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I love that you and your sister did this. I love that she wrote that letter for you and for her. I never thought of how hard it was for those around me until I got out the other side.

In fertility is a curse. God knows I know that pain.

Thanks you for sharing. And thank your sister for sharing and for understanding that such a deep pain can make you do and say things that hurt the people you love. Please especially thank her for reaching out and wanting you to know how much she still loves you and wants to be your sister.

P&PT's that you both get back on track and can have a stronger bond than before.

Thank you for sharing! I always appreciate how much you open your heart to us. And thanks to Melanie too!

I'm glad you shared this. Makes me wonder if I should repair some bridges too.... I'm so glad you and your sis have reached out to eachother. Love to you both.

Just a few days ago my husband said something that sounded very true to me. "It doesn't matter how many hours you spend in a drivers education classroom, or how many books you read on the subject, there is just no way you can learn to drive a car until you get behind the wheel and drive. The same is true for infertility. You can sit in the classroom, you can watch the infertiles, but until you've actually sat behind the wheel, there is no way that you can really know about it."

That said, It sounds like you have a wonderful, wonderful sister. One who understands about saying the right thing or nothing at all, one who cares enough about your sadness to hurt right along with you. How lucky both of you are!

Melanie's letter reduced me to tears.

Having had a 'split' with my sister, I know excatly what you are both going through. You will have a period of feeling like you are 'pussy footing' around each other for a while, but you will get that closeness back. Promise. love to you both!

if any americans think or say nasty things let me know and i'll open up a texas-sized can of whoop ass.

and tertia can tell you that everything ... and i do mean everything ... is bigger in texas. including our cans.

btw, people who have been through infertility get it, and some family members of people who've been through it get it. what some who have not reached the end of their infertility journey, and many others looking in from outside infertility's insane hell, do not understand is that sometimes, healing does not arrive when the babies do.

Me and my sisters all seem to have different types of infertility. Mine is PCOS - I just simply cant fall pregnant on my own. Luckily, Clomid worked for me and I am now 37 weeks.

My older sister suffers from miscarraiges. She can get pregnant, she just cant keep it.

My younger sister is a whole new ball game. She has two wombs and two cervixes - one ovary feeding to each uterus. No one knows whether she will even fall pregnant - or if she does whether she will go full term.

So which is worse? The girl who cant get pregnant without help and goes through 2 years of infertility - or the girl who falls even whilst on the pill but cant get passed the blighted ovums? Or the one who still doesnt know?

I agree, infertility sucks. Me and my elder sister have never been close sadly. But we both fell pregnant within weeks of each other. Our bridges were being built - we phoned each other weekly and had a great time planning things. Then my scan went fine - but hers didnt. She asked my mum to tell me not to contact her at all. I agreed to this - and didnt hear anything for 5 months.

She wouldnt speak to my mum about our baby at all. For 5 months she didnt even want to know that we knew the sex.

In the last fortnight though, things are beginning to heal. She sent an anniversary card to me, hubby and bump. She has phoned my mum to tell her she will be coming down to visit us all in the summer.

But you know who I think suffers the most in our family? My mum. She has had to deal with all three of us - and so much guilt. None of our infertilities are her fault - but she cant help but feel so bad at watching her girls struggle. Shortly after our treatment worked, she cried in her kitchen - I remember her telling me how sad she'd been to have had three children with such problems. She has never had infertility problems, and struggles the most to understand it all.

Wow, sorry I really didnt mean to ramble so much.

Just saying, yes I agree infertility sucks. And it can affects sisters in so many ways. I really hope that you and your sister can now rebuild things and become as close as you were again - but with that new respect of knowing everything is in the open. xx

I can understand where you're coming from. When my husband and I were trying to have a child, a whole bunch of women we knew got pregnant - including my 39 yr. old sister-in-law with her first child. When I finally got pregnant during the end of her pregnancy, I felt elated. It then seemed especially cruel yet somehow fated that I was diagnosed with a blighted ovum. To make matters worse, my doctor did a sloppy job with the D&C and I had to have it repeated in the hospital, as luck would have it on the very day that my nephew was born.

The next day, my husband said how exited he was to be an uncle and asked me why I didn't seem happy to be an aunt. Big mistake! I broke down sobbing and starting yelling at him. I am ashamed to admit it, but I would have been happy if the baby had been stillborn or had some serious problem (he was perfectly healthy). I resented the baby and his parents, and it was a real challenge for me to attend his christening. I prayed about it though, and while reading "The Purpose-driven life", the passage of the day was about the minor and major tests that come our way in life and test our commitment as Christians. I thought, OK this is one such test and I have to rise to the challenge. I made it through the ceremony and reception alright, although it was hard.

