[personal profile] jenn_unplugged
I've pretty much accepted the fact that Carter will be our only child. I actually feel good about it these days -- most of the time.

After a year of stalling and pushing the IVF timeline back, I finally realized that I just don't want to go through the infertility crap again. I was 30 when we started TTC, and I turned 39 a month ago. My entire freaking 30s were spent dealing with infertility, and I'm just DONE. I would have loved to have another baby, but I can't go there again. I'm getting too old for IVF (my RE says I was almost too old the first time, and calls Carter a "miracle baby"), and the idea of more failed cycles and miscarriages just makes me want to crawl into a corner. I don't want to lose myself again. I was so depressed for so many years, and I didn't realize how bad it was until it was over.

And on top of all that, there's the fact that another pregnancy would be high risk, that there's a decent chance of having another preemie, another NICU stay. There are no guarantees it would turn out as well another time as it did with Carter. We briefly discussed adoption, but that too is fraught with issues of uncertainty and loss. I just can't do it.

But I have what I wanted all those years, which is this wonderful, perfect little boy. I am a mom, and that is what I wanted. And there are benefits to having one child, I have to say. You get many of the benefits of being childfree, while still getting to be a parent and have a child. The more time that passes, the more I'm at peace with the idea, even enamored of it.

I have no regrets about the way I've parented Carter so far. I did everything I wanted to do, short of natural birth -- that choice was taken from me. I nursed him; I wore him; I slept with him cuddled against me; I cloth diapered him; I taught him sign language. I stayed home with him for the first 8 months, then only went back to work part-time. He's still nursing, still sleeping with us, and still wearing those same cloth diapers (no interest in the potty yet, LOL). So I don't feel like I *need* to do the baby experience again. I did it, and it was great. I appreciated every moment of it. I never took it for granted.

But it's still hard when everyone around me seems to be pregnant or having babies. It was so nice when all of my mom friends had one child, and I would see them at playgroups and at Gymboree and we'd all be on the same page. Now they've gone on to have another child, in some cases two more, and their worlds are very different than mine. It reminds me of what I don't have, of what I lost somewhere along the way.

They cuddle their tiny newborns and complain about how tired they are, how hard it is to get breastfeeding established, how different this baby is from their first, how hard it is to see their first child struggling with not being the baby anymore. And I *should* listen to that and think, glad it's not me!. But what I feel instead is a profound sadness that this is not going to be part of my life.

My life will be (and already is, really) rich and exciting and amazing in other ways, ways that would probably not exist if we had more children. I know that. But I always imagined I'd have two children, and I feel in a way that there is a person I was supposed to meet but now never will. I feel like I'm letting him or her down, like I've somehow altered the timeline of what was supposed to be. That thought breaks my heart. I feel selfish. I feel weak.

But I'm done. I really am.

Date: 2010-09-15 05:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bicrim.livejournal.com
I'm so sorry you are having to make such a hard choice. Thinking peaceful thoughts toward you.

Date: 2010-09-15 05:50 pm (UTC)

Date: 2010-09-15 05:50 pm (UTC)
ext_25473: my default default (Comfort hug)
From: [identity profile] lauramcewan.livejournal.com
I'm sorry, sweetie. How vastly rich and different everyone's lives are, aren't they?

Don't give up on that feeling. If there is someone you're supposed to meet, then you will. You just won't necessarily know how or when or why. :) (((HUGS)))

Date: 2010-09-15 05:52 pm (UTC)

Date: 2010-09-15 06:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sassywoman.livejournal.com
I wish that infertility did not force you into this decision :( Have you ever thought about donor embryos? We have a few that need a good home. All kidding aside, FET's are so much easier then fresh IVF cycles if there was just a little part of you that wanted to explore something different.

I cannot relate to where you're coming from but do understand especially given the difficult pregnancy you had. It's just not fair that we have to go through so much to have a family. Hugs!

Date: 2010-09-16 02:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jenn-unplugged.livejournal.com
When we did the cycle that resulted in Carter, I really hoped it would either result in twins (we transferred two embryos), or that some of the 11 embryos left would freeze so we could do an FET. Neither of those things happened, obviously. If we'd had embryos, I think the situation would be completely different, and we would have already done an FET cycle by now. If the embryos are already there, it's just a different situation -- or it least it seems that way to me.

