Sunday, December 27, 2009

You wanted it?

Here it is. That post to which I've been referring...

We went home the weekend before Christmas to celebrate with my family, since my Dad can no longer travel (they usually all come here, and then together we trek to my sister's house) and my sister doesn't travel away from home on the actual holiday because of her kids. Understandable.

Of course, recalling that my parents know nothing about our last there's always that little secret that serves to make everything a little bit more interesting. And also, in case you yourself haven't experienced it, let me let you in on another little secret: an IVF failure is a devastating, horrific, life-shattering event to the person experiencing it, but to most other people it is fairly forgettable after a month or so, especially amidst the hustle and bustle of the holidays. And I'll admit that Mr. LC and I did a pretty good job of 'moving on' on the outside, so I guess that creates the illusion that we aren't still completely shattered. But many days, we're just tip-toeing along, our facade of being 'ok' held together by a thread.

Saturday morning I woke up and got ready, determined to have a good day. We were going to bring Dad home for the day. We were going to have our big family meal, we were going to open presents, we were going to play outside with my nephews, we were going to have fun, dammit! It was Christmas, after all.

(side note: I'm not phone technology savvy. I don't text. I can read texts but I can't text back easily. I didn't even know you could get pictures in a text. Foreshadowing.)

As we were about to head out to go get my Dad, I picked up my purse and looked down at my phone. My parents live in the country on acreage and cell reception is fairly pitiful there. But I could see a little icon in the corner of my phone that I thought meant I had received a message. I innocently clicked it.

A perfectly clear beautiful ultrasound picture popped up with the text words "It's a girl!" written on it.

I literally dropped my phone on the table like it was infected.

I shook my head...surely I had not just seen what I had seen.

I picked it up again, my heart pounding.

Yup, a beautiful ultrasound photo. The words "It's a girl!" mocking me.

My hands were trembling at this point. Alone, in the kitchen, I felt dizzy. My thoughts started racing.

"Who is sending me this?"
"Who would do this to me?"
"Is it a cruel joke?"
"Who do I know that is pregnant that would be finding out gender right now?"

and again: "Who would do this to me?"

Mr. LC walked into the room. So did my Mom.

I pulled him aside. Hands still shaking, I showed him the phone.

The color drained from his face. "Who sent it?"

"I don't know," I said, tears welling up in my eyes, my throat tightening. I felt like I was having a mild panic attack.

"Well look at the number!"

It wasn't a familiar number, but it had a familiar area code. Maybe it was a mistake? A mis-call, and I had just been the unfortunate recipient of someone's errant number punching.

Except it wasn't.

Mr. LC soon recognized the number, as coming from R.

Those of you who know our full story, know that R was our 'Little Brother' through Big Brothers/Big Sisters.

Our little brother that we loved and mentored for seven years.

Seven years.

Through the cancer death of his real big brother.
Through elementary school and then junior high.
Through his trouble with the authorities.
Through this trouble with teachers.
Through trouble with his mother.
Countless hours of homework.
Countless hours of trips, movies, dinners out, art projects, music projects...just hanging out.
Then through his brief incarceration.
Through his first pregnancy scare with his girlfriend.

We had practically ended the relationship when he turned seventeen, dropped out of high school, and his girlfriend was really pregnant. We made that painful trip to the hospital to visit his new perfect baby girl during the midst of one of our IVF cycle failures.

And now.

Now they are expecting again and I guess he wanted to share their little miracle with us.

Another girl.

Born to a teenage couple, neither of whom has graduated from high school. I'm sorry--I'm just going to say it: they're not ready. They cannot have the capacity to be great parents. They're struggling financially. But yet.

Two baby girls. The life of my dreams.


Not only did we ourselves fail biologically at having children, we apparently failed as mentors.

And then having to fight back sobs--all day long--when that picture popped into my mind's eye. Having to keep up appearances, a happy face, because after all, it had been a whole month (to those present who knew about the cycle). And having to hold it together completely for my poor Mom, trying her best to make as normal a holiday as possible when everything in her world is not at all normal. Thanks, R, for fucking up my Christmas more than it was already fucked up.

The gut punches...they just keep on coming don't they?


  1. I am so sorry. Let me say though - that you are truly an amazing woman.

  2. Oh awful. I'm so sorry...

  3. I'm so just keep getting surprised, and not in a good way. I am in such awe of your strength that you were able to hold it together and keep smiling even though your heart is shattered in a thousand pieces. You're so right - they are not ready and it isn't fair. None of this is fair and I wish so much I had an explanation for you, a reason that would somehow make it all make sense, but I don't. I'm so sorry.

