exile in kidville

friends and such
June 14, 2007, 10:05 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

i’ve been thinking a lot about friends lately.  recent posts by Bea and Samantha started this thought process, and it was painfully reinforced by a recent conversation with a very dear friend.  on top of that, i’m leaving for seattle this very afternoon to see a friend i haven’t been in the same room with for five years for a mini-reunion of sorts with two other good friends of mine from ohio who currently live there.  i’m looking forward to the trip, but a bit nervous too.  recent events have put me in a different space.  it doesn’t feel like complete unknown territory, but a i still feel a bit like i’m on a different plane.  parallel with the rest of the universe, but just outside of it. 

i don’t have that many close friends in vancouver other than Husband.  in fact, most of the people i reach out to when i really need a friend don’t live in this town.  instead, i pour myself a glass of wine and head to the porch with the phone in my hand and hope for the best what with time zones and other people’s schedules.  i did a little bit of this wine/porch calling shortly after we found out that i was going to have the d&c.  one of the people i called was my dear friend M from ohio.  M and i have been friends for eons, and have been through a lot of ups and downs in each others lives.  M has always been one of the most supportive people in my arsenal.  as Bea says, was a Category One friend to the core.  however, i started doubting this when we first talked before my d&c.  she started talking about adoption and some other cliched topics.  i rebutted a little bit, but didn’t really have the energy.  i needed pure, blind support at that moment and i simply wasn’t getting it.  i changed the topic and we talked about other things for a bit then i hung up and called someone else. 

M called again on tuesday to check in on me to see how i was doing.  the conversation was okay, but when talking about how painful it is to see that everyone in the universe around me has a child or is knocked up when i have a stupid inhospitable and disagreeable body, she said, "well, maybe for now you will just have to enjoy other people’s children."

what?  are you fucking kidding me?  did you really just say that? 
i didn’t say that in my outside voice though.  maybe i should have.

later i was then talking with her about my RE’s office and how they were being a pain in my ass and about how i just wanted to speak with a doctor about our loss and just ask some questions like whether or not this put us into the recurrent miscarriage category or not (more on that to come).  she said, "i don’t see it as losses, i see it as two really good tries." 

again.  what?  are you kidding?  surely you are not that. . . i don’t even know what.
once again, i changed the subject and talked about other things for a while before i hung up and cried.  i felt a painful loss of a friendship at that moment.  however, the longer i sat on it and thought about it, i’m not so sure that’s true.  yes, she let me down.  yes, she has said some painful things and has been insensitive.  the thing is, i just don’t think M gets it.  she had a painful childhood and doesn’t want children of her own.  period.  i know that won’t change for her.  she has never wanted children, nor has wanting them ever been on her radar.  she simply doesn’t understand this, and apparently she is so far removed from it that she cannot even empathise / support her friends properly in this arena.  while i wish M could be a better friend to me about this, i simply do not believe she can be.  my mom thinks i’m letting her off easy, but i’m not sure.  while i won’t be going to her for support on anything baby/IF related, i’m not ready to dump her as a friend.  this may mean that we don’t talk for a while, but she truly was Category One for the many years i have known her and i’m wondering if there are just some things that other people are simply incapable of being a good friend about.  does it make her a bad friend overall?  i don’t think so.  i can’t really talk to my dad much about IF issues either, but that doesn’t make him a bad father — it means that it is something that is hard for him to communicate about and i’m okay with that.  should the same logic apply to friends?  i know that M said some really unbelievable things…things that i think are so wrong to even think to utter….but….i don’t know.

