Monday, March 09, 2009

Why did we wait?

Awhile back, a family member asked why we waited to try again for another baby after we had Seth. And I realized that there were probably a lot of people out there who might have had the same question. After all, it did take us 3 years, including a year of fertility treatments, to get pregnant with him. Why not try again right away, since it was so difficult the first time?

I want this blog to give a window into the way some infertile women's minds work. So I thought this was a question worth answering. There may be others out there who took the same approach we did, so if this gives you any understanding of their situations, it could be helpful.

When Seth was born, I assumed that we would start trying again around the time he was six months old. That was how I thought, and I'm sure I said something about to to some people every once in awhile. I thought, "Well, logically, it took us forever and day to get pregnant with him, I'm not gettin' any younger, and maybe we have a chance at getting pregnant again on our own now that he's been born. We should just throw out the birth control after my body has had some time to heal from the c-section, we get a little established with him, etc., etc."

And then he was born. And I LOVED being able to focus on him. I was tireder than I thought I would be. And I realized that I didn't want to rush things. I sometimes feared that we needed to get going again, that it would be irresponsible to wait if we had a little window of time here that we were missing out on to get pregnant again on our own.

But another bigger part of me thought: Infertility has stolen enough from me. I will not let it ruin this precious time with my baby son. Infertility is something that often comes into a couple's life and steals, kills, and destroys. One of its biggest killers is dreams. It shreds the dreams you had of a family life to bits, until you wonder if there's anything left to salvage one day. I had a dream that I would be able to nurse my first baby until he was a year old, without having to question if I should stop because another was on the way.

I once dreamed that I would be able to wait until my first child was a year old before we thought about having another one. I wanted the option of being able to space my children the way everyone else did. And now that seemed like an insane luxury, but I wanted it nevertheless. I wanted to close my eyes and pretend that everything would be alright with us, that infertility would never come back to hurt us again, and we could proceed like a normal couple with one baby boy.

When you are dealing with infertility, it can often consume your thoughts and emotions. There is a cloud over the sun on most days. You may become depressed like I did after my miscarriage. You might be living in a very dark place, and it is hard to see the good in life when you feel like a miserable failure. I didn't want to go back there. And that's how it felt when Seth was a baby, and I thought about trying again. I felt like if we decided to do that, I would be suiting up for battle and walking back into that wasteland... the place where I had just spent years fighting and failing over and over again.

There would be no such thing as "Well, we'll just see what happens." That's for normal couples. Infertile couples may just see months of failure stretching across the horizon, and they dread the descent into sadness. I didn't want infertility to get its black hands on my heart again. This time I feared that it wouldn't just be stealing from me and David and our family and friends; it would be stealing a happy mama from my baby son.

So David and I talked about it at different points, and we decided that we didn't feel like we had to start trying again right away. We felt like we had God's go ahead to wait a little longer. So we did. We waited until he was over a year old. By then, things seemed more stable in our lives. I had gotten to have my time nursing Seth without interruption. And I felt strong enough to handle infertility again if it came our way. Time and God's grace had healed me up some, and seeing how well Seth was doing gave me confidence that our family would be ok, even if we were only ever a family of three.

And infertility did come back. It didn't take many months before it was apparent that my body was just as broken as it ever was. This time, it wasn't so hard. I had Seth. But it was still hard. I can barely believe even now that He allowed us to get pregnant again with a clinic's help. There are so many out there who have been denied that gift for whatever reason. How gracious He has been to us! But I think I was better prepared for the emotional onslaught the second time around because some of my little dreams had been fulfilled, and I'd had more time to heal.

So if you've ever wondered why that couple you know who just had a baby after tons of treatment doesn't seem to be in a hurry to get pregnant again, these could be some of the reasons why. Or maybe not. =)

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