That Saturday I went to birthday party for my good friend's two year old twins. I generally try to avoid children's birthday parties if I can, (one of the hazards of being an infertile couple) but we skipped out on their birthday last year so I figured we should go for at least a little while. I mentally prepared myself for all the little ones that I would see. However, some times things happen that you can't prepare yourself for. The children at the party didn't bother me so much, but there was a very pregnant mom of a toddler that initially got to me. While it's always difficult when I see a pregnant woman, once upon a time I was able to tell myself, "One day that will be me". I can no longer say that. I shook off the pang of jealousy and just tried to be in the moment. That worked for a little while until an acquaintance arrived. She was a women who I'd last seen back in June and we had somehow gotten into a conversation about our challenges with infertility. She seemed to be in a pretty low place and I told her that we should do lunch, knowing that it always helps me to talk to others who are in the same boat. I sent her a Facebook message the next day and she wrote back saying she agreed that it helps having someone to talk to and asked for my number. I never did hear from her but didn't think much more about it- though I would always look on Facebook for a pregnancy announcement. Anyway, she arrived at the birthday party with a swollen belly looking about five months pregnant and I felt like someone had kicked me in the gut. Right when I saw her I just knew I had to leave- I did not want to have to speak to her. I mentioned something about leaving to my husband and my friend who had come with us and though they said we could go soon, they didn't really make any moves to do so. About 20 minutes later, I heard my husband say "Congratulations" and saw that she was right behind me. I turned around and heard her say, "Hi! The last time I saw you, we talked about getting together for lunch. But then I got pneumonia and was out of commission and then I got PREGNANT and was sick for three months". I told her, "Congratulations" and she replied, "Yeah, it happened against all odds!". I wanted to crawl in a hole. She went on to tell me how wonderful her doctor was, that they're expecting a little girl in June etc etc and I felt like I was suffocating. What I heard? "It's so wonderful- we got pregnant (and you didn't). We were once in the same boat (but now it's just you)." And what I knew, " We will never, ever get out of this boat, because I will never ever get to be pregnant." I got the hell out of there and sobbed on our way home.
The harder part about all of this was that just a couple of hours later I was heading to meet my surrogate and her sisters-in-law for a girl's night out. I had found this amazing woman who is going to help me create my family and who wanted to introduce me to her family and yet I was crying and feeling sorry for myself because I wouldn't get to experience pregnancy. Its those conflicting feelings- of gratitude and anger, of feeling robbed and feeling blessed- that are so hard to deal with. I pulled myself together and had a nice time, but cried on my way home.
I cried a lot the next day too. I hated feeling that way and felt really alone, lost at sea in this crappy boat of infertility. I felt like no one really understood what I was going through. And then I remembered this couple Candace and Chris. Candace and Chris are this incredible couple who write an amazing blog called "Our Misconception". I discovered their blog in early December when I was first researching infertility. They had embarked on their own surrogacy journey after battling six years of infertility, not to mention Chris's cancer diagnosis. After years of heartbreak, they were finally pregnant with the help of a surrogate. I had considered writing to them when I first found their blog and had even begun drafting an email, but for some reason I never sent it. After my emotional weekend, I knew I needed to find someone who was in our boat. I sent them an email a couple of days later. What's so random is that the very day that I sent my email, Candace updated their blog with this post, The Unpregnant Pregnancy. In it, Candace describes a volcano of feelings she had while maternity clothing shopping with her pregnant surrogate. It was really uncanny reading about how Candace was experiencing nearly the same feelings that I was having. And really comforting.
What was even more comforting was my experience with my surro later on that week. I, of course, never let on about my conflicting emotions the night of our date. However, we met at the clinic later that week for a doctor's appointment and I did share my feelings from the weekend. She was incredibly understanding and helped me switch gears once again. I was no longer feeling sorry for myself and instead feeling blessed to have found her. I'm sure that those ugly feelings will resurface periodically as we get further along on this journey, but I also have a pretty good feeling that the feelings of gratitude will ultimately be stronger.