  4. Oh man, that's brutal.

    That kind of surprise is just so heart wrenching. I'm so sorry.

  5. I don't know what to say other than I'm so sorry. Sorry for your Christmas, sorry for your failed last chance cycle. I've been following your blog for a long time. I would say that I am in awe of how strong you are, but I hate it when people say that to me (what choice do we have???)

  6. You are very right, an IVF failure is horribly devastating, especially after your 5th and no plan B. My heart really does hurt for you. Then to receive that u/s pic on your phone, I can envision you crumbling to the floor as I would have. I am sooo sorry, soo soo soo sorry. =((( Sending you lots of hugs.

  7. Wow. I don't even know where to start or what to say! I am so sorry!! I can't even imagine how that must have felt and hate that it all came crashing down on Christmas of all days. I admire that you were able to hold it together for your mom's sake, because I don't know that I would have been able to do the same.

  8. That is horrible and I can't even imagine how hard it was to keep it together all day. I'm sorry.

  9. There is just no way to sew a silver lining into that one. Awful - WOW!

  10. UGH! UGH! UGH! I wish I had some words of wisdom for you. Or could at least take away some of your pain. This is so brutal. All of it. I keep getting caught up in why becoming parents is way too easy for some and so painful for others. It just doesn't make sense. At all. I'm really struggling to see "God's plan" in that. Working on it, but struggling.

    Take care.

  11. o.m.g. I don't think I could have held it together; I can't believe the awfulness of the timing or the person involved.

    I'm so sorry.

  12. I wish there was a way to block things from him! that is horrible. I'm so sorry!

  13. I can't imagine getting a text like that...out of the blue, from someone you haven't talked to in awhile. Of all the cruelty of the universe... Jill M took the words right out of my mouth. I'm so sorry.

  14. That's absolutely horrifying.

  15. Oh Ashley, I am so sorry. When those things come from left field and leave us burning for days, a lifetime, well, there is just no words that can comfort. I'm sorry. Maybe you should send a text back advising them to put this child up for adoption:) Clearly they have no clue about anything and your right, they are not ready to be parents.

    I have a cousin who is 18, is not married, does not have a job and who is expecting. Oh, and doesn't know for sure who the father is. I asked her if she was going to do a paternity test after the baby was born. She explained that she didn't need to becasue the baby would either be white or black. Nice. Needless to say, I steer as far away from her as possible.

    I'm sorry that this happened to you on a day that you were trying to be festive.

  16. I'm so sorry. That's just awful.

  17. I've been reading your blog for awhile now and have found it to be informative in different ways. But,,,,,I have to say this......dont feel so sorry for yourself.......YOU ARENT ALONE!!!!!Everyday in some way....Life does that.....I've been going through infertility way longer than you have.Yeah it sucked that you got the text on christmas.......BUT IT DOESNT MATTER WHAT DAY IT IS...............ITs ALWAYS IS GOING TO SUCK AND ITS ALWAYS GOING TO BE LIKE A KNIFE IN YOUR HEART!!!!! I don't want to sound harsh.....and I know it doesn't make your situation any better. But just remember......THERE ARE MANY OF US OUT THERE GOING THROUGH THIS........

  18. I think Ashley is fully aware many others are going through (or have gone through) what she and her husband have. Her way of coping is to write about it. That's how she handles it and that's okay.

    That said, I do think the post is quite sad. Very concerning to read about the hatred of the former "little brother", regardless of his past or present life circumstances. Just bummed me out to read that undue hostility towards him.

  19. Adding from previous post...your little brother (I'm guessing) doesn't know what you are going through right now. He didn't send it to hurt you.

  20. Wow.... I would be so pis$#%. Granted, he is a teenager, and his perspective is so different because of this, but still. He has no way of knowing the depth of your pain. It's bad, really bad....

    You have poured your life into him, and in God's economy, that currency is eternal. Even if you cannot feel the value of each thing you have done with and for him, and even if he cannot value each of those things as he should. Maybe he does, but he has a funny way of showing it...

    I'm still mad at him for you. Even if he is a good kid. Some of us experiencing infertility have just been through some tough stuff. No one has any answers for us, not even God, this side of eternity. I'm trying to rest in Him. But some days..... there is no rest.

    Seeing the world through 'infertility glasses' is a raw deal. (and there are other raw deals as well, though this surely is one)