First off, I’m totally spent. In the past 5 days I’ve slept in three different beds in three different towns, attended and presented at a professional conference, visited my family, explored my hometown after getting acquainted with a new one, walked on a beach, and caught up with old friends from high school through graduate school. Today, I woke in my childhood home, drove 7 hours to my new home, and here I sit at work, as I will be until 10pm (it’s my late night!). Hopefully, I’ll sneak in a dinner with Mr. But IF in the meantime since I haven’t seen him since Thursday and have plenty of stories to tell.
Number one on the list? I met one of my IF friends-in-the-computer on Saturday. Since early 2011 I’ve been regularly corresponding with a particularly awesome group of gals I met on an online infertility support community. We bonded over our unpredictable and long cycles, and that shared experience formed the basis of many strong and lasting friendships. I know I needed exactly these women in my life, and I know they feel the same.
After over a year on this particular infertility support site I still felt like a bit of an IF pariah. While I don’t wish to engage in the “my infertility is harder than your infertility” war, I’ll state outright that my experience living through infertility that manifested as unpredictable, multi-month-long, anovulatory cycles was so very different from most of the infertility I encountered on the Internet that it made it hard to relate to the IF masses. On the “general” boards women would moan about being a day late in getting a positive ovulation predictor kit (OPK), they’d count their time trying to conceive in cycles not months, and they’d discuss ways to lengthen luteal phases or increase cervical mucus. My experience with infertility was a far cry from that (admittedly painful) reality. In over 3 years trying to become pregnant I’ve never seen a positive OPK as I don’t ovulate unless I’m medicated. If I were to count my time trying in cycles I may resort to throwing myself off a bridge; though it’s been nearly 3.5 years, I’ve only had 6 ovulatory cycles. And, finally, luteal phase length and cervical mucus were total mysteries to me (and largely remain so) since my body won’t budge without medication. When I found this inspiring group of women that shared my struggle with long cycles I knew I had found my home, my IF family.
Meeting C on Saturday was an experience I won’t soon forget. It was sheer luck that it happened, too. My work conference was held in a small city 5 hours from my current home, and 2 hours from my childhood home. On Thursday afternoon I bemoaned the conference location writing on Facebook, “What in the world can I possibly find to do in X?” Mr. But IF posted a link to the list of currently blighted properties within the city limits and suggested a self-guided architectural tour (har har), a friend from college posted an incredibly helpful list of local bars and restaurants (many of which I did hit up), and, thank goodness, C said, “Wait! You mean my city X?” That’s one things with friends in the computer, they’re totally placeless to me. Well, I guess not exactly placeless, I’m thoroughly convinced they actually live in my computer. All but those ones that live in IVF mandate states, that is, I’m just convinced they live in some fantasy dreamland that doesn’t actually exist but is only there to make those of us schmucks that live in non-IVF mandate states dream and drool… Anyway, I digress. Turns out I was going to be about an hour from C’s hometown. Within about 30 seconds of her comment on my wall, I was taunting the rest of our group with updates of, “Holy shit, I’m gonna get to meet C and you aren’t!” (Because, you know, I’m classy like that.) Two days later we sat down to a wonderful (but all too brief) lunch.
About an hour ago I was tweeting about meeting my friend-in-the-computer. As you might have noticed if you are a regularly follower of this blog, I kinda tend to struggle with brevity so tweeting in general is typically a struggle for me. Why say something in 140 characters when you could write 140 pages, eh? So, as I sat there struggling to put the overwhelming array of feelings I experienced into a handful of short words, I found my answer. I replied,
It was like the chia pet of friendships. Relationship in full bloom within 30 seconds of meeting! 🙂
And, I actually think those few words convey the experience pretty accurately. Ours was an instant bond, an instant friendship, of the like I’ve never experienced before. Within moments of texting, “I’m in a blue sweater with blue and white scarf,” we were down to the discussions one usually reserves for the longest of lifelong friends. With my first sip of water, those chia seeds took root. I’m so thankful for my chia friendship, and hope to meet more of my IF sisters someday in the not-so-distant future.