Getting a call for baby #3 within days of finding out that IVF #2 was unsuccessful was quite the mind trip. It was helpful in that we were far too busy, excited, and overwhelmed to be depressed, but it also didn’t allow us any time to process the end to a very defining time in our life. After pouring our hearts and time and bank account into trying to get pregnant for so long, we were just done. We failed and our time was up. But thank goodness we failed, right? I mean, imagine the enormity of the decision that would have been on our shoulders if that BFN was actually a brand new BFP? But still, in an instant, it was all over – the life we had always pictured for ourselves would not be.
I still have many swirling feelings over the events of the past couple months. Much of my day-to-day is spent racking up a pros and cons list. Here’s a little glimpse…
– No pregnancy. I will never see a bump grow or feel my baby in utero. I will never know what it feels like to be kicked from the inside. I will never spend hours staring at an ultrasound photo or know what its like to see a heartbeat flicker for the first time. The build-up and excitement and sacred experience of pregnancy will never be mine. I will forever be left out of the club that so many of the women in my life are a part of.
– No baby shower. It’s not just the baby shower exactly, though you girls know I LOVE a good party, it’s the celebration among family and friends. Being showered with support and joy and excitement. Although we are blessed with fantastic family and friends, the experience as a foster parent is just different. People are apprehensive and, frankly, guarded. It isn’t the typical script and they don’t know how to act. Also, if you’re willing to take a walk on the shallow side with me for a bit, I’m jealous of all the new things people receive at showers. 98% of our stuff is used. I’m grateful for every last bit of it, but there is just something about the pristine newness of baby items, sitting in arrival of the new pristine baby.
– No maternity leave. Do you know how hard it is to continue working a full-time job with a 5 day old? What its like to contort your body to rock the fussing baby with your foot while writing an email that has to get.out.now? Or balance the baby precariously on your knee, feeding with one hand, typing with another, all while on a conference call and praying the baby doesn’t make a sound? The days are spent juggling rather than bonding. Everyone ends up being only half satisfied.
– No pregnancy. Since so many of the women in my life are in this club, I know it’s not all glamorous. Also? Birth terrifies me. I’ll happily live out the rest of my days epistiotomy free.
– On a related note, no need to wait 6 weeks for sex. Oh yes, I went there.
– No pressure to breastfeed. I’m certainly not saying anything bad about breastfeeding. I’m a big supporter and can imagine the wonderful experience it is for so many mothers and babies. But not every mother who births a child has the opportunity, desire, or positive experience others do and the pressure to breastfeed can lead to guilt, feelings of inferiority, and worse. I’ll spare you the TMI reasons, but I’m pretty sure that I wouldn’t have breastfed if I had birthed a baby and felt guilt over it even while I was TTCing. But we get an automatic pass and I’m grateful for it every day. Sharing night feedings? Critical. Never having to pump? Amazing. Easily fitting feedings into any schedule with or away from baby? Love.
– Parenting without recovery. This one goes without explanation, yes?
No stretch marks. Oh wait, nevermind that one. There are definitely still stretch marks.
– Daisy. She’s such a wonderful complement to our family. This is a baby I was meant to parent and love. The thought that I may never have known her stops my heart cold. What if we were pregnant when we got the call for her? We are crazy, but I’m not so sure we are 3 under 2 crazy.
As you can see, I’m still wrestling with a lot of the back and forth. There is still a great deal of mourning. Granted, there is no better consolation prize for an infertile couple than a newborn straight from the hospital, but she shouldn’t be a consolation prize at all. She is a miracle, a gift and a joy in her own right. She has nothing to do with our struggle with infertility. My mind knows that but for my heart, it’s still the goal.