I had my 6th miscarriage in November of 2006. It was at around that point that my obsession with fertility treatment started. I believed that the only way I could survive the births of my two friends babies after my miscarriage was to ensure that I was well and truly knocked up by the time the due dates rolled around. Of course, pregnancy no. 6 was to be my last naturally conceived pregnancy, I have been unable to fall pregnant naturally since then. I had my first IVF in Jan/Feb of 2007, I was desperate for it work, it would mean that I’d be about 4 to 5 months along in pregnancy when my friends babies were born in the June/July of that year. Of course, that IVF failed and for those of you who have been through IVF will attest, the first failed IVF is quite possibly the worst. It’s such a massive physical, financial and emotional investment that its failure is crushing.
For me, it was 10 times worse, not only had my first IVF failed and having to deal with all that that involves, but I started to realize that there was a strong possibility that I wouldn’t be well and truly knocked up by the time my friends due dates rolled around. I was distraught, I was inconsolable, I was besides myself. I went to my clinic for the blood test, knowing full well by the amount I was bleeding that it was indeed a BFN. I was so distraught that the nursing sisters could not get a needle into any of my veins, it took two of them almost an hour to draw blood, after about 10 pricks with the needle and the use of a blood pressure machine as a tourniquet on my arm that caused my muscles to spasm and my hand to go blue.
I told the one sister about my desire to be knocked up for the birth of my friends babies, I told her about how they’d cut me out and cut me off since I’d miscarried, I was very emotional and very distressed. And I’ll never forget what she said…. She said that I should take the friendships, pack them in a box, stack them on a shelf and leave them there to be taken out on another day. At the time I was adamant that I would never go back to those friendships. I felt that I had so missed out on so much. Both of them were having girls, our due dates would have been all within a week of each other, I could have had a girl too, our children were going to be best friends…. but now that would never be.
Fast forward 4 years and yesterday we met with our friends from the past. I was extremely nervous in the lead up to the lunch. I was afraid it would be awkward of unpleasant or.. I’m not really sure what I was afraid of. But then they arrived as we were unloading our pram and child from our car, and when I saw my friend I realized how desperately I had missed her over the past 4 years. I don’t know how I was so disconnected from that emotion, but when I saw her it was like we’d never been apart to start with. We flung our arms around each other and to be honest I wanted to cry. We stood holding hands like little girls do, in the car park, while our husbands were left to unload our cars. The lunch was wonderful, it was easy-going and we just slipped back into the friendship like the last 4 years had never happened. We already have plans for a braai at their house in two weeks time and I suspect that this friendship will continue on like the ugliness between us never happened.
Last night, I was lying in bed thinking about all of this and I remembered what that IVF nurse had said to me and I realized I had indeed gone back to that shelf, blown the dust off that old box, opened the lid and let that beautiful friendship back out.
The best part of all, is that all I thought I had missed out on, I am in fact getting to enjoy. Our friends have a 3-year-old daughter, and despite the fact that it should have been a reminder for me of pregnancy no. 6, there was no pain or sadness in seeing her in all her cuteness. And the best part of all….. they have a 4 month old daughter as well. So our children will indeed grow up being BFF’s and that makes my heart sing with joy.
All was not lost, despite the fact that for many years I thought it was!