It's Friendship, Friendship, Just a Perfect Blendship
Posted Nov 17 2008 12:00am
If you're ever in a jam, here I am. If you're ever in a mess, S.O.S. ~Cole Porter, Friendship~
Last Thursday, I did something I was certain I would not be able to – had dinner with a dear old friend whose due date is two weeks prior to when mine would have been.
I also didn’t do something I thought I would certainly do – cry through the meal.
I booked the dinner before I knew she was pregnant ( see post ). I definitely would not have initiated the invite had I known ahead of time. But it was okay, perhaps I would even say it was fun, and definitely therapeutic.
This friend sends cards for every birthday, anniversary, and other life event. She would go to the ends of the earth for others and not expect anything back in return. This is the type of person that everyone needs to have in their life – kind, caring and giving. We see each other once a year or so now and, despite the length of time between our visits, each time it’s easy to reconnect and catch up. I’m thankful for her friendship…and that thankfulness is what prevented me from cancelling.
We met in college and were in each other’s weddings. When she had her first daughter, I was in the throes of infertility and was fairly uncommunicative. She’s so sweet she never even noticed – or she did and never held it against me.
In 2004, I was pregnant with my two at the same time as she was pregnant with her second daughter. We both ended up on bed rest. She delivered 5 weeks early because of a very scary placental abruption and her baby was in the NICU for a while as a result. I was in a similar situation delivering 8 weeks early myself (a couple of weeks after her) and also having the NICU stay. Needless to say, there was some bonding that went on during this time.
The fact that we were supposed to be pregnant again at the same time weighed heavily on my mind before our dinner. I did a lot of crying that afternoon, but pulled it together before we met. She looked great – glowing. I am genuinely happy for her and chatted, tear-free, about the impending new arrival. Somewhere in the middle of dinner, I shared my story. She had not know about this pregnancy or my infertility treatments (another topic I only discussed with a select few at the time).
Then she shared her own struggle with infertility. I was surprised. The first two were easy for her, but then she had not been able to get pregnant a third time. She went to the same fertility practice I went to (and perhaps will be going to again) and started the whole IUI/IVF rigmarole. She was about to quit when she decided to have her final frozen embryo implanted. After multiple cycles of multiple transfers that “little embryo that could”, as she called it, stuck.
We talked at length about…
…how it felt (and for me, still feels) to see someone pregnant, to hear about new babies and wonder “why not me”. The the emotional rollercoaster of reproductive challenges loomed large in both of our lives. And there she was successful. And here I am, empty.
…the guilt of wanting another child when so many people struggle to have just one. We should be happy with what we have – right? We should not be greedy and want more. I’ve blogged about this before – why would I want to roll the dice ? I don’t have a good answer for that yet, except that there’s still space in my heart.
…how pregnancy is scary. Strange isn’t it. Both of us have had not so great experiences in the past. There is no such thing as “relaxing after the first trimester” when something has gone awry in the third.
We learned a lot about each other and shared things that we kept a lid on to protect ourselves from hurt and shame. It felt good to talk with someone who genuinely seemed to understand the depth of my pain.
I’m hoping that after unloading on her, she will continue to send my family cards. I hope that we can still be friends and pick up where we left off when we see each other next year. If we can, that’s definitely a testament to friendship.