Thursday, August 16, 2012

Being Happy for Other People

One of the hardest things to deal with during infertility treatment is watching as everyone else gets pregnant but you. Of course, in perspective, this is not true. Not EVERYONE is getting pregnant. In fact, lots of women are facing infertility issues, it's not just me. But, when you are going through this, it just FEELS like everyone else is getting pregnant but you, and not only are they getting pregnant, but most of the time, they weren't even really trying in the first place. Not like I am trying. They aren't charting and temping and getting ultrasounds and blood draws every morning...but yet, they get pregnant, and me? I don't.

The last major meltdown I had over someone getting pregnant was when one of my friends announced she was having twins. It came as a blow, as I was just told by my clinic at the time that I'd have to wait two months to receive any treatment at all. I was devastated. It might sound a little ridiculous, but I even took off of work because I was too sad to go in. I had a really hard time being around her for most of her pregnancy, as it only reminded me of what I didn't have. Eventually, though, I had to suck it up, because I wasn't being fair to myself, nor was I being fair to her, and though it literally took me MONTHS to cope, I managed, and I am truly happy for her and her boys now. I can't wait to see them.

Since that time, I've had three unsuccessful IUIs and two unsuccessful IVFs. My situation has become a little more despairing. Before, I was hopeful for the treatment to come, and now, I am wondering what options are left for me when I've pretty much used up the ones available.

Last week, toward the middle of the week, I came to the realization that the second IVF did not work. In disappointment and grief, I posted in my blog, putting my heart and raw emotion out there for everyone to see. For the second time, I've had a LIFE put into me, an embryo, my little piece of me and my husband, and for the second time, I've failed to nurture it and let it die. It's a horrible feeling. It truly is.

I didn't know, at that time, that my best friend, Corrine, a girl who has seen me at my worse, one who has been there for me through everything and more...was reading my blog too. And I didn't know, at the time, that she was pregnant and terrified of telling me.

I didn't know that she had called my other best friend, Gina, in tears, asking her how she is possibly going to tell me now, after I've failed another IVF. They've debated on if it should have been something to say face-to-face or not. They lamented over what to do.

Finally, Corrine decided to tell my husband. She had him call her while he was at work, and she told him the news. My husband told her that he'd handle it, and when he hung up the phone, I'm sure all Corrine could do was hold her breath and wait.

My husband came home from work early. He put away his things, then came into the living room and said very plainly, "I am going to tell you something, and it is going to make you upset, but you're going to have to keep it together." My very first thought was that he was fired from his job, since he was home early and had been complaining about work all week. But, he said that wasn't it. And as I tried to figure out what else could possibly make me upset, he said, "Corrine is pregnant."

And my heart broke.

My husband didn't know that I had spent that morning crying, trying to get over the fact that my IVF was a failure. I finally reached a place where I was okay with this. A place of acceptance. And then he comes home with this news.

My first reaction was shock. My second reaction was to think, "But she wasn't really trying..." And my third reaction, which I said while breaking down into tears was, "This isn't fair."

It was only after I said this that my husband told me to come over to him, and he held me and let me cry it out. But, as I was crying, I realized that no amount of tears was going to change my situation. And worse off, my best friend was afraid of telling me something that she should have been proud about, not worried about how I was going to handle it.  I wasn't being fair to myself, nor was I being fair to Corrine.

I didn't take long to recover. I spoke with Corrine and let her know that she didn't have to feel like she was walking on eggshells with me, and that although I was having a hard time of it then, I was truly happy for her. And I am. I'm beyond happy for her. It still hurts that she kept something so wonderful from me for a month or so, and it hurts even more that I was the reason for that. But her intentions were in the right place. She was being so selfless.

A couple of days later, she invited me to go to her doctor's appointment with her to hear the baby's heartbeat for the first time. I was so touched by the offer, and I was confident in myself that I could handle it as well.

 I drove all the way back to Philadelphia to be there bright and early Monday morning so I could go with Corrine and her husband to her doctor's appointment. While I sat in the waiting room, I thought to myself that this will be me one day, but today is not my day. It's Corrine's day. When it is my day, I'm sure Corrine would do the same for me, and just be there.

Driving two hours back home was worth the thirty seconds of hearing that baby's heartbeat on the doppler, let me tell you. I would have driven halfway across the country for that.

It's not easy when everyone else is getting pregnant but you. It's not easy to keep thinking to yourself, "Well, maybe this time next year, I will have my own baby," only to get to this time next year and still have nothing. It's a horrible, horrible feeling. The biggest obstacle is learning how to overcome this feeling, though, and learning how to tell yourself that your time will come...eventually.

Until then, though, I need to genuinely learn how to be happy for other people when they share their news about their babies. Corrine won't be the last of my friends to get pregnant. I'm sure there will be others who will reach this place in their lives before I do. So, I can't keep beating myself up about it. Sure, it's not fair. Sure, it sucks. But for them, it's a beautiful thing, and I shouldn't minimize it just because I can't have it for myself right now.

In six months, my best friend will have her own bundle of joy, and I'm going to be there for her through it all, because I love her, and love transcends everything that I'm going through.


  1. Beautiful. It is hard seeing everyone else get preggos and your not. Your so brave and bold for sharing your emotions. Be blessed you are in my prayers!

  2. I'm so sorry you are having such a hard time conceiving, Stephanie. I am sending nothing but positive thoughts and happiness and sunshine to you. I just know, someday you will be able to be the mother you have always wanted to be. And you deserve that. You deserve to be happy and I know you will make an excellent mother when the time comes! I'm rooting for you, sweetie.

  3. Stephanie, this was the most beautiful post ever. I so can relate to you on every level. Your response to your friend and your support despite your own situation brought tears to my eyes. I applaud you. You have reached a place in the infertility journey that many of us have not. Being able to look beyond your own situation to be genuinely happy for others is key. I have to admit, I'm not there yet. But after this post here, I'm a little closer to being there. I look forward to celebrating the arrival of your little bundle of preciousness when the day comes. Much love to you. :^)

  4. Stephanie, you are so strong, and so loving, and caring. Everyone who is fortunate enough to call you friend is truly blessed. (hug)

  5. I love this post! -JK

  6. This post was really beautiful.

  7. I am crying as I write this. I went through my first unsuccessful IVF while both of my best friends were pregnant. It was devastating, in exactly the way you described. Thank you for putting it into words.

  8. Hi Stephanie,

    I just found your blog as I was looking for 2ww stories as I am currently in that stage of ivf.

    I had to share with you some insight I had about a year ago after waiting on the sidelines to have my own baby while everyone of my many friends had their first, second, third and even fourth child. I went to showers and birthdays keeping a huge smile on my face although it was killing me.
    Then it dawned on me: imagine I had one leg. Of course I would love to see my 2 legged friends run marathons. I would even run them myself determined to live my life the best I could. But when my 2 legged friends keep saying that although one leg is ok, two are better. Life begins with 2 legs, etc etc. then at what point does it become just plain rude. We have a right to keep our heart safe by not having to go to every shower and doctor visit just to show we are a good friend.