I (finally) Met My Sister-Friend
First, what's a sister-friend. I define a sister-friend as someone who, although isn't your actual sister, has become such a vital person in your world, you can't imagine life without her.
I met my sister-friend fifteen years ago on the Trying To Conceive (TTC) message board. Frankie actually introduced me to TTC. Knowing the toll infertility took on me, he wanted to connected me with other women who were fighting the same battle. Taking his advice, I reluctantly created a TTC account, not really expecting much to come of it.
Next thing I knew, I was an active member of that amazing community of women.
Our individual fight may be unique to each of us, but we were all warriors caught up in the same war. Who had just miscarried...? Who was on clomid...? Who was undergoing artificial insemination...? And who was in their third IVF cycle...? And yet, we shared the same goal, and were all equally determined to conquer the odds.
I jumped in right before I began my first IVF cycle. I learned real quick that nothing was off-limits. Nothing was too private or embarrassing to share with my fellow warriors. No one judged. No one fought. It was truly a magical community, and it was those women who took my hand and walked with me on my journey to have Jesse.
One woman, however stood out from the rest.
From her posts, I just knew Helene and I were two peas in a pod. To this day, I still can't explain what it was about her that drew me to her other than she was kinda like gravity. Our friendship moved off-board, with us chatting away on the phone as much as possible. Together, we found humor in the aspects of infertility and IVF that had previously brought us to tears. I mean, c'mon. We were facing months of needles and hormone therapy--with no guarantee of success. If we didn't laugh, we'd have crumbled from the stress.
Helene was a few steps ahead of me in her IVF journey,, but because she needed additonal medications, our cycles ended almost simultaneously.
If it wasn't for her, I would have come undone when my first cycle failed. On Christmas friggin' Eve of 2003.
My second cycle was a success, as was hers. Pregnant together, Helene and I talked almost daily. We never missed each other's pregnancy milestones, and we were practically the first people who knew the sexes of each other's children. But where I was having only one kid, Helene had to outdo me by having twins.
She's such an overachiever.
Not only that, but Miss Over Achiever popped out a second set of twins after not long after her first pregnancy. Can you even imagine? Thank goodness her kids are awesome or else she'd have lost her mind.
Needless to say, we went a few years without speaking as we adjusted to the craziness of parenthood. There she was, taking care of four babies, with me on the opposite coast losing my mind to depression and motherhood.
Once I got my crap together, I joined Facebook and immediately sought her out. It was as if we'd never lost touch.
When I think back to my IVF days, I knew for a fact I could never have made it through the rougher days without my sister-friend. Yes, I had Frankie by my side, but also having Helene riding the waves with me helped in ways only someone undergoing IVF can understand. The medications scramble your hormones. The needles hurt. The constant clash of emotions play havoc on the psyche. Helene knew exactly what I was going through because she was on the same rollercoaster.
Although we never gave up hope of meeting face-to-face, it seemed a long shot. But, the distance was closed during her recent visit to the East Coast.
Fifteen years after we first crossed paths on TTC, we finally were in the same place at the same time and it was so surreal, I still can't believe it happened. Thank goodness for photo proof!
Helene and her daughter, Bella (who I've 'known' since she was only a few cells old), spent the afternoon with my family. Seeing Bella, Jesse, and Tyler together seriously made me an emotional mess. And now that we came face-to-face, it makes her being on the other side of the country all the more distant.
We are, however, determined to become actual sisters. We are conspiring to get her oldest son, Cole, and Jesse married. And if that doesn't work, we have Plan B and Plan C.
Plan B: Marry her son, E, to Tyler.
Plan C: Get Bell and Jesse to attend the same collage so they can be roomies.
Our poor kids. They have no idea what they're in for.......
If you have a sister-friend, I'd love if you shared your story!