Wednesday, August 14, 2013

missed minivan

Most days, I feel good about having only one child. I snuggle my girl and I hold her little hand, grateful for the opportunity to have these moments. The thought of "baby #2" has been pushed so far down into my subconscious that I sometimes forget it even exists.

And then, I witness something that brings it back to the surface, along with a tidal wave of emotions. This week, it was the pregnant lady climbing into her minivan at daycare.

It's not that I want another child. Okay, maybe I do. A little bit. But I don't think that I'm depriving K by choosing not to go through any of these processes again. In fact, I think it's a benefit to her. Sure, going through infertility treatments or adoption again may bring her a sibling - if it works. But who is to say that she and this sibling would get along? Instead, I tell myself that I'm saving her the pain of when it doesn't work. Or rather, I'm saving me the pain and her the side effects of having to deal with my depression - the devastation that goes along with the failure. It's not fair to her, for me to have to put my body, our bank account, and my psyche through these struggles again. (More on this in a moment.)

What bothers me most about not trying for baby #2 is not "depriving" my child of a sibling. It's the lack of choice in the matter.

We didn't make a conscious choice to stop at one because we just don't want more kids or we don't like them. We didn't say, "Well, the early months were hard. I missed sleep. I'd rather not go through that again." It wasn't a decision that we made out of lack of want. It was the decision we made because there was no other decision.

There is the financial burden of having another. It's not like we can wake up one day and say, "Let's start trying again." No. When you're infertile, it involves far more thought and planning. There is the question of how. Would we try again to get pregnant? Would we adopt again? Would we pursue a completely different avenue, like surrogacy or donor embryos?

I think back to the weekend, when I watched Love It or List on HGTV with my mom. The woman who couldn't decide whether she wanted to love or list her home decided to list it because the renovator couldn't give her an extra bedroom. And she needed that extra bedroom because they were going to have another child. She wasn't pregnant. In fact, they'd just had baby number two. Yet, they still knew that a third would happen. They weren't dreaming about it. They were for certain.

It must be nice to have your family decisions under such control. To not have to pick up the phone and call the RE, to see if you can get your husband's sperm shot up into your uterus this cycle. To not have to send an email to your social worker and ask about renewing your home study. I think of all of the things we would have to do, just to start the process for another child. If we decided to do IVF, we would need to go back to the RE, redo all of our fertility testing, make sure we had the time off of work to do a cycle, and travel 90 minutes each way to every appointment. If we decided to adopt again, we would need to get back on the waiting list with our attorney, redo our home study, and redo our profile. And regardless of the choice? We would need to make sure that we had at least $20k in the bank. At least.

That doesn't even take into account how your finances should look after you get that match or after your embryo takes. Then, you have the "ordinary" money issues that come with having a second baby: more diapers, more formula, a second kid enrolled in daycare, another nursery, more baby clothes, and the list goes on. (You can add the minivan to that list, too.)

And let's not forget about the emotional burden.

There is the waiting game. Will it work? Will it take? Will I ever get a phone call? What's wrong with us? Will someone ever pick us? When it works, it's great. I know first hand that it's worth every moment that you worry and second guess. However, when it doesn't, it destroys you - only it's not just you anymore. It's a tiny person, too, who depends on you to take care of her. The sun rises and sets with you. You are her emotional rock, yet you can't be her emotional rock when you can't even be a rock for yourself because your cycle just failed or your match fell through.

All you can do is be emotional.

Even when it does work, there is still fear. There is the worry that it won't stick. There is concern that the paperwork won't be signed. Will you have a child with medical issues again? Could you live through another 5 weeks in the NICU? Longer?

I sat in my car and stared at the mom at daycare. I watched her walk to her minivan, her hand placed gently under her belly as she pulled herself into the driver's seat and took off, the stickers that represent her family size mocking me from their place on the back window.

Or maybe they were just reminding me that I was lucky once, and to enjoy that. To think about my little one sitting inside of that same daycare - healthy, happy, defeating the odds stacked against her. I remember that I don't want to be pregnant, and I don't want to adopt again. I just wish we had the option. I wish we could say that maybe it would happen. I wish that it was my choice, instead of someone else's - my body, the universe.

Instead, that idea - that notion of having another - is long gone. It disappeared along with my fertility into some deep, dark place. And it will never return.


Marianne said...

I hate those stickers on the backs of cars. Esp on the back of minivans.

I'm so sorry. I have man of the same feelings you do. A work friend recently posted on fb asking for summer maternity clothes - i was like wtf? It's summer now and she's not pregnant. Turns out she is planning on being big and pregnant next summer--thus she plans to conceive in the next few months. That kind of certainty makes no sense to me. Have these people never heard of infertility? Just bc they got pregnant the first time easily does not mean it will happen again 3 years later.

Anyway, I agree. It is just not fair that IF limits our choices and makes decisions for us.

Anonymous said...

"But who is to say that she and this sibling would get along?"

That is the dumbest thing I've ever heard.

Katie said...

Duly noted, Anonymous.

KeAnne said...

Anonymous, you must live in some bizarro world where all families are perfect, love each other, get along and dysfunction doesn't exist. Either that or you're on some good drugs. For every person I know who at least gets along w/ his or her sibling, I know 2 or 3 others that have no relationship with their sibling.

Yeah, I struggle with the choice aspect too. We have 5 frozen embryos, but surrogacy, if successful, would cost $35k at a bare minimum. I didn't want an only child, but as we enter the stage of life in which our son is independent, potty trained and about to enter private school, is it fair to him to try? But it would be nice not to have to weigh these decisions, make these choices. One more way in which those with IF are screwed.

someday-soon said...

I can understand where you're coming from {{{HUGS}}} If it's any consolation I found the second time through IF treatments to be much less emotionally taxing...if you ever decide to go there.

Elizabeth said...

I agree. It's really not fair and totally stinks. :( It's good to come to an acceptance of that. Thankfully the agencies in our area aren't quite so expensive, so we hope and pray we will be able to adopt again with the help of the tax credit. Without the tax credit I would feel VERY discouraged about every being able to have another child. And you're right. That's just not fair. :(

Also, what's up with mean comments from Anonymous commenters? Bogus.

AnotherDreamer said...

"I wish that it was my choice, instead of someone else's"

This sentence about sums it up. It's not fair, really. It downright sucks that we have to go through so much, and we aren't even given a choice.

Really great post Katie. I'm sorry that you, hell so many of us, have to go through this.

That really is my biggest point of resentment in infertility- my loss of control, loss of options, my forced hand.

It Is What It Is said...

Choice is such a luxury, one infertiles never ever take for granted.

Forced choice is no choice at all.

Anonymous said...

I suffer from infertility, too. After 11 years of unsuccessful IUIs and IVF, we were blessed with two wonderful children through adoption. The roads to infertility treatments and adoption were long, arduous, and taxing in ways many people cannot begin to fathom. Yet, we, in an effort to become parents, chose to go down those roads. In doing so, there are going to be unique challenges associated with these choices.

I understand not having a choice in infertility, but we don't have control over much of anything in life really. Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith and hold onto hope.

Being a mother is the most rewarding thing in life to me. I made that choice, albeit in an unconventional way. Growing a family is possible though it may not look the way you thought it would - and sometimes that is the biggest blessing of all.

missohkay said...

I wonder how many times I have commented that you took the words right out of my mouth? We are making the choice to do it again, but all the things you talked about going through your mind... the casual luxury other people have in making this decision... it can be hard to see what we've missed and how our hands were forced (even though we were unbelievably lucky to get amazing girls out of those forced hands!)