Thoughtful Thursday: Lucky

July 29, 2010

Thoughtful ThursdayTranscript of a conversation between my SIL and my friend Mrs. OH while I sat there silently. As background, Mrs. OH knows all about my infertility history, but SIL knows nothing about it. And yes, my SIL does talk in exclamation marks all the time.

SIL: I got pregnant the first month I tried!
Mrs. OH: You’re very lucky.
SIL: I didn’t expect it! My two best friends both took so long to conceive, one took 8 months and one took more than 2 years, so I thought it would take me a while too. I was really surprised!
Mrs. OH: I actually conceived the first month we tried too. I thought it would take longer because of my age. We really got lucky.
SIL: It actually wasn’t the best timing, because I had to change the wedding date, and it wasn’t so good with my work schedule.
Mrs. OH: It was meant to be.
SIL: Don’t get me wrong, it’s great!
Mrs. OH, very deliberate: We are Both. Very. Lucky.

Someone else might notice that I sat silently through the whole conversation, but SIL is too self-absorbed to realize that I did not pipe in about my own luck, or lack thereof. Someone else might also notice that Mrs. OH seemed to be pushing the luck angle particularly strongly. I did, and I found it quite kind that she was making this point with a nod to my experience.

Fast forward a few months from that conversation and Mrs. OH is pregnant with #2, well before her baby’s first birthday. When Mr. OH called us to break the news, he was kind of horrified. They had pulled the goalie, but didn’t really expect or want to conceive just yet.

The sarcastic infertile in me wants to say, “Boo hoo, you chose to have unprotected sex and conceived a baby right away, what a horrible problem.”

A more reasoned part of me realizes that having two babies in a year and a half is a lot for anyone to handle. That having a baby when you weren’t quite expecting one (even if maybe you should have expected it, because, you know, unprotected sex makes babies, or at least that’s what I’ve heard) can be a problem just like not having a baby can be a problem.

That reasoned part of me also says that someone might lose something in never having a BFN. As much as I very much did not enjoy the almost 100 BFNs I had through the TTC process, each one certainly confirmed my desire for a child. Some people like Mrs. OH, even without their own BFNs, can have empathy for others’ experience, but many others seem not to get it. They don’t understand why infertility is hard for others, because they’ve never faced that kind of disappointment themselves.

I think anyone would agree that 7 years of infertility is pretty unlucky. But, at the same time, I ended up with the jackpot. Maybe being infertile was lucky after all, because I ended up with these two amazing babies.

Months of bedrest and a month of hospitalization seems unlucky, but my babies stayed inside a month longer than we thought they would, and our NICU stay was short. We were incredibly lucky in that regard. I was fully aware of my good luck at the time, and I constantly amazed the staff with my sunny outlook. They would remark that it was unlucky to be stuck in the hospital, and I always told them how much better it was than the alternative.

I didn’t blog about it at the time, but when I was in the hospital, DH almost died. As in literally very narrowly escaped death. He did not die, and instead was barely hurt. He was, we were, unimaginably lucky. Some people commented that it would have been even luckier not to have faced the situation at all. Perhaps, but more likely we are better for being able to appreciate life so much more.

I have had some bad luck career-wise lately. As in, stomachache all day, kept up at night with worry. Some of it involves things that perhaps I could have done differently, and some is just me getting screwed. The good luck hasn’t shown itself yet, but so far in my life it has always shown itself eventually. I’m sure, or at least I hope, that I’ll feel like my bad luck was very good luck after all.

How do you tend to define luck? Does luck mean having the outcome you wanted in the first place, or do you find the bright side regardless of what happens?

17 Responses to “Thoughtful Thursday: Lucky”

  1. Heather Says:

    I tend to find the bright side regardless. I’ve known my RE for over a decade (very unlucky for me, but lucky as he’s an awesome doc!), but I have 3 fantastic kids (very lucky).

    I also feel very very very lucky as I have a fantastic marriage with my DH and we see a lot of friends getting divorced about now. And for my husband’s brothers and sisters that are married, most of them have bad marriages.

  2. jill Says:

    Completely dependant on mood. If I’m “on the pity boat” then luck would be getting the desired outcome. If I’m in a better mood I am able to see the “luck” in situations that may not have been wanted at first and even “luck” in the more mundane things (lucky to have a job, lucky to have shelter and money for fun things, etc).

  3. Eva Says:

    I wish you that your problem at work will resolve itself or that at least not too much worry will go into it!
    I have difficulty with the word luck. You can be what others call pretty unlucky and still feel a lot of happiness, so many things depend on personal attitude and viewpoint. I consider myself very lucky/happy even if certain things are not perfect in the Holllywood way of looking at it. However, there are things in life like wanting a baby without having this wish fulfilled that make this attitude approach pretty unuseful.

  4. Rebecca Says:

    I feel for Mrs OH. I have a friend who’s 42 and will have two kids under 20 months when her baby is born in September. I am jealous as hell BUT I am happy that she hasn’t had trouble conceiving, and I know she will cope amazingly.

    I have shitty luck. I have extreme bad luck. I am also a raging pessimist.

  5. Elana Kahn Says:

    I think luck means getting the results you wanted, but it’s much better luck to have those results in as short a time as possible. But the fact that we each got pregnant with twins makes us both lucky for that…the fact it took so long makes us unlucky for that. But I would also say that getting pregnant when your kid is 6 mos old is unlucky. It’s not safe for the mom, it’s hard on the body since it’s not recovered from the last baby, and it’s going to be terribly difficult for them when the new baby arrives. So it all depends on how you look at it!

