I went to a wedding the other weekend of an old university friend, unfortunately Villa Boy had to work, as did a couple of other friends other halves so for the first time in ages it was like old times. That’s not to say I don’t like my friend’s partners but sometimes it’s nice to catch up and reminisce without having to consider if someone feels left out. This particular group of friends are quite brutal in their banter, which is why I love them they make me laugh, a lot. However I have had a couple of years of distancing myself from them as I couldn’t cope with the well-meaning “when are you having kids” banter. Last year the 40ths started and the banter was there about why didn’t we just have kids, I snapped and said “well we can’t”. At this point I should probably add that this group is all boys, we lived together in a big house with 1 other girl in my final year, somehow it’s weirder to share stuff like that with boys. As ever they were properly supportive and I felt stupid for worrying about seeing them or about it coming out. Although I was glad I wasn’t drinking, which I hadn’t done as I thought if they started with the banter if I was drunk I would cry, turns out they were all so nice that would have made me cry if I had been with alcohol at the time!
As ever with groups there are different levels of friendship and I spent a chunk of my late 20s as the “friend with benefits” with one of them. Unsurprisingly once I met Villa Boy and then he met and married his wife quite quickly, we didn’t meet up without the others anymore. They had their first child at around the same time as our first baby would have been due. In some ways this added to my sadness as a lot of the group had already had babies and I had those daydreams of where you see your children being similar ages as the catalyst for a renewal of friendship (obviously without the benefits!). I missed having him as a one to one mate and would like to see more of him and his wife, who seems lovely but I don’t really know. I also know that him and Villa Boy would actually get on very well, they get on well in a let’s get drunk way but don’t really know each other outside of that environment. Anyhow he was the one that I cracked with on the “OK I admit it I’m infertile” as he was the one that had obviously been tasked with finding out why I hadn’t been drinking on social events and knew me well enough to say “what’s going on Barrenyears?”. His initial response was a manly hug and a confession that they were about to start tests as number 2 wasn’t appearing. I wished him and the Mrs lots of luck, and went home feeling lighter than I had for a while.
It was nearly a year later when he popped up on facebook messenger one afternoon, most out of character and after initial pleasantries were exchanged he said “we’re about to bring in the high-tech response”. I loved the cryptic nature of this, as if someone might read his facebook chat, I immediately said “with the aim of increasing in numbers? – I’ll email you we’ve got that t-shirt now”. We had a little email exchange where we exchanged lack of reproductive news and later that day we spoke. It was strange as he expressed bewilderment at his wife’s reaction to stuff. I felt I had a privileged insight into how I must appear to Villa Boy. Turns out they had had a post 12 week scan miscarriage and a couple of goes of iui so had really been through it. “She’s so angry” he said, “I don’t understand how she can be so angry”. He also didn’t understand her need for knowledge to understand why, what and where to go next. We chatted, it helped both of us I think. For the first time I really had to explain, and almost justify where the anger comes from and why. I offered an ear to his wife, who as I said I don’t really know (and have to admit I was never sure whether she liked me or not!). Surprisingly she called, the next day. Her opening line was “I’m so glad he spoke to you, it’s like he’s finally admitting it and because he’s not really a research it type of guy the fact he sought out talking to you has really helped me realise he finally gets it”. I have to admit I felt all warm and fuzzy inside. Villa Boy was bemused, mind you his only input had been his comparison of the wanking rooms and which was best!
So at this wedding last week, I obviously asked where the Mrs was and she had gone to her parents for some r&r following a day 6 transfer the previous week. We talked numbers, Matey expressed his delight at how much better his sperm had been on the day than it had on his previous 2 samples. I congratulated him, and explained how much Villa Boy’s had improved too. Another one of those conversations you never though you’d have really. We laughed at how we were genuinely interested in each others sperm counts and egg numbers and quality. We giggled at how frivolous 2 tight people had become when it came to paying for IVF. It felt great to be discussing it with a mate, who got it rather than was just empathetic. There is a certain level of humour associated with IVF that I think you only really get if you have been there.
Again I came away with a bit of a spring in my step and texted later that week to say Cheers mate and fingers crossed. He texted back to say it hadn’t worked. I am gutted for them I really am. I texted his Mrs to say I had heard and I was sorry cos people acknowledging it helps, or at least it helped me. I think she appreciated the gesture.
I seem to be writing a lot about friends and friendship and I think it’s because their support or lack of supportive is so important with being able to cope with this all. Not necessarily in needing big gestures or lots of contact but knowing that your friends accept you for what and who you are. As is often the case those that are most supportive are not necessarily the ones that you would immediately think of and that is good, it enriches the soul. I also think that old friends are a special breed; life does mean you may move in and out of each others lives but at key points you pick up with friends for different reasons. In this case, we were single when others were settled down, now we are infertile when people have completed their families. In a strange way it’s nice to pick up again and be supportive in a completely different way and get to know his wife, which actually had we not shared this rubbish we may never have really done. So as I often say there really is a silver lining to a lot of these clouds.