I’ve been absent for a while! It’s been unintentional, but every time I have some free time (aka, when baby is napping) there are a hundred other things I need to do and blogging falls down the list. I’ve been reading and following along, and I do have a million things to talk about (which is sometimes why I don’t blog, even if I find a pocket of time…where to begin!). Anyways, I’ve had a situation weighing heavily on me for a while, (I’m sure there are others in a similar boat) so I’m going to get it off my chest.

Like many other infertility sufferers/survivors, my best friend was busy procreating while I was struggling through IUIs and IVF. Her first child was born just after J and I started trying to get pregnant, so at that point I was super excited, for her, and for J and I. By the time she was pregnant with her second child, J and I were fully immersed in the world of IF. In a strange twist, just before my BF got pregnant for the second time, she had been prescribed clomid as she wasn’t ovulating regularly, and was having very long cycles. She went to her GP, who ran some tests and gave her the clomid (all of this happened in a very short period of time and she never went to Ye Olde Fertilty Clinic). She was waiting for her CD1 so she could get some bloodwork done. Her period never came, and it turned out she was pregnant.

That was a turning point in our relationship. As much as I didn’t want her to be in the IF trenches with me, it would have been nice for my BF to understand what I was going through. So when she told me she was pregnant, I was relieved for her, but also turned more into myself. I shared less with her, I didn’t see her as often (it was too hard). Once her second boy was born, I went for the obligatory visit (it’s awful that I saw it as obligatory, rather than wanting to see her new child). Granted, she also now had two children, and I had none so we were living very different lives.

Even once I finally succeeded in becoming pregnant, and having my baby girl, we never reconnected. She did come visit when baby girl was just new but then after that I noticed a distinct pulling away. She was very curt and brief in our text message exchanges, they were never initiated by her and when she didn’t wish me a happy birthday I knew something was really up. I questioned her on it, and she told me that she was hurt that our relationship had faltered after she got pregnant, that we weren’t close anymore, and that she rarely saw me anymore. She ended with something along the lines of “I’m not solely blaming you”, but sort of left it hanging as in, she mostly was blaming me. I did pull away, I know that. But I didn’t have much left to give to anyone during treatment, and then life with a new infant swallowed me up for a while. I blame myself, but I wish she would have made more of an effort too.

After I straight up asked her what was going on and we hashed that out a bit, we had a casual catching up convo, and I made a date to go visit her and her boys. That visit felt awkward, and stunted. We haven’t had much contact since, but neither of us has brought up our dying relationship. I think she’s stopped trying again, and frankly if it’s this much effort and things have changed so much between us, is it worth saving? I feel harsh saying that, and she is/was my best friend. We’ve know each other since we were 17, we used to be inseparable. But I think when things really changed was after the birth of her first child. And I get it, new parents are busy, priorities change. Couple that with the fact that I ended up undergoing fertility treatments, I think we’ve drifted too far apart, and though we now have similar-ish lives (in that we both have young children), I’ve changed fundamentally and I don’t knowhow well she fits in my life anymore.

I sort of feel like I am being lazy, and dismissive of such a long time friendship, not trying to save it. But I have a high school friend who I rarely see, and we don’t chat a ton but whenever we do, we never skip a beat, it’s like no time is lost at all. It’s not like that with my once-bestie. And that’s what makes me think, as sad as it would be, that it’s time to let it go.

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Sand Shifting Underfoot

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So much changes, seemingly rather quickly, over the course of time and treatment with infertility. At first it was just “taking a little longer” for us when we were trying naturally. Then we were onto IUIs and then ultimately IVF with ICSI. As we moved through the paths of treatment I formed different bonds with different people and felt connected with a certain tribe along each step. Obviously the overarching connection is infertility in general, but there were the sub categories too, of what stage of treatment I was in at the time.

Through this blog I’ve connected with some awesome women, one of which lives in my same city and became my IVF buddy, if you will. Her and I ended up going through IVF near simultaneously, with me doing the stimming and retrieval before her, and her doing the FET before me (though my FET protocol differed slightly). It was so nice having someone who not only understood what I was going through, on a general level but literally went to the same clinic at the same time as me. It was great, we closed down many a coffee shop chatting about infertility, and life.

