So much to say

I thought about/started about 3 different blogs since last I updated you about cleaning up feces. There’s been a lot to think about, and, though lots of it is only tangentially related to the getting pregnant process, I think it bears recording here. But then I get overwhelmed at the thought of trying to blog it all appropriately and stop. But it stays, swirling around in my head.

So, I’m writing it down . . .knowing that many (all?) of you may not care to read about any or all of this. But, I will do some bullet points and bolding to help you sort the somewhat overblown interpersonal drama from the stuff I think is more broadly relevant to a TTC/IF audience. . .

  • Shared Parenting and Body Autonomy: Last Saturday, La and I went to brunch with two friends, one of whom is our badass lawyer friend who does a lot of birth work advocacy and is a huge home birth advocate. We were talking out the FET and my desire for our pregnancy and birth to be far less medicalized than our conception process has been. RadLaw suggested a home birth, which La and I have talked about and pretty much agreed isn’t the best choice for us. I mentioned our concerns about homebirth, some of which RadLaw was able to assuage, which mostly made me go “hmmm” (and not jump on board with a home birth. PS I’m not even pregnant remember?) Later that night, La told me she felt like we’d all ‘ganged up’ on her about homebirth and she ‘really needed me to be on her side.’ And then I freaked out (which should be at least 1/3 attributed to BCPs) because yes, this will be La’s baby – they are her little frozen embryos – but its still my body. And I’m struggling with how to make that work. I mean, practically and in application, I’m not worried about it. I feel 100% confident La will support me and I will do what I need to, but in the discussion and the debating what/how to do things, its murkier. Obviously, this is hugely connected to a much bigger issue, which is that La feels pretty left out of the process. Some of that is just the breaks around the type of queer baby making we are doing (vs. reciprocal IVF) and some of it is because we made the (now regrettable) decision to not quarantine BFF’s sperm and thus present, in some respects, as though BFF and I are a hetero couple, which means that although La comes to the important appointments that a partner would (and will continue to) she isn’t seen for who/what she is. This is hard on both of us, but more so on her. If we could go back and do it again, we’d both be more honest and up front about the situation. But, we can’t go back. And that’s hard. I’m encouraging her to seek out other non gestational parents (particularly those who do want to carry at some point) to talk through some of this. I’m trying to be as open and involve her as much as possible, but there is the reality of biology in this circumstance, and it complicates things. And its hard on every side, but its a different hard for each of us. And that makes this difficult.
  • Everyone should be in therapy. I mean, obviously, its not that I am going to try and get some mandate and of course, this would be qualified with high quality and appropriate but . . .seriously, if you are queer and trying to have a baby or if you are infertile or if you are, you know, human you should probably be in therapy. I feel really grateful that long before La and I ever made our first attempt, we agreed to start seeing a couple’s counselor about the process. La and I are, as I have often said, about as perfect for each other as two flawed human beings can get. We communicate well, rarely disagree, have so much fun, and basically never ‘fight.’ But we wanted to make sure things stayed awesome through the process of trying and then having a baby (we didn’t realize we’d get stuck so long and experience so much difficulty on the trying part.) So, armed with a referral, we went to see the Priestess, our fabulous counselor. And while I am reasonably sure that La and I would still be together without her, I’m even more sure that she has made this process one that is meaningful and livable and not just plain shitty. I’m shocked I haven’t mentioned before all of the times that she has turned something hard into something wonderful in this process. I’m reminded of this, and mentioning it in this post, because last week she did it again, worked her magic. The most amazing thing is that The Priestess hasn’t necessarily taught me and La how to agree (there are things we still don’t see eye to eye on, or things we continue to feel differently about) but she’s taught us how to love and exist and move forward even when we don’t. Because you can’t always agree, you can’t always even compromise. I am so very grateful for her warmth and wisdom and also for how open and thoughtful she is, how open to all of the various possibilities of being and loving that there are in the world. That’s all.
  • When Your Best Friend is being Dumb. So, you may recall a while ago when I mentioned my bestie, Hero, and her recent relationship woes.  This is an update to that, which then kind of disintegrates into one of the hardest interpersonal things I’ve had to deal with in years. And I am totally asking for advice if you have it. Keep that in mind as we move forward.