I still felt resentment towards that family, though, even after finally having a baby of my own. I get pictures and updates about my nephew and automatically get a pang of envy. I have to stop myself and say, wait a minute! You've got your own beautiful little boy who is developing well, there's no reason for you to be resentful. It's getting better though, and I'm happy that my son will have a cousin.

Say or think nasty things? No way! Well, I guess it does happen in the blogosphere. But the only thing I was thinking was how beautiful a relationship you two have. Thank God you both have the guts to work it out. That you lived through all of that and came out the other side, still able to lovingly call each other 'fartbags', is wonderful.

Ah, I see your sister is as scared of the Tertia mafia as the rest of us lol! But seriously, if someone dissed my sister I wouldn't just delete the comment, I'd want to delete them ;)

You two have an amazing relationship to come through all this the way you have. Loving, dignified, mature gorgeous human beings.

Thanks for sharing that.

Its good that you two were able to talk about this. We are not big talkers in my family, so the infertility thing hasn't ever been mentioned by anyone but me. I'm glad you and your sister were able to get this out in the open.

You really are both amazing people.

To Natt:

Regarding your sister with uterus didelphys. Please email me. There's no reason why she can't have kids. I'm part of a large group of women online with uterine abnormalities. I personally know at least 5 women with UD who have had healthy, full term kids in the last 4 years. You need the right doc. You need the right monitoring. You need maybe a cerclage or bedrest, but with PROACTIVE care, it's very do-able. (Unless she has some other issue unrelated to her uterine shape).

Please email me or have her do so!! It's so isolating to have a weird uterus that all the doctors want to look at and poke at, and you feel like you are a freak, and even explaining it to anyone feels like something you couldn't bear to do!!

Beautiful letter from Melanie! I cried as well.

That was lovely. I had the same type of situation with my sister who is also one of my best friends. She had an oops pregnancy after I struggled with infertility for four years...in fact I found out about her oops just two weeks after I had a miscarriage (after several IVFs and at 14 weeks) so we had a strained relationship for a long time. Then I finally had the child I longed for for so long and now we're dealing with it again but on a different level. My child has special needs and hers is "normal". So I'm dealing with all those same tendencies that I did when I was facing infertility. It sucks so bad that the pain overflows and affects the relationships with those we love most.

OMG you are so lucky to have such a lovely sister. Not everyone has someone so caring as a sibling. It just shows that all this does have an effect on others too - especially those close to us.

Wow, you sure know how to make a girl cry. Thank you so much to both you and Melanie for sharing. I hadn't given much thought to the lasting affects of my anger and sadness on my friends and family. I guess I just assumed that when I felt better, they would too. Your sister must really value your relationship to have been so honest. Your lucky to have each other.

The distance infertility creates between fertile and the nonfertile is just another part of the horror of infertility.

And it sucks.

Hopefully, you guys are on your way to a better place in your sibling relationship.

It gives me hope that the fertiles I have distanced myself from will forgive me one day.

I love your sister. What a sweet, heartfelt letter. You guys made me cry. It must be so, so hard for everyone touched by infertility, whether personally or through loved ones. Thank you both for sharing this.

How could anyone dare to write anything nasty about your sister? I think those letters show how much you love each other, that you're brave enough to write about your hurts in order to heal your relationship. I'd love to have either or both of you for sisters.

This is just precious. There is nothing more precious than love and forgiveness and in the end it will draw you closer. I have a sister who is infertile and me and our two other sisters are very fertile. She is now a foster parent to older kids.

What has been hard for her is two neices who have been unmarried who have children. Both thought they might give up their babies for adoption. Of course my sister wanted the babies. With my daughter the state my sister lived in said her husband was too old (rediculous he is just over 50). My sister took the blame out on me. She had to lash at someone. My daughter kept her baby and we are eternally grateful.

Know we are praying! God Bless!

One thing that comes to me from this piece is that we DO NOT know how much pain someone else feels. EVER! You cannot say that your sister has never known pain as "bad" as your pain.

You say " Infertility was hell, beyond your worst nightmare."

You cannot begin to imagine her pain or to measure it. I love that you two have made up but I feel sad that you decide for her that she has never felt as much as you or that she cannot imagine your kind of pain. Maybe she hasn't or can't, but how would you really know?????