Unfortunately our IVF cycles had pretty drastic differences in their success and her FET did not work, so when mine did I know it was a punch to the gut (for her, and for me because I wanted this for her as much as I wanted it for me). I emailed to let her know my transfer had worked, and how shitty it was that we were now seemingly on opposite sides of the fence. IVF may not be the solution for her, so it’s not just a matter of trying again. It was a bit like Sliding Doors, my cycle went one way, and took me down a path, and hers went the other, leading her on a different journey.

In response to my email, confirming my positive beta, I received a heartbreaking response from a woman clearly in the throes of agony. In light of the different directions we have ended up in, it seems our friendship may be discontinued for her own self preservation. And it sucks, but I get it. I don’t know how I would have handled it had the situation been the other way around. I have always been happy for other IF ladies when they finally succeed, but previous to my own positive beta, admittedly, I would unfollow a lot of people. It was too hard to see their happiness and read their updates without my green eyed monster making snarky comments in my ear.

So I’m heartbroken for my friend, and really sad that I won’t be able to walk beside her and help her through what is most likely going to be a continuation of a difficult journey, possibly about to get worse. I’ll send her all my love from a distance, and hope that there is something great on the horizon for her.

And just in the way that every turn around a corner in infertility holds so much unknown, so too does pregnancy hold those dark forbidding areas, lurking just out of sight. On Tuesday morning we were packing up at our hotel in Oahu, getting ready to head to Maui. I was in the shower when I saw red going down the drain. It startled me but upon further investigation it seemed to be just a little spurt. Concerning, but didn’t seem to be continuing. After I turned off the shower and started to dry myself I notice my red on the pristine white hotel towel (sorry to the Hyatt). I wiped and there was more blood, a lot more. I came out of the bathroom and said to J, “Don’t freak out, but I’m bleeding”.

I think I was trying to get myself not to freak out more than anything. I remained eerily calm, yet shaky as I kept checking, and more blood kept coming. I asked J to go down to the store in the lobby of our hotel and buy my some tampons (I know, in hindsight, bad choice but I wasn’t thinking). I called my clinic because I didn’t know what else to do, and left them a message to please call me back. When J came back upstairs and gave me the tampons, he hugged me and I burst into tears. I was convinced I was having a miscarriage and for all of the ambivalence I have tried to force on myself in regards to our little embryo, it clearly hadn’t worked.

We went to the airport and caught our flight over to Maui. Not long after leaving the airport in our rental car, I received a call from my clinic. I told the nurse I was bleeding, and that I was in Hawaii. She told me there wasn’t really much they could do (obviously, but who else was I going to call??). She asked how much bleeding there was and I told her more than spotting, and bright red. I hadn’t had a chance to go to the bathroom since we left Oahu so I hadn’t checked the status of the blood so I didn’t have many answers for her in that regard. She told me to take it easy and if I soaked through a pad in a couple of hours to seek medical attention.

By the time we got checked into our hotel here in Maui, I went to the bathroom to see what was happening. Some more red blood, but had turned to brown at some point. There was more red than brown but it wasn’t super heavy flow, and seemed to be tapering off. J had googled bleeding in early pregnancy and tried to ease my mind showing me how common it could be, and especially with IVF-ers but in my heart I just felt it was bad. Over the course of the next few days I mostly just had a brown discharge along with the progesterone suppositories. It has pretty much gone back to normal now, just the white of the suppositories.

I have zero symptoms at the moment, there are a few things that could potentially be attributed to pregnancy, but overall I feel no different, and rather un-pregnant. I have this awful feeling that there is nothing going on in my uterus and that the progesterone is just holding off the inevitable. I have a mentality to expect the worst and hope for the best. I think infertility has taught me that, because with so much going wrong, I’d rather just believe something isn’t going to happen, or work, than get my hopes up and be crushed every time. To be fair it’s all rather crushing but when I get used to the idea in advance it’s an easier pill to swallow.

But at this point there’s no way to know if there is a little pea sized thing growing, growing, growing until we can physically see it. So for now it is pretty hard to believe it is there. I just have to hold on until Friday… We’re almost there, but the wait is excruciating.

