Thursday, January 13, 2011

Mind the bump

I've managed to build a little world in the southern hemisphere where I'm safe from exposure to bumps and babies. People with grown children, fine, or at least easier but otherwise it's difficult. I have hidden all new Mums and Mums to be from the daily news feed on FB. Those that have battled infertility to achieve parenthood are permitted of course, in fact I rather enjoy their photos and updates.

I read somewhere that even if you have one, maybe two or more, lovely children following infertility that news of a couple who are (effortlessly) expecting is painful. I can't imagine being at that stage, however, I agree that I find pregnancies without a struggle to conceive difficult and those who have a rough ride initially are easier and sometimes hopeful to hear about.

And so I need to vent about one particular expectant woman, if not on this blog I may make enemies in my small world. Let's call her Tontita. We met last September and found we both shared a similar expat timetable and initial feelings towards this city. It quickly emerged that we had some big differences; her budget is 10 times the money I get by on, she thinks in pounds and I think in pesos, she misses her job and status in the UK but I don't, she has never lived/travelled alone before while I have, she only likes to go out with her husband while I often enjoy time with others away from N and finally, she really didn't choose to be here while I couldn't wait to accompany N and his work. I'm not judging this, living abroad in your 30's throws you in the path of all sorts of chatacters and so I enjoyed our meetings but felt I wanted to keep some distance too. Mainly, my concern was that we were the same age, trying to conceive without success and one of us was going to be the first to get there.

I wondered how I might break the news to Tontita if I got pregnant first, it was a nice fantasy, perhaps we would be pregnant together and I would enjoy telling N about her luxurious pregnancy while we got cosy in our 2 room apartment. Anyway, I knew I would be nervous about telling her if I was lucky enough to be next in line. Tontita was fed up, she said she didn't know what she would do if she couldn't have kids. I inquired about any testing they had considered or any known conditions that may be hindering their efforts. I was careful not to tell her about our early steps towards IVF but said I had a polyp (I did) and I may need lots of gynae exams before we got anywhere. I gave her a few expat tips, where to buy cheapest OPKs, some online stuff for basal temps and tools to predict fertile window.

Well Tontita had never heard of the fertile window, nor timed intercourse each month, tracked her cycle, taken folic acid, googled anything about how a sperm meets an egg. For 18 months she and her husband had stopped using protection and that was it. So, Tontita said she might have a read on line and sent me a message to say she had predicted her mid cycle and was going to have a good try on those dates. Two weeks later she told me she had taken a home test but it was negative and she felt really low.

This lulled me into a false sense of security and so 2 weeks later when we met for coffee and she said "Well......I have NEWS...I am PREGnant" with an odd smile I felt like I'd been punched in the stomach and for a moment I was utterly speechless. I burst out a "Owww, ohhh congratulations, how ....lovely" but I couldn't get the muscles in my cheeks to work and all I could muster was "So have you been eating anything different since you found out...any nausea?" It turns out she was 6 weeks and when we had met a fortnight ago she had been testing too early and at the wrong time of day. She said "Yeh they tested my HG or something, I've just ordered loads of maternity stuff from home, I've got so much to buy, I'm huge too but not sure how big the little thing is". At this point I asked the waiter for the bill and thought to myself...It's HCG, what's wrong with the maternity clothes here and ever worried that it's still early days and it's about the size of a grain of rice perhaps if you stopped shopping online you might learn something AND for what it's worth at this late stage, please start taking folic acid.

So anyway, she's stopped asking me if I'm free to meet (on her terms near her house) and I'm relieved. Her posts on FB are out of view, which included 'Had enough of morning sickness now', 'Got issues with flat ...are we the most unlucky couple in the world', 'had to wait 2 hours for appointment' and 'sick of being poked and prodded'.

I need to get on in this city and cross paths with people in her social circle a lot. I've learnt that others find her half empty outlook hard to endure too so I need to let it go. Tontita is the epitome of all that upsets me in this unfair process and I hope after this vent I can leave her be, her ears must be burning and it's a waste of my energy. Deep breaths. At least I can appreciate this opportunity to live in such an amazing city and I never suffer from 'boredom', my time here is so precious!

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