  6. strongblonde Says:

    Luck is interesting. I tend to go back and forth thinking about it as being “lucky” or simply being statistically significant. I suppose beating the odds and being lucky are basically the same thing, just with different connotations. I had a molar pregnancy. Something that happens to less than 1% of people who get pregnant. Then, that eventually progressed and developed into cancer requiring chemotherapy and surgery. Ultimately, these circumstances influenced my fertility (I can’t say caused because I was doing my IF workup when I got “pregnant” with my molar pregnancy, then everything was put on hold while I went through treatment, etc). During the process B and I would joke that we were lucky and should play the lottery. Really, we didn’t consider it lucky that I got cancer, but we did beat the odds. It was statistically significant that we had to deal with these circumstances.

    So what’s my answer? Luck is how you interpret it. It’s beating the odds and can be viewed positively or negatively which, I suppose, is all based on your personality, upbringing, and general life view. 🙂

  7. strongblonde Says:

    oh. and i hope that things mellow out on the work front. i hate that kind of crap. 😦

  8. a Says:

    I think there are two kinds of luck – the overall “my life is pretty good compared to 98% of the world’s population” luck, which we seldom acknowledge due to daily trials. Then there is the situational luck – like the kind your DH experienced – where, based on pure chance, we either realize our hopes or we don’t.

    I’m very lucky all around – I have a good job that’s pretty secure and fairly flexible. I have a lovely husband and daughter. I have a nice house, in a nice neighborhood, and am fairly comfortable all around. I’m healthy.

    But, I’m also kinda unlucky. I’ve had 5 pregnancies with one child to show for it. My husband has anxiety issues which cause stress for him and for me. My in-laws can be very annoying. My coworkers are evil.

    I don’t mind going through trials in life – I think it helps me appreciate my luck, and make me able to experience contentment.

  9. a Says:

    I hope the luck improves on the job front. I know that gut clenching worry that only your employer can cause…and it sucks.

  10. Kristin Says:

    Most of the time, I find the good side no matter what. It doesn’t always happen immediately but I usually reach it in the end.

  11. Dora Says:

    Last night I was sitting up in bed with Sunshine sitting on top of me, facing me. We were blowing zerberts on each other and she was laughing so much. I felt very, very lucky.

    Did I feel lucky when Mr. Right didn’t come along? Or the men I thought were Mr. Right turned out to be so wrong? No. Did I feel lucky throughout my cancelled and failed cycles? No. But circumstances and infertility brought me this particular child. I feel so lucky to be her mom.

    Hope thing turn around soon with the job situation.

  12. Ana Says:

    As others have said above, it depends on my mood. When I’m thinking positively, I feel that I am very very lucky. When I’m feeling sorry for myself, I can think of things in my life that could have turned out better—and wonder why I never get any luck. I think its easier to see our fortune once we’ve made it through to the other side—either, WOW we were lucky to have missed that disaster, or WOW that was just a string of shitty things to happen—what bad luck!

    The more I ponder this, the more confused I get. Luck is a very very tricky word that means different things at different times to different people!!! Is it statistics, is it fate, is it attitude???

    And, I really do hope things straighten out for you soon career-wise. Oh those stomach-achy days are so terrible.

  13. Mel Says:

    I guess I’ve always defined luck as the idea that there are two ways something could go, and I got the one that is more appealing to me. But it’s a great question since everyone’s definition of what would be lucky would be different. And yes, I consider myself lucky that I got to have twins, even though the reason I have twins is because of infertility. So it is a strange definition of lucky. I think we often say it to make ourselves feel better.

  14. WiseGuy Says:

    Oh stupido me!!! I looked at the July Intelligentsia, and wondered where I was and realized that I forgot this particular TT. Ack me Ack!

    Anyways, better late than never…And I love your TT anyhow too much!

    For me, 9 out of 10 times, luck is getting what one wants. But I have sometimes found blessings in being unlucky…Sometimes unanswered prayers really are the best thing, you know!

  15. When I’m down, I define luck as having the outcome you wanted in the first place – and thus I lament my unlucky self for not having it. But later, when things have fallen into place, albeit differently, I look back and see that I was lucky (and maybe even luckier) after all.

  16. I’m mad at myself for not commenting when you posted this!

    I remember the luck (which kind? who knows) your husband had at the time you were in the hospital pregnant. Oh, my, it’s hard to think about what that must have been like for you.

    But. Look at you now. More work drama. More health drama. And overall happiness and joy.

    I think I’ve become a person who finds the bright side. When I was younger I did NOT have that ability in me.

  17. Kathy Says:

    Here from the future via Time Warp Tuesday… I appreciate this post, as I struggle with the idea of luck and how it has played out in my life, but positively and negatively too.

    I have an extended family member, actually more than one, who are pretty clueless when it comes to sensitivities related to IF and loss. So I was nodding my head all these years later to the conversation, being annoyed with your SIL and cheering for what your friend was trying to do.

    I have never heard the expression “pulled the goalie!” Ha,ha! Love it! Too funny and I won’t forget it now! 🙂

    As for how I define luck, I dove into that in my Time Warp post about Luck this month and I have always tended to try to find the bright side, even during the darkest moments of my life.

    Heading back to the future now to comment on your new post.

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