This is not meant as a downer on you but just as something I personally struggle with - when others presume to know or understand exactely how I feel. Impossible and it diminishes the sense of compassion and shared support that is possible between two people. I'd rather hear that someone sees I'm in great pain - just for what it is - than that they tell me their pain felt worse than mine.

It's never a good thing to play the "whose pain is worse" game. I'm moved that you and Melanie have been able to communicate about this -- it just shows how deep a bond you two really have. Be thankful for that, it's very rare.

I think it's great that you and Melanie are talking about infertility. I had many similar problems with my family related to infertility, and I have not yet been able to work them out. I am finally pregnant with twins after 3 years of infertility and several failed IVFs, but I have had lots of problems, and the doctors are not sure if my babies are going to make it. My sister, who was pretty supportive during infertility when my parents and brother were not, has not been supportive at all during my pregnancy. She's pregnant with her first child, which is due in 3 weeks, and she has been completely insensitive to my pregnancy-related problems (she even told me that maybe it would be better if one of my babies died). So I have a lot of things to work out with my family, but I think it's going to take time. I'm glad to know that you are able to work things out with your sister because it gives me hope that I may be able to work out my differences with my family members some day.

Though your IF times were hard on both of you and caused pain on both sides, how wonderful it must be to have such a relationship with your sister. You are both so lucky to have each other. Thanks to the both of you for sharing your struggles.

Thank you and your sister for sharing this. It kind of opened my eyes a bit. I know how it feels for me, but I'm not sure how it feels for those who know me and hear me talk about this infertility crap every single day. My sister is also the super fertile one while I'm the super infertile one.

This really made me cry, and it really hit home. Your sister's letter was so beautiful. It is impossible to understand the pain of IF if you haven't live it, just as I can never imagine the pain of losing Ben, because I've never had a loss like that. When I had my first miscarriage, I told a good friend of mine at work what was happening, and she burst into tears -- not for me, but because she so desperately wanted to get pregnant, but was still single, and not able to meet anyone, despite herculean efforts. She said "at least you can try and get pregnant, maybe I'll never even meet anyone, and I'll never even get to try." First I felt guilty and insensitive, and then I felt angry. How was it that I was comforting her while I was bleeding and cramping and losing my baby? I'm sure you can imagine what happened. I keep trying and failing, and end up doing shots for my first IVF at her wedding reception, full of hope now that we've brought out the big guns. I end up having a miscarriage, and am told that I may need donor eggs. I find out about it just as she is finding out she got pregnant on her honeymoon. I knew because I snooped in her office, and saw in her calendar "ultrasound appt." and "due date." I had to see her every single day. I had to watch her belly grow, hear people congratulate her. She avoided telling me she was pregnant until long after I knew she was pregnant, which I found hurtful and humiliating. She said insensitive things, without meaning to, she just didn't know what to say. I seethed with anger and hurt. Raged with it. I would run down the hall to avoid her, hide behing a file cabinet. Friends who had not experienced infertility thought I was a terrible person for not being able to be happy for her or friends with her through this. I felt anger at them, too. When I heard she was disappointed because she'd had a girl and not a boy, I HATED her. She tried to be understanding, wrote me heartfelt notes, bags of candy, but I couldn't bear it, didn't even respond. I had to see a therapist to deal with my feelings. A therapist who only treated infertility patients, who totally validated how I was feeling. I knew she hadn't stolen my baby, and hadn't done anything wrong. But it hurt so badly. We drifted apart, barely ever spoke, she moved to a different office of our firm, I never saw her any more. Well, I went on to have my baby, and when we saw each other, we tried to act like everything was normal now. But it still wasn't. When she called to tell me about her second pregnancy, I congratulated her, and wanted to cry, even though I already had a son. She was symbolic of everything I hated about infertility, I focused my anger and hurt on her. Now, my family is done, my infertility behind me. I have my son, and my twins. I am too old probably to have kids anyway. And I have moved to the same office she works in, and we are friends again. We never talk about the years we didn't speak. Now we are just two moms with kids of similar ages. But I wonder how she feels about that time. I feel badly about it now. If only I could have known how it would turn out, I wouldn't have had to have such rage. Now, I can imagine that it probably was really hard being single, and fearful of not ever getting to find out if she was fertile or not, to not have options. That being single was for her a kind of infertility, that I couldn't understand, because I wasn't there. I doubt we'll ever talk about what happened. But it will always be there. It is good that you got it out in the open, and I bet over the years, you and she will get past it more and more. I think the pain of my infertility is leaving me as I get older, because I'm probably too old to have a baby now anyway, so I don't feel quite as defective as I did before.

