Gearing up for Michael’s 9th birthday party (I am crazy again—we are going to do it at our home---Wii themed party), got me to thinking about the many differences and similarities there have been between when I was pregnant with Michael and now.
The most obvious difference is the fact that I was nine years younger, totally naïve and innocent. I was definitely the stereotype of the first time pregnant woman/mother. I did not know what in the hell I was doing. I took for granted the fact that we got pregnant and that it would “stick”.
We decided to have a family after 5 years of marriage. It was time. We moved out of our apartment, moved into a home with every intention of having a child within it within a year or two. We moved into our house May 7. By May 31st, I knew I was pregnant. I was excited and scared—but more scared of the pain of labor, of the unknowns of pregnancy, child birth and child rearing. Miscarriage was a vague something. There was no doubt that I would have this child. I had no complications until the last month. Then the worry about viability happened. But only vaguely. I was young, I put my trust in doctors, nurses and my own youth. Everything, despite some tense moments, despite things not going the way my naïve self thought it would, went well. And I came home with my son.
We decided to space our children out. There was never a doubt about having one more. I grew up with a sibling after 8 years. I had been an only child for some time and did not want that for our son. My husband grew up with 2 siblings. We decided two children would be great. We waited until Michael was 3 years old. Then we started. And then we kept trying. Michael was 4 years old. Michael was 5 years old. At first, I just innocently felt that we just did not have the time, were not making the time. Who could blame us? A toddler/pre-schooler running around? Both of us working…yes, that can happen. There was a time when we stopped trying for a few months because both of us were stressing out too much about it. (You know--RELAX and it will happen!--HA!)
Only when Michael turned 6 years old did I finally realize that there was a problem. Only then did we seek outside help. Part of me regrets that we waited so long. Part of the reason we took so long to seek help was that between the time Michael started kindergarten and then 1st grade, I started to question whether all this depression and baby-lust was worth it for me. We had one wonderful son. Maybe that was all we were supposed to have?
Once we found out the problem, we did what we always do—read up on the topic. We read about IVF/ICSI. We read about adoption. We went to an adoption seminar. We sent in the paperwork for the cycle. I went on line and found the IF community that I did not even perceive before. We got our education in infertility.
My pregnancy now. It’s a wonder to me, and yet not for the “normal” reasons. Pregnancy when I now know that there are people who struggle for many years and through many more trails than we had to go through. Pregnancy after all that work and pain and suffering. I am proud of myself and my family! To be pregnant the “natural” way---heck, lots of people do that. But, we worked for this, dammit! We REALLY want this child! We deserve it!
This pregnancy I am more alert of the dangers. Anxiety, especially the first two trimesters, gripped me. Every little sign I could take and twist it to mean I was going to lose this precious, hard won child. Even now, part of me doesn’t want to believe that finally, finally we will have another child. That Michael will have a sister. My husband and I will have a daughter. It seems so unreal. And I am acutely aware of how lucky we are.
I skimmed “What to Expect when your Expecting”. I knew about the “easy” stuff. How about dealing with miscarriage and being an older woman having a child? What about dealing with siblings and your older child? Finding literature about secondary infertility was a joke. Finding out books that would explain to my 8 year old about what was going on without patronizing him because they were made for toddlers—few and far between.
And dealing with the look on people’s faces when I tell them I am expecting my second child and they ask how old my other one is. “He’ll be nine years old.” I say. And they look at me as if I have two heads—and mutter “Pretty far apart, huh?” or something similar. Sometimes I proudly say “Yes, but we have been trying for many years and finally used science to help us on this one.” or say “Yes, but he’ll be such a help with his little sister!”
Or I say nothing. I was once naïve like they are.
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