As many of you know, Mike and I have been trying to conceive our second child for almost two years now. We tried on our own for a year and then completed three failed IUI's (Inseminations) last summer. Since then, we've continued trying on our own, hoping for the best, but knowing that IVF (In-vitro fertilization) was the eventual end route.
So, here we are, two years later. It's hard to believe that I thought I'd have a one-year-old by now. It's hard to believe that I have spent two years wishing and hoping and waiting. Mostly, I can't believe how much this has consumed and affected my life for the past two years. I was shocked to not fall pregnant immediately. After all, we got pregnant right away with Ella, and pregnancy was something I completely took for granted. I felt bad for my friends and relatives who struggled to conceive, knowing that would never be me. And here I am, two years of trying, three failed IUI's, countless blood tests, ultrasounds, needles, uterus scraping, hours spent hopeful, and just as many hours spent disappointed.
Infertility is a unique kind of pain. It is not a sharp pain that slowly disappears over time. It is a pain that rises and falls to a regular beat. Each month brings hope, and each month leaves you more disappointed, feeling like that idiot girl who keeps chasing after a boy who doesn't want her. The darkest time was after our third failed IUI. Because I have conceived a child naturally, and because there are no known fertility issues with either of us, the doctor and nurses assured me that the insemination would be successful. To hear the doctor say that he was shocked it didn't work was disconcerting to say the least. Before that, I had been upset that it was taking so long for me to get pregnant, but it wasn't until that moment that I began to fear not simply "when" but "if" I would get pregnant again. The realization that this might not happen for us hit me hard. I could not help feeling that if I didn't get pregnant again that something would be missing from my life. As with many elements of motherhood, this feeling lead only to guilt and shame. What kind of mother and wife am I if I don't feel like my husband and child are enough? What right do I have to be sad when the world has given me so many blessings?
I had to learn to navigate these feelings and find a duality somehow. I had to learn that I can both feel a longing for something out of reach, and joy in what I already have. This has been a struggle, but one that I think I've come close to overcoming.
A few weeks ago Mike and I were working in the yard. Ella was playing by herself (she just learned how to swing without help- thank the lord), and we were both actually getting stuff done, something everyone who has children knows rarely happens. It was a beautiful day, and I was gardening in the sunshine, and I suddenly felt like, "This is good. This is a nice life. Things could be just like this, and it would be okay." That was the first time in two years that I had felt that way- that I didn't need another child to complete my life. My life is complete. It will get better and worse all the time. That's the nature of life, but there is no missing puzzle piece under the couch that will make everything perfect. Another child certainly won't make my life perfect. Do you know what babies are like?! They definitely don't make life easier. Another child would be a blessing, the beginning of a new, difficult, frustrating, and satisfying puzzle. I hope I receive that puzzle as a gift one day soon, but maybe, just maybe, it's okay if I never get it.
This might, then, seem like a strange time to begin IVF, but I actually think it's the perfect time. I've been so afraid to do it because I know it's the last option. If it doesn't work, then we will probably never get pregnant, and I'm afraid of what that finality will do to me. I've finally gotten to a good place, and part of me is reluctant to enter this emotional roller coaster again. But I'm starting to look at it with fresh eyes, to understand that this journey may lead to a wonderful gift, a gift I will appreciate way more than I could have two years ago, but the worst thing that could possibly happen is that I'll have exactly what I have right now, and that's a lot.
So, here we go. First night of injections down. Wish us luck. Check back in if you're so inclined, and thanks for listening.