August 15, 2008

Post Baby Infertile-hood

Because I think post-infertile motherhood is just like anyone else's motherhood. And because there's no such thing as being post-infertile.

I have to admit there was a time, early on, when the pain of infertility was raw and new, that I really didn't get secondary infertility. Even at the time I knew it was unfair, but I would read posts from secondaries on the IF boards and think to myself they should just can it and appreciate what they've got. I think most of us have a had a weak moment when we hated the anonymous pregnant woman in the grocery store for instance and it was the same thing. In the beginning the unfairness is a huge deal. As you accept the reality of infertility, you accept the unfairness and move on.

When I started reading blogs I got a better understanding. I read a post from a secondary about the insensitivity of random strangers asking when little so-an-so would have a baby brother. Having the pain of infertility unintentionally rubbed in was something a primary could relate to. I've thought about this a lot ever since the positive beta. It's kind of like how I would keep telling myself "If I can just get a good follicle report I'll be happy. If they can at least get a few at retrieval that's all I ask for. I just want a couple to fertilize." There was no way I could bear the weight of the whole process so I focused only on the next step. Well if I'm being honest, I never really wanted only one. I know it sounds ungrateful but I guarantee you I will always be more grateful than I can describe for Piper. But I've wondered about when I'd be ready to head back to the baby factory again since very early in pregnancy. I think the time is approaching.

I am still infertile. I have nothing frozen so I will have to start from scratch. The process will be the same but it is very different now. I get very hung up on worrying that failures might be so much harder to take. It was one thing to detach from the little cells that didn't make it when they were just cells. Now there is no escaping their potential. Before I also thought I would be able to be fairly pragmatic faced with choices about what to do with leftovers (ha!) or even more terrible decisions like selective reduction. That would be so much harder now too.

Funny how I can manage to turn success into new things to fret over. Part of my self-preservation mantra that has served me fairly well I guess. But fears about what could lie ahead are really not the big difference this time around. By far the two most significant changes are how a successful IVF has affected our marriage and that it removed the big question of whether it ever will work. The years it took for J and I to get on the same page about what infertility meant to us are over, and the big focus in our lives now draws us together instead of driving a wedge. Knowing it can work for us is a double-edge sword, I hate to allow that sliver of optimism and face the terrible disappointment, but it is nice to know that at least it was possible once. Those have got to be the most difficult obstacles I faced and they're out of the way. Hopefully that means whatever the process throws at us this time, we'll be much better prepared to handle it.


megan said...

we want another one too, and i'm already scared of the emotional roller coaster that may bring.

i hear you about how success is a double-edged sword when it comes to having a (second) child. i think failures will definitley be harder to take.

i wish you and J the best of luck. hopefully the second time around won't be so rocky.

Furrow said...

Wow. Consider that our babies are the exact same age, I'm impressed that you're ready to do the whole pregnancy thing again. I'm planning to wait another year before trying.

I seem to forget how much trouble we had the first time and assume that things will happen according to my plan. Ha. But I hope this next time for you is unbelievably easy.

Anonymous said...

You know how to get there this time, you don't have to waste all of those years having sex, so hopefully, it will be a much quicker process.

I think it might be easier this time, because you will have the most adorable little girl to distract you. I don't think it sounds ungrateful at all to want a second. I don't want one kind, I want two. I want my child to have a sibling. The second would be as much for them as it would be for me, know what I mean?

I know how close you are to your sister, so it doesn't surprise me that you want Piper to have a sibling, too.

When are you thinking of heading back to the clinic?

Valerie said...

Ahh yes the life of a secondary infertile can be trying at times. My favorite now is when are we going to try for a girl? Yeah we are done but thanks for asking. The second time around was much harder for me for so many reasons. It was the first time I felt truly infertile. First time clomid worked for us. It was the first time I realized things were going to change alot and not just the drugs etc but everything in our lives. I will alway be infertile but I am not as angry about it now.

Good luck on the road to Piper's sibling. I will be rooting for you.

Angie said...

I wish you the best of luck and will be here to support you through your journey.

Rachel Inbar said...

I think the second time is a little easier in that you believe it actually CAN happen... I had a lot of trouble believing it ever would or could.

I have a whole post ready in my head about the fact that infertility isn't about having a baby - it's about having the family you dreamed of. Once you do have the children you wanted, it really is behind you - at least in my experience...

Kate said...

I don't think there is anything ungrateful about wanting another child. You are not 'tempting fate,' you are not asking for more than you deserve (after all, infertility definitely taught me that it has nothing to do with deserving or being fair).

You are right, several major hurdles are behind you now--and that's huge. But secondary IF comes with its own set of struggles, as you have pointed out. Seeing your child's friends welcome new siblings (and eventually having to answer her questions as to why she does not have any), letting go of your notion of the 'perfect' age difference, and probably the biggest one is knowing exactly HOW MUCH you are missing out on by not being able to have another child (because you have a perfect example running around)... I remember this being that hardest thing after losing a pregnancy: my heart shattered every time someone mentioned "at least you have one already." I do, I do have one already--and because of that I know just HOW MUCH I lost when I lost the pregnancy. I guess this goes back to your phrase "Now there is no escaping their potential" (which gave me chills, by the way).

I will definitely hold much more than a sliver of optimism for you and J. Don't we all hold a hope of becoming one of those urban legends who get pregnant naturally after years and years of struggles? :)

Anonymous said...

Going for it the second time isn't necessarily easier, but it is a bit different.

Certainly the biggest thing is that you now know what you could be missing, and that can hurt as much as primary IF.

Starting to cycle is as scary as in the beginning, because you can get caught up in the intense focus of it all. I caught myself focusing on my fresh back in early 07 to the exclusion of my toddler -- I was neglecting him to search the literature for stuff I thought I needed to know about my cycle. I hated myself for it, but was compelled to continue.

Because our first came relatively easily once we got to see an RE, I was optimistic the second would come similarly quickly, with no such luck. I was pained with every BFN, but at the same time I was so in love with my little boy that I couldn't give up trying for another. He made my determination that much stronger, and, well, you know where that has gotten me.

I wish you all the strength and luck you need in getting pregnant with a sibling for your darling girl. I'll definitely be here to cheer you on.

Sara said...

I really want another too, and don't have anything in the freezer. I think that for me, success has made it easier (so far), but I can see how it would be different for someone who wasn't as much of a basket case about things the first time around!

Best of luck to you!

Nicole said...

A truly brilliant, insightful and sensitive post. One for the hall of fame, I think. When I think of having another one, and I do quite often. I think of all the failures and pain that may come with doing it again. Scary, but now I know without a doubt that it is all so worth it.

Nicole said...

By the way, I have finally added your blog to my on-site list. So sorry for the delay.

Sticky Bun said...

I SO hear you on how successful IVF has changed the way you'd think about a lot of the choices you might have faced in the past--like what to do with leftovers or selective reduction. We do have two frozen embryos, and particularly now that IVF has worked, I see the potential of what they might bring. It brings weight to the decisions that weren't there before--not in the same way, anyway.

And, you are so right about looking so different at secondary infertility now. It will undoubtedly bring its own challenges, but no matter what, I hope the reward is as great.