Saturday, December 1, 2012

My sister

Part of the reason for needing a new blog address was realizing I could not write about any subject as need be. I shared my old blog with a lot of IRL friends back when I started it in January 2011. I also shared it with a lot of family members, including my sister.

This blog post - per the title - is about my sister. She's 2 1/4 years younger than me and is my only sibling. She lives on the other side of the world in Sydney.

Back in April 2012, my sister and her girlfriend visited us. They had been together 11 months at that point but were already talking about spending their lives together. In a coffee shop one morning, my sister tells me "I just don't understand how you can be not happy for your sister-in-law" (my sister-in-law was 8 months pregnant at that point). I tell her "you can't understand what it's like to battle infertility - unless you go through it." My sister says "what are you going to do when I get pregnant?" A little taken aback by the whole conversation, I said "well that's a ways off, so hopefully I don't have to worry about it." She declares "we're going to start trying at the end of the year."

I didn't tell her "wow, that's quick" or "you know, 18 months into other relationships you've told family 'this is the one' and then things have gone way south - why don't you feel this relationship out for a few years first." I just smiled at her and that was it.

She put me on notice - the end of 2012 is going to bring some interesting news. I had fully hoped and expected that I'd be well on my way to being a mom by now. Had I not miscarried in September, I would have heard yesterday's phone conversation with a baby belly of a 5 1/2 month pregnant lady.

Instead, when my sister called yesterday, I still had an empty womb / heart / 2nd bedroom. We chatted for a few moments and then I said "you said you have to go in 10 minutes, wasn't there something you want to talk about?" I thought I KNEW WHAT WAS COMING. I actually expected her to tell me they're already pregnant. Fortunately, they're not. But they have started the process.

My sister was excited as she told me about having the hsg test done, and getting blood work done. They go back to a fertility specialist on 12/11 - two days after my sister's 33rd birthday. Not-a-once did she stop to ask how this "news" makes me feel. Not-a-once did she show any indication that she understands what I have been through. When she and her girlfriend started dating, my husband and I had already been TTCing for over a year. We'd already had one loss and were (we didn't know it) two months away from an ectopic disaster.

Hilariously, my sister flippantly mentions IVF. "We will meet with the doctor who will tell us whether inseminations will work or whether we should move straight to IVF." It was so strange to hear of her mention this ENORMOUS ordeal as if she was talking about a toe nail clippling or a hair cut. Some women toss up whether or not to do IVF for months if not longer. Within two weeks of starting the TTC process, my sister is deciding whether she'll go straight to IVF. Made me throw up in my mouth a little bit.
My sister has always been on the selfish side. She was a professional athlete before retiring from the sport and even swam in the finals of the Athens Olympics. You don't get to be the top of your game (at one point, she was #1 in the world) without being selfish and egotistical. The unfortunate part is that her selfishness appears to have carried into her personal life, despite the fact that she retired from swimming over 4 years ago.

I don't know what to do. Her announcement of starting TTC sent me into a full-on crisis mode. It has been hard - no, impossible - enough watching friends succeed once and then even lap me with a second. But the idea of my baby sister getting there first is crushing me.

I thought I was in a total "I don't give a fuck" stage, and was preparing to blog about that phase. Instead, I find myself feeling totally and utterly underwater again.

This "news" of my sister's came on the wake of one of the WORST fights my husband and I have ever had. We were just trying to recover from it - and were doing a pretty good job - until I got that phone call.

Those who followed my old blog will remember that my husband's step-brother called us about 3 weeks after we terminated the ectopic pregnancy (he called in August 2011). The step-brother was excited to tell us that he and his wife were pregnant. In the conversation he had with my husband, he showed NOTHING to suggest he knew it would hurt us. He seemed unaware that he should maybe bring it up quietly rather than over the top happy. Now the same thing happens, just on my side of the family.

I hate myself for this next statement. HATE MYSELF: I hope they have a little bit of trouble TTC. I hope they have 6 months of failed IUIs before one works. Mainly so my judgmental, holier than though, high on herself sister gets a taste of what I've been through. When I had my D&C in September, I got a phone call (which I didn't pick up because I was sobbing in bed). I didn't get a card, flowers, or even an email from my sister.

