Monday, March 19, 2007

Guilty Confessions

Last Tuesday we celebrated my sister-in-law's birthday. She's seventeen. (Insert appropriate comments here). She opened a card from my husband's brother, sister-in-law, and our nephew. It was signed from all of them along with "Baby #2."

(Insert forced happy reactions, giggling and expected smiles here.)

That was hard. And everything that whizzed around in my head was also swirling around in my husband's as well, although we both did a fairly good job of masking it. We are happy for them. Babies are good things.

I hate that there's a "but." I suspect it's almost entirely a jealously thing on my part. But...I know that they got pregnant the first time they tried. They have the ability to stop taking the pill and instantly get pregnant. She's told me as much. They have no problems announcing their news at 6 weeks, before they've even seen a doctor. (My husband said later, "Wait, so they don't have levels checked or anything?" He can't fathom it. Frankly, neither can I.)

But we did our best to react like we think "normal" people would. When they left, my mother in law asked me what I though about the news. Instead of launching into a three-hour long discussion of my true feelings, I squeaked out a "um, I was pretty surprised, actually."

When we got to the car that evening, my husband turned to me as we both exhaled and said, "So, what was your first thought?"

"That I hope our daughter enjoys her 5 month spotlight. Isn't that terrible?"
"Probably, but I was thinking the same thing. And your second?"
"So, first try, huh? Again. Damn, I bet they had sex once. Bitches."

We realized that our daughter's firsts will largely be shared by her younger cousin. I realize that my thoughts aren't entirely rational and that the inner bitch in me is quickly surfacing, but still...I feel like we watched the family ooh and aah over my nephew so much during our ttc periods and it was hard at times, especially knowing how easy it was for him to come into the world. I want my daughter to have the same VIP treatment. And that's not to say that she won't, but her first Christmas, etc, will also be "Baby #2's" first. Our baby had to fight to get where she is now- it surely hasn't been an easy road for her. Even typing this I feel pangs of guilt and ridiculousness, but still. We feel like we are forced to compete with them unwillingly so often, that this tends to feel that way, too.

It's not that I cringe at all pregnancy/baby news, because I don't at all. I can't only be happy for infertiles who get pregnant, that's just dumb. I can't pinpoint it exactly, but it's just...different. It's them.

(Insert shower of guilt and childishness here.)

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

(A Tiny Bit Of) Superficial Whining (By Me)

Yesterday afternoon we learned two things about my sweet little womb occupant:

1. She's definitely a girl.
2. She's definitely stubborn.

We were supposed to have the new 4-D scan done but she wouldn't move her arms and hands from directly in front of her face. She did wave her fingers a little and gave us a good clear gender pose with the regular sonogram, but wouldn't let us see her face for anything. I was honestly a little disappointed at first and then felt guilty about it while Mr. Mandolyn and I walked out. He laughed and said that he'd wanted to see the cool scan, but that he is very happy that things are still going well. She's not facing the right way, but that isn't cause for concern right now. Everything else was fine. Fine. I realized that I should take that fact and all that it means and be overjoyed. And I truly am.

But it would have been cool to see her chubby cheeks.

Friday, March 02, 2007

A Shallow Examination of the Not-Infertile Brain

Ivy at Our Forever Family posted an update yesterday about her wonderful family. She also mentioned the uterus transplantation surgery that is being researched right now and how the infertile woman in the scenario is labeled as "defective." I think Ivy's "rant" about the word choice is right on target- especially when she mentions that it's another example of how people outside of the Infertility Ring of Fire don't get it, and often choose to ignore the human aspect of it.

I have a guilty little secret. I go to babycenter at least once a day and read the message boards for "my birth club." I have to confess that I feel kind of like a cheater when I go there, or maybe like I have a big dorky nametag that identifies me as not a true member. I think I go to catch a glimpse of what the Fertile Brain is like; to see what blissful pregnancy is like. And that's not to say that I am not happy at the moment. Hell, I'm more overjoyed than I know what to do with, but it doesn't make me part of the club. And I'm ok with that.

Now I'm sure that pregnancy outside of infertility is not always a picnic, but to me and my brain, it is. I envision it as going through nine months of life through a soft focus lens, just a tiny bit in slow motion. Like the obligatory "happy memory" scene in every chick flick. The things that concern these women blow my mind- some are "going to be very pissed off" if their baby is born in June as opposed to May because June's birthstone is far uglier." They talk about having too many appointments, how they've seen their doctor so many times it's just ridiculous. They start threads asking how many people got pregnant while on birth control, or on the first try, and how many are having unplanned pregnancies? One in particular caught my attention the other day. Someone was asking for advice on how to deal with the strained relationship she has with her best friend, who has had a considerably hard time conceiving. She felt that they were drifting apart and was afraid to share any pregnancy/baby news with her for fear of making her angry/jealous/hurt. The responses were mostly pretty good advice, I thought (they were mostly prefaced with, "I've been in your friend's situation..."). Good little infertiles jumped in to share personal experiences. But what caught me off guard was to hear how many people responded with something like, "I'm in the same situation, I don't know how to talk to my best friend/SIL/girl at the office who can't conceive/just had a miscarriage, etc..." One response recalled that while she was pregnant with her first child, she had several infertile friends. She said that she lost a lot of friends during that time, but that you really find out who your true friends are- the ones that stick around.

That last comment really got me thinking. I think I've settled on "upsetting." It sounds like she's angry with her infertile friends for not "sticking around" during her perfect pregnancy. She can't think about what it must be like on the other side of the fence...or won't think about it, I'm not really sure. Is that the SuperFertile! brain? Do they think of us only as bitter, selfish bitches who can't be bothered to recognize the joy in anyone else's life? Are we just defective to them?

I think we represent something far bigger than they choose to process. Infertility isn't something that anyone wants to think about having to deal with, so it's easier to ignore it. That philosophy has never worked out well for me. Pretending that all the problems in the world don't exist isn't a valid way to eradicate them. Bad things and heartache don't dissolve into thin air because you can put heavy blinders on. I'm not hinting that we should all live in fear of the worst, constantly looking for the opposite of joy and happiness. But when it's presented to you, you can't just turn around and decide that you've escaped it. So, SuperFertile! Lady, I'm sorry that your infertile friends had a hard time with your pregnancy. I'm sorry dealing with them might have made both of you uncomfortable. I'm sorry that you chose to let friendships fall apart because it was the easier path to take.

I'm mostly sorry that infertility has to be such a hard thing to actively talk about. I'm sorry that people would rather see it as purely clinical. I'm sorry that it can be easily ignored by people who don't consider themselves to be directly affected by it. I'm sorry that it has to be so damn hard. Communication and better understanding has to be a priortity, although I'm not exactly sure how to get that ball rolling...