But this is the hand we've been dealt, and I'm learning to accept it. I'm not particularly religious, but I really believe that you should make the best you can out of what you've got, and that's what we'll do!

And on your last point, yeah -- so, so unfair!

Date: 2010-09-16 04:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sassywoman.livejournal.com
You are most certainly making the best of what you have! Carter is a smart little boy who is obviously loved tremendously by you and Doug :)

Date: 2010-09-15 06:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ias.livejournal.com
What you have written is very much like I feel most of the time, except even at 39 I can't quite bring myself to stop trying just yet. I'll give it at least another two goes (that would take me into double figures of pregnancies and probably into my 40s) but after that, I'm really not sure. At least our next try will be advancing scientific knowledge as we're on a RCT for progesterone supplements. However for the past six months I've been reconciling myself to the fact that Alex will probably be an only child and also in all likelihood not have any first cousins.

Often I think that life would be so much easier if we just stuck with Alex and the thought of a newborn fills me with dread and I really don't want to go back to being so sleep deprived! But then Alex says he wants a baby sister and I feel bad for feeling selfish - if we were to manage to produce again in the next year then I'd be at home for all of Alex's first year in school which would be great, plus on mat leave I could finally afford to do the MA in Film Studies I've wanted to do for a decade (self centred, moi?).

So we'll put ourselves through two more miscarriages and then I think I'll stop actively trying.

Date: 2010-09-16 02:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jenn-unplugged.livejournal.com
I really don't know how you are able to deal with the miscarriages. It was hard enough all of those years just not getting pregnant, but the thought of getting pregnant and then miscarrying over and over sounds utterly unbearable to me!

I think a lot about the sibling issue, and I think Carter will be perfectly happy without siblings, actually. Some of his little friends are now getting baby sisters and brothers and he not only shows no interest in the babies, but starts really clinging to me after visits! I have a very close-knit extended family, and Carter has lots of cousins his age. We travel to visit them often, and I think that will help us feel like we have a larger family than we do.

I hope one of your next tries is successful! *hugs*

Date: 2010-09-16 03:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ahurani.livejournal.com
I think the close extended family means a lot and can give him some similar experiences to siblings. I had my sister growing up, but we only rarely saw cousins (mostly because they were all significantly older, for the most part THEY were having children while we were growing up). But I've had friends who were very close to cousins and I was often jealous of that. I'm actually trying to figure out what I want to do work-wise next year, including whether or not I want to move. I'm very seriously considering moving much closer to DC where my sister and my husband's sister (who currently has Liam's only cousin) live.

I know what you mean about seeing all these people w/ children Carter's age have new babies. Many of the people I know who had a baby around the same time as me are pregnant again or have newborns. And as much as I know I couldn't have handled being pregnant again (though thinking maybe next year), I still get a little sad thinking about it. While I have the high risk pregnancy thing to worry about, I know I'm incredibly lucky that I don't have to deal with the infertility and I can definitely see how that would be too much.

I'm glad you're able to feel good about it, even if it's not quite all the time.

Date: 2010-09-17 11:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jenn-unplugged.livejournal.com
I was close to my cousins growing up, and my cousins are still important to me! I want Carter to have that, and I make every effort to take him to NC to visit family. He's not the only child in my extended family, and I think that will help too.

There's something about seeing tiny babies, or looking back at Carter's baby pictures that makes me long for a baby. I think that's totally normal, and at least partly hormonal! But when I really think about what it would take to get to the point of holding that baby -- reality check.

Date: 2010-09-15 07:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] afb.livejournal.com
I think a lot of people end up with very different real-world parenting experiences than their expectations led them to think they'd have -- have you ever read Welcome to Holland? It was written about having a special needs kid, but I think a lot of the emotion could very well carry over to your situation.

*hugs you so much* You are a WONDERFUL mom, and Carter will grow up knowing how much he was wanted and how much he's loved, and nothing will ever take that security away from him. I think that's awesome.
Edited Date: 2010-09-16 12:44 am (UTC)

Date: 2010-09-16 02:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jenn-unplugged.livejournal.com
I want to thank you for all the times you've talked to me about your own feelings about being an only child. It really helped me start to see it as a very positive thing for Carter, and I really needed that. I've done a lot of reading about only kids since, and have really learned a lot.

