Excuse me Ms Bullock, but I’ll be needing that Oscar

I could tell something was up.

H was on the phone, talking to our friend V, and making slightly heavy weather of being pleased about something. And then he said ‘hang on, I’ll just pass you over to May’. I frowned at him extravagantly, but he gave me a significant look and nodded, so I, reluctantly, took the phone.

You see, V has been our friend for, crikey, fifteen? sixteen? years. She and H met at university. She often stayed with me and my family when we were both studying in Italy. We were delighted when, after a few frogs, she met a prince. They came to our wedding. We went to theirs. And then things became a little awkward. She and her husband became obsessed with renovating their cottage, and would talk of little else. H and I were obsessed with getting, then staying, pregnant, and could think of little else, which made us somewhat… underwhelmed… with the DIY saga. She didn’t really know what to say when we lost Pikaia. She was clearly flummoxed when we lost Flash. She did send us a card when we lost Zombryo, but was coming up with, to me, laughably poor excuses for not accepting various invitations we’d sent. I was, I admit it, angry and pissy and totally not in the mood for another long chat about joists.

Oh, you all know very well what she wanted to talk to me about really.

And it explained so much. Barely two weeks before the Zombryo saga started, she had been in a similar position – pain, collapse, terrified she was pregnant and about not to be. After that, as she waited and waited and waited to be sure her baby was OK, there we were. We may as well have been sitting on the roof of her cottage shrieking like banshees and shooting the Dark Mark up into the night sky accompanied by a male wolf choir and Dracula Organ-of-Doom recital. I’m not in the least surprised she couldn’t face us. I’m not in the least surprised she needs to stay at home and rest, or that she couldn’t tell us until she could be sure what, exactly, she was telling us.

Mark this, we are among the first people (barring her parents) that she has told. Now that she’s safe. We won’t be blindsided by Act of FaceBook or Mutual Acquaintance With Big Mouth.

And I instantly split into two people. On the phone, a cheerful, concerned, happy, excited May made jokes about bootie-knitting, and re-iterated that the prince was to be doing all the heavy-lifting and cottage-renovating solo, right? And was so pleased. So relieved.

Meanwhile, my right fist kept clenching and raising itself as if to punch the arm-rest, or the wall. May-on-the-phone kept an eye on it. Shhh, little fist. Shhhhh. Patience.

Then, because I have an iron-hard inner core of Sensible, I carefully put the phone down, and went to have a pee before falling onto the bed like a felled tree and weeping hysterically. You don’t want to weep yourself into hiccoughs on a full bladder, you know.

H lay down beside me and stroked my back, and we talked a little. And I am, I swear to God, happy for V, and very much relieved it didn’t end in disaster for her. And I am relieved V wasn’t Being An Arsehole, but only looking after herself and trying to be tactful, as best she could. I like V, and feeling I was losing her as a friend over all this woe-bollocky-dreariness of infertility and miscarriage was really stabbing me under the nails.

But I can’t help but think, over and over, her baby lived. Mine didn’t. None of mine lived. And her baby is very nearly the same age as Zombryo. And at the end of August, when we visit the new mini-V, how shall I keep from crying? We could have shared pregnancy. We could have shared new Mum. And she will have her baby in her arms, and I will not.

And I said to H, I just want my baby back. Any one of them. I just want one of my babies back. And we both cried.

And then H went out into the night to buy Strong Drink from whichever God-forsaked off-licence was still open at bat-shit-o’clock. The evening ended with a large glass of Grahams’ Late Bottled Vintage Port. Which, in retrospect, is hilarious.

Any port in a storm.


14 responses to “Excuse me Ms Bullock, but I’ll be needing that Oscar

  • a

    Any port in a storm…nice pun.

    How will you keep from crying? Well, you don’t have to. Because V sounds like a good friend, she will know that your tears of joy for her are mixed with tears of loss for yourself and your babies. It doesn’t have to be one or the other.

  • Womb for Improvement

    Probably the finest last line yet!

    I found myself sobbing uncontrollably at a pregnancy announcement last week just because I wasn’t and she was. How much worse it would be knowing you both were, I can’t imagine.

    I know rationally very pleased for them. But in reality so, so sorry for ourselves.

  • bir

    I get ya. Totally.
    And the more often we have to be so very pleased for our friends, means the sadness in the sad-for-us bucket just gets fuller and fuller. And harder to carry.
    We are tested on so many levels with baby loss. None of it is fair.


