Beastie the Second?

Last week at Sunday dinner at my great aunt's house, one of my aunts asked me when I was "going to have another baby." People ask this question. It's normal (albeit a bit personal, but my family is close-knit, so it's not as inappropriate as it may be in other families). My answer was automatic and vague. "Well, we'd like to have another one eventually."

The thing is, though, everyone in my family knows what we went through to have Isabella. We didn't keep it a secret once we broke the news of her impending arrival. They know she wasn't the result of birth control pills flung casually out the window and a little too much wine with dinner.

Once I had answered my aunt's question and changed the subject, in the back of my mind I slipped into the mode of someone who didn't take two years, a lot of drugs, and a small mint to conceive her child. I began thinking about what the hubs and I had discussed regarding the use of our four frozen embryos. How in the perfectly fertile worlds in our heads we both want two children, about two years apart in age. How we want this potential second child fairly soon, because a big factor in the success of IVF is maternal age. How Isabella's life would change, both for the better and for the worse, with the addition of a possible sibling.

And then yesterday morning, The Today Show began a series on infertility. According to the segment, 6.1 million women in the United States are considered infertile (trying for a full year to conceive without success). Another 9 million seek out fertility treatments in order to conceive. They profiled three women. One of the women tried unsuccessfully for many years to conceive a child, and then ended up adopting twins from Russia. Another tried IVF, miscarried, and then soon afterwards became pregnant "naturally." And the third, a woman who had previously appeared on Oprah to discuss her struggle to have a baby in her 30s, has endured multiple IVF cycles, and still does not have the baby she yearns for after 4.5 years of treatment. She spoke of the lonliness and isolation of walking into birthday parties for her friends' children with her husband-the only couple without children in tow. I knew these emotions intimately. I've walked in her shoes.

While watching this segment, tears rolled down my cheeks as my beautiful 8 month old baby rolled and played and babbled on the floor in front of me. There are days in the absolute craziness of being a mother, when my work keeps me chained to my laptop while she naps, when life prevents me from stopping for two seconds to catch my breath, that I forget how lucky I am to have her. And then I'm reminded of how she came to be, and the deep well of sadness, the emptiness, and the rage of those two long years of trying to conceive come rushing back. And it's as if I'm still there on the examination table, legs open with the dildo cam ready in the nurse's hand, waiting to hear about my uterine lining, my follicle count, when to trigger ovulation.

I am truly, truly blessed to have one child. How selfish it seems to want a second, when so many women, women who would make unbelievable mothers, cannot even have one.

And yet, I know I would be devastated if I couldn't have a second child to complete our family. Even typing this makes me feel like the most unappreciative person ever to walk the earth.

Would we adopt if it didn't happen? Maybe. Would I be okay with leaving behind the family of four I always imagined myself a part of? I don't know.

Part of my problem, I suppose, is that instead of living "in the moment," I tend to live "in the next moment." I'm forever thinking of and planning for what's supposed to come next. I need to be kept humble and grateful. I've been given an incredible gift, a gift that millions of women in this country will never receive, in the form of my daughter. And she should be enough.

I just need to figure out how to prevent myself from wanting more.

11 Responses to “Beastie the Second?”

  1. # Anonymous Annie W. in Albany

    (((Kristi)))  

  2. # Blogger kenju

    It is not sinful to want another child. Yes, you should be grateful for the one you have (and I know you are), but DO NOT apologize for wanting another when there are women who cannot have even one. God knows what is best for you and if you have another child - it is what is supposed to happen. Just be grateful for that as well.

    (Sorry for spouting my opinion.)  

  3. # Blogger M

    Good God, I could have written this exact post. In fact, it's so odd that you wrote it today because on Monday a girl I work with who had a baby 2 weeks before I had Maddy asked if I was going to have another. She knows we did IVF and I just said "That's a loaded question." and then just last night Mike said, "When do you want to have another?" And I giggled. I giggled a nervous giggle and said, "Are you kidding?"
    And he wasn't.
    And that's when all of the anger/sadness/resentment towards infertility come rushing back, etc. etc. I might touch on this a bit in my blog today, so I won't ramble too much here. But, talk about timing!  

  4. # Blogger Christine

    I'm seconding Kenju. You do whatever is right for you, Rich, and Isabella, be it another round of IVF, adoption, or stopping now.  

  5. # Blogger Beagle

    Reading yourblog, I have always gotten the impression that you ARE grateful. It's OK to want more too. And it's OK to stop here if it's all too much.  

  6. # Anonymous sher

    I don't think it's wrong to want another child. You'll work through all of this, by doing what you're doing right now--thinking it through. And you never sound ungrateful. You always show an awareness of how blessed you are. But, nothing wrong with wanting more blessings. :):)  

  7. # Blogger My Wombinations

    You have the right to want your family the way you want it. That is not selfish at all. You have been dealt an incredibly unfair hand with this and there is nothing wrong with being angry about that. I hope so much for you that you have a second pregnancy like the first.  

  8. # Blogger Shannon

    You will know when it is right to try again or skip it and change your plans... i think you are incredible for what you went through... I couldn't do it... that is why I completely gave up and bam got pregnant when I was told it wasn't possible... the way I see it... God is a funny guy... and when we least expect something it happens... so just hang in there sweetie...  

  9. # Blogger Marie

    Carpe diem. There are no guarantees for any of us... other than the here and now. That sounds like something Buddha would say, huh?

    There's still plenty of time... enjoy your sweet girl.  

  10. # Blogger sunShine

    It is human nature to want more, there is nothing wrong with that.  

  11. # Anonymous Veronica

    Hi Kristi! I'm exactly the same way, no doubt about it... Stephen always points it out to me, because I am living in the future, I am a planner, and I know I inherited this directly from my father (living 3 days ahead of time). It's not a question of being unappreciative, but it is good to remember to live in the present. You have Isabella now...

    Anyway, I need to write you an email... one's coming soon.  

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