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03/18/2004

Cycle buddies? No, psycho buddies.

I have a confession to make.

Santa's Welty Crack Whores is not my first online buddy group.

When I was beginning IVF #1, I joined a group called Cupid's Babies.

I am not making this up.

I didn't know anyone online or off- who'd been through infertility treatments. I didn't belong with the cool kids on the message boards — the few whose attitudes seemed as shitty pragmatic as mine — because while I was only approaching my first cycle, they'd all been through several. Yet I needed someone to absorb the white-hot intensity of my obsession. I needed someone to talk to.

As the group's name indicates, most of the women in the group were doing retrievals and transfers right around Valentine's Day. Mine wouldn't be until later, but I cheered with great gusto as most of them got positives and commiserated (though I didn't truly know how they felt) when some got negatives. Although I can't claim I honestly cared about any of them, it seemed the thing to do. BFP! BFN? Hugs.

No. Wait. With that I go too far. Even in my eagerness to fit in, I never offered hugs.

By the time my two-week wait was over, everyone else in the group had moved on, either to the pregnancy boards or to the next group of cycle buddies — perhaps the Lucky Little Leprechauns or Fuzzy Easter Snuggleducks, whichever was more seasonally appropriate to their plan. There was no one left to celebrate with me when I eventually got my own positive. And there was certainly no one on hand to offer me virtual solace when it became clear the pregnancy would fail. (For that, I repaired to the pregnancy loss boards, which offered a queer but comforting mix of sympathy and practical how-to advice, while occasionally being a little heavy on the angel baby schtick for my tastes.)

Now my point. I'd like to apologize if my mockery has offended anyone who finds special comfort in friendly online groups. Their chief appeal, as I know firsthand, is that they can keep us from feeling alone in a situation that can be profoundly isolating.

Their main failing in my eyes is that I experienced them as communities based on coincidence rather than on any real affinity — the kind of affinity I've found only here with my fellow blogging cranks. The effect overall is the same: I feel less alone knowing you're there. The only difference I see is that I like my buddies sharp, I like my buddies mouthy, and I like my buddies funny, with no hugs and no platitudes. Stormy Bloated Panty-Hiders forever.

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