Sunday, January 9, 2011

It's different this time

Happy New Year! I can't believe it's 2011 already and I haven't posted since summer. Well, actually, I can believe it. I compose posts in my head, but just haven't had the inspiration to write them down. My life is so different now than it was when I first started blogging. In 2006, I was desperate for a baby, totally fed up with infertility, and so full of wild and passionate thoughts that I felt like I would burst unless I found a way to get them out into the light. Now, I'm, well, mostly fine. I am still unimpressed with my reproductive system, and still have moments of feeling very frustrated at all of the external factors (the delays in my marriage caused by the US immigration system, the delays in my treatment caused by financial constraints) that probably cost me a chance at a relatively easy (if IVF can be considered easy!) path to a second child. But most of the time, I'm happy. I'm good. And happiness on what is basically an infertility blog feels weird. Inappropriate even. I haven't decided yet what to do about that--shut down the blog? start a new one? But I am going to start writing again and just see where it takes me.

One of the things that I've learned in the last six months or so, since I stopped obsessing about the next IVF cycle and just started living, is that there are some up sides to my situation. It feels sacrilegious to point this out, but when I watch my friends and relatives who have had 2-3 children in the time that it took me to have Eggbert, I notice that they aren't actually any happier than I am. Sure, they love their kids, but it sometimes seems like people who have two or more kids very close together in age don't actually have as much opportunity to enjoy their kids as I do. The logistical challenges of life with two or more children under four are undeniable, whereas life with one three-year-old is (if that three-year-old is Eggbert, anyway) actually pretty easy and pleasant. We have plenty of time for cuddles, games, and to just be. She doesn't seem to think that she has to fight for my attention, probably because she almost always has it. I know that not every child is easy, and Eggbert hasn't always been easy, but at this particular moment in time, she's absolutely delightful, and there is a tiny part of me that is almost (almost!) glad of the secondary infertility, not because I don't want another child (oh boy do I), but because as it turns out, I think I needed this special time with just Eggbert.

Having given up on my own eggs (well, more on that later), I don't feel the incessant time pressure that I felt before. That is such a relief. Obviously there is still a time factor. I don't want to have two children so far apart that they don't grow up together, and I also don't want to be elderly by the time my children graduate from high school (Mystery is only 32, so this isn't really an issue for him), but I don't feel like every month lost is a disaster anymore. Now I can seriously think about waiting until Eggbert is four or older before taking further steps without feeling like my head is going to explode at the very thought of it. Giving up was liberating.

Now, have I really given up? Yes and no. I no longer think that I will get pregnant with my own eggs, but I still hope that I will. I don't mean to, but what can I do? Every month, the thought at least flickers across my mind that maybe the 78th time was the charm. I'm surrounded by urban legends, so it's hard to forget that improbable events do sometimes occur. I hadn't realized that Mystery was also still hoping until I suggested that we lend our stroller to a pregnant friend last month, and he kind of flipped out. He denies that it's because of hope, but really what else could it be?

We haven't yet revisited our conversations about what, if anything, comes next. I'll bring it up soon, but again, I don't feel any sense of urgency anymore. We're planning to buy a house in the spring, and I think it makes sense to get that sorted out before committing any more of our financial resources to reproductive attempts. I'm also still experiencing some ambivalence in that area. Adoption or donor eggs? I realized something today (after reading this post, from the creme de la creme list). I've never been able to articulate this before, but I reject the assumption that everybody seems to make, although few actually state it aloud, that adoption is the morally superior choice. I just don't think that's true. I totally agree with the post author that the only good reason to adopt is that you WANT to adopt, which is no more or less selfish than any other family-building decision. Adoption can be a good solution for a family in need of a child and for a child in need of a family, but it's not simple. There are a lot of wrong reasons to adopt, and thinking that it's the right thing to do (or wanting to do it because it will make you feel good about yourself) is high up there on the list. However, as clear as I feel about this point, I still fear how my friends who are adoptive parents will feel if I tell them that we've chosen third-party reproduction, and I don't want to have to hide it. Really, it's the openness issue that's kind of sticking with me. I would want to be very open if we chose DE, but is our community--the community in which the child in question will have to live--ready to hear that particular truth? Can they handle the truth?

Luckily, I don't have to decide right now. I'm thinking more and more that it's important for me and Mystery to take our time in thinking about what, if anything, to do next. We're happy right now, so I think we'll just keep enjoying that for a little while.