Going about this whole baby-making thing for the second time has been surprisingly different for me than before. In some cases I guess that would be obvious, since I already have a child and that changes everything, but there are some differences that I guess I didn't expect.
Because I already have a child, my desperation to have another isn't quite as serious as last time. I mean, I certainly want another baby very badly, but this time it's the difference between an only child and two kids, rather than a childless life vs. parenthood. I'm grateful that I had a chance to have a baby at all, and while there would definitely be a period of mourning if we found out we couldn't have another, at least we have Jacob. This is always such a snarky debate on infertility blogs because the infertile women with no kids get mad at the women with secondary infertility who already have a kid. "At least you have ONE!" is a common refrain. And I get that. The women with no kids have every right to feel like they have it worse. Whether or not they actually do is up for debate, since there are a whole new set of needs and wants that come with a second baby. You know how amazing the experience is, and you want a sibling for your child...and knowing what you know now, the desire can be quite intense. But in both cases (first or second time around) the woman believes her life will be somehow incomplete without a baby--but I'd side with the childless that that is the most heartbreaking path. At least I know what it's like to be a mom, to see my genes take shape in another human being, to experience pregnancy and birth and the variety of emotions that go along with it. Despite all of the insanity it brings, I know how surreal and amazing the whole experience is, and there's no way to communicate that to someone without them actually experiencing it themselves.
Last time around I never really got to the point of "What lengths will we go to?" in the event that things don't go well. At that time I wasn't as well-versed in the options, or as educated about the possible side effects or emotional roller coasters that come along with it. This time around I'm more aware of that stuff, mostly thanks to blogs I've read in passing, as well as hearing stories about a friend-of-a-friend's infertility experience. However, I'm still not sure I have an answer to that question. So far things seem to be responding to the most basic of treatments, so hopefully I won't have to worry about it. But if, under perfect conditions, things don't happen within the next few months, we're going to have a new heap of issues to discuss. Do I want to go through physically-draining treatments? Do we want to pay a significant amount of money? Do we want to just enjoy the one child we have? Or even, do we want to save up and adopt? That last option would be a last resort, and I don't necessarily think that I'm the type of person to do it, but life is funny sometimes and you never know how your life might be touched and change direction.
Needless to say, having actual confirmation that there's a reason why getting pregnant is more difficult for me (polycystic ovary syndrome, causing infrequent ovulation) changes so much of my perspective on things. Last time I remember being so overwhelmed by the process in many facets of my life. For example, I was nervous to buy clothes in the months leading up to getting pregnant because I was concerned about getting too big post-pregnancy to wear them. This time around I haven't thought about that nearly as much. I'm not sure if it's because I mostly got back into shape last time, or because I have more immediate wardrobe needs (as opposed to extra time for casual shopping), or if my clothing's generally more forgiving these days, or if it's just because I've subconsciously realized that nothing is a given and I just need to live in the moment, rather than worry about what might be happening months down the road. I remember thinking about the process as a whole so much, constantly timing things out in my head or thinking that every little discomfort might mean I was pregnant. I obsessed over taking pregnancy tests, and the letdown afterward was always harder than I thought it would be. This time around it's definitely in my thoughts a lot, but I suppose I have far more to take care of in the meantime--Jacob, a bigger house, more in-depth tasks at work, this blog--and it leaves far less time to worry about things I can't control.
Another funny thing is that I've been far more open about the process this time. I don't think I told too many people we were trying last time. Close family and friends, perhaps, but that's about it. This time I'm broadcasting it here and certain close family members know the ins and outs of the fertility help we're getting. I've even talked about it with my boss, which is ironic since my bosses were nearly the last people I told last time. My boss has a close friend who's gone through infertility hell, so it's come up in natural conversation. I've also come to the conclusion that the main reason you don't tell people is because you don't want to have to go back and tell the world in the event of a miscarriage. Well, if I had a miscarriage I'd obviously have to tell my boss since I'd be out of work. So, no need to keep it from her because she'd find out anyway. But in general I feel like this will probably be the last time we go through something like this, and I guess I just want to embrace it--record it for posterity, feel free to share it with those I deem appropriate (like another co-worker who's currently pregnant thanks to fertility treatments), and not have to feel like I'm living some crazy double life.
The whole process is still scary as heck. With all of the attention we've paid to the process of trying to get pregnant, I feel like I might be overlooking the other problems we could run into down the road. They still scare me to death, but I guess they just haven't been the first thing on my mind. Part of me is looking at this as more of an adventure this time around. I know the adventure could go horribly wrong, but I'm a big believer that there's a reason for everything. It'll be hard to keep that in mind if something does go wrong, but I truly believe it and hope it'll be a comfort if I need it. But assuming everything goes right, this whole experience could be one heck of a ride. I have a better sense of how those dizzying newborn experiences are just a piece of a far larger puzzle, that eventually that screaming baby is going to turn into a walking, talking person who's going to bring so much into our lives.
It's overwhelming, but it's also pretty awesome. I want everything to go smoothly, but I'm also eager to get the show on the road and see where it takes us. For now, it's just a waiting game...