Old Friends, New Again

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The universe seems to work in a way that just when I think I’ve caught my balance, it throws me a curveball. I received an email from a long lost friend the other day. Long lost I thought, because shortly after I told her our last IUI failed and we would be looking at IVF, she disappeared into oblivion. She lives in a different city than me, but we used to email back and forth quite often, keep eachother up-to-date and occasionally meet up when one of us was in the others’ city (we don’t live a plane ride away from eachother, just a long car ride). To be fair, after she didn’t respond to my last email, I didn’t call her out on it, or try harder to get in contact. My thought was, ball was in her court, and the timing of her lack of response led me to believe that she maybe didn’t believe in the choices I was making.

Her and I live on different planets in most regards, her religion and upbringing make us very different people that believe very different things, but I was pleased that we could always be respectful of eachother’s views, and remain friends. She was one of the few people I confided in early on about our infertility, and she was very understanding and didn’t try to offer “helpful” suggestions. When she failed to respond to my last email (back in February-ish) when I told her we were going to pursue IVF, I was hurt. I thought it was a pretty important email but I know some people of her religion may not be ok with ART, and IVF so I thought maybe I had hit that line in the sand. I let it go, and received radio silence until this Sunday, when I was surprised to see an email from her in my inbox.

She apologized for not being in touch, that life had gotten in the way (for 10 months…ok whatever). She filled me in with what was going on with her, and asked what was new with me. Apparently her and her husband finally got a new family doctor, after not having one for several years. Her husband had testicular cancer not terribly long after they got married (back in 2010), but they caught it early, and treated it agressively. He ended up losing one testicle, that I do know, but otherwise my friend doesn’t really like to talk about it. She told me she had a full check up, and her doctor did a whole reproductive work up as well because she has debilitating pain when she gets her period (red flag!).

After all of her testing, her uterus was found to be in perfect condition, but her right ovary is almost three times the normal size due to cysts. She is still having that looked into, but obviously it’s not good. She then proceeded to tell me that a couple of months back her period was late. She tested and got a faint positive. She then got one of those tests that dates your pregnancy so she could see how far along she was and it was negative. She went to her doctor and their test was negative as well, and two weeks later she got her period. Now, as soon as I read this I knew she had a chemical pregnancy. She went on to explain this to me in her email, that apparently it is pretty common for first time pregnancies, but most women don’t even know it has happened and she just happened to find out because she’s been undergoing all of this other testing on her reproductive systems she’d been watching her cycles more carefully. She then went on to tell me that her spirits were dampened for a while, but they are back in the saddle and trying again (ok, didn’t know they were trying in the first place).

I do feel awful about her chemical pregnancy, and wish she didn’t even have to know what that is. But her wording, that it “dampened her spirits”, rubbed me the wrong way. Like it wasn’t any big deal to her. I almost felt like she is back in touch because she has some possible fertility troubles of her own. I may totally be mistaking her tone (it is an email afterall) and projecting my own shit onto the whole situation.

The whole thing smacks of the Sex and the City episode where Miranda finds out she is accidentally pregnant with Steve’s baby (who ironically also, only has one testicle) and Charlotte is doing fertility treatments to try and get pregnant to no avail. It’s nothing my friend has done to me, but the woman whose husband has one testicle, and her an ovary full of cysts can manage to get pregnant!? It’s hard to swallow.

My friend is a very sweet person, so considerate (though sometimes a bit oblivious), and very sensitive to others, so I am going to push past my discomfort and write her back. I felt comfortable telling her about our infertility issues because there was no judgement (until I thought there was), perhaps I could use another ally in my corner…

I appreciate all of the support for my FET and, the love from all of you wonderfull bloggy friends when things seemed to be crashing down on this attempt as well. I’d ask to have those good vibes sent to someone else who needs them more than me right now. One of my fellow friends in IF had her FET this past Saturday. Her IVF journey has not been smooth either but she managed to transfer 2, day 3 frost babies this past Saturday. Please send you well wishes into the universe for her!

