enjoying the good news of others, for a change

Lately I’ve been venting a lot about my frustrations and disappointments. It’s natural to feel this way in the face of a recently failed IVF and fast dwindling options to become a mother. I hope not to feel this way forever. For now, this is my perspective, my life from here. Everything is still pretty raw and fresh as we near the end of our journey to parenthood without a child. So yeah, I’ve still got a lot to work through, I own that…

Putting aside my own inner turmoil, I can still (sometimes) embrace the good news of others. Sure, I still feel sad for myself. I may ask why not me. But seeing the happiness of those I love can still bring a certain joy. I’ve written about the mixed emotions that arise when I’m faced with some 
expectant mothers and other life celebrations of family and friends. My grief counselor refers to this concept as “duality” — i.e., I can hold seemingly conflicting emotions or thoughts in my head and heart at once. It has a name. It’s part of being human. Of course there are also times where there is no joy. Lately it seems that no matter how happy I may be for someone, no matter how I may enjoy spending time with other people’s children, my own sadness and grief prevail.

But this is not so with everyone. There are some people you know have lived through their own hell to get to a point truly worth celebrating. Women and their partners who have tried everything to become parents, or who have survived unimaginable grief. After living through someone’s darkest times alongside them, it is especially sweet to finally share in their good fortune. It’s not just that they deserve it, we all do. But theirs has been a long road and the toll has been high. When they finally reach their destination, I will be right there with them rejoicing.

Two such people are my sister-in-law and her husband (my step-brother). For over four years they tried to have a child. They suffered tremendous heartache and considerable expense. First they tried everything from meds to IVF. When her last cycle was cancelled over two years ago due to poor egg quality (at age 39), they decided to pursue adoption. They were approved by China and joined countless other couples whose wait keeps getting longer. Discouraged, they were then approved by a local agency for domestic adoption, in the hope of building their dream family in any possible. These are kind, wonderful people, both specialty doctors in a small urban area with a great home and dog and a healthy, active lifestyle. And nothing. Further discouraged, they returned to their final hope: donor eggs. They agreed to give it one last try. After exploring many issues, they completed a successful IVF-DE cycle. She had a tough pregnancy with ongoing complications. Tomorrow she will give birth to twin boys, six weeks early. They have taken nothing for granted. They know there are no guarantees. Their success has inspired warmth and happiness. To think they will finally become the family they dreamed of and worked so hard for is a wonderful thing. [EDITED below]  

Another dear friend finally received the most wonderful news after more heartache than many could imagine. This woman and her husband have tried for three years to bring home a healthy baby. This is her third pregnancy. She tragically lost two baby girls late in the second trimester to two different rare genetic abnormalities. I don’t even know the odds of this happening. I know she suffered immeasurable grief. To lose one much wanted baby is devastating, I know. To lose two is simply unimaginable, unless you have lived it. Hearing the news of her second diagnosis, my heart sank. There were no words. Only tears. She fell into a deep dark place. There was no light to guide her through. Slowly, in time, she was able to make her way back to the surface. It required astonishing personal strength and courage. She accepted a prestigious new job and a cross-country move. Eventually she was ready to try again. She had the most positive attitude. She was not afraid to “dream big” (in her words). Within a few months, she was pregnant. And probably terrified. But definitely hopeful. She envisioned her perfectly healthy baby growing. Yet she was understandably anxious before every appointment, at every scan. It was hard for her to believe she would bring home a healthy baby. Recently she passed the 20 week mark and finally heard the words she had so longed for: “perfect.” Healthy heart, perfect brain, normal development, everything right where it should be. The word perfect has never been more beautiful. I breathed a huge sigh of relief and felt immense joy for her. And now I hope she finally believes she will bring home her baby boy come spring…  

EDITED to ADD: Some good wishes and thoughts are needed: My SIL’s complications continued as she gave birth to two baby boys this morning at 33.5 weeks. She began to hemorrhage and was rushed into emergency surgery. She is now recovering but on watch. The babies are in NICU: one is just over 3lbs and unable to breathe on his own; the other is just over 5lbs and doing better. Any good thoughts you can muster are welcome. Many thanks. ETA: SIL is home and both babies are still in NICU but breathing on their own, feeding through a tube until her milk comes in. Thanks again. 