So . . .Hero and Smokey broke up and Hero came and spent two days with me and La and she was sad and crying and hurt but she seemed ok. Smokey had been a real d-bag and Hero dodged a bullet, it seemed we could all agree. On the second day of Hero’s stay, she started complaining of serious joint pain, and ended up deciding to go home because she was feeling so physically crappy. I kept checking in with her, and she kept reporting that the pain was increasing, horrible, and debilitating. We were all terrified that it was lupus or lyme disease or something even scarier. Because she was feeling so crummy, we didn’t make plans, but I kept checking in with her daily, asking how she was.

Two weeks post break up and joint pain onset, I was flying home from my work trip to DC, and Hero called. She filled me in on the tests that had been run, her doctor’s guesses (there weren’t many) and how she was feeling. And then she said, “I want to tell you something, and I’m not sure how you’ll react.” Of course, she and Smokey were seeing each other again. In fact, Hero had been staying at Smokey’s house for almost a week at that point. I was, without question, peeved. I didn’t mention the details, but Smokey definitely pulled some red flag shit on my friend AND had the audacity to say something shitty about La and I after we’d been nothing but fun and sweet and awesome to her. I even ate her awful charbroiled steak. Eww. I said as much to Hero, but also was in the process of boarding a plane, so we didn’t get into it.

I got home and talked to La about it and concluded that I was more than peeved, I was angry. And hurt. I was hurt that the person who calls me her best friend hadn’t mentioned that she’d gotten back together with someone for two weeks which kinda feels like lying since I’d been talking to her every day during that time. But also, Hero had gone back to someone who had done manipulative and borderline abusive things to her. (I am not being hyperbolic and have my own unfortunate abusive relationship experience to draw on here. Bummer.) Which would suck enough if she hadn’t done it before. So, so many times.

Since Hero and I became friends, during my junior year of college, I have seen her through a lot of pretty intense break-ups. Not long after we met, her first GF dumped her and she went through depression so intense she wrecked her car, dropped out for a semester, and basically stopped eating. But the last major relationship, which ended about three years ago, took the cake. The woman was Hero’s boss when they started dating (trouble), an active alcoholic who cheated on Hero repeatedly with a man, including having two abortions from pregnancies resulting from the affair, and gave Hero an STD, also courtesy of the gem of a dude she was fooling around with. She also lied to Hero about all of this, even when Hero felt reasonably sure she was getting screwed around. But Hero went back again, and again, and again. Of course, the only thing that worked to end the relationship was when the woman finally ended it. Otherwise, I feel fairly certain Hero would still be in the thick of it. Throughout all of this, I was the recipient of tearful calls, I talked her down off many theoretical ledges, I bore the brunt of support. I shouldn’t have, but I did. I have my own co-dependent shit to work on, obviously.

Which is what I’m trying to do. After Hero told me she was back with Smokey, we had a conversation where I basically said I can’t watch you get back into another relationship with someone who treats you like shit, I don’t want to see or be around or really even hear about Smokey, and also I feel really weird about all of this. She listened, cried, and told me she needed to process. Then I basically didn’t hear from her for two weeks. We talked again on Tuesday, and it was predictably awkward and awful.

I don’t know what to do . . .I don’t want to hear about this woman, who I point blank don’t trust AND I don’t feel legit about telling my friend she can’t talk about something happening in her life. So what do I do? How do I hold my ground and protect myself from having to watch my friend enter another fucked up relationship while also conceding that its her life and I have no control over what (or who) she does?

So . . .That’s the haps. Oh yeah, I start lupron tonight. Big whoop.

Friendship advice officially solicited. Thanks y’all.

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17 thoughts on “So much to say

  1. That’s hard. I don’t know what you should do, but I’m leaning towards blatant honesty. Tell her you love her but that smokey is bad news. Tell her you will always be her best friend, but you don’t want to be around smokey or hear about her. Remind her of all the reasons they broke up. She may get mad, but I think she needs to hear it from you. That’s my two cents.

  2. – m will not even let me insist on a home birth. We found a nice medium which was a midwife who delivers in the hospital.