As for our own treatment, my cycle has not been cancelled (yet…ever the pessimist). My doctor advised that I stay on Lupron until tomorrow when he is having me come in for a scan, and possibly some bloodwork. I haven’t had any more significant bleeding since last Friday, but some spotting over the weekend, and some remnants of blood still being expelled up until yesterday. If the bleeding I had last week wasn’t technically a period then tomorrow is CD28, otherwise I’m not really sure how to count things. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

Reconnecting/Relationship Challenge: Day 11

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Happy Saturday to all, I had another hectic day at work. I have tomorrow off and then back at it until IUI day. Last night Best Friend text me, and said she realized it’s almost the end of the month, and asked when was I having my next IUI? She went to Mexico for a week in the middle of January and we had a brief, awkward visit just before she left, at which point I was in the middle of a TWW, but she didn’t ask then and I didn’t volunteer that info. She knew we took a break in December but I think she thought the next IUI wouldn’t be until later in the month. She doesn’t know my cycles so she wouldn’t have known I’m in a two-IUI-month.

I think she was a little surprised when I told her I had an IUI on Jan. 2 and that it had failed. She missed an entire cycle because we’re feeling awkward about her being pregnant and me not. I told her our last IUI would be this coming week and I will get a Valentines day reveal, and a possible early birthday present (my bday is on the 18th).

When I told her our final IUI was quickly bearing down on us she said she wasn’t sure what to say, that she was trying to think of something but she couldn’t. She told me she’s sad it’s my last one but understands, and she asked me how I was feeling about it all.

It was so nice to have her check in with me. I told her it’s ok that she doesn’t have anything to say. There isn’t really anything for her to say, but I appreciated her just asking after me. I told her I’m nervous but ready for some resolution. And then I bit the bullet and asked after her baby-in-utero.

I think she was relieved that we could have a semi normal conversation about what was going on with me and what was going on with her because she thanked me for the chat and told me she was missing me. I missed her too. It stinks not having your best friend to talk to. So I think we’re good now.

Only problem now is her gender scan is on Tuesday and if it’s a girl I’m going to die a little inside. She will have her perfect little family, one boy, one girl, spaced just under two years apart with her successful corporate hubby and her cute little two story house. Not that I want all of that necessarily, but some of it. Is it too much to ask for my own little piece?

But in any case it will be exciting to know the gender, though Best Friend thinks the baby will be uncooperative and she’ll be doomed to gender neutral till the baby comes. We shall see.

Onto Relationship Challenge: Day 11
Quit Nagging

In a romantic relationship, or in a family, or any partnership, chores are a huge source of conflict. Who does what? How do you get someone else to hold up his or her end, without nagging? Consider these points:
It’s annoying to hear a hectoring voice, so suggest tasks without words. Leave a note, send an email, put a bottle out on the counter to suggest that the prescription needs re-filling.
If you need to voice a reminder, limit yourself to one word or phrase. Instead of barking out, “Now remember, I’ve told you a dozen times, stop off at the grocery store, we need milk, if you forget, you’re going right back out!” Instead, call out, “Grocery store!” or “Milk!”
Don’t insist that a task be done on your schedule. “You’ve got to trim those hedges today!” Says who? Try, “When are you planning to trim the hedges?” If possible, show why something needs to be done by a certain time. “Will you be able to trim the hedges before our party next week?”
Assign chores based on personal priorities. If you hate a messy bedroom, make tidying the bedroom your job.
Re-frame: decide that you don’t mind doing a chore—like putting clothes in the hamper or hanging up wet towels. This is often surprisingly easy.
No carping from the sidelines. If someone else makes the travel arrangements, don’t criticize the flight time. If someone else gets the kids dressed, don’t mock the outfits. If you want something done your way, do it yourself.
Remember that messy areas tend to stay messy, and tidy areas tend to stay tidy. If you want others to be neat, be neat yourself.
Resolve to “Quit nagging.” After all—at least in my experience—it doesn’t even work!

Ooooh I suck at this one. I hate to nag but I also hate when shit doesn’t get done (or in the case of annoying habits, does get done. Ahem, towel on the floor). I like the idea of rephrasing it so it’s not so demanding. I do try and not criticize J if he is at least trying (like his attempts at loading the dishwasher). Better to let him do it unless I want to take care of it myself. Because I am not a nag!