I had many IRL friends that I felt very "let down" by during our battle with infertility and miscarriage. It seemed my friends fell into three categories. Either:
A) they would avoid talking about it altogether and change the subject when I brought it up. I'd say about 50% of my friends fell into this camp.
B) they would say really hurtful and insensitive things and not just occasionally, but whenever we did talk about it. You know the usual platitudes and things that grate your heart and nerves to shreds ("It was God's plan." "When will you be "over" this?" "Well, something was probably wrong with the baby anyway."). I'd say about 25% fell into this category. Most of these friendships didn't survive this time in my life.
C) they were incredible supportive and our friendship grew because of it. I'd say the remaining 25% of my friends (which is still high compared to what I read on other blogs) really seemed compassionate. Even if they clearly didn't understand, they made an attempt to, and they listened to me when I needed it, distracted me when I needed it, and cried with me when I needed it.
Of the last group, there were two friends that I could really count on. Those were the two IRL friends that I spoke to almost daily and still do. Those two women were my touchstones. I will call one of those women Melissa.
Melissa and her husband waited a bit to have kids. He was in medical school and she was just starting her career. So while I was going through everything, she was far away from the world of TTC. Despite that, she remained compassionate and concerned, and was there for me during every single miscarriage.
Last July, she told to me that they were starting to TTC. I was so excited. Even though our friendship has stayed strong, the fact that I have kids and she doesn't has kind of separated us. Not in a bad way, but you know how it is. . . they never need a sitter, we can never find one, she wears suits and I wear spit up, they are jetting off to tropical sans kiddos vacations, and we are packing the grocery-getter and driving to the Great Wolf Lodge. I am not complaining, mind you, but I was looking forward to sharing these things with her and knew it would bring us even closer.
A few months went by with no luck. She wasn't overly concerned, but she asked me about charting, temping, and OPKs. I was happy to give her information, old charts of mine, and direct her to all of my favorite TTC sites.
After eight months of TTC she had her annual exam. She told her GYN what was going on and the doctor wasn't that concerned, but said they could run some basic tests, just to put her mind at ease. The bloodwork that they did uncovered a mildly elevated FSH and a luteal phase defect. With that discovery, her doctor also had her husband get a sperm analysis which uncovered morphology issues. Her doctor recommended that they immediately start Femara and IUIs to assist them in getting pregnant.
The first cycle, her lining was too thin and they canceled the trigger and IUI. The second cycle, she developed a cyst and canceled trigger and IUI. The third cycle, her lining looked great, but the follicle was too small to trigger, so they had her come back in two days and she had already ovulated on her own. She had little hope for the cycle.
In June, her sister-in-law told her that she and her husband were going off the Pill, just to see what happened. You guessed it, the sister-in-law told her last week that she got a positive pregnancy test. Melissa was convinced this cycle failed and she cried as she talked about having to watch her sister-in-law be pregnant so easily. She felt terrible for her feelings, but I assured her they were normal and in no way made her a bad person.
The next day, she called me and told me in a trembling voice that she was holding a faintly positive pee stick. I whooped and hollered and we cried together. She and her husband decided to keep their happy news a secret until an ultrasound, but her sister-in-law announced her news to the family at dinner this last weekend.
On Monday, Melissa was at a work meeting. Her coworker is nine months pregnant and so they had a baby shower for her. Somewhere between the cake and presents, she felt a tiny gush. She went into the bathroom and stared in horror at the toilet bowl filled with blood. From the stall, she called me, hoping for reassurance. I tried to do my best, I know miracles happen. I told her to call her doctor and get a beta.
The beta was dismal. She is miscarrying.
What. . . the. . . hell.
I just do not understand sometimes. I would NEVER wish infertility on any of my friends, even the ones who are no longer friends. BUT what I do not understand is why it seems to affect the most compassionate, wonderful women that I know. I am sure this is just a matter of perspective. I am sure it affects all manners of women, but I just get so tired of hearing and seeing about babies born to people who could care less, who abuse and neglect them and don't love them. And then my sister, my sister-in-law, one of my best friends. . . I see these women who would be the most amazing mothers suffering so very deeply in their quest to become parents.
And it makes me so angry. I am filled with sadness, yes, but also a quiet and honestly, a bit scary, RAGE. I want to yell and scream at somebody, but there is no one to "blame". And the very worst part about having experienced miscarriage and infertility myself is that I know that nothing I really say or do can truly HELP my friend at this point. I can be there for her and that does help, but I cannot take her hurt away. I cannot stop her tears. I cannot unbreak her heart. I cannot tell her that this won't happen again or that she will be pregnant again soon. I cannot tell her anything but the words that I heard so many times, and now had to say too many times to women that I love. "I am sorry."
And it makes me so angry.