Thursday, March 1, 2012

Why my dear friend couldn't stand to look at me.


Because of this.

Because this should have been her.

We worked at the same newspaper company, and would send each other funny emails all the time to break up the monotony of the day. Ranty ones when our stories didn't go to plan, bored ones, excited ones... but none were as cool as the ones we traded on our similar pregnancy symptoms.

We got pregnant at almost exactly the same time. Her by IVF, me - well, not that way! We were due a week apart. I rode the ups and downs with her of the IVF cycle, the hormones, the harvesting, the waiting, the disappointment when the first one didn't take. When I was in Las Vegas and the strip on my test turned pink, I was worried. I knew she was taking a test that day too, and waited eagerly for a good news email. Fortunately, it had taken, and we were about to embark on the coolest thing ever, together.

We moaned about feeling nauseated at work, about how we, the biggest tea enthusiasts, couldn't bear a cup. Our food avoidances, that weird feeling when you sneeze or laugh and it feels like something snaps in your abdomen. The overwhelming tiredness, our thoughts for the future... how we'd be pregnant in summer, how our feet would swell, how we'd live at the beach, how our children would always have a friend. Every step of the way, we'd have someone who understood, and who could share our joy and our mutual fear of haemorrhoids.

Things ground to a halt fourteen weeks later when results of an amniocentesis came back and she made the heartbreaking decision to terminate the pregnancy. The resulting experience was incredibly traumatic for her, for all of us. She writes about it so painfully and so eloquently here - but I'm not kidding, read with caution. I read it on my phone, outside, alone, and reflex made me fling it as hard as I could into a nearby bush while I sobbed, shocked and grieving for my beautiful friend.

I don't know that I can ever read it again.

As the months went by, we didn't know what to do. I didn't know what to say, she didn't know if she wanted to hear me say it. We'd send a cautious email now and then - vastly different to the multiple times a day of previously. We made tentative dates to meet for lunch, or an afternoon tea, and we'd try to be ok, and we would... for a while. I agonised over what to wear, I chose the baggiest, flowiest things I could find, never mentioned anything until I was asked, all the time feeling the crushing guilt caused by my mere existence causing my dear friend so much pain. I couldn't get over the idea that every time she looked at me, she would see exactly where she would be had things worked out.

She wrote a post about how she felt about  me. You can find it here but you'll need a hanky.

I was so proud of her when Veggie Baby was born. She and her partner and adorable son came over, held the baby gently, said all the right things, were so, so brave. I wanted to cry the whole time. Imagine how they felt when they left.

Now, almost 18 months later, I'm excited, elated, overjoyed to tell you she has just given birth to her own precious little baby girl. A girl who took two years of driving her parents to the extremes of human emotion, a hard-fought blessing, a much-wanted, much-loved, much-struggled for package of gorgeousness.

You can read her birth story here.

Now excuse me while I go cry.


No wait - if you have a problem with a devoted gay couple having a child, and enduring so much for the privilege, don't you dare bother telling me. I'm not interested in hearing it.

34 comments:

  1. I cried very real very happy tears for beautiful Bec when I saw her baby girl finally made it into the world!
    So very happy for her! xx

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  2. Crying. Goddamn you are beautiful, inside and out.

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  3. I bawled over Bec's post - and I bawled over this one when you first wrote it. xx Love you both.

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  4. Wasn't it just the loveliest thing!

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  5. I felt like a big, fat, stupid, betraying failure as a friend. Now I can be my regular douche self!

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  6. Aw I was so happy for her I couldn't even cry - I was so overwhelmed! I can't wait to see her, I bet I'll cry buckets then and make a total fool of myself, haha

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  7. i got goosebumps when i read what you wrote about her now having her own precious baby girl! so happy for them. off to read her stories now. tissues are on stand-by!

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  8. I'm not kidding, she is a magnificent writer, she'll absolutely kill you xx

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  9. Life is so damn cruel sometimes.

