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A Birthday Party



Saturday started innocently enough with breakfast and four hours of marathon sewing to finish a dress. At 11 a.m. I jumped in the shower to get ready for a birthday party. Not just any party, though, a party for the adorable two year-old who belongs to our dear friends, now pregnant with No. 2.

Their pregnancy starts the next wave of folks getting knocked up. People who were childless when we started this journey are now announcing second pregnancies, or “confiding” in me their carefully timed intercourse (wink wink, nudge nudge!).

Pardon me while I get all “Woe is Belle” on your ass. We have been at this trying to make a baby thing for 20 months now. Do you know how many times I have been able to legitimately pee on a pregnancy test in those 20 months? Four.

Yeah, you read that correctly. There are no natural cycles for she who does not ovulate. One failed Clomid cycle, two failed IUIs and one IVF that got me a first class ticket to a D&C are the only chances I have had to take a pregnancy test. After the D&C the Professor and I took some time off – no birth control or hormones and hunkered down to await the fabled post D&C miracle ovulation. Despite obsessive excursions to my nether regions in search of the fabled fertile cervical mucus and a whole lot’a OPKs no ovulation came.

Back to Saturday.

While driving to the party the Professor and I shared a chocolate bar and talked about how hard this was for us both. It is very rare that I see this side of my husband. More often than not he is detached from our infertility. “If it happens, great! If not, we’ll move on,” he tells me. I lay awake at night wondering how he could be so cold to the situation.  And then something like a child’s birthday happens and I see that this tough-guy is just a mask. I saw his eyes glass over while our friends sang Happy Birthday and proudly presented their son with a huge cake and I noticed his hand tighten around mine.

And then I lost it. I had to excuse myself to go to the bathroom, claiming an allergy attack, so I could let it out in private. You know what is worse than a negative pregnancy test? You know what hurts more than seeing an ultrasound without a heartbeat? Realizing how fucking much your husband wants what you can not give him. I know the Professor is a good, loving man who won’t leave me for more fertile soil, but that does not change my pain.

We got home around 4 p.m. and sat at the table to flip through the mail. A new CB2 catalog, which is always exciting for me, a Harbor Freight flier which is always exciting for him, and a white envelope addressed to me. Inside was the bill for our D&C.


Today is the final day of CarbFest, also known as the 10 day progesterone challenge to start a period. More on this tomorrow.



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  1. August 13, 2012

    I am so sorry this upset you so much, it is a horrible pain to feel you can’t give your husband something he wants. I just had a very similar moment where I ‘realised’ that I would never be able to give my husband certain moments in life, even if we ever do become parents.

  2. August 13, 2012

    That is all so hard. We actually got unsolicited fertility advice at a friend’s 2-year-old twins’ birthday party last spring (this friend also has a 3-year-old)! People don’t realize the strength it takes to show up to events like that when infertility/loss are present. In our 21 months of trying, I took 5 pregnancy tests (I think). Five. In 21 months. When others were announcing pregnancies around us left and right (many of them unplanned). Even if your friends don’t realize it right now, they are so lucky to have you and your husband in their lives! Hope the CarbFest does what it is supposed to. I’ll be checking in:)

  3. Shelley #
    August 13, 2012

    The universe sure likes to kick us while we’re down, huh? wtf.

  4. August 13, 2012

    Watching the world pass you by is the worst. I remember one of my gfs was just pregnant when we started trying, and thinking how we would be pregnant together. That child just turned two. Another started trying a full year after us….her child is turning 1 this month. We are at long last pregnant, but sadly enough (and I know this is horrible), I feel like it’s old news. Everybody has had children and half my girlfriends are already done, they are not excited about the silly things I am excited about, they do not remember ever knowing how many weeks pregnant they were. This thing that I waited so damn long for, that is our everything….is really no big deal to the people in our lives.
    And I think Mr. husband is most definitely putting on a face, it is a man thing. As much as it may be your diagnosis etc that’s keeping you from having children – men want to take care of us, they want to give us everything, it is killing him to see that he can’t just fix this and give you a baby. I guarantee he does not blame you (coming from an MFI situation myself and honestly never having thought about the fact that it was because of him that we couldn’t have a baby).
    He needs to hold strong to support you (or at least that’s probably what he thinks). It’s an old fashioned way of thinking for sure, that the man needs to support the woman, but isn’t that why we love these guys?

  5. August 13, 2012

    “You know what is worse than a negative pregnancy test? You know what hurts more than seeing an ultrasound without a heartbeat? Realizing how fucking much your husband wants what you can not give him. ”

    All I can do is sit and nod along, especially to this last part. I think at the end of the day I’d be better off if I was the only one suffering, because knowing how much this hurts my husband makes the wound that much deeper. I have no words to add to any of this. But I am sending you love and lots of it.

  6. August 13, 2012

    Those situations are so hard. Watching your friends children grow up and adding more before you even get a chance to parent yourself is a punch in the gut sometimes. I have been lapped as well and it’s just a reminder of how much time that really have passed.