this whole experience has been really eye-opening when it comes to friendships.  as i’ve mentioned, it seems as if i’ll tell just about anyone about our loss.  that’s not really true, as i’m not broadcasting this at work or anything, but it is certainly true that more people know about the loss than knew about the pregnancy in the first place.  i’ve been rather amazed at some of the reactions.  i didn’t tell my local friend K about the pregnancy, but before the d&c told her all about it in an email.  i expected her to say she was sorry and to be supportive, but she went beyond that and asked if i needed anyone to go to any appointments with me as she was willing to go with me if Husband couldn’t make it to any to be there for me.  i love K to death and we have a great time together, but i wouldn’t have put her into that category of friends before this.  it wouldn’t have even occurred to me to call her to ask her to come along on an appointment with me should Husband not be able to go — i just didn’t think she would be *that* kind of friend.  turns out she is, and i tear up just thinking about that possibility, and how we’ve been friends for three years and i didn’t know.  another friend who is also very supportive of us and our IF struggles but is also a bossy kind of friend (i can’t think of any other way to describe her, but i mean that in a good way most of the time), came over with a beautiful cosmos flower for me to plant and just quietly hugged me and even shed a few tears of her own.  she seemed to know exactly what i needed.  last friday after a day and night professional event, i had a few glasses of wine with a colleague who i also consider a friend, but not someone that i would necessarily see much outside of work situations.  he knew that Husband and i were trying for a baby because a little while ago he was trying to get me to apply for a different job, and  i ended up telling him that we were trying and i should probably stay where i was because there is amazing day care here and my job is very stable.  on friday he asked how things were going and i just laid it all out there.  told him everything that happened over the past number of weeks.  he was amazing.  he said all of the right things at all of the right times and was simply a great friend to me.  as we were leaving he looked at me and told me that he was really rooting for us.  that right there reinforced my thoughts about telling people during the happy times.  hopefully you won’t need their support should things go terribly wrong, but if you do they’re going to be there.  as i’ve mentioned before, it seems to make much more sense to me now to have people rooting for you from the very beginning instead of only being able to share your sadness and grief. 

that said, my other friend who not too long ago announced her pregnancy is still on my no-talk list. i just can’t do it.  she is such a stereotypical bad pregnant friend, i just can’t take it.  i kind of feel the same way about her that i do about M — maybe they just can’t support me in this area….so is that a terrible thing?  can you have friends that are supportive in some areas and not others?  does their failure in one area make them failures as friends in general?  i haven’t really decided, but the reality is that having friends that you can’t talk to about something so all-consuming and important is not only difficult but hard on the friendship as well.  particularly if you’re me and you can’t even bring yourself to tell them why you can’t talk to them.  in a way, i feel like it’s not my responsibility to educate them on this.  on the other hand, i’m the one bearing the burden of knowing that something is wrong, and they have no idea. 

in a way, this whole experience has been a weeding process of sorts. just like most of you, i’ve found new elements of friendship in existing friends, and have been let down by others that i thought would surely be there for me.  it’s a good thing to recognize the people that are a bit toxic to me right now and to be able to distance myself from them, but there is a sense of loss there as well.  i just don’t know yet if it has to be a permanent loss or not. 

i don’t know if my thoughts on this are coherent or not, but this is more of a thought process — not a statement of true belief.  i’m sure that every friendship, particularly those you thought were full on "category one" friends, have to be evaluated individually and over time. 

overall, i’m doing okay.  this week has definitely been better than last week.  i’m more comfortable at work, and generally feeling stronger.  i started spotting again this morning, but seeing that was more tiresome than anything else.  Husband and i went to see our GP together yesterday.  we brought her and the staff some warm cinnamon buns and a little thank you note as we think they have been really good to us lately.  it was really good to talk with her.  she told me to go ahead and start taking the metform!n again as it might even help make this first  post d&c cycle go a little better.  she is re-referring us to the fertility clinic.  i asked her if it was possible to switch REs at the clinic.  the RE we had was fine, but one day when i was there another doctor did a scan for me and she was SO nice and very warm.  our RE was nice enough, but in a more curt and removed way.  i need all the love i can get right now, so nice and warm docs are preferred over the more stoic types.  i worry a little bit about even asking this as i know the two REs will talk and if we have to stay with our original RE i worry that she will be even more stoic and removed….i also worry that i am simply oversensitive about my interpersonal relations with doctors, but fuck it.  i need the love and the warmth.  i get it from my GP.  the OB who did my d&c was simply lovely. . . i don’t think i’m that hard to please, i just want people to be warm, nice, and not an asshat.  is that crazy?  regardless, our GP has also gone through the same fertility clinic and when i mentioned this other REs name, her face lit up a little bit and she agreed that she was a lovely lady.  she is going to see what she can do when she is re-referring us.  this meeting with the doctor was yet another milestone that i had in my head that would help make me "feel better."  however, i think this one actually worked a bit.  i feel a lot better just having talked to her, and a little more ready to move forward.