    – sounds like hero has a problem with herself. I understand you feeling upset as you put so much time and energy into helping her all do which results in her not listening or taking your advice. She seems to find comfort in people who take her for granted or treat her poorly. Is she receiving counselling? I don’t think it’s something a friend can help with. Seems too far gone. Also, you must feel completely drained from having to always okay comforter. In the same situation over and over.

  3. The first two sections sound really familiar. Roo and I had a very similar argument when I was pregnant with Tadpole. The details of who wanted what kind of birth experience were different, but the underlying issues were the same. It’s really hard to figure out where the line is, since the baby will belong to both of you but will be carried in (and be birthed by) your body. Roo also felt very left out at various points during the pregnancy. And we too found couple’s counseling a huge help in negotiating it all, once we found a good counselor. I’m glad to hear that you’ve got a good one!
    The friendship issues sound really hard. I think that you have every right to say that you aren’t able to hear about Smokey. It is one thing to support a friend through a bad breakup. But it’s another to support someone who is repeatedly choosing to return to unhealthy relationships. You don’t have control over the choices that Hero makes, but you can decide that you don’t want to get dragged through the drama. It’s totally reasonable to refuse to stay on that roller coaster with her. Maybe hopefully one day that will be a wake-up call to Hero about the choices she’s making. But whatever choices she makes, you get to decide how much drama to let into your life.

  4. Hey there!
    It’s been a long time since I commented – since we were both trying to get pregnant in July ’13 and then I got pregnant and you didn’t and I felt like maybe you didn’t need to hear from me (plus I was too busy throwing up 24 hours a day for 6 months). But I’ve kept reading. I’ve whinged when you fail to show up in my inbox for two days in a row. I’ve showed quite a lot of people who don’t know you your puppy. I’ve told two other people plugging on with the IVF process they need to read your entire blog history before doing anything else. My partner asks after you, regularly. So, when you say that you suspect many people might not be interested in the stuff that doesn’t relate directly to IVF, I just can’t help but come out of hiding and the newborn fog to tell you that it’s not true!
    You are such a pleasure to read (I’d say ‘to know’ but it feels overly familiar, given that I haven’t even been responding to your posts). You are tough and brave and so good at talking/writing your way through the big stuff you guys have been doing. You’re funny and sharp and so good at the punchlines of your good stories. You are open and honest and generous with describing your happiness and hurts. And after a whole year of reading that kind of excellent blogging, you should feel confident that it’s ALL worth reading. Don’t stop!
    Thinking of you, xox Kerry

    • This is the sweetest comment on a blog post ever! Thank you for your kindness, keeping up with me and passing along my words to others. There is so much goodness that comes from sharing our stories and hearing other’s stories and I’m so glad to be a part of that! Thank you thank you thank you! ❤

  5. I agree with everyone else’s advice about your friend. Being blatantly honest, suggesting counseling, and/or telling her that you don’t want to hear about Smokey or her drama all seem like reasonable things to do. Although it’s hard, sometimes setting boundaries with friends is the best thing to do for ourselves and our friends. Wishing you all the best whatever you decide. ❤

  6. Another option a step up from a home birth could be looking into any birthing centers nearby. They are typically affiliated to hospitals and will transfer if high risk, but are empowering and supportive birth environments.

    As for your friend, that’s a difficult situation. I think everyone else’s suggestions are good. You have to decide what you need your own boundaries to be to protect yourself emotionally and not feel guilty about setting them. Support her the same you would support a friend with an addiction without enabling the unhealthy behavior; the codependence treatment module I know of is actually based off of the 12 steps.

    • This would be ideal. Unfortunately, the only non-hospital birthing center anywhere near us won’t take me because of both my pre-conception diagnosis of hypothyroidism and my BMI. So, my options are either to use a midwifery practice at a hospital (and there are two I like and will check out) or go the traditional OB Hospital route. I think its more in the theory of it all than the practice. And I’m bummed that even though I’m really quite healthy and my hypothyroidism is well in hand, my options are limited.

      • Yeah, I considered the birth center in my area, but it’s 45 minutes away without traffic and I couldn’t see myself driving all the way out there for all my prenatal appointments, so I stayed at my OB practice. I thought about using the midwives in the practice, but we like my OB. I hired a doula to help me have an empowered hospital birth, so that’s another option for you as well.

