Last night I went to see my friend A in the hospital with her two brand-new twin boys. They were adorable. Oh I can’t wait to have my baby! I’m SO very happy I’m pregnant now – I don’t know if I could have handled the visit very well if I wasn’t. I just kept thinking that six months from now, I would be at the same hospital, with my little one. Oh I hope this is true!!!
But last night’s visit brought me back to a time that seems like a different life, but was very early in my fertility struggle. It was the first time I had ever gone to a hospital to visit a friend and her new baby. It was for my best friend at the time. E and I met our sophomore year in college, and immediately hit it off. I don’t even remember how we met, but we were soon inseparable. Our friendship evolved from hitting the frat parties, to going across the country to be camp counselors together one summer, to living together our senior year, to holding her hand while she had an abortion, to spending time with her family at holidays, to her wiping the tears off my face when my mom disappointed me – again, to moving apart after graduation, to flying back home to be there for her dad’s death, to standing up beside her at her wedding, to her helping me move back home, to her introducing me to her neighbor who I ended up marrying, to her standing up beside me at my wedding, to becoming next-door neighbors again. Needless to say, we were very close, and we were like sisters – nothing could ever break us apart.
I think I was about 26, and my ex and I had been trying to get pregnant for about a year. I went to my gyno for my annual exam, and I wanted to get assistance getting pregnant. But instead, they found cancerous cells on my cervix in the Pap smear. So I had to have a LEEP procedure. My ex took me to the LEEP procedure, which was awful, and we went directly from the doctor’s office to visit my friend E at the hospital – the buildings were connected. She had just had her baby girl the day before. I was happy for her, but I was also devastated for me. I was afraid of having cancer, I was afraid of what the LEEP procedure would do to my chances of having babies, I was upset at my broken body, and I was also upset about my broken marriage, although I wasn’t quite ready to admit that part yet. I walked into that hospital room, and I saw this baby that I thought I would never have, and knowing that it came so easy to E, I broke down and started bawling. I feel so bad about this, robbing her of her excitement of having a baby, but I couldn’t control myself. She consoled me, and I apologized, and I tried to make it up to her later.
This was the beginning of my downward spiral. A month later, I was on anti-depressants because I couldn’t stop crying. Two months later, I was in the hospital for depression. I took two months off of work, got a lot of counseling, and got better. With a lot of help from E - I relied on her a lot that year. After a lot of couple’s counseling, I filed for divorce, and tried to move on with my life, and got a lot better. And then E broke up with me. She said I was too much to handle, that it was too hard being my friend. She kept bringing up the time when I cried in the hospital at her daughter’s birth. I fought hard, trying to keep her in my life, but she wanted nothing to do with me. And therefore she is no longer my friend.
I was so afraid of TTC again, especially afraid of how I would handle it, and how it would affect my relationships with others. I dated the hubs for 5 ½ years before marrying him for fear of making a bad decision again, and I tried to warn him while dating that TTC could be very difficult, and I don’t handle it well. He didn’t listen… I’ve done a little better during the last two years than I did in my 20’s – I started seeing a counselor earlier, and I think it helped that I listened to my intuition when it said that something was very wrong, and so I got professional help earlier. Being in control of treatments, and taking an aggressive approach seems to have been easier on my psyche. And talking to all of you fabulous people online has definitely helped! But it’s been so hard. And I’ve worked really hard to not be too much of a burden on my friends, for fear of losing someone like I lost E.
My friend A, who had the twins, has been so great throughout the whole process. She really has been an amazing supportive friend. She sees me every day at work, and she always knows where I am in a treatment cycle, and what exactly is going on, both physically and emotionally, with me. Because she asks. Even last night at the hospital, with one little boy at her breast trying to figure out how to suck, she said, “so you’re 11 weeks 3 days, right? How are you feeling?” I’m so lucky – she even knows to the day where I am – and she just gave birth! A few weeks ago, she said that a comment that I made at my wedding shower always stuck in her head. Two years ago, we were talking about trying to have babies (she was pregnant with her first at the time, and so was another woman). I made the comment, “I am not looking forward to trying to get pregnant – it’s hard!” And she didn’t understand. But now, after two years of watching me struggle, she gets it, she really does. Even if she didn’t struggle at all herself, she truly understands me.
I’m so lucky to have my friend A, but I also miss my friend E. I wish I would have handled it differently nine years ago, but I didn’t. But I certainly did learn a lot.