After giving me daily updates about how her cervix was progressing, Myrtle texted me on due date to announce the arrival of little Myrtle. My heart was immediately overjoyed while at the same time it sank into my stomach. I was surprised by my own reaction, I knew this event was coming, why was this news feeling hard to process? I think at that moment, it felt more elusive for me. After all, pregnancy is just a means to an end, the baby is the real goal and here she was holding hers in her arms, while my uterus is still empty and the prospect for pregnancy is bleak. I held it together to the end of the work day, but burst into tears as soon as I got home.
I realised that I was jealous of more than just her baby. She conceived quickly, had an easy pregnancy with no morning sickness, she looked great despite going over her recommended weight limit, she kept the gender a surprise, which was something I planned to do. She had a girl. We had once discussed that while adopting the “along as it’s healthy” attitude, we both really imagined ourselves with daughters. Now she had a textbook vaginal delivery on her due date. Could anything be more fucking perfect! This was my field of expertise. I worked in labour and delivery for over four years and delivered over one hundred babies, how could she have done it so well when she didn’t have my knowledge and experience? I felt like I was being beat on my home turf. The other thought running through my mind was that if I did ever become pregnant, our mothers would talk and compare us, just as they’ve done all our lives, and how could I ever compete with Myrtle’s fucking perfect pregnancy.
Damn you infertility! What have you done to me? I’ve been replaced by this petty insecure jealous bitch! The next morning I received a text from Myrtle informing me that little Myrtle was in the newborn ICU. When I spoke with her yesterday, she mentioned that she was having trouble breathing and was taking to the NBICU as a precaution, which sounded fairly routine, but now it seems that she may have an infection and has been started on antibiotics and a full septic workup. The news hit me like a slap in the face. Every petty, jealous bitchy thought I had was out the window and the person I like to believe I truly am returned and I was determined to be the friend Myrtle needed me to be. Myrtle and her husband faced one of the roughest crash courses into parenthood as little Myrtle needed to be hospitalised for ten days after her birth, but as an epilogue, is now thriving. I felt so guilty for thinking that everything was so swimmingly perfect for Myrtle.
I also felt really badly for her as I learned from my mother, that her parents didn’t go to the hospital until the day after the birth. They live less than an hour away. “Well it was raining…” was the excuse from Myrtle’s mother. My mother told me “If you lived an hour away and just had a baby…” She didn't need to finish her sentence. I live on the other side of the country and I knew that if I announced the arrival of their grandchild, my parents would drive to the airport and hop on the first flight they could. Myrtle’s mother didn’t go back to visit for another week. My mother asked “how can you stay away?” She responded “I just don’t want to get stuck there…” Stuck helping your daughter cope with a difficult situation? Stuck looking at your beautiful granddaughter? I finally realised that whatever feelings I had from my own infertility, it wouldn’t ever change my friendship with Myrtle, and she really needed her friend right now. I also felt so badly for my mother, who I know was experiencing a form of grandmother jealousy. I wished I could reach out to her and allow her to vent. I’ve been fortunate to find a great support group within my own friends and through an online infertility forum. I hope my mother was able to find such support.