There are times in life when you’ve got plenty of time for indecisiveness, but here I am, about to turn 39, after a long history of infertility and pregnancy loss, and I am on the fence about whether or not to pursue trying to conceive another child.
When Ted and I met last spring, I had just pretty much come to terms with not trying again. I have more sperm from the same donor I used to conceive my twins, but single parenting (even in the context of parenting with my sister) had been much harder than I had predicted, and I haven’t gotten my financial life/ career life on any sort of track since becoming pregnant almost four years ago. I was broke, depressed, withdrawn from my friends, and constantly overwhelmed by the demands of twin toddlers and home life in general. It was clear that adding a baby was not going to be good for anyone. But then came Ted, and with him came this amazing certainty – this perspective on everything that just shifted it all. It felt clear that this family I’d been nurturing was meant to include him – it even felt (feels) like M&S were conceived to be his children – before I knew him, and before he ever knew he wanted to be a father. That’s still how it all is – even the challenges we face in creating our unique little three-parent family (including my sister as the third parent) all seem meaningful, and indeed necessary for all five of us.
Right away, Ted and I started talking about another child – which since we both have fertility issues, would be conceived from the boys’ donor. I wanted to re-experience pregnancy (particularly desirous of a singleton pregnancy!), and I know it will be a source of deep joy for him to have that arc of the growth of a baby. In September, I started calling fertility groups in our city to get pricing and make an appointment for a consultation. Even though entering into that land of hope/ grief/ potentially great outcome or terrible loss/ constant mental and emotional strain really daunted me, I knew that there were really only two cycles, and then that would be it – either I’d have gotten pregnant, or not. It wasn’t going to be years long like the 15 before my boys came into the world. I could do it; I was getting ready.
But then came October. Weeks spent touching life and the possibility of death. Lots of perspective. Lots of praying and thinking. In the midst of all that, Ted and I had a late-night, whispered conversation about baby. About why it should be important to create a new life for us, when we both already and for long, long years have recognized the great need of parentless children for loving families. It’s not like either of us is attached to genetics – and here we were, losing my brother because of a genetic disease I also have. So in those charged moments, that late and dark night, thinking of my brother, of tragedy, of love, and family, we basically said no, we didn’t need to have the pregnancy experience and all of the stress and risk involved in creating and living that for me – that adoption of a baby as our next step, and not a future post-conceiving and birthing a baby myself/ourselves, was the course of most “rightness” for our family.
That took a lot of pressure off. No more worrying about the impending doom of FOURTY YEARS OLD and the surrounding reality of further-diminished fertility. Knowing that I’d never again have to start down the barrel of the gonalF needle, the trans-vag untrasound, and best of all, the home pregnancy test. I wouldn’t have to worry about preterm labor, of what would happen this time with my ability of nurse exclusively, no worries about how I would care for my boys and care for myself and a new baby…. that was just all gone.
And then yesterday. I was looking at newborn pictures of M & S, and later my sister brought home photos of a wee 11-day old baby… and it all came back. The irrational willingness to put it all back on the table. The longing for the whole scope of it – the first ultrasound, feeling the baby move within my own body, the swell of the belly, the magic of sharing that with my sons, with my partner, with my whole family and community. The potential of having a natural childbirth. Nurse another baby, even if it was again complicated. It all pulled me very strongly back to the table.
There’s nothing to do but sit with it. To be here with this deep desire, knowing that either path is fine. I feel certain that we will adopt, but it would probably take several years to arrive at a point of enough stability to make that happen. Will we try to conceive? I really don’t know. I don’t even know if the risks are acceptable, thinking about me being pregnant again. There’s enough attachment to wanting, though, to be clear that this is not a closed subject.