As of today, my husband and I have been trying to have our second baby for two years. That's 24 months, 104 weeks, 730 days, 17,520 hours of my life, just trying to do what women are made to do. All those weeks and days and hours, I have tried to give my daughter a sibling, someone to have when my husband and I are gone. Throughout that time, I have been told that I'm being selfish, that I should be happy with what I have, that I am complete as it is. I am a sufferer of secondary infertility, and it sucks.
Secondary infertility means, quite simply, that you got pregnant fine the first time around, and the second time around, you are having "difficulty achieving pregnancy." Primary infertility means you can't get pregnant with the first. Primaries don't really understand us secondaries. They seem to have even less pity for those of us (including yours truly) who got pregnant quite by accident (I'm looking at you, birth control pill). I can't say I blame them. I have felt pregnant. More than pregnant. I have felt like a great, waddling, fluffy berry of some kind, definitely overripe and in need of juicing. I've had little niggles rubbing my innards, hugged the toilet while losing the contents of my stomach yet again, and bought ridiculously expensive pants to cling to my ever-expanding waist.
I have my stretch marks, badges I wear with pride rather than shame. I can say that I begged and begged and *begged* for an epidural, only to change my mind and eventually have a baby without any medication. Hell, those are things I'm proud of. I have nursed an infant at all hours of the day and night, spent hours just sticking my tongue out in an effort to get a baby to mimic me, been barfed on, seen a first smile, heard a first giggle, watched the first step she took with such gusto, not knowing how much it would hurt when she fell. I've quelled fears from nightmares, kicked my husband out of bed to let me have a sleep-in day, sent her off for her first day in daycare, told stories, sang songs and largely learned to play again (not something that comes naturally when you spend a great deal of time in your teens trying to show how cool and mature you are).
I am a mom, and that is something that I value so much, I cannot tell you.
However, I find that as a mom of one, I have a lot of fears I don't think some of my friends have. I worry, what if something happens to my brave, beautiful daughter? What if I lose her? How will I live? How will I survive? I will not. That's the simple answer. I would have no reason to at that point. I've confessed this rather odd and disconcerting fear to friends of multiple children, and they confessed they had the same fear. One even went so far as to tell me that when her second was born, one of her first thoughts (besides, "Thank god *that's* over", and "Hey, a baby!" I'm sure) was, "Good. Now if something happens to baby one, I will have a reason to continue."
Part of me wonders if this is in our genetic makeup. I have reason to believe it's in mine. My great-grandmother on my mother's paternal side had 16 children. Two died at birth, and the rest all survived. They were a farming family, and they needed lots of boys to help with the farm and lots of girls to feed them all. Also, they are French Catholics, so that might have something to do with it.
I always loved my large, extended family. My mom has 56 cousins on ONE side. Family reunions consist of literally hundreds of people. Somewhere in the vicinity of 350 last time, I think. There's a reason we only have it once every four years. Our family is loud with everyone swearing (in French, of course), and there's always too much food and too much wine and too many people, but it's great. Kids never go hungry, and there's always someone to play with, whether you're seven and chasing your cousins (and second cousins and third cousins, and sometimes aunts and uncles who happen to be the same age as you), or you're an adult and kicking ass and taking names at cards.
Anyway, I got sidetracked. I love big families. Love them. I've always wanted one. I remember as a kid telling my mom I wanted 12 kids. My mom thought I was crazy, but I wanted to own a bus and drive those kids to school in a short bus. Now that I think about it, that would've been a very stupid idea, but even now, I want three biological children and at least one adopted child (older, so the plan was always to adopt them later in life in order to provide them with the means to best meet their needs). But here we are, facing reality, and reality is we may have an only child.
Adoption is expensive, and we are in no place right now to shell out big bucks for a baby or to provide a stable home and welcome an older child with special needs in. We simply would not have the time to properly support them. My husband is halfway through his master's degree, and we both work.
In vitro fertilization is much more expensive in this province than we originally thought. It's $5,700 for the procedure, one shot, and an additional $5,000 in medication, which may or may not be covered through our healthcare plan.
And my smart, beautiful daughter is almost five. I so wanted her to experience being a sibling, and have someone in her life that would be constant, even after Robbie and I are gone. Right now, I find it so hard to watch my friends and family members get pregnant all around me. I have massive pangs of jealousy when I see their pictures on Facebook. It makes me thoroughly mad when they complain about their pregnancies. Truly, it's not them. It's me. It's that I can't seem to have a second child. My body is broken somehow. And more than anything, I feel secondary. I'm secondary. It feels like my desires are secondary to everybody else's, even though I know it's not the case, and there's no such thing as a universe exacting revenge (at least, I don't believe so), and if anything, I'm a good person who tries hard to be good to others, so if there IS Karma, my goodness should count for something, right?!
We find out definitively next week if we can have children at all. Once and for all, I will know. We make our choice from there. From now on, though, I do not want to be labeled as secondary. I would like to be called "willing to do it all again."