For the last 10 months I've struggled with whether to acknowledge that we were trying to conceive. Everytime someone asks me if we plan to have another, I cringe inside, force a smile and say yes but we aren't sure when.
Since getting pregnant the first time was so easy (first try), I foolishly thought we could more or less plan when to have another. I knew it might take a few tries but once our personal restriction of getting to 1 year postpartum hit, I was ready to start trying. At the beginning I charted regularly, took my prenatal vitamins, worked out daily and did everything “right".
And when I'd wake up to my period, I'd cry a little on the inside. At first I felt ashamed for being so disappointed so early that I'd keep it to myself and not communicate my disappointment to my husband. Although I'm sure my sullen moping for 2 days was a clear giveaway.
As the months passed and we rolled into summer and started passing the mark of where our children would be exactly 2 years apart, I felt myself grow more and more disheartened. Already this perfect image in my mind was crumbling. The cycle after that perfect 2 year window, we happened to visit a wildlife safari down the road from my parents. Everywhere we turned were cute little families of 4 with an older son and a daughter exactly 2 years younger. It was my lost dream mocking me for the world to see. I chatted with every single family like some sort of sick masochist.
Already this perfect image in my mind was crumbling.
Another month later, we went out to dinner with this older couple we had just met. While trying to get to know them, we learned that they had 2 grown children, a firstborn son and daughter exactly 2 years younger. I remarked that I've always thought that was the “perfect" family and the husband bluntly says “Well you missed your shot" while looking at our son since we had already established his age. I have no clue if I schooled my facial expressions to conceal the disappointment I felt.
Two months ago, I told myself we wouldn't try. That the timing wasn't right anymore for numerous reasons and we could wait. For the first time in 8 months, I wasn't charting. I didn't know where I was in my cycle at any given moment. And then we made love because we wanted to without any thought of making a baby lingering in my mind. 2 days later when I felt the telltale cramping I get from ovulation I couldn't help but let my heart swell with hope. 1.5 weeks later as I felt my breasts grow tender and my hormones fluctuate that glimmer grew stronger. I waited and took a test at night on 12dpo. Nothing. I tried to claw at the hope that maybe it was still too early and I just had to wait a couple more days. The next morning I was woken by my period an entire 2 days earlier than usual. I actually cried.
I came back to bed and sulked. My husband made me get up to face the day since it was his usual day off. We treated ourselves to new phones on an unrelated note but it still was something impulsive that is so out of character for us.
This past weekend the weather finally turned cool. As I dug out my fall/winter clothes I had another sad moment. They were all maternity clothes. In my foolish hopefulness, I thought I would be at least some what pregnant by winter and had bought a wardrobe's worth of clothes when they were on clearance from last year's end of season. I slipped on one of the sweaters and stared at my belly in the mirror. It's gone back to being soft again after I gave up on the exercise. After I gave up on being healthier and gave in to the hurt.
Last month we didn't try. My period came while I was in the hospital waiting room while my husband was undergoing surgery. I was surrounded by all my loved ones and internally sensitive to the jokes my father and father-in-law crack about when will they get their granddaughter.
I find myself in a new 2 week wait. It's ironic to me that had we gotten pregnant on the first try again, we would already be welcoming our new baby into our lives.
At this point I don't even know if I want to keep trying. I look at my son and I can see our future as just a family of 3. As an only child it's all I know. But I can also see his future of loneliness, sadness, and disappointment. I can see all those hard times where having a sibling would make all the difference. And my heart breaks a little bit more because I don't know if I can change that for him.
When I think of the women who have tried for years and years, I feel foolish and self-centered with our measly 10 months (8 cycles) of trying. But when I field the sibling question on a near weekly basis it's hard not to breakdown and cry that I'm doing what I can.
My biggest fear is that in 4 more cycles, then I can adopt that label - infertility. I know there is no shame in it but there is so much disappointment there. So much hopelessness. I don’t know what the future for our family holds.
When I’m sitting in a 2 week wait I feel like Schrödinger with his cat. I have to both envision our lives as if I am currently pregnant and I’m not. I have to make decisions regarding my lifestyle and body that protect a theoretical baby that might not even exist.
If this month is another negative, it doesn’t make sense to try again for a while. We’ve had a lot of unexpected financial responsibilities that will stretch us thin through next year. I have a very close friend getting married on the other side of the country next year and I have to consider the added financial cost and physical burden that would present on a pregnancy.
It feels good to finally come clean about our situation and I find it easier to share it with unseen strangers than the friends and family looking me in the face. If you find yourself in a similar situation I’m sending some baby dust your way ;-)