Waiting to get pregnant has been a challenge. I know that my issues are nothing compared to those who have been through round after round of fertility treatments, month after month of negative tests, and go for years without conceiving a child. I already have one, after all, and asking for more seems greedy, even if there are perfectly good reasons to want another baby that have nothing to do with me.
I've been hearing more and more lately about infertility issues--a blogger here, a friend of a friend there, random discussions about late childbearing--and it helps me to know I'm not alone in this. I'm doing fine overall, but it's still not easy at times to deal with the wrenches that have been thrown in our plans. The crazy thing is that there's still no official reason to believe there's a problem that can't be easily overcome. At this point the only confirmed physical problem is a wacky cycle. It just takes one time to figure it out (or get lucky) and this will all be behind us. Maybe there are problems beyond that, but we haven't gotten to the point to find that out. We may get some hints next time through a cycle, but sometimes it's easier not knowing.
It's been hard hitting certain milestones and not being pregnant when I thought I would be. Originally I had a plan to have kids three years apart...only when the time came, I didn't feel comfortable about it. I wasn't thrilled with our financial situation, nor was Jacob's behavior at the time conducive to managing two children, both of whom register high on the needy scale. Then I figured we'd wait an extra year...only, despite thinking I left enough time to aim for a spring-to-summer due date, things never materialized. I figured I'd be pregnant by the fall...then by Christmas...and then I figured I'd definitely have a baby sometime in 2012. But now that the Disney trip is on the radar and a break is in order to avoid missing the trip, now even that seems unlikely.
Growing up, there were four years between my brother and me. Gender differences are one thing, but those four years provided a considerable challenge. We were never in the same "thing" at school. After four years on the grade school basketball team, he went to high school just as I got old enough to join the cheerleading squad. He went to college when I went into high school. And when I finally got to college, he was off to the real world in a job a couple hours away. I'm sure for most of our childhood I was the pesky sister who ruined his Lego projects, stole the remote control, and consistently got better marks in school.
Our experiences at each level were significantly different, as well. He was always into sports...I was content reading, drawing, or playing with dolls. He was popular in high school...I was just one of the smart kids. He partied hard in college...I hung out with a group of Christians. He moved a significant drive away, then across the country...I'm still relatively close to home. Yes, we're both married and we both have kids, but our lives otherwise are quite different. We don't communicate as much as we should. Warm fuzzy moments have always been rare. It's sad and regrettable, though I'm not sure what the best fix is at this point. Old habits die hard and you can't necessary create common ground. I don't really know how things ended up like this, or what could have been done to avoid it.
As a result, I've put a lot of thought into age differences between my own children. Three years seemed perfect because so many people I knew like that had really good relationships with their siblings. They were close enough in age to share some school experiences, but far enough apart to stay out of each other's social circle. When we put off baby #2 for another year, I knew we were facing the same dreaded four year span. I wondered if same-gender siblings with that gap might be better. After all, I have cousins with that gap, both girls, and they're now best friends in their 20s. But now we're looking at five years, and I'm still trying to wrap my brain around that. Will that make them even farther apart? Or will Jacob be old enough to become a protector for a little sister or his brother's biggest fan? Five is old enough to be an amazing helper, but it's also old enough to be stuck in your ways as an only child. I suppose a lot of it depends on the kids' personalities and interests, and some of it depends on our influence on them--teaching them to appreciate each other and creating opportunities to bond. I know my parents had the best of intentions in not taking us on many fancy trips (financial sensibility, taking trips sans kids to reconnect with each other), but maybe if we did we would have created more unique memories to look back on. Maybe we had it too easy...after all, think of the bonding kids do when faced with adversity like divorce or death of a parent. I certainly don't hold the vacation thing against my parents, and I'm obviously grateful we never went through negative stuff like that, but I'm just not sure what the missing piece is...and I hope to figure it out by the time we have two.
It's disappointing and deflating each time a milestone passes by, but let's face it...there isn't much that can be done at this point. I'm not really keen on taking Clomid because I'm worried about the increased risk of multiples. I don't know if I could really handle two at a time. We got lucky last time, I guess. There are some other steps we need to take first, and hopefully they'll get the job done first. Or maybe we'll get lucky in the meantime. It only takes once, after all. In the meantime, I can only ponder why God has put us in this position, and soon I'll tackle the possible reasons...stay tuned.