Tuesday, November 24, 2009

sucker punch

This is a thing I learned about grief when I was taking counseling classes: that it sneaks up on you, so that you think you're doing fine and then you hear a certain voice, or a certain word, or you smell a certain scent, or you pass a certain intersection, and the grief comes sneaking up on you like a knife in the back. And there you are, flat on the ground (metaphorically, anyway). Breathless. Again.

This is a thing I have learned about grief the hard way: that the paragraph above is really, really true and really, really inadequate. And that experience hurts more than can be described.

Today I had an office hysteroscopy, which is a fancy phrase for sticking a camera into your uterus. (I'm not sure why they need to add 'office' to this description. Where the hell else would you do this? It's not like there's a 'home' hysteroscopy, or 'workplace' hysteroscopy. Or 'shopping mall' hysteroscopy either, which would be, like, the worst Black Friday marketing ploy ever.)

Anyway - it went just fine. It's one of the last few tests I need updated so that I can apply for the shared risk program at my RE's office - the whole, 'buy two, get one free' IVF program. I had my bloodwork updated last week. My husband will be - you know, getting analyzed - tomorrow. It's all nice and neatly checked off my list of things to do, albeit a rather strange list for this time of year. "Christmas presents? Check. Turkey purchased? Check. Camera up hoo-ha and Male Donation to Small Plastic Cup? Check."

I felt good today. I felt like we're making progress again, like we're really heading someplace this time. I don't feel scared anymore of all the tests and the hoo-ha cameras and the needle pricks; we've done it before, and we can do it again. I was even getting excited.

You know where this is going, don't you? Right. So I got home and there was a card from my brother, the one who just told us a few months ago that they had been trying to get pregnant for a year. I love my brother. And his wife. Here is part of what they wrote:

"A few weeks ago we found out some amazing news. S is pregnant and will be 8 weeks on Thanksgiving...we know that you are completely happy for us and we also know that you both might have other feelings too and we wanted to give you a chance to process those before we see you on Sunday."

Sucker punch. Right to the gut.

Let me say, on the off chance that they ever find this blog (and for the sake of truth even if they don't) that I really, really appreciate the card. It really does help to have time to process. It was tremendously thoughtful of them and indeed, by the time I see them on Sunday, I will have worked through the following immediate reaction:


Sorry about the yelling there.

I thought I was past this, this visceral hatred of hearing about other people's pregnancies. It's such a random thing: I can go months without having this reaction, hearing numerous pregnancy announcements and barely blinking an eye. I might succumb to the occasional inward eye-roll - another one bites the dust - but I'm fine. Most of the time. Really.

And then...I don't know what happens. Because I do love them. And I absolutely adore my niece, my other brother's child, and I know I will adore this child as well. Eventually.

I think maybe it's the - I don't know, the pretense that my sister-in-law was so angry and frustrated about their so-called 'infertility.' Let me say this: I get how hard it is not to be pregnant. I remember how frustrated I was that first year. In some ways, it was the hardest year, because I really did have hope every month, and so the crash each time was much, much more painful than it is now.

But we sort of bonded when they told us, over semen analysis tests and RE appointments and basal body temperature thermometers, and all the hysteria over getting your period again, and now I feel like that was just a cruel joke. Like I told all my secrets to someone who turned out to be a spy for the other side. An enemy, just pretending to be like me, just acting like they knew my pain, and then darting over the border to safety, leaving me behind.

I started out the day being hopeful that maybe, just maybe, we would really have a baby this time. And now I feel like I used to long ago - that it will never happen, that we'll be left behind in the dust of other people's strollers. Like we're alone. Again.

I hate this. I hate being here. I hate the fact that I hate my brother right now. I hate the fact that I have to lead a Thanksgiving Eve worship service tomorrow night, when 'thankful' is about the last fucking emotion I have right now.

"Things you can't learn in a counseling class? Check."


  1. I can only imagine how hard that must be. I will be thinking of you this holiday weekend and hope you make it though OK.

  2. For what it's worth, I think you're on to something. The one friend that I've had the hardest time with is the one that after only a few months of trying decided there was something wrong. I only found out because she called and started asking lots of questions; which at the time she hadn't done in the year + that we'd been dealing with our infertility. She had trouble convincing her husband to go in for an SA and one day she called me at work to announce that her husband had canceled his appointment. I was devastated for her. We had bonded over our MFI. And the next words out of her mouth were, "I'm about 5 weeks pregnant." And the wind went out of me and my sails.

    Eventually I recovered, but my relationship with her was never the same. Her husband and my friendship remains unchanged. My hope for you is that when your emotions calm down, you'll be a bigger person than me.

    Sending you warm thoughts over the weekend.

  3. Sorry to hear about your brother and about your conflicted feelings. Hopefully their pregnancy is not the only topic of conversation at the Thanksgiving table.

    FYI it's called an office hysteroscopy as opposed to being in the hospital. I had mine at the hospital, under general anesthesia.

  4. I'm sorry you had such a crappy day. It sucks having mixed emotions and not being able to feel happy about something that is actually really great. It will be your turn. Soon.

    Big Hugs!

  5. It sucks. It sucks because you love your family but it's so hard to get over the hurt and the grief that seems to hang over us who have tried for sooo long. Sending hugs your way...

  6. There's no way around it...that sucks! I think it's might initially be harder when it's someone we love. And, I definitely think your on to something with that "betrayal" feeling you mentioned.

    ((((HUGS)))) So sorry for the added drama/emotion this weekend!

  7. Thank you for so exactly explaining what is like to have *mostly* excepted IF, to have learned how to be happy for the pregnant ladies around you, and still have hatred, envy, and pain. You're not alone.....I, for one, am in this boat too. Good Luck on Sunday. I'll be sending you thoughts and prayers for strength.

  8. I dunno, creepy marketing ploy, yes, but if that sucker was a 60% off Hysteroscopy, I'd prolly go for it.

    So sorry you have to deal with this over the holiday... and I know how it feels to be the last one left. It's the worst.

  9. Thanks for this post. I have also felt those sudden moments of "sucker punch" jealousy, sadness, or anger, at surprising moments. I don't often think of my infertility as something I'm grieving, but perhaps I should. Maybe it would help me deal with it better. Thinking of you.

  10. It's just hard. Hard. Hard. Hard. No matter how you slice it. Glad they gave you advance notice (although not even 8 weeks, sounds a bit early to be announcing to me! C'mon, bro, show a little restraint!)

    And just as an aside, they call it an "office hysteroscopy" because there is also an "operative hysteroscopy" during which they remove polyps, etc...

    Hope the punched in the gut feeling begins to ebb somewhat. I think it shows a lot of strength that you're able to honestly feel and express your feelings.


  11. Ughhh. I can totally relate. How did it go on Sunday? Did bro play nice?

    I really, really enjoy reading your blog. You capture the IF experience so well.

  12. Wow, you put into words exactly how I've felt with the feeling like you've shared all your secrets with a spy. I'm glad I'm not the only one who has felt that, though I must admit I am one of those who has only been TTC for a little over a year. I also want to let you know that you have a blog award waiting for you!

  13. Oh my word, you described exactly what I feel, that all the sharing was just a cruel joke. I know the feeling so well, and the hatred I feel after a pregnancy announcement (followed by guilt and I-am-such-a-horrible-person but I can't get pregnant and they can so it's JUSTIFIED, followed by more guilt).

    I am glad I am not the only person who feels this. I must come back, I love your writing, and you capture things I have felt so well.