  7. Regarding birth: maybe you can have a midwife delivery in the hospital? My roommate’s sister had that, and she got her low-intervention birth, with the peace of mind that if anything began to go south, emergency medical personnel were mere steps away. I have a very unpopular opinion regarding homebirths and don’t wish to start an argument in your comments section about it.
    About your friend, there’s a lot of advice out there already about being a friend to someone in an abusive relationship (http://www.loveisrespect.org/get-help/help-others/help-a-friend). Smokey may not qualify neatly into the box of abusive, but your goal of having Hero realize that Smokey isn’t good for her and wanting her to permanently end the relationship are the same. Hero clearly feels compelled to remain in a bad relationship, and just telling her she shouldn’t (while it is very true) will not likely change that. Sadly, it’s really impossible to get someone out of a bad relationship, all you can really do is offer the support she will need when she decides its time.
    My parents have a bad relationship, my dad has always been verbally abusive to my mom, and has occasionally been physically abusive to her (that I’ve witnessed, I don’t know the full extent of everything). Behind closed doors, I don’t know if it was better or worse, my mom claims better. One of the hardest lessons I’ve learned in my life is that I no matter how much I love my mom, I can’t save her from a clearly abusive relationship. The more I attacked what my dad has done, the more she’d just excuse it or minimize it. I’m guessing Hero behaves similarly. It’s a really rough situation when someone you care deeply about acts as though they don’t care about themselves. All you can really do is to try to be their supportive person in their live and hope they catch on that their partners should be similar.

  8. RE: birth plans- DW and I also differ in our opinion on this topic, and have decided not to decide anything until we’re actually there. We figure that our circumstances might change and who knows, we may not have any choice in the matter after all (eg. Twins). But ultimately, our general feel is that whoever is carrying shouldn’t be forced into a birth plan that doesn’t jive with them. If you’re the one carrying and labouring, then you should be comfortable.

    As for your friend: we have a good friend that is also like this in our lives. Our approach is to just be here for her, but not actively be invested in her relationships. We’ll socialize with her and her gals, but we try not to give opinions or give advice because with our friend, it’s not what she’s really looking for from us (even when she asks).

  9. 1) I love everything you said about counseling.
    2) I’m going to refrain from offering advice on the friend situation because every time I’ve had to deal with something like this, I end up feeling like I did the wrong thing. It’s come up twice for me, and I no longer have either of those friends in my life. It’s like walking a tightrope and my balance is crap. I hope your friend comes to her senses.
    3) It’s such a personal thing, but when I ponder things like birth plans with my wife, I find that we’re often not quite in synch with each other. I’ve thought a lot about that and for me, I’ve decided that if calling some of those shots makes her feel more connected to the process, so be it. She has silenced a lot of her fears and hesitations about fertility treatments because she knows how badly I want this and she wants me to be happy. If that means I have to suck it up and have a baby under fluorescent lights with an epidural, so be it. As long as I have a happy wife by my side and a healthy baby in the end, it’ll be worth it.

  10. Man that is rough, if you don’t mind me asking, why can’t you tell your clinic the truth now? Are they not gay friendly there?

    As far as your friend, thats a rough situation. She has little confidence in herself and clearly has some attachment/emotional issues of her own and could probably use a friend. Women who stay/continue to get in emotionally/physically abusive relationships don’t do it because they like it, as you probably know since you’ve been there done that. I would set boundaries with her, and stick by them, but definitely continue to support and be there for HER. Not their relationship.

  11. Oh and birthplans — watch “The Business of being Born” on netflix. I wanted to try the all natural possible home birth route but twins are going to prevent that from happening for me.

  12. My gut instinct is that being her best friend, you need to hold her hand on the ride and be ready to catch her when the ride breaks down. I know my best friend has been and always will be, and it is one her best, best qualities. It sucks for you, but she needs you. And she’ll need your anchoring strength to get through the next round of this fight with Smokey. She WILL see the light and get past it, and it will be quicker if she has you for support. Without your support, she is likely to make more compromises to be with Smokey, because she otherwise feels alone. Batten down the hatches and prepare to establish your role as the best friend ever. It’ll be worth it when it’s all over.

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