another thing — i haven’t been able to comment on any of the newly pregnant blogger’s blogs out there.  it’s not because i’m pained by your news.  i’m not at all, i’m so happy for all of you.  i just don’t want to leave a comment and then have you happen over to my blog if you’re not coming here on your own volition.  i know that what just happened to us is your worst nightmare right now and i don’t want to put that out there for you.  i want you to be thinking positively, not to be scared by what we just went through.  so, if you’re a newly pregnant blogger i usually comment to, know that i am so happy for you, and will come around again when my loss isn’t so primary on my own blog. 

okay.  i’ve babbled on for long enough.  i’m off to seattle this afternoon, which means that my poor puppy will have to leave doggy day care early.  she LOVES the doggy day care.  she goes twice a week and it’s plenty for her.  she’s exhausted for a day and a half after wards.  it’s some of the best $20/day i’ve ever spent.   have a good weekend all.  i’ll check in again next week.

**and UGH.  i just went to the washroom and the outfit i put on this morning has morphed into a complete disaster.  i looked fine and dare i say even cute this morning and now my top has balooned into looking like a unsightly maternity top.  crap. it’s only 10:00am.  this does not bode well for the day, particularly as i’m on the reference desk from 1-2pm. crap.  at least i’m leaving early, though by 1pm i expect this thing to morph into a muumuu.  there is little sexier than a woman in a muumuu and jeans.


14 Comments so far
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I do think that you have different friends for different parts of your life. Many of my lifelong friends can’t even come close to understanding what I go through every month. I wouldn’t worry too much about your other two friends. I think we meet people at different times in our lives for a reason. I have a wonderful work friend who is more supportive than anyone else besides Love. I would never have thought. Hang in there! I can’t even imagine what you’re going through right now, but know that I’m here for you, along with all your other friends here. We’re all cheering you on. I hope the days continue to slowly get easier and hope you find more and more surprising, supportive friends during this time.

Comment by Equipoise

It’s so hard to figure out how to handle friends. I think you are right that all friends may not be best for all parts of your life, but it is certainly hard to hide this part of your life right now, when it so important and affecting you so strongly. M really may not get and be trying to be supportive without realizing that her comments are in fact hurtful. One thing people tend to do (and even bloggers are no exception) is try to fix things.
You’re feeling bad? Let me try to cheer you up!
In fact, the right response might be, you’re feeling bad? I’m so sorry.
It’s hard to watch people you know be in pain, and if M doesn’t entirely understand that pain, she feel more anxious and in “fix it” mode. You might just tell her that you are feeling really bad, and just want a listener. There isn’t really a way for her to make it better.

Comment by Samantha

I had a girlfriend like that – my best friend, actually. After our chemical on IVF #1, she would say things like “enjoy time with your husband now!” and “Maybe you’re pushing too hard.”
Finally I had to give her RULES… that I needed support sometimes and when I was upset and needed that, I wanted to hear “wow, that really sucks.”
And she told me that she was just trying to help, she didn’t know what to say when I would get upset.
She’s been great since then – really chooses her words carefully.
I don’t know that keeping it all in is helpful – at least, it isn’t for me. (You may be more private then I am – I’m a freaking open book.) But I’d hate for you to feel like you can’t talk to your best friend about how sad you are, too.
Maybe just an airing of sorts might help? Where you tell her that you just want her to tell you “that sucks, hon. I’m sorry” and give you a hug when you talk about things.

Comment by serenity

So you never found LuLu Hogg sexy (speaking of muumuus)? Wait, did you get the Dukes of Hazzard up north?
It’s a funny thing about friends. You’d expect those who know you best to be the most sympathetic. You certainly wouldn’t expect someone who has never been in your situation to be the most empathetic. I think there are two important factors at work: 1) those closest to us often want to help fix us rather than just listen. I try not to do this, but I still fall into the trap with familty and friends sometimes. 2) People who have been through something difficult, whatever it was, can sometimes cultivate a broad sensitivity. Others just turn hard. Those who’ve never been through anything really bad don’t know what to say.
Your old friends may fall into either or both of these categories. It still hurts, and they suck right now for not doing better. Maybe later you can tell them what you need. I had to do this a few times, and it worked a little.
I’m glad you have found some good, caring souls near you. You’ll be that person for someone else someday, if you haven’t already been.
Good news on the new RE!

Comment by furrow

i think i have come to the conclusion that most of us aren’t naturally wired to know how to handle these things. maybe it is the ones who have been through a big loss of some kind of their own who know what to say? or maybe just the ones who have had someone wonderful be there to support them in all the right ways? lord knows i am much better equiped to help a friend through a loss than i was before dealing with infertility, in no small part due to what i have learned from this fantastic blogging community.

