I really was going to write a silly post about the foods I can't eat and my current obsession with peanut butter cups. I even started writing it. But then something happened, and now that will have to wait.
I have wondered since we found out I was pregnant how I would react to pregnancy announcements and seeing pregnant ladies on the street. The seeing-pregnant-ladies-on-the-street question got answered pretty quickly since I live in lower Manhattan and you can't walk down the street without tripping over five giant bellies. The answer to that question is that they don't make me as sad/angry/jealous as they used to, but I feel no affinity with them. Right or wrong, I assume most of these women didn't struggle to get pregnant and I assume they did not spend their first trimester filled with panic that they were about the miscarry, and so I just don't feel like I'm in their club. But on the whole, it's a lot easier to see them than it used to be.
As for the pregnancy announcement thing - my first foray into that realm was very different than I expected. My cousins have been through the ringer when it comes to having a baby. They were married before I ever even met my husband, and have basically been trying since then. They have experienced the stillbirth of a full term son, followed by difficulty conceiving, ART, and recurrent early pregnancy loss. On Halloween they posted an adorable announcement on Facebook that they are expecting twins in the spring. This is a win for IF Land. This is a fist-pumping, "hell yeah!" moment. This is sheer joy. I realized that I would have felt this way for them even if I weren't pregnant, so it didn't seem like a proper test of my reaction.
Well, that question was answered last night. Like most couples, Jeeves has his friends, especially from high school and college, I have my friends from that time frame, and then we have truly shared friends from when our lives started to overlap. I am very lucky that I really like all of Jeeves' old friends. They are nice, interesting people. A close friend of his from college, N, and her partner C live in Manhattan. It took me a couple of years to warm up to N - she's got many wonderful qualities, but she can also be an insufferable know-it-all (takes one to know one), and she can say some off-the-cuff, judgmental things that I find irksome. Also, the first time I met her she made some disparaging comments about New Jersey. I hold to the rule that you may only mock New Jersey, the greatest state in the nation, if you are from New Jersey. What I didn't know at the time is that N is originally from New Jersey. Anyway, things started to get better for me where N is concerned when I realized it's okay to argue with her about some of her judgey positions - she won't take offense and I feel better when I do it.
N's partner C (I'm using "partner" instead of boyfriend because although they are not married, they have been together for a long time, and have lived together for the last few years and I feel it's safe to assume that they are committed to being together for the long-term, even if they aren't married) is awesome - he is kind and smart and best of all - he calls N on some of her bullshit, which I think she needs.
While I have been pretty open with my friends about our infertility and miscarriages, Jeeves has told very few people. N and C don't know anything about our experience.
Last night, they invited us over to their apartment for dinner. We arrived and got the tour, and right away I had serious apartment envy. This happens to me a lot, because although our apartment itself is very nice, our furnishings leave a lot to be desired. I joke that our apartment looks like a couple of college bros live in it. This is what happens when you put all of your stuff in storage before you move into the City and your husband's furniture was bought at Ikea circa 2001. We've been slowly trying to convert it to a more adult look, but it's been a very long process. We are also not handy. Or particularly creative at spacial arrangements. Meanwhile, N and C are architects and super handy, so their place is so amazingly organized and adult, and all their pictures are properly framed, and they have all these cool shelving units and aesthetic touches. And since it's a very new apartment building, the bathroom fixtures are awesome and clean, and the kitchen has Viking appliances. And the apartment has a washer/dryer! Serious envy here.
Anyway, we sit down in the living room and I am swallowing my "why can't our apartment look like this?" envy when C asks what we would like to drink (beer for Jeeves, water for me) when N says, "The reason I'm not drinking is because I'm pregnant!" Record scratch. She's 16 weeks, still as tiny as ever.
I am going to boil down the story for you. At some point in the late summer, N started feeling sick. Very fatigued, bloated, constipated, hungry all the time, but queasy. Sound familiar? She thought she had a parasite. She went to her doctor, who was like, "I dunno." She went to an OB/GYN, who was also like, "I dunno." Dumbest OB/GYN ever, apparently. She mentioned that she had been having some left-sided pain, so her gynecologist referred her for an ultrasound on her left ovary. Which is where she learned she was pregnant. At that point she was 10 weeks! 10 fucking weeks! It came out as she is telling me this story, that she had just gone off the birth control pill. What kind of idiot OB/GYN doesn't automatically say, "you need to go in the bathroom and pee on this stick for me." For Pete's sake, at my old gynecologist they used to give you a pregnancy test every time you stepped into the office, just to be safe!
I sort of assumed from this story that perhaps N and C had decided that they would maybe start trying for kids in a few months, so N had gone off the pill in preparation for that, and since she hadn't had a normal period yet, it had not occurred to her that she might be pregnant. But Jeeves told me when I was in the bathroom she made some sort of remark about how she hadn't thought she would have kids. And they had been really thrown for a loop when they found out she was pregnant and debated whether they would even keep it. Which begs the question - why the fuck did you go off the pill then? Arrrggghhhh. For the rest of the evening, she kept explaining pregnancy 101 stuff to us, like how progesterone slows down your system and that's why she's constipated, and about the foods you can't eat, and my eyes nearly rolled out of my head.
Obviously, being only 8w4d pregnant, we did not tell them that I was pregnant. Even when N became the first person in a year to ask me, repeatedly, why I'm not drinking. Seriously? I really thought I might have to choke a bitch, and that would be super wrong.
Don't get me wrong. I am very happy for them. I think they will be really good parents. And hearing their news did not sting the way such news used to sting. If I weren't pregnant, I suspect I would have come home and sobbed. And that didn't happen. But the year and a half of trying, the 4 IUIs and the 2 miscarriages that it took for us to get to this point - they mean that I am not on her team. Her baby is due two months before mine and I felt no kinship with her on this. Because she is lucky. So, so lucky. And life is so very unfair. I thought of how hard it was for us to get here, how many infertiles I know are struggling, and how N got pregnant the moment she went off the pill when she didn't even want to get pregnant, how for the first 10 weeks she wasn't taking prenatals, and was eating and drinking all sorts of stuff she probably shouldn't, and all of her screening tests have come back clean.
The universe is not a wish-granting factory, and I know that. But I was so very angry about it last night. I have read so many other posts from women who get pregnant through ART which explain that pregnancy doesn't mean that you're no longer an infertile. You're always an infertile. You're always on this team. I wouldn't wish this team on anyone, in that I wouldn't wish infertility on anyone. But I am glad I found this club of really cool women, who I will be connected to for the rest of my life because of our crummy shared experience.
Jeeves and I spent today organizing, throwing things away, and generally trying to make our apartment look a little less like a frat house. My stand mixer is now accessible, which means cookies. Cookies all the time. Please send me your recipes. Next post will be more fun, I promise.