Monday, November 06, 2006

What a Weekend, Part One

Some people do not deserve the benefit of the doubt. My in-laws are two of them. As you know, H and I have been struggling with how to deal with his family in preparation for this past weekend—our first visit in which we were to officially share our good news with his entire family, including aunts, cousins, etc. Now, H has told his parents no less than THREE times that our fertility treatments are private information that he does not want them to share. Despite this, the news continues to leak from his parents so that every time we get a call from one of his brothers, they bring it up to him unprompted. Each time this happens, it sends us reeling.

H didn’t want to upset his mom by confronting her one last time before our big visit. We had talked about it all week. First he wanted to call and remind her of our feelings on the subject, so that there would be absolutely no unexpected and unwanted remarks when we talked about the twins at dinner. But since talking hadn’t worked in the past, he decided maybe he would write her a letter explaining how we felt about it. Well, ultimately he decided to give his parents the benefit of the doubt. Because they are his parents, I wanted to believe they wouldn’t ruin this occasion for him (and me), so I went along with this plan. After all, he told them on three separate occasions to stop talking about it. Wouldn’t they have the decency and common sense not to talk about our fertility issues or treatment in front of extended family over the weekend?

The answer is no. We were not in the door five minutes when his dad managed to allude to our treatment, in a rude and unnecessary way, in front of Steve’s younger cousin and his girlfriend.

Basically, we came in and were the first to arrive. We were talking in the kitchen to H’s mom when his cousin J and girlfriend arrived and sat down at the table. We started talking about the drive up and stuff, when H’s dad entered the room. He greeted us and immediately said something about the pregnancy (even though we were waiting until dinner to “announce” it.) J and the cousin looked very taken aback and laughed, saying they would “act surprised” when we told the rest of the family after his dad realized they didn’t know yet. So, that launched me into telling J and his girlfriend that we are 11 weeks along with twins, and rapidly saying how excited are since my mom is a twin and they’re due on her birthday…

I hadn’t finished my sentence about the twins being born on my twin mom’s birthday, when H’s dad says—“well, that’s not the reason you two are having twins!” I paused, looked up at him with saucer eyes, and said in my most disdainful voice—“Uuhh, yeah, um ANYWAY and continued blathering about how my mom’s twin brother was hoping to come home from Chicago for their 60th birthday and to meet the new babies. H’s dad did not pick up on the hot anger radiating from me and H at all. H and I kept exchanging looks and I knew I had to say something to his dad before the weekend continued in this matter.

So I waited a few minutes for the subject to change to something else. H’s mom was talking to J about whether his sister was coming to dinner late. I caught FIL’s attention and motioned for him to come with me to another room because I had a gift for him (I actually did). I tried to be subtle, but surely everyone had to notice us leave. As I got up the stairs to FIL’s office and started to tell him about the gift (figured I would move into my confrontation afterwards), H entered the room, shutting the door behind him, and said “Dad, what the F…?!?” My first reaction was “H!” because he never curses like that to his parents, but then we both lit into FIL for what he had said.

We told him how upset it made us that he would make a rude comment like that when I was clearly avoiding the infertility subject when announcing the pregnancy to people. We told him we didn’t understand his need to cut me off and say something like that, especially after we repeatedly asked him and MIL to keep our treatments private. FIL responded that he must have misunderstood us--he didn’t realize we didn’t want to talk about it. What the ?!?! This led to me and H both raising our voices at him about how H had made this clear and at this point our assumption is that he and MIL just don’t respect our feelings at all. He muttered some "I'm so sorrys" in a pathetic, quiet way, head down like a child being lectured, but I couldn’t feel too bad about what we were saying to him. Obviously talking about it calmly had not gotten the point across. Then he tried to justify his talking about it saying—“But it’s just such a miracle what science can do and the fact that it worked is so great.” I said yes—it is great that it worked and we thank God every day for the technology, but that doesn’t mean we need the whole world to know. H chimed in with how painful the whole experience had been, and that if his dad felt our pain he would understand why we need to move on and stop being reminded of it. Well, to this FIL says that his colleague Mr. S. who did IVF, is very open about it and so he didn’t expect us not to be. H blew up at this, reminding his dad that Mr. S. was 50 when he did IVF as a result of wanting to have more children with a second wife after he had done a vasectomy with a first wife. He reminded FIL—“IVF was Mr. S’s choice and he already had kids so it wasn’t the same situation.” Then H lost it completely emotionally and said—“don’t you get how this was not our choice and we had a really hard time coming to terms with it?” With H unable to speak further, I said—“Look at what this is doing to your son! Why can’t you just forget we ever had treatment and just move on? Why did you have to ruin today for us, supposedly a happy time, by throwing our treatment in our face in front of people who didn’t need to know?” I told him that I didn’t understand why he and MIL and the brothers couldn’t keep this private when my parents had respected our wishes without question.