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  10. That was a difficult read.  Life is so unfair sometimes but I am so pleased to read about the birth of her daughter xx

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  11. I wrote about this exact type of thing this morning on my own blog (here: 
    http://rhiflections.wordpress.com/2012/03/01/of-jealousy-and-supermarkets/). It is not easy for us that have lost, and it is uncomfortable for you that have been blessed. My most heart felt suggestion is to remember their loss. If they want to speak of it, hear them. Remember their child's name, if they lost a child through neonatal death. Tyler's name is always on my lips but people are uncomfortable when I mention him and that distances them from me.

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  12. It is, isn't it? It surprises us.

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  13. I understand that. I would never shy away from her speaking of her child, I would do anything to ease her pain. What was much harder was to talk of pleasant things, of my baby. We danced around that topic fairly often!

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  14. Love, endless amounts, to you for writing this. Huh, I am normally so infuriatingly verbose, but you have me lost for words. I hate that you felt like you were a friend in betrayal at the time - I never felt that at all. And I felt lots of things, still do. Thankfully that is behind both of us now - never forgotten, but further away so it stings slightly less. Will post back about this very soon - my daughter's calling me yet again! Safe to say this piece made me sob into my hot cross bun, and nobody likes a soggy hot cross bun! Love, love. X

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  15. I was your friend last year. I got pregnant at the same time as two of my very very best friends and it was so exciting. A large part of the heartbreak for me when I lost the baby was not being able to share the journey with them. I don't dare read any of the posts you have linked to but I am so happy to hear that your friend has since had a little girl :)

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  16. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

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  17. Being 3 weeks away from my due date, I don't think I can bear to read those stories, though I would like to and will bookmark them for later. I have had a similiar experience as my sister lost a boy at 22 weeks.  She has been amazing though and we cried together when we found out I am having a boy.

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  18. I'm crying too now. Thanks alot!  x

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  19. I'm glad we can just get on with the business of talking about baby poo and teething now!

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  20. Yeah, they're tough reads. I'm sorry to hear your story... it's just too common, huh. Love xx

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  21. Oh that must be so hard. For both of you xx

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  22. Haha, I truly never meant for that to happen! I'm surprised, actually xx

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  23. I haven't even clicked on your links & I am crying! Must be the heat...
    x

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  24. I remember finding out I was pregnant a week after my best friend had terminated a pregnancy and going through the same emotions you did.

    I've also been on the other end, losing a baby at 16 weeks when a work friend was pregnant and due when I'd been.  It was definitely awkward between us afterwards.  But friends support each other no matter what - in good times and bad. xx

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  25. Jess@diaryofasahmMarch 2, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    It's hard. My sister in law terminated her third, and would look at my son, even though they weren't close in age, it was just that he was our third. I really struggled not to take it personally, but when it's your kids it's kind of impossible.

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  26. You're right, and I'm so glad we kept our friendship. It was always going to be difficult, but we made it xx

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  27. Yeah, that can be difficult. It's not your fault, but you can feel like it is. And sometimes people can resent you for the decisions they themselves make... humans are so complex!

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  28. i'm so proud that you put the effort in, to maintain the friendship. too many of my "friends" have fallen away because they just deem it "too hard" to consider my feelings when seeing others parent and revel in the life i'll never have, apparently it's just easier to discard me than occasionally ask me how i'm going. it's not like i wear my feelings on my sleeve because i don't, i keep them to myself but some days, it just gets too much and yeah on those days i need that hug, that phone call or text just to ask "'how are you?" or "just wanted to let you know i'm thinking of you".

    the thing i love about this post the most? that she got her happy ending!

    the second thing? that you wrote this - bringing awareness to it because there are many many who find themselves in similar situations as you and Bec did.

    x

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  29. It was actually harder for me to talk about myself than it was to hear her speak. I almost wish she spoke more, but she got it all out through her blog. I'd never dump her because it became too hard... but I can imagine it's not easy for everyone. I don't often hear things from this side, so I guess it's good I shared :)

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