This makes me feel so far away from the only sibling I have in this world. This whole TTC / IF journey has isolated me in ways I never could have expected. I have withdrawn from social settings and from many friends. My husband and my relationship is strained. Now I add my sister to the list of things I feel I am losing as a result of IF.

Some might tell me "well, just change it. Change your list and your outlook" (and by "some," I include my darling husband). To anyone who has battled IF, though, you know it's not that simple. It is a seemingly never-ending, vicious cycle of loss and grief ... of jealousy and anger ... of sadness and isolation. It is not something I can just "change" and "get over."

Fortunately, my sister and her girlfriend will not do their first insemination until April 2013 at the earliest. This is because my sister needs to find a new job and then make sure she's been in that new job 3-5 months before they get pregnant so she can take full advantage of paid leave. I can only hope it takes her a few months to even get a new job.

This gives me 5 months to get knocked up. If I ever thought the pressure was on before, I was wrong. NOW, it is on.

Game on. Bring it. Holy shit I am scared. My anxiety level went through the roof last night and is still not back down.


I just realized, while in tears listening to P!nk's Try, that this is the first (future) pregnancy I won't be able to run away from.


  1. I am so sorry. I wish I could say something to make this whole situation better.
    Sending you lots of love. Xx

  2. What an absolute horrible situation to be in. It is bad enough trying to get pregnant when friends and acquaintances are getting pregnant, but to have to deal with your sister. Crap, crap, crap. I think she could be a little more sensitive of your situation. Who knows maybe she will also experience problems conceiving and be a little more compassionate to those who have struggled to become parents. Either way, I hope the best comes out of this really effed up situation.

  3. I get it. I really do. And I'm sorry that you are now in this "rat race" with your sister.

    I think there's always a natural competition between sisters. Kinda comes with the territory. But I also think dealing with someone who has been rewarded for being competitive is especially difficult. There's a certain high they get off of it. So, in a weird way, your sister may be using all you're going through as a way to full the high. She's unable to see that in the process, she's hurting you.

    So, I'm sorry. On top of everything else, having to deal with this sucks. So be kind to yourself and don't feel ashamed about having to set boundaries about this whole situation. You need to come first.

  4. Wow. Multiple metaphoric punches in the gut! It really kills me that your sister of all people can't be just a little bit sensitive. There are way too many people who just don't even TRY to get it!

    On a separate note, thanks for listing me on your blog! I really hope you are included on that list very very soon!

  5. There are days I just don't understand family. One would think that family would want to grieve with you, support you and help cheer you on through the process of creating a family. But I do understand, any time I try to tell a thing to my mother, forget telling my only sibling as we haven't spoken in years, she tries to top my pain or joy.

    Hoping that soon you'll be pregnant with the greatest gift of all, a take home baby.

  6. Oh I totally get this. There is just something about sisters that adds competition. My sister and her boyfriend are thinking that they don't want kids which could help out my mental state quite a bit....but I have this nagging feeling that they are going to get pregnant while trying to prevent before I get pregnant which would be devastating.

  7. Sheesh. I'm sorry hon. I don't have an insensative sister, but I do have a younger sister who has lapped me with two kids after getting knocked up on the first or second month of trying both times. While I struggled for three years and lost two babies..she had two healthy pregnancies. I get how hard it is for you. All I can say is to really make sure you and your husband are in a strong place going forward so that you will be ready for what is to come. You will need him when/if you get that news from your sister. Also, if they do have to go to IVF she will realize that it is not a walk in the park and just MIGHT see what you went through.

  8. OIE. Like you said this esp hard since this is a baby that you can not just run away from. I would like to say though that perhaps she will come around.

    I,.. was that sister. I had no clue about IF or anything that my sister was going through. She didnt really talk about it much so I just assumed that it must not be a big deal to her... I am not sure when it clicked but when it did I made it my mission to go through the journey with her and understand as much as I could (from a "fertile's" perspective