  • Hairy Farmer Family

    Shhh, little fist. Shhhhh. Patience. For one day there will be someone truly Unrighteous to punch.

    I want your babies back for you too, love. So, so much.

  • g

    Oh, May, go on. Mentally slap her, just a little bit. Yes, you’re happy for her etc etc but it still sucks and a virtual beating never hurt anybody,



  • Heather

    Best post ending EVER.

    I’m so sorry.

    I’m glad she tried to spare your feelings but it really doesn’t make it hurt any less. Even if you are happy for the person.

    I’m sorry.

  • L.

    What A. said–I don’t think you have to keep from crying. A good friend will understand that you can cry from grief while wishing her happiness.

    And, what HFF said; how I wish you and so many others could have your babies back. I’m so sorry.

  • Ben Warsop

    What A and L said.

    You reduced me to tears this morning.

    My poor darling. My poor poor darlings, both of you.


  • Valery

    crying for you, and me too.
    just want our babies back……..

  • H

    As I cannot really discuss this on my less anonymous blog May invited me to put my point of view here.

    I must admit it took me a while to understand why May was annoyed with V. I was quite happy to hear about DIY sagas – a neutral distraction and good balancer to my rose-tinted dreams of doing something similar.

    It came to a head at the start of the year when we chose to be more open and vocal about our experiences and tell V about Zombryo. While I know that V is very ‘best of British reserved’ so processing and reacting to our news would be difficult, even I was surprised to be completely stone-walled on an invitation for her to just hint at what her ‘plans’ may be (just so we had a mutual understanding). Ironically, I was very hint-heavy on the ‘we don’t want to upset you if you’re going through something similar’ with ladles of ‘don’t leave it too late you never know what difficulties you may have’ *ouch*.

    I feel rather guilty about that now, as that must have been painful and difficult to respond to. Apart from May blogging here we share on a strictly ‘need to know’ basis about what is happening at the time, not even all family are aware of every twist and turn as it happens. While we’re starting to be more open, it’s usually in retrospect.

    How else do I feel? Overwhelmed with a tangle of overlapping and conflicting emotions really. May certainly did a better performance on the phone (I was very impressed) and I feel bad/guilty about my lack of effort. I was slightly confused and blind-sided on the phone by V. In the middle of exposition about DIY… ‘and we’re expecting [mumble] in August’… err a delivery of something… bed… no discussed that already… carpet… no that’s next month… oh… it took me a couple of seconds to cotton on, so a rather muted and flat ‘Wow!’ I hope the flattening effect of the phone line can be blamed for lack of inflection.

    Probably the strongest/clearest emotion I feel is envy, for sure (and bad for that – why should others not have a more straight forward time and anyway they had scares at the start too). Even my atheistic attitude is pierced by the fact it’s one of the seven big sins. It’s partly exacerbated by the fact that I had a pipe dream of owning a place and nest building before starting a family – a victim of ridiculous house prices where we choose to live.

    “It’s not fair” features strongly too. While, as has been discussed here and elsewhere, I don’t feel such a direct connection to those that have never made it or can particularly feel ‘bring one back’ – it is, obviously, very upsetting May feels this so strongly and raw-ly.

    We then get into the, probably unhealthy, introspective thoughts, feelings and niggles: Am I failing to perform or deliver in some way (not wishing to undermine May’s feelings or physical trials on this matter at all); my life sucks; why can’t I fix this etc.


  • Solnushka

    Had a little cry on both your behalfs too this morning.

    It is indeed Not Fair. Not Fair at all.

  • thalia

    yes that is just rubbish. I don’t know how you don’t cry in August, but know that as V is a good friend if you cry it will be ok. Or if you just don’t hold the baby until you are ready.

    And I will be here, hoping that by then you will be safely pregnant with Zombryo and Pikaia’s little sibling, which will take the edge off a little tiny bit.

  • Teuchter

    The suckiness of having handfuls of salt rubbed into an open wound – along with a swift dash of hypochloric acid and some freshly squeezed lemon juice …

    Poor V, too. It sounds likes she’s trying to handle this with grace and honesty, being mindful of your pain.
    In your situation, I’d be more than a bit jealous and very, very cross at the unfairness of it all.

    Am drying my eyes and shaking that fist at the sky again.

    Hugs to you both.

  • Secret D

    I think I would have done exactly the same thing, especially the drinking part!

    Thinking about you both.

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