Here I am – 2 years post-fertility treatments, 3 unsuccessful IVF rounds under my belt, and nothing tangible to show. My battle with secondary infertility ended with me empty-handed, no sibling for my son (who was conceived after years of trying and multiple miscarriages). I have put my 7 years of trying to have babies behind me, and made secondary infertility secondary in my life.
But today, I’m 3 days late. And my feelings are complicated.
Do we still want another baby? The simple answer is no. We’ve moved on. We’ve focused on our lives as a family of 3. We’re invested in our careers. We got a dog. Our son is almost 8 years old. Starting over again now with a new baby would be… un-ideal. And we are happy as we are.
Do we still want another baby, though?
Having another baby is my fairytale – my glass slipper. And for it to happen as a surprise, without needles and doctors and early morning ultrasounds and blue estrogen pills and progesterone leaking out of me when I stand…. Well, that’s the dream, isn’t it? That’s the dream of every woman touched by infertility. A surprise, healthy pregnancy leading to a miracle baby.
Throughout the last 2 years, after we decided to move on from fertility treatments, I would be lying if I told you I didn’t know what cycle day I was on, rounded to the nearest 5 at least. I would be lying if I told you I didn’t think about whether there was a chance of pregnancy after every intimate encounter with my husband. And now, 3 days late, I would be lying if I told you I wasn’t checking for every twinge in my abdomen, looking for signs.
After so many years of trying, these little acts are like muscle memory. While I no longer get anxious around the end of my cycle, or cry when I begin a new cycle, I have moments. Moments where I think ‘What if?’ Moments where I imagine myself with a positive pregnancy test in my hand, telling my husband the news in a playful and surprising way, telling my son he will finally be someone’s brother. These moments are fleeting, but they are there. I’ve pretended they weren’t so that I can pretend I’m fully healed.
But today, 3 days late, I’m finally going to admit my truth:
I don’t know if I will ever fully heel from infertility.
I think I will have ‘moments’ like I described until I age out of being able to have a baby. And when that day comes, I will likely grieve again.
However, despite never fully healing, I know I have a life that I love, with people that I love, doing things that I love. I will have moments of infertility-fueled sadness, but I will still be happy.
I peed on a stick this morning. I haven’t done that in a long time – I even had to go buy a new test because my stash had been long emptied. The test came back decidedly negative. No fairytale ending for me. But my book is still a good one.