Thank you so much for your supportive comments last night. I wasn't able to be more specific in that post, because I'd been asked not to tell anyone else in the family, and one of my SILs reads this blog.
So here's what happened. I was home alone while DH had another driving lesson, and the phone rang. It was my little brother - the one who got married last year, just over a year after we did.
In rather hesitant tones, he said, "We've got some rather unexpected news."
Now, when I say that I specifically prayed that this wouldn't happen just yet, I don't think I was being horrible. They do want children, and I obviously want it for them as well, because I wouldn't wish what we're going through on anybody, especially not someone I love. But they weren't planning on having them just yet - in fact, the timing isn't brilliant for them, since my brother is also facing possible redundancy and they're currently living in temporary accommodation while doing up an old ruin of a house they bought last year.
My lovely brother didn't specifically say anything about our situation, but he did tell me that I was the first to know, and it was clear to me that it was because of our situation that he made sure we heard it first and had time to get used to the idea before everyone else started to burst with excitement.
And that's one of the things I hate about this whole IF business - it affects everybody. When my sister got pregnant with #4, she and my BIL agonised over how to tell me, and worried about upsetting me. My little brother has obviously thought of our situation and made sure he tried to tell me in a sensitive way. And I know when he told my parents and my sister, one of their first concerns would have been about how I would react.
It shouldn't be this way. The whole family should just be greeting the news of another new little life with nothing but joy and happiness, not worrying about whether the news will upset me. I don't want to be this person.
The trouble is, though, I AM this person. I cried buckets last night, and I'm crying again as I type this. I managed to sound excited for my brother, and I truly am pleased for him. I know he hasn't taken the whole baby thing for granted, and has thought about the possibility that they might not be able to have children when they wanted them. But they've still managed to do it - unplanned, and at a time when my SIL has been travelling for work so much that it's astonishing that they managed to fit it in.
I'm grateful for two things - first, that my brother was thoughtful enough to tell me first, so I can get used to the idea before everyone else starts talking about it. Hopefully, he'll have no idea that I'm anything other than excited for him.
Secondly, I'm grateful that I heard over the phone and that I won't be seeing any of my family for a few days. I hope that by the time I do see them - at #4's christening this coming Saturday - I'll be able to talk about it without crying.
Truly, it's not that I'm not happy for them. But they got married over a year after us. I just feel as though we've now truly missed our turn. I'm also now terrified to go ahead with IVF #3. If it fails, then when their baby is born I'll be in exactly the same position as I was a couple of weeks ago when waiting for #4 to be born - reading excited family e-mails and thinking of what could have been if my IVF had been successful.
DH is wonderful - he held me while I cried last night, and he made all the right noises. My brother is wonderful, and so thoughtful to tell me the way he did. But life? Well, it pretty much sucks.