Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Happy Birthday to me!

Before starting this post proper, I'd like to say that I am not usually an attention-seeker, at least as far as my birthday is concerned. I rarely do anything special and don't demand an array of presents, unlike some friends of mine!  But if I can't mention my birthday on a blog which is entirely about me and my life, where can I?!

So today I am 34. Birthday activities so far:

  • Breakfast in bed (made myself as my Bloke is in Seoul) whilst opening a few cards
  • Trip to clinic for injection
  • Emergency visit to H&M to buy something that fits me... I am absurdly bloated, partly from the IVF and presumably from fluids/gas. Anyway, I have a couple of pairs of linen trousers and some skirts that I can get into, fine for the summer. But I woke up to a colder day today (temperature has dropped 20 degrees C in the last 3 days!) and realised I had no pants I could do up.  I managed to button some combat pants on the wrong button but couldn't zip them up, so had to cover and hold up with a long top. I'm reluctant to buy maternity pants - it just seems too early, both physically and mentally/emotionally. I'm still getting used to the idea that this pregnancy is real and hopefully here to stay... Anyway, in the end decided that a couple of long tops/shift dresses worn over leggings will probably be OK. Tried to stay away from anything too 'smock-like' as that is not my usual style and people could start getting suspicious!
  • Lunch by myself at one of my favourite restaurants, having my absolute favourite greek sausage dish. I could eat it all over again just thinking about it :)
  • Nap at home after lunch
  • Now just waiting for the removals company to come round and assess how much crap we have to move to Seoul.
Hope that doesn't sound like a bit of a sad day!  I have a lunch with friends and book club evening planned for tomorrow and that's enough of a celebration for me.

Now back to something I mentioned in my last post... telling my siblings. I had decided not to tell my older sister and brother yet.. it's still so early and it seems too soon. My little sister lives with my Mum, so she knows, but will not say anything. They all know about our IVF, but only my Mum knew the schedule. Then I realised that my big sis usually calls me around my birthday. I remembered this when our home phone rang on Sunday night (a rare occurrence!) and I couldn't hear anything but echo when I picked up the phone. This could only be my sister having technical trouble! I panicked and turned off my mobile phone quickly as she was sure to try that next. I felt a bit stupid after in case it was just a cold call, but then the email arrived Monday morning - yes, it was her and which number should she try me on to wish me Happy Birthday?

That means I have a choice - lie or tell the truth, as she will inevitably ask about the IVF. This is a more complicated decision than it sounds (isn't anything involving family!). My sister is in her early 40s and single. It would be a cliche to say she's been unlucky in relationships... this is what I would've said in the past, but recently it's become clear that she is suffering from some level of depression and is struggling to come to terms with her life, both now and her past. Some of her angst is related to our childhood. That really is a saga long-enough for a week of posts and I can't be bothered going into it now. In a nutshell, we didn't suffer any hideous trauma, but my sisters and I are all in-fact half-sisters and we didn't have a stable father figure around for most of our childhood. I've dealt with my Daddy issues over the years and have realised that parents are just people, equally entitled to make mistakes as anyone else. But it seems my sister hasn't and still blames our Mum and her Dad for not having the picture-perfect upbringing. Somehow, she also seems to think that I had and have the perfect life. This despite the fact that her Dad is still in her life (however imperfect he may be), whereas I've had no contact with mine since I was 18 months old.

Imagine then her feelings as I met my Bloke, fell in love, moved overseas, found a vocation and eventually got married. Over the years I have faced some anger and resentment from her, sometimes hidden, sometimes more open as her mental status became more unstable. I have dealt with it, knowing I am lucky to have the life I do, though I have had my struggles to get here. In some ways, the infertility seemed to almost start to even things up between us - 'at last, something in my life wasn't perfect!'. But she wants children and is aware that her time is running out (her words, not mine). So, in the end, I still 'win' because at least I've got a husband to have fertility treatment with!

So how is she going to deal with my news? I had planned to tell her in an email, followed up by a phonecall once she had time to process. This is how I've liked to be told when a friend of mine got pregnant and I think the situation here is the same. But if she calls, I will have to be upfront. I can't lie. I would have to do it outright and there's no way I can do that. So I guess really, I have no choices. But that doesn't stop me being afraid of seeing her name come up on my mobile phone.


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  2. until you're ready in all aspects to buy maternity pants, you might try to find something or have it shipped to you called the bella band (i think that's one brand?). it's basically a wide band of tight but not too tight elastic that you can wear over the top of unbuttoned pants to hold them up. like an in between stage until actual maternity pants are needed.

    and good luck with your sister's phone call. i like the email idea to give her time to process, but it guess the moment is upon on, so good luck and hope it goes over better than you could have ever imagined. sometimes even our difficult family members surprise us, in a good way :)

  3. Happy (belated) birthday! I hope this will be a wonderful and memorable year for you.

    Sorry to hear about the situation with your sister, no assvice here, I hope it will resolve itself somehow.

    Oh and regarding what EBC said about the bella band - you have those from other brands as well (I have one from Esprit and two others from some Dutch brand), although I hardly used them with my first pregnancy...

  4. I can relate to so many of the things you have written about. Thank you so much for sharing this part of your life with us. Daddy issues..we all have them! I think in a letter would be best. You do not have to answer your phone? This is a hard one..you would hope that she would be happy for you when she does hear the news.

  5. Sounds like you are managing the situation with your sister sensitively and realistically. I think I would avoid answering the phone too, I have postponed lots of skype calls for the first trimester. With other people who ask about treatment I have stayed with that euphemism 'treatment' and said 'nothing to report on the treatment front', most people have politely allowed me to move the conversation on...and it's not a lie either really as I'm not ready to report anything yet.

    Anyway, a very, very Happy Birthday to you today!

  6. Belated happy birthday! I hope telling your sister your news doesn't cause too much drama. It's a tricky situation on both sides. Maybe it will help that you're far away so you both have time to process things? For me, it's definitely a plus living far from family drama!

  7. Thanks for the birthday wishes, clothing advice and support ladies.. I'm expecting my sister's call at the weekend, so will let you know how it goes. xx

  8. Frist off, happy birthday! And that's so hard about your sister--these things are never easy. In the end, her choices are you're responsibility and you have to live your life. At least you know how to be compassionate when you tell her. Good luck!

  9. What a wise and strong person you are dealing with your family issues and your own as delicately as can be....I can relate to having siblings not all knowing about IVF and dealing with a traumatic upbringing but all of these shape who we are and I am glad you are greatful to be able to focus on the good in your life....I often tell my mum too I do not hold her responsible for what happened to us as we would not be who we are today if that was not part of our journey