Comment by Sarah

and thanks for your note to the newly pregnant. i have continued commenting here, but i sometimes wonder if maybe i should stay away, in case i’m just a painful reminder. but as we’ve sadly learned from those friends who just aren’t up to the task, it’s usually better to try to offer some support and risk hearing the person would rather be left alone than not to offer any at all! and your story in no way causes me any extra worry or anything, lord knows most of us have seen enough already. the last thing you should be worried about is burdening others with something negative…the blog community is built on supporting each other through all sorts of horribly difficult situations.

Comment by Sarah

I think it is difficult to know how people will react. I was also surprised by who gave the right reaction to my news.
I also decided after the second time that when/if I’m pregnant again I will tell people I want to tell because it’s easier to explain if things go wrong if you don’t have to say “I was….”
The person who I felt worst for was a lovely guy I worked with who was obviously low on the grapevine and came to congratulate me the first time. He obviously felt absolutely terrible when I explained that congratulations were no longer appropriate.
I hope you get the nice RE, it makes such a difference to feel looked after properly in this situation.

Comment by Caro

I definitely think there are friends we turn to for different purposes, and I think I agree that that doesn’t make them bad friends (if we can’t turn to them for everything).
But, I’m glad you’ve found support in unexpected places, and that people have surprised you in a positive way.
I hope you have a relaxing trip to Seattle!

Comment by Sticky Bun

People can be so unexpected. I had to tell my boss what was going on with me, and she was perfectly sweet, very thoughtful, and made contingency plans for the days I’m not up to working. On the other hand, one of my best friends, who I thought would be sweet, doesn’t want to know. My innards clearly embarrass her.
Oh well.
Enjoy Seattle.

Comment by May

You know how sometimes you read someone’s post and you want to be their best friend? That’s how I feel when I read your blog…
I think that some friends have limited utility. I know that sounds heartless but I just don’t know how else to put it. I believe that there are only a few friends (maybe even only one) that will be able to be there for you for every up and down in your life. But the friends that are worth keeping around (other than the type I just described) are those that know their limitations and are honest about them.
It is one thing to have to share some information in order to educate your friends. But they should be willing to do a little research on their own, too. One of my husband’s friend’s wives is simply wonderful and, though we live far apart, we are trying to build a friendship. She just told me that she was diagnosed with lupis – being the mother to triplets (via IVF) and then a little one (oops!) makes this diagnosis nearly unthinkable. I have asked for her to share more details when she is ready, but I have also been trying to learn on my own. I think that is what real friends do. It’s the only respectful and loving way to be, at least in my mind.

Comment by Lady In Waiting

I think that some people are just better at being sympathetic ears, period. It’s hard for me not to judge my friends who don’t seem to “get it.” But I don’t think everyone has that filter that tells them what to say when someone is grieving a loss. And, unfortunately, everyone says hurtful things unintentionally sometimes–myself included. I think the best way to go is what you mentioned–just avoid those friends until you feel you’re in a better place. That doesn’t mean you have to give up on the friendship altogether.

Comment by Ann

Hi Megan, I happened onto your blog and read your whole story. Simply: I am so sorry for your loss. I know how disappointing it all can be. Truly, I am sad for you.
But I am glad that you are being as open as possible, because — as you have found — you will find unexpected places of support.
And, to answer your question: 2 miscarriages qualifies you for recurrent pregnancy loss. Go get the tests and don’t let any RE tell you differently.
Wishing you the best during this difficult time,
Ms. Planner

Comment by Ms. Planner

You completely amaze me. I loved this post. You know relationships, when tested by fire, come out different. Some you cling to even more, others you just let fall off and become less tight. Also sometimes those who have always been your friend really are hurt too with bad news. They don’t know what to say. (I am a nice person and always try to see the silver lining)
I did find after my miscarriage those who I never in a million years would have thought to have been a major support were. They were just moved to action. It touched my heart.
About doctors, I have learned that I pay THEM! I work for me! Find someone you like and don’t take any crap.

Comment by Sunny

Wow…I so agree with you. I totally believe there are different friends. We have some friends that I considered very close until we lost our boys…and now we rarely talk…HUGS!!!! I am so happy you found some unforseen support in some other friends though.

Comment by M

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