Now that LM is 18 months old, I’ve started thinking about having a second child. And as I do, I feel the bitter infertile in me rise up again, because I have no idea how that will happen. Let me be clear, this pain is not the same as the soul-crushing, agonizing desperation of trying to have a first child. Instead, it’s more like a dull ache, a grateful acceptance of the child you have but a deep longing for more.
I long to have a newborn again. I long to give birth again. Unfortunately, both of those things might not be possible.
The way I look at it, I have two options:
Option 1: I go back to the doctor and try to get pregnant again. This would likely involve lots of tests and possibly exploratory surgeries to see whether it’s possible or wise. I also have to see if my reproductive immunologist will work with me again if I use my fertility doctor (now my RI only works with the RE in his own group, and I like my own). Plus, I’ve used up the infertility coverage that is mandated in New Jersey, and I have new insurance anyway, so I have no idea how much would be covered. It will probably be very expensive with no guarantees of success.
And I’m not sure how to work this time-wise, because I can’t cycle while I’m breastfeeding. So do I do the tests first, while I’m still breastfeeding, to see if it’s even possible? If it’s not, I could move on to adoption right away and continue breastfeeding. But if it is possible, what do I do? I don’t want to wean LM right away just to try to get pregnant, because if it doesn’t work I will have weaned him for nothing, and ended the only breastfeeding relationship I’ll ever have. If I continue breastfeeding until I’m ready to cycle, I might have to re-do the tests if too much time has gone by. Or, do I wait to have the tests until LM has weaned himself? But if it turns out that it’s not possible to try to get pregnant again, I will have wasted a lot of time when I could have been trying to adopt.
Do you see the logistical problem here? I can’t make a decision because I don’t have all the information, but I can’t gather all the information without making a decision.
Option 2: Adoption. We were set to adopt when our last FET worked, so it is already something that was on the table. It’s a new process for us, but in some ways it would be a relief not to have to put my body through another cycle and the crazy anxiety of pregnancy. I could continue to breastfeed LM with no problem, and if the timing worked out I could even breastfeed my adopted baby. So, this seems the more logical choice. But…I really want to be pregnant again. I loved being pregnant. I want to feel the baby move inside me. I want to go to the hospital and have that “new mom” showering of attention on me. It just seems simpler emotionally.
So, I’m at this crossroads and I can’t figure out what to do. Because so much of it seems to hinge on breastfeeding LM, in some ways I wish he would hurry up and wean himself. I can’t bring myself to do it to him, though, because I know it would make him miserable. But I don’t really want to end breastfeeding either. That experience healed me in so many ways from infertility, and made me feel like a real woman again. I don’t want to see it go.
Another issue is that I’m pushing 40. Some adoption agencies won’t work with you if you’re over 40. I do the math and realize that at the age I am now, my kids would be dealing with parents who are 80. I don’t feel old, but I guess I am.
Some people might be one and done. I know that LM would be OK – he has baby friends and lots of cousins – but I wouldn’t be OK. I need an “heir and a spare” in case something were to happen to LM. That’s totally morbid, but I can’t put all my hopes on him. If something happened to him I don’t know what I would do. I need some emotional insurance. I need another. Plus, I’m just not ready to be done. My family is not complete.
Please don’t tell me maybe I’ll get pregnant on my own. Please don’t tell me that miracles happen. I know they do because my son is one. But I can’t bank on that. I have to assume it’s not going to happen. Hope is a cruel bitch, and it’s too tough to deal with. Not now. Not anymore.
As all of these thoughts start swirling around my brain, the anger starts coming. The anger that I lost so many years of my life to infertility. That I have to make family-planning decisions in such a different way than fertiles. I wish to God I could just have sex and get pregnant like normal people. I hate that I can’t. I’m pissed that I can’t. I’m annoyed that I have to make tough decisions that other people don’t have to.
I know we are all saddled with burdens and this is the one I must bear. I suppose in the grand scheme of life it’s not as hard to deal with as other things. But it still hurts.
I don’t know what to do. Damn you, infertility.
Fellow infertiles, what are your plans for number two?