A friend of mine, J, called me yesterday. I have known J for nearly 20 years and she was the matron of honor at my wedding. We are the same age (43) and her two kids are 13 and 11 years old. J and I go all the way back to undergrad. We've been pretty close all these years, even as the phases of our lives have changed.
Another friend, M, is a personal friend of both J and me. M is a hairdresser and has done J's and my hair for years. M is 60 years old and, like some hairdressers, she is a great gossiper.
Back when my DH and I were first ttc....you know, when you thought it would just happen and you never considered guarding the information like a secret...I told both M and J that we were ttc. I wondered if M knew of any natural hair coloring products to use during pregnancy (she did not) and I shared the news with J because she was my friend.
It took 8 months before we got our first BFP. During those 8 months, J said all the things infertiles loathe to hear. "Just relax, it'll happen." "Just give it time." "At least all this practicing is fun." M would just ask bluntly, "So are you pregnant yet?"
When we got our BFP, I told J (I never told M). J was happy for me. My first prenatal appointment wasn't scheduled to happen until the 10 or 12 week mark. I forget because I miscarried at 6 weeks.
I miscarried on a Sunday. The day before, Saturday, my DH and I attended an associate picnic at the home of a co-worker of mine. As their 1 year old toddled in the yard, I delighted in her, thinking how in a year's time we too would have a little one.
Early Sunday afternoon, I drove my DH to the airport. He had a week long conference in southern California beginning the following day. I spent the rest of the day home with the dogs, relaxing. At 10 pm I turned off the TV and the lights, locked up the house, and went to use the bathroom to get ready for bed.
There was blood. Enough to worry me. Enough to make me think, yeah, I thought I had been feeling mild AF type cramps that evening. It was 10 pm, I was alone and it was my first m/c. I was panicked. I know, I'm a nurse, but this was personal and I was in uncharted territory.
I called the telephone number of the advice nurse listed on the back of my insurance card. She was so kind and gentle. She let me know that if in fact I was miscarrying, there was no way to stop it from happening. If I bled too much I should go to the ER. Was anyone with me? I sobbed, telling her my DH was out of town. She encouraged me to call a friend to stay with me.
I called my DH who immediately made arrangements to come home first thing in the morning. Then I called J. I cried, telling her I thought I was miscarrying. It was weird. She said, "I'm so sorry" but then she just asked questions. Was I bleeding? How long? Could I try to sleep? Would I be seeing the doctor the next day? Just....questions. I couldn't bring myself to ask her to come over. She never offered. I felt weird about the whole thing.
Alone that night, I miscarried. I cried. I knelt on the bathroom floor under waves of pain. I saw the clots pass. I took care of myself.
The next morning, Monday, I called in sick to work and my DH and I went to see the OB. That was my first internal ultrasound. She confirmed the miscarriage. My DH was wonderful and supportive and everything I needed him to be.
I went to work Tuesday, verging on tears all day. You know, an associate attorney wants to prove how dedicated she is and not take too much sick time. The co-worker at whose home we attended the picnic on the prior Saturday made some joke to me about how I looked fine when he saw me Saturday and I must have wanted to enjoy a long weekend. This was my introduction into the world of incredibly hurtful but ignorant comments.
When I got another BFP just 2 months later, we were less excited and more cautious. We didn't tell anyone. That time, I miscarried at 11 weeks, although that U/S revealed that the fetus had stopped growing at 7 weeks. No heart beat.
Both J and M periodically continued to ask me whether we were still ttc. I told them yes, but ended the conversation there. I never ever raise the issue. I just always felt like their questions were more about digging for juicy bits of gossip rather than supporting me.
So yesterday J called. I cancelled a hair appointment with M that was scheduled for May 23. I cancelled it because we were supposed to have our FET on May 21 and I would be on bedrest through the 24th (of course the cycle was cancelled on the 19th). I did not reschedule the hair appointment because, well, I am going to try (try!) letting my hair grow out and see what the natural, gray-tinged color really looks like. Plus, if we do get pregnant, I don't think the chemicals are good for the baby (although after the m/c my OB assured me they think the chemicals only absorb into the scalp and are not systemic).
Anyway, in yesterday's telephone call, J said she spoke with M. M mentioned that I cancelled and did not reschedule my hair appointment. J said, "M asked me if I thought you were pregnant."
The whole thing bothers me. That M wouldn't have the balls just to ask me herself. That J, who is obviously dying to know the answer too, is asking on the pretense that it is M who wants to know. That J revealed what M probably thought was a private conversation between she and J. That they are both just still digging for something to gossip about.
All I said was, "Nope. Not pregnant." It's true. Although I hope to be soon. I'm sad though, that I don't have much respect for these friendships anymore. That after so many years, I derive so little from the relationships. That whatever it was we had in common has been obliterated by my journey through infertility. That I find them to be shallow and gossipy and uninteresting. And that I find so much more support and understanding and get so much more from my bloggy friends than these IRL friends.
The phases of life, and of friendships, I guess.
7 months ago