Friday, November 5, 2010

Great Expectations

I think I expect way too much from people.

I feel like I am a pretty sensitive person. I work hard not to say things that would be offensive or bring someone sadness. I monitor my words and actions the best I can. I’m not perfect by any means, and I often find myself with my foot in my mouth. But I really put a lot of effort into making sure I don’t bring anyone sadness because of the things I say.

Because of that, I automatically expect others to be the same way, and I find myself disappointed when they don’t live up to these expectations.

The community I expect the most from? The infertile community. And they are always the ones who disappoint me the most. Some of my most crushing moments have come from people who “were” infertile, the people I think should “know better”.

Of course, I ask the impossible sometimes, and I know it. How is someone supposed to know that this is the *wrong* day to show off their baby’s pictures? How is someone supposed to tone down their excitement about an impending child, simply because I’m in the room? And would I even want them to? What kind of person would that make me?

Even so, there is story I have to share, if for no other reason, to remember it for the future and ensure I never do something like this to my ‘infertile sisters’.

When Ryan and I arrived for our last IUI appointment, the doctor’s office was packed. We took the last 2 chairs available, and they weren’t even next to each other. I had never seen it this crowded!

During the wait, as I was inconspicuously looking around the room, I noticed an older mother, one or two grandmothers, and an older gentleman. I thought this was strange but I didn’t think much of it. Suddenly, a young couple burst out of the back room with huge smiles and ultrasound pictures in their hands. I knew they must be pregnant and I smiled to myself. Good for them.

But then, as they crossed out of the lobby and into the breezeway, I noticed all those other people get up and follow them out there. They were all relatives of the pregnant couple. They proceeded to stand in front of the office, jumping up and down and screaming.

The entire waiting room of 10-15 infertile people got to witness this moment through the full-length windows of the office. We got to see her hold up the pictures, tell everyone there was “just one”, laugh, cry and hold each other. This went on for about 5 minutes.

And there I was, sitting in my chair, my husband two seats down, watching it all happen. I looked around the waiting room and saw the mixture of pain and sadness on all the other couples faces. Not jealousy… pain.

This couple and their family were beyond excited. I don’t blame them. They had no idea I was thinking about my miscarriage and the ultrasound picture I would never hold. I wondered about the stories of the other waiting couples who were watching this with me. I’m sure some were there to ask why their IVF didn’t work, some might be getting their own ultrasound only to find no heartbeat, some were just starting their own painful journey.

I found myself in a world of emotions… Why would they bring all their relatives? I couldn’t even sit next to my husband because they had to bring all these people. It was a beautiful day. They could have waited outside. Did they not think for a second about celebrating like that in front of an audience of infertile people? Could they have walked 10 feet down the breezeway and then celebrated? They “used” to be one of us… Why would these thoughts not cross their mind?

Some people would tell me this situation should have brought me hope. It didn’t. And from the looks on the faces of those around me, I wasn’t alone.

Maybe I shouldn’t hold people who have had infertility to a higher standard. But I do. The one week I was pregnant, the biggest thing on my mind were those people who were still waiting, whether I knew them personally or not. I did everything I could think of to make life less painful for them. But maybe I didn’t do enough. Maybe I was one of “those” people. That thought makes me sick.

Maybe I expect way too much from people. All it does is hurt me in the end.


Stephanie said...

That seems very inconsiderate to me! It's bad enough my clinic is a few doors down to an OBGYN's office so I get to see all the cute bellies walk out in front of my as I've come from my own appt, whatever it may be. I think the patient in this case should have had enough sense to meet up with there family at another place and time. I'm sorry you and all the other patients had to witness that.

Hillary said...

I think what they did was thoughtless and rude. I feel the same way you do about holding former infertiles to a higher standard. It makes sense, really, because they're not ignorant like fertile people. They should know and understand the pain, and should have learned how to be sensitive. At the very least, they should have moved so you and your husband could sit together, and they should've had their celebration elsewhere.

Poduska Family said...

No, serious, that was just inappropriate. They should have thrown a party or something at a nearby restaurant/home, etc... but an infertility clinic? Really? I'm sorry.

Hope said...

I agree with what everyone else has said. And I really feel for you and all the other infertile couples there. That must have been so hard to witness.

Luna said...

I think it is weird to have so many people waiting. The news is just as exciting or disappointing no matter where you hear it. What if it had been bad news, then there would have been a big display that would be just as awkward.

Rebecca said...

I was just going to say what Luna said. I guess it's the infertile reaction, but seriously, what if it HAD been bad news? How uncomfortable would that have made everyone? I don't understand people sometimes.

And I do not believe you expect too much. What we have all gone through makes us uber-sensitive sometimes, but I don't think "expecting" sensitivity, common sense, and good taste translates into expecting too much. I feel the same way about infertiles who are now pregnant. I've dealt with both sides of the coin. One of my dearest friends is a woman I met on a message board when we were both starting our TTC journeys. I have never been pregnant, and she has gone on to have three beautiful sons. Never once did I feel she was gloating, insensitive, or overbearing in sharing her joy. Just the opposite, with her third, she practically apologized the entire nine months that it was her and not me. She has been in the trenches. SHE gets it. And on the other side of the coin, I have known people in blogland and in real life that once they get pregnant, it's like something sucks all their common sense and tact out of them and they turn into the most obnoxious pregnant women on the planet. They forget those of us still on the bench and turn their backs on the ones that have been their cheerleaders and leave us battered and bruised from the game.

Whew, sorry to verbally spew all over your comments...I guess this hit me today!

Just wanted to let you know you're not alone in feeling the way you feel, and I can attest, at least in my were NEVER one of "them". Rest easy in that knowledge my friend.

christine said...

I don't think you expected too much. Not at all. When we had our ultrasound appointment, I didn't even want to talk with the nurses who asked about it for fear of hurting a fellow IFers feelings who may have been in earshot.

The couple should have had more tact and asked their family to wait at a nearby restaurant where they could have more appropriately shared their news.

I'm so sorry you had to witness that.

- Mrs. D said...

Hi there - I stumbled upon your blog and thought I would say hello :)

I am so mad at those people at your Dr's office... that is horrible. I don't think you have unrealistic expectations... unfortunately it seems as though these people didn't have a lot of tact.

Thinking of you as you move to the next step!

Wonder Woman said...

I had no idea that they mixed the "trying" crowd with the "expecting" crowd. Rookie naivete I guess. Always thought there'd be a different waiting room once i get to the other side.

Well i'm sorry you had to sit through that.

lmc5004 said...

I gave you a blog award! Go to my blog to pick up the button for your blog and to get the info to pass the award along! =)

Tami said...

It is sad, but SO common. When "infertiles" graduate, the majority of them somehow forget the pain and hurt that they went through and that guess what? Other's are still going through it. This would have made me mad too...just because why couldn't they meet at a restaurant or something after the ultrasound? I would NEVER think to bring my family into a waiting room like that, except for a delivery at a hospital...
Ugh. Its just so inapporpriate. When I was pregnant, I was soooo happy, but I realized others were still going through what I had. DH and I always waited to celebrate when we were on the elevator.
I just love you blog!!! :)