Back in January, Husband was selected to umpire some top level field hockey matches on the east coast. The question of wheather I would join him on the trip was predicated by our first FET. If it had been successful, I would have been 34-36 weeks pregnant during that time. Not only would I not have been able to travel, Husband would have been worrying about being on the other side of the country during the late stages of my high risk pregnancy. Fast forward a second stim cycle and a total of three failed FETs later, I was holding my breath to see if this October trip would conflict with my up coming FET prep. Fortunately, I was able to take advantage of my clinic's 'if AF arrives after 4 pm, we consider the next day to be your CD1' rule, and everything fell into place.
Going back home is just so weird. I had to negotiate borrowing my mother's car to go visit Myrtle. I came home just after midnight and she and my father had fallen asleep in the living room. This took me back over twenty years: did I break curfew? Did I even have a curfew? Was I going to be in trouble? I gently shook my mother to let her know I arrived home safely. "Is my car okay?" she asked. Oh. She was waiting up for her car, not me. I hid my Lupron and related supplies inside the lining of my suitcase, an action Husband considered paranoid. Yet sure enough, my mother reached inside my suitcase, "can I see your travel case? I need a new one.." Um, it's a travel case. Use your imagination. Despite needing to conceal my meds, I never missed a dose.
Husband went into his company's New York office on the days when he was not umpiring, so he didn't have to use as much vacation time. He shared the news that one of his colleagues is pregnant. "They struggled for a few years and went right to IVF, as she had just turned 41. They conceived with their first transfer." I started to feel the familiar sensation of hapulosy. Any pregnancy is a victory for all infertiles. Yet perhaps because I've only met her on two or three occasions at thier company's holiday parties (although in that short time, I discovered that she is really cool, she will be a fabulous mother, and she looks amazing for her age) I found myself addressing a stronger sense of jealousy. Pregnancy rates are much lower after the age of 40, even with assisted reproduction, which makes it even more atypical that she was a first time success. Then again, I wasn't supposed to produce 14 mature eggs and have them all fertilise at the age of 38. In the end it doesn't really matter what your lab values and projected stats are; it all comes down to what can happen in the lab and in the uterus.
A few days later, Husband and I were enjoying a drink at a bar in Boston, when he received a text from Barney, a fellow ex-pat. Barney is an accountant for a large corporation, and his wife Robin does sound editing for a critically acclaimed TV programme. Last year, she revealed that she wasn't sure if they wanted to have kids, which made sense given the demands of their careers. This was after I told her about our issues and she advised me to "just give it some more time". There was a sonogram picture attached with the text, as it announced that Robin was nearly 12 weeks along. We joined in the messages of congratulations and well wishes, and went through the routine of discussing due dates, potential names and some very specific questions for me regarding genetic screening and ultrasound diagnoses. This should be us! We should be making this announcement! I just couldn't suppress those thoughts from my mind. Husband was right, we wouldn't be the first of the ex-pats to procreate. I also couldn't help feel frustrated that someone who wasn't sure if she even wanted to conceive, did it so quickly. Especially as she pronounced that I needed to be more patient. Is another year enough fucking time?
Then there was my visit with Myrtle. As Husband would be seeing her first, I asked if he could encourage Myrtle not to bring up the subject with me. "Nope" he replied. "I think that will make things worse. You two should talk face to face." As we were alone together, the opportunity presented. Fortunately, I did most of the talking, and she did more listening. There were a few cringe worthy comments, "why don't you shove all three [of my remaining euploid embryos] up there?" and a face palm or two "have you thought about going to Hawaii after a transfer? Think about it Jane, how many people become pregnant on holiday?" but it was a good visit. Even when I asked about Melissa.
Melissa was a mutual friend from our high school days. She can best be described as a chronic underachiever. She abandoned many projects and quit sports teams, but nothing was ever her fault. She always had some excuse or placed the blame on a coach or teacher who didn't like her. She was the type of girl who practised her signature with a guy's last name after their second date. Oh, and she had an attraction to losers who lacked ambition, but had mummy issues. I long lost interest in her when I left for college, but Myrtle kept in touch with her, although she admits it's mostly for my amusement.
Two years ago when I went back home for Myrtle's shower, I learned from another high school alum that Melissa (at that time briefly married to Husband #2, after a failed engagement followed her divorce from Husband #1) was having trouble conceiving. I wasn't too surprised, as I always suspected that she has PCOS. Yet, even though I had just learned about our moderate male factor diagnosis and it had only been seven months, I started to think, oh great, I'm just as much of a loser as Melissa! I can't conceive either! "So..." I asked Myrtle "have you heard from Melissa lately?" "Well...I didn't want to tell you..." she hesitated, "she had a baby boy last year." Hmm. The news didn't bother me. I acknowledged that being infertile does not make me a loser, and just because she has a baby; she's probably still a loser.
When I first saw little Myrtle walking hand in hand with Myrtle, my heart melted. She's absolutely beautiful and a very sweet little girl. As soon as I entered their house, she invited me to play with her. She is remarkably well behaved for a two year old and shows gracious social skills. Myrtle and Mr Myrtle tought her to say "cheers" and she raised her sippy cup of milk as Myrtle and I clinked our wine glasses. Although jealousy will always be at my core, I felt an overwhelming sense of pride for Myrtle. She is doing an amazing job as a parent, even if it is still an adjustment for me to hear her address herself as 'Mommy'.
Some bloggers warned me to prepare for pain when visiting with little Myrtle. That occurred when Myrtle and her daughter came for brunch with my parents. The sights of little Myrtle reaching for my mom to pick her up, as well as my Dad crouching on his bad knee to play with her, both brought tears to my eyes. Fortunately, the moment was broken with laughter as little Myrtle called my parents' cat Sookie "Soopie". It's been interesting to process these different reactions and emotions. The same event of a pregnancy or birth announcement can evoke several different responses. Oh, there was something else that gave me a smug sense of satisfaction; Myrtle has a really big ass, and unlike mine, hers is not from sports.