~ by luna on January 28, 2008.

11 Responses to “enjoying the good news of others, for a change”

  1. Hey there Luna! So sorry I haven’t been around – if you read my blog, you’ll understand why. At any rate, I am catching up on you!

    Feeling good (really good) for others is so hard when it comes to infertility, but when you are able to get to that point, it does bring about a certain peace. I myself have almost made it a couple of times, but am still hurting and finding it hard to feel happy for all of my other friends. Now those who have had trouble or losses, I am able to feel happy for when they conceive and give birth. It’s just been difficult for me to find out how to do that with the “fertiles” in my life.

    I am really happy for your friend and your sister-in-law and step-brother. I too had a reason to celebrate this week. On Tuesday, one of my best friends gave birth to a baby girl. A year and half ago, she gave birth to a baby boy and he stopped breathing the night he was born. They had to put him on a ventilator only to discover he had no brain function. Needless to say, my friend grieved more than I can possibly imagine and her strength inspired me. And on Tuesday she gave birth to a beautiful little girl who is healthy and wonderful. They still grieve for the loss of their son, but my friend and her husband now have a little bit of the void filled.

    Here’s to the world going right for people in pain.

    You are in my thoughts. I’ll catch up and keep reading.

    – Angela

  2. Good thoughts are coming your way and to your SIL and good friend. It’s so nice to hear the good news, particularly when the crappy news seems to abound. And I think the duality can be measured in baby steps…I hope we get wiser and stronger and better able to see joy during this process. I’m not there yet. But will be. One day.

  3. Keeping your new SIL’s new babies in my thoughts- as an NICU nurse I understand how quickly a happy moment can turn into a frightful moment. That being said- I know those boys are in capable hands of doctors and nurses that are doing everything within their power to give those boys every fighting chance that so deserve! Hang in there- stay strong!

  4. It shows your great strength and character that you are able to enjoy the successes of others, even when still reeling from your own losses.

    I will keep everyone – including you – in my prayers.

  5. Sending my best for your family — most especially for your SIL and her babies. Wishing a speedy recovery for all involved.

    As for your duality explanation, this is a great way to capture the competing emotions I often feel. It’s strange to know it’s possible to hold opposing thoughts and feelings at the same time, but then I’ve stopped trying to understand why my thoughts form as they do. They are what they are…great post.

    Thanks, too, for your continued support in the wake of my own emotional meandering. Best, PJ

  6. Just read your update – I’m sure this is very hard for you and your family to go through. Your SIL, step-brother and their little ones will be in my thoughts and prayers. As will you.

    Your SIL and step-brother have been through so much and I hope more than anything that all turns out OK and they get to bring those two boys home as soon as possible.

    – Angela

  7. I find it difficult to be happy for those who take pregnancy and parenthood as a given – particularly as, in my experience, these are the very people who tend to be less than empathetic where infertility is concerned. It’s much easier to rejoice for those whose journey has been more complicated, and who take nothing for granted.

    Your step-brother, sister-in-law and their two little boys are in my thoughts.

  8. Hi. I just stumbled onto your blog from “blog-hopping.” What you said about “duality” was just what I needed to hear. It’s like a lightbulb went off in my head … especially as I’m feeling multiple things right now for my SIL, who just found out she was pregnant again after losing her 4 month old baby about 5 months ago. I’m extremely happy she has the opportunity to have another child, yet I’m terrified for her and hoping that her pregnancy and subsequent birth is much more smoother than last time. And well, of course I’m also sad for myself.

    Hmm … perhaps that’s called “Triple-ality!?”

    In any case, I’m sending good thoughts and lots of prayers to your nephews and your SIL & stepbrother…

  9. […] course I wish our kids could grow up together and become as close as we are. The next generation. Duality in action.  Also, I realized I mostly got upset when they were talking about parenting. Seeing […]

  10. […] baby announcements and expecting mothers, baby showers and birthdays, baby blessings, babies after infertility, and other child-centered family occasions (aren’t they all?). These experiences truly run […]

  11. […] out why I feel this way anymore, I just accept that I do. I’ve written about this concept before, because I was so relieved to know it was normal and it had a […]

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