One last thing, and I'm sorry this is so long. Just as your sister can never truly understand the depth of your pain, remember that you can't understand hers, either. Hurting for someone else, and feeling totally helpless and isolated is probably awful in a way that you can't understand if you haven't been there. It is much harder for me to see someone I love in pain and not to be able to help than for me to be in pain myself, sometimes. Like the ache I felt for my husband when we had a miscarriage. I hurt more for him than I hurt for me. It is not a contest, who hurt more.


Crying. just plain crying for al the infertility pain that has been around me and the friends Ilost in my pregnancy because they just couldn't bear it..

We tried for four years to have a baby. We turned to adoption from China and have a beautiful little girl that is the light of our lives. Meanwhile my sister gets pregnant on the first try (that's common in our family) and delivers a lovely little boy who is now 7. Last year, she began trying for a second baby. On the 3rd month she tried, she complained at how long it was taking, a bit tongue in cheek. I told her to call me after a year of trying. Two months later she was having a miscarriage. Then another, and a another. 3 miscarriages and I had said that awful little snipey thing. I apologized, but she hadn't even remembered that I said it, but I did. As an infertile, I should know better! It turned out after buying a 400 year old house, her whole family was registered blood lead levels off the charts, which they've since remedied. She is now 14 weeks pregnant and it all looks good. I'm so grateful it's all gone well this time and I can't believe how superstitiously I felt that I had jinxed her when I love her so much.

Thank you for posting this. I'm so glad Melanie was able to be honest with you and you're so right--infertility is also hard for those who love us. We infertiles can be a bitter bunch.

Oh this made me cry. I have a cousin my age who had a baby last month and I haven't been able to bring myself to even send her a card. I'm sure she is hurt and confused -- we both suffered through infertility together, both got pregnant around the same time, and then both suffered losses within a couple of weeks of each other.

And then our paths diverged -- she fell pregnant on a natural cycle last fall after we had just had three failed cycles in a row. She knows what it feels like to be me, but for some reason I think that because she got a happy ending, she will never truly understand what it is like to be me. Plus, I feel like it's not like she doesn't have enough people to be happy for her -- she and her baby are all the family can talk about now. So why would it matter if I've "abandoned" her?

But, reading your sister's letter, I know that it probably *does* matter to her. A lot. Sigh.

Thank you to both you and your sister for sharing your stories and for giving me something to think about.

Wow, wow, wow! I'm near tears after reading both letters and I'm both in awe and thankful that you would share such an intimate peek into your lives as sisters. I've taken two things from this post. One, there is no bond like the bond of sisters. Look at what you two were able to overcome, that is huge. Thank you for being an example of true, deep love. And second, thank you acknowledging that even though us "fertiles" may not understand what you're going through, it doesn't mean that we don't hurt alongside you and wish for things to be different. Again, thank you! What a great post!

It is a honest and difficult confession. Your sister should know that it only speaks well of her to be able to admit your own faults and feelings. I am happy for both of you that you are able to work through it.

Oh, tears, rapid blinking-can't let my co-workers see me cry!

Aren't sisters lovely? Glad you two are bridging the hurt.

EXCELLENT entry, Tertia! I just loved it, and so did my infertile sister :). Infertility affects SO many people, not just the one experiencing it. You captured that very well. I hope that your relationship with your sister only gets stronger and stronger from now on.

No one who reads you would ever judge you or your sister. We are here for support and understanding. Nothing else.
Love to you both.

I think it's amazing (and very healthy) that you two can speak this openly about it. I know too many family members who just...slink past the topic. They never address the rift between us.

As a former 2IF myself, with a loving sister, your post reduced me to a blubbering mass of tears...it didn't help that I had a cry fest on the verge of exploding anyways.....but I never thought of my sis's feelings about it all.....because thru MINE, she was my biggest cheerleader, and the 2nd person I told every time I would get pg, and the first person I'd call when I would lose the baby. So I doubt she felt that I did that to her, I however, AM going to ask her just so I know, and to apologize asal IF I did hurt her......when in the midst of IF, we are so self consumed that we don't think of other's feelings.....and now, here on the OTHER side of IF, it's a whole different view...thank you for the food for thought!

