IF and the City

I used to feel sad when I watched the episodes with Charlotte failing over and over again while trying to get pregnant. Little did I know that my own attempts would lead me on the same sad journey. We've now passed 4 years in the trenches. 6 failed IVF/ICSI cycles = nothing. Time for something new - donor eggs. Success at last. Now for round 2.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Sibling Rivalry

There's an assumption in life that your family sticks with you through thick and think, but how many families survive infertility intact?

Part of my disbelief and pain in dealing with our infertility stems from the fact that I come from what is considered a large family - I'm one of five (4 gals, 1 bro) D, on the other hand, comes from a small family - he's the one and only.

The next step is that I'm the only one of five that doesn't have children. D, of course is the only one of one not to have children. He's an only child due to unexplained ferility that his parents went thru....

Early on in our journey we conceived 'spontaneously' as they say, but unfortunately miscarried at 8 weeks. Miscarriage is a painful enough experience to go thru, but how much harder do you think it was with two sisters pregnant at the same time?! Excruciatingly painful ...

Only my mother and one of my (pregnant) sisters even knew that I'd been pregnant and miscarried, and that's the way it'll stay I thought. The one that did - S - is unfortunately an extremely selfish person and had no concept of empathy, she thought I would be 'sharing in her joy' ... and maybe she thought I could just switch off my own life to do that?

It's hard to know if I was just self-indulgent or not, but at one point D said to me that I had to figure out a way to deal with things because he was worried about me getting too depressed - and even if that meant taking a step back from my family for a while, well that's just what we would have to do, because our priority had to be to make sure that however things turned out for us,I was going to be able to be happy ... okay I agreed. So one night I explained to S that D and I had decided that I needed to take a step back from the family to ensure my sanity - and as I explained it must be difficult for her at times, not wanting to say the wrong thing around me. Oh right, so what does that mean? Well we'll catch up from time to time, we'll figure it out, but I just needed some time out ... Oh o-kay.

Well she didn't understand, and thought I was just being selfish and abandoning her and her needs. Phone calls became strained and hostile and when we did catch up - we talked about her pregnancy for most of the time, and I would go home crying and asking D why would she say such horrible things to me like 'well you're not pregnant' when I'd tell her what my doctor's advise had been. Yep, she was the pregna-zilla from hell.

Things really took a turn for the worse when we weren't informed of the birth of their baby.

D and I decided that we would just carry on as if it was the most normal thing in the world and left congratulatory messages and sent flowers. We still never heard a word.

It's now been more than a year, and we have now had no contact at all. They also moved to live in France for a year, so that makes it easier.

The funny thing is, that now we don't care. We're still dealing with infertility, it's still our main priority, and we now realise we're so much happier without having to negotiate through this always problematic relationship. Naturally this became the big talking point of the family for a while, especially since no one (except my parents) have any idea what sparked the big feud in the first place.

Working out who you are comfortable talking about your infertility with is just one of the many difficulties that you have to work out. With us, we told both parents what we were going thru, and that we'd decided we'd keep everything private from everyone else. I don't believe my mother has honoured this, but my reasons still hold true and I don't discuss what we're going thru with anyone in the family. I now don't talk to her about what we're going thru and she doesn't ask.

My mother just doesn't understand what the problems could be. She's old skool - 'it's all her fault' or 'it's all his fault' - she doesn't get the 'it's a couple's problem' modern-type thinking.

Because we're now surer than ever that our problems are male factor, I'm even more steadfast in my views. I couldn't bear to have my mother telling everyone in my family that 'it's all D's fault' I think it'd be a relief for her, because then she wouldn't need to feel any guilt that her daughter is defective.

While going thru the ivf cycles, a couple of times I've seen women with their mothers waiting with them to get their blood tests and ultra sounds, and even going with them for the transfers. I often feel envious of these women because while their mother's may drive them crazy by wanting to be around and help, I can't imagine feeling that support. I've even read forums where mothers have logged on while their daughter's are cycling.

Yet again I tell myself that this is all good stuff. When D and I become parents we will have all this experience of life that would never otherwise have.

Imagine, I sometimes think to myself, if we'd never experienced infertility - would we have never appreciated when life is delivered to you on a platter?


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