  7. 35life #
    August 13, 2012

    Oh do I sure know about situations like these. I think you both are being amazing and brave. I give you credit for going. We’re in the same boat – we’ve seen at least 3 couples go through 2 pregnancies while we wait for our first to happen. For the record, I’ve peed on hundreds of sticks and that’s no picnic either. I have a permanent heel mark in my ass for kicking myself in the same spot, every time I wasted a stick! No fun, no matter how unique our situations are. Those who make it seem effortless, frustrate me the most. Sending hugs to you.

  8. August 13, 2012

    I’m so sorry, Belle.

  9. August 13, 2012

    That was the worst for me too. Knowing how badly my Hubby wanted kids. Sometimes I felt like I wanted him to be a Daddy more than I wanted to be a Mommy. Hugz Belle!

  10. Jen #
    August 13, 2012

    Sad. I feel the same way for my hubs. Those few moments when I catch a glimpse of how much HE wants it, I am torn to shreds. Maybe these hubs’ of ours are onto something when they act like Mr. Toughguys who could “take it or leave it”… I think a big part of that, at least for my hubs, is solely for protecting me from moments like these.

  11. August 13, 2012

    “You know what is worse than a negative pregnancy test? You know what hurts more than seeing an ultrasound without a heartbeat? Realizing how fucking much your husband wants what you can not give him. I know the Professor is a good, loving man who won’t leave me for more fertile soil, but that does not change my pain.”
    This absolutely broke my heart…I know exactly how you feel. I think that is the hardest part for me…not being able to give this to him.
    My D&C bill also came on a bad no-baby day for me too. Maybe they plan it like that.

  12. August 13, 2012

    I only saw my husband cry a couple times, maybe twice, during the infertility and then the 13 week miscarriage. I thought it was because we lost the baby- turns out he was crying because he felt so bad that I couldn’t get what I wanted so badly, and specifically he felt HE couldn’t give it to me. So… it seems impossible for all involved to not feel like they’re to blame in not giving the other what they most want. I guess that’s tru;y a sign of love- when you are looking beyond your OWN hurt and pain and looking to your partner’s…

  13. August 13, 2012

    Nothing like when the world kicks you when you’re down. After our canceled IUI, I left my house to walk with a neighbor and clear my head….and across the street they were taking newborn pictures.
    You just can’t escape it.
    I know what you mean about hubby too – at first mine was more detached but now every month I can see the sadness in his face too, and it makes it even more heartbreaking.

  14. August 13, 2012

    It’s SUCH a bittersweet moment when you realize the love of your life has been devastated as well by your infertility journey. On one hand it is a little comforting to know you’re really in this together, but omigaaawd is it soul crushing to see him scarred and sad. And I’m so sorry this happened at the birthday party too! It’s not fair that you two have to go through this and I hope you know what an amazing job you’re doing with everything. xoxo!!!

  15. August 14, 2012

    Hey Belle. This post totally resonated with me. Getting the horrid bill in the mail … URGH!

    But more than anything, it was this that gave me goosebumps:

    “You know what is worse than a negative pregnancy test? You know what hurts more than seeing an ultrasound without a heartbeat? Realizing how fucking much your husband wants what you can not give him. ”

    I feel exactly the same way whenever I see the sadness in the hubster’s eyes.

    Wishing you and the professor all the very best and that one day, this horrid few months for you will be but a small blip in the memory as you hold your son or daughter in your arms.

    Jus Meh xxx

  16. August 14, 2012

    I’m so sorry, Belle. This post breaks my heart and it brings back all the feelings and memories of it happening to us too. *big hugs*

  17. August 14, 2012

    This had me in tears as I know exactly how you feel…all I can say is Im sending you a great big cyber hug.

  18. August 14, 2012

    Belle , this post had me all teary eyed this morning. Hubs and i are at the one year mark this month and I have had zero ovulation…I comisserate with your pain, and I am praying that this next round of FET works like gangbusters for you two. Big hugs.

    • August 15, 2012

      🙂 Gangbusters 🙂 I’m sorry you understand the woes of not ovulating. It sucks. I have everything crossed for you in the coming year, though. So many things have changed in your world making it more baby-ready. I’m confident that is what your ovaries were waiting for!

  19. August 14, 2012

    When we first started, about 5 or 6 months in, my DH brought home a cute baby blanket he’d seen at work. We both have to look at that thing stuck up in the closet every day. I know he wishes things were different,but I just try to stay focused on how life is what it is. That doesn’t make anything really hurt any less though. I’m sorry you had such an awful day, and I know you had to really put yourself out there to go to that party.

    • August 15, 2012

      Oh the lone baby item. I have a tiny stuffed penguin that I “bought for myself” really intending it to be for my baby. It sits in my sewing room now to cheer me on. Some days, though, it makes me so sad I put it under some laundry. Poor penguin.

  20. August 14, 2012

    That is so difficult. I know how hard children’s parties can be. Especially when you see that moment of pride in the parent’s eyes.

    And I know how those bills can provide a cruel sucker punch when you don’t expect it.

  21. August 14, 2012

    The second round of babies is what scares me the most. I have had such a hard time with this round, that getting lapped again might push me over the edge. I keep hoping with time all of this will get easier, but that doesn’t seem to ever be the case. I’m so sorry you have to deal with all of this now.

    • August 15, 2012

      Amanda, I very much hope you don’t have to contend with the second round. I thought the first was hard… round two is agonizing.

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