Having lost so many dear friends because of my own infertility bitterness, I adore your sister for understanding and for loving you through that time. I know I hurt so many around me with my anger, but I wish for one second they had been able to step back and see the big picture from my perspective. Even after apologizing to a few of them, the relationships are lost forever. It breaks my heart further.

Thank you for sharing these beautiful letters.

I am sobbing. I thought I was the only one who had withdrawn from family members while they turned up pregnant again and again while I struggled. In the five years I have been trying, my brother, cousin, and aunt have had babies and even moved on to the second completely unexpected baby. The only one I have managed to stay in contact with is my brother, because to lose him would have hurt worse than what I'm feeling now.

My aunt and cousin will deliver next month and I am already trying to figure out how to get out of Christmas. I can't do it. There are scores of soft little dumplings everywhere in my family now and I can't. No one understands. I am the only one in the entire extended family who has ever just not been able to. And no one gets that it is killing me. Thank you for letting me see that I am not the only one, though it has felt that way for so long.

Wow Tertia. That was really beautiful.

This is my first time commenting. I discovered the site from a link of favorites on dooce.com

I think it was a incredibly brave thing for you and your sister to address your personal issues with each other due to your infertility and Melanie's "super-fertility". Both letters were touching and heartfelt and they brought tears to my eyes.

I'm so glad that you came out the other side, and have your beautiful Kate and Adam. My heart breaks for you for all the loss you've experienced.

I'm dealing with my own issues with fertility. It seems that we are experiencing seconday infertility and it's hard to deal with when almost every one of our friends is newly pregnant or about to deliver. Thank you for sharing your life with us.

This rings soo true to me.

These same feelings/emotions/situations happened with many and most of my friends and family and because we are adopting haven't really gone away yet. I hope to get to a point where I can mend some of these relationships but sometimes people don't believe you are starting to feel better.

Weird cause this post was me, all consumed pain, isolated myself and unable to deal with anyone's life.

I am glad you have healed and are able to mend and move forward with your relationships. it is a wonderful thing to move forward again.

This letter made me cry. I'm the sister who got pregnant easily. My sister dealt with the infertility. It is so tough for everyone - but I know it was always much, much harder for her (she eventually got her baby...) Thank you for sharing. I'm glad you are still so close.

Tertia -
I am impressed with both you and your sister. I am not what infertiles would consider infertile, but neither is it easy for me to have babies. I have no problem getting pregnant, and up to about 28-30 weeks I can be pregnant, and then its weeks of bedrest and amost daily doctor's visits to stay pregnant. That being said, however, I have two healthy children, and although I can never have another without running a very huge risk of me or the baby dying, I KNOW that TWO is so much more than so many are able to have.
This doesn't, however, give me the correct insight into infertility to say that "I know how it feels" because it's not the same thing. I have a friend who has suffered horribly from infertility. We had started trying originally about the same time, and my son was born before their first pregnancy, and then she and her husband lost the baby at 14 weeks and it came close to destroying them, as it had taken so much for them to conceive. She sent me an email telling me that she would not be coming to see my baby, that she didn't want to hear about him, and that she didn't even want to talk to me. While I cannot truly understand, I tried to do for her what she needed, and gave her all the space she asked for. I saw her for the first time after my son was born when my son was almost a year old. While I was prepared for her hurt and pain, I was not prepared for how cruelly mean she was to my son, for the things she said to him and about him, things I won't repeat. We didn't speak again for quite a long time.
Then she did get pregnant, and that pregnancy went well. I was invited to her baby shower, and I went, feeling so very happy for her. I was pregnant with my daughter at the time. I blew off her belittling remarks about my pregnancy, and congratulated her on hers. When her daughter was born, I was thrilled for her.
However, it is now almost two years later. I am tired of hearing how much smarter/better/more amazing her daughter is than mine (or any other) children. I am tired of hearing how she is a genius, how she is the best looking, etc. I am tired of the belittling remarks that my children STILL receive. This 'friend' and I no longer speak but once every six months or so, and I no longer read her emails. I miss our friendship.
I am so glad that you and your sister have been able to mend your fences. I wish you the best of luck continuing to do so. You are both strong and amazing women.

I realized that I put my old (much-spammed) and unused email addy. In case anyone wants to send hate mail to an 'ununderstanding fertile myrtle" I wanted to put my actual email.

Thanks. I have to go meet my new nephew tomorrow (Us. Two years of trying and nothing). I am very confused and angry and you made me feel like I was not abnormal.

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