I had my whole life planned out, and this was the one thing that was completely out of my control. It was unsettling and humbling, and I learned a lot about myself in the process. And of course, now that we have Carter, I wouldn't change any of it -- it was the path that brought him to us, you know? :-)

Date: 2010-09-15 09:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] glasshouses.livejournal.com
I'm sorry you have to give up your dream of two children. While I knew you were trying for a long time, I never though about you having a whole decade of stress and disappointment. You can finally mentally relax.

After Lucas I wanted another baby - until he learned to crawl. Infants are easy, toddlers, not so much ;-)

Date: 2010-09-16 03:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jenn-unplugged.livejournal.com
Turning 39 really made it hit home to me just how much of my life I've spent worrying about infertility! When I was able to let it go, there was definitely a huge weight lifted off my shoulders!

Toddlers are definitely a challenge, but a good one. Though there are many moments when I think, do I really want to do this times 2? :-P
(deleted comment)

Date: 2010-09-16 03:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jenn-unplugged.livejournal.com
There are no answers to this one! That's what makes it so hard. But it's okay. :-)

Thanks for the hugs!
(deleted comment)

Date: 2010-09-16 03:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jenn-unplugged.livejournal.com
Yeah, that part of it really sucks, but I'm trying very hard to think of it as still MY decision, you know? The infertility changed my plans, definitely.

Thanks! :-)

Date: 2010-09-16 03:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] heathog.livejournal.com
((hugs))

I don't really know what to say, other than I wish things were different for you and your family. Infertility really and truly sucks and you are left with the death of a dream in the end when treatments don't work.

For what it's worth, I had my last baby at 40 via IVF and my twins at 37...I don't think you're too old. However, I didn't experience miscarriages, so you are coming from a different place emotionally.

Give Carter a big squeeze for me...I'm an only child myself, and I turned out alright!

Date: 2010-09-17 11:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jenn-unplugged.livejournal.com
In my case it's whatever the hormone level is that says something about how viable your eggs are. I was apparently borderline at 36, and the levels now are way below where they like them to be for successful IVF. It just lowers the odds of success that much more, and the thought of facing that uncertainty again is too painful to contemplate at the moment. After that IVF involves donor eggs, and that adds a whole new dimension of expense.

There's still the possibility that we'll change our minds, I suppose. I've told myself I will be done with this by the time I turn 40, either way. It's hard to imagine we'll decide to try again, though. Getting to this point has been SO good for me. :-)

Date: 2010-09-16 10:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] teleute.livejournal.com
I'm thinking of you, Jenn. I'm sorry you're hurting. I know that given my story I'm not able to empathize, and possibly the very existance of how it worked out for me annoys you (it's ok. I went through years of infertility too - I'd have hated me then). But I am thinking of you, and I really hope that sooner rather than later the hurt feelings fade into your history, and you can simply revel in the joy Carter brings you. I have a friend who lost three preemies before they adopted. Her son is now three and she said this is the first year that the birthdays went by that she felt more happy than sad - because she could be glad for the way her family is, not focused on how it might have been. Perhaps by the time Carter is three you'll be able to say the same. I hope so.

*much love*

Date: 2010-09-17 11:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jenn-unplugged.livejournal.com
I don't envy you having two so close together ;-), but it's fantastic that you were able to have a second baby without going through it all again! I've tried very hard not to let myself think that could even be a possibility for us, because the odds are just so low. The only thing I get annoyed about is when people say, "Oh, you'll get pregnant now that you've stopped trying!" Because seriously, that's such a cruel thing to say. Do they really want me to get my hopes up and see them dashed every month?

A lot of what I'm afraid of is the possibility of more loss. I am happier now than I've been in almost 10 years, and when I think about risking that happiness for just the *chance* of another baby, it's hard to justify it. I want to be a good mom for Carter, and I want to enjoy what I've got. I know I'm lucky to be here at all -- so why push it? :-)

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