So then I saw an ugly side to FIL that I’ve never seen before, as he usually comes across as a harmless, bumbling Homer-Simpson type of overweight buffoon. He glared at me and said in a mean voice that he wasn’t trying to throw anything in my face and that I’m just closer to my parents.

I said—“that’s not true; the difference is my parents respect my feelings about this. And regardless, we’re telling you now once and for all to stop bringing up our treatment, tell everyone you’ve told about it that you shouldn’t have, and never say anything about it again.” I added the threat, “If someone ever says something in front of our children about our treatment, that person will never see the children again.”

He seemed to nod but kept muttering how it was just so good that things had worked out that he didn’t understand.

At this point, H, still struggling to regain his composure, asked me to go get our coats so we could take a walk and calm down before dinner started. I went out, right where MIL, J, and girlfriend could see me, got our coats, and we left out a back door where H didn’t have to be seen. I have no idea what FIL said when he re-entered the room with the others. As we went outside, H’s aunt and his other cousin M were getting out of the car. Talk about awkward. We just said hello and that we were taking a quick walk because it had been a long drive. We didn’t mention the pregnancy of course--still thinking we would wait for dinner (and to calm down!), but of course upon re-entering the house MIL had already told them, too. Can't these people keep their mouths shut?!? (Especially given the fact that we had just said we would wait until dinner to tell the others after J found out.) Since we weren’t there when she told them it was twins, who knows what was said about that. I would’ve thought MIL had a clue that we were yelling at FIL for what he had done, but evidently she was clueless. This will be explained in part two, to be uploaded later tonight…

8 comments:

Motel Manager said...

Oh my GOD! That is SO FRUSTRATING! Seriously, what is wrong with them?

I hope you are hanging in there... (and good luck w/ the mammogram!)

Hope548 said...

Unbelievable!

Melissa said...

OH MY!....I'm boiling for you Emmie! I don't know how you even stood to be around them that day. I am just in absolute shock. I'm sorry you have such crappy unsympathetic/un-understanding in-laws. I'm just sorry...

GLouise said...

Oh my goodness!!!!! I was getting stressed just READING about this.

I guess you'll never tell these people anything ever again!

Hopeful Mother said...

Wow. That is unbelievable. I'm so sorry you have this added stress right now and they are not respecting your wishes.

Please let us know how your mammogram goes! Hoping for no news!

Anonymous said...

Holy crap - Emmie I am totally flabbergasted. What in the hell is the deal? They can NOT be that dense. They just can't be! And after all of that with your FIL, your MIL had the nerve to tell everyone in your absense? Oh my gosh, you almost have to laugh in a hysterical sort of way to keep sane about the whole thing!

I am nervous to read "What A Weekend: Part Two"

{{hugs}} to you for getting you and your husband through that.

Linlee said...

OMG! You poor thing. My inlaws were bad but not to the extreme you are going through. My husbands whole side of the family knows every detail of our infertility and not by choice. Yesterday she said she wants to add our pregancy to her Christmas letter. If she mentions the whole ivf still I'll kill her

Heather said...

WOW. That makes me pissed just reading about it! I can't believe you guys handled it so well. I would have thrown an all-out tantrum!