I feel a tremendous amount of joy. Even while Pob screamed at me this afternoon in her anger at me allowing her to be hurt with injections, even as I slog through a bedtime routine on my own, as she shouts in irritation as I put her vest on after her bath, I am awed by how lucky I have been. And when I return from ensuring the bathwater is the right temperature to find she has rolled off her mat and onto the carpet, and is grinning at her own cleverness, well then I am overwhelmed.
In the middle of feeling that joy and that sense of good fortune, I am still very angry about infertility. I am angry that it took us three years to conceive Pob, even though I know if we had conceived our take-home baby any earlier, that that baby would not have been her, and she's perfect, so how can I regret the three years? But I am angry about those three years nonetheless because it means that if we want to try for another baby (and just how greedy does that make us) we need to start pretty much NOW. Well, my OB made us promise to wait at least six months, which is five weeks away. But at that point we really should start trying, at least trying without intervention if not gearing up for an IVF cycle or an FET.
Trying NOW is difficult. It's difficult to start again. It's dificult to know I need to stop breastfeeding to give my body a chance to ovulate again, let alone start pumping it with puregon, baby aspirin, clexane etc. It's difficult to be putting H in the position of needing to perform again. It's frightening to think of engaging in those painful emotions again. It's worrying to think about the unlikely but possible scenario of having two children 15-20 months apart. I worry what we'll do to Pob if we introduce a sibling so early. I worry what it will be like for her if we can never give her a sibling. I worry about managing my emotions around her as we go through the pain of trying to conceive again.
But we are going to try. It's always been important to me to avoid having an only child. I know it can be fantastic but I've seen and thought about too many bad scenarios to be happy with not trying. The first scenario was when one of my university friends died of cancer when we were 23. He was an only child and both his parents were only children. I watched them at the funeral, and I've never seen two people more alone. There were no cousins, no siblings there to comfort them, it was just them and then the rest of us. I know that losing a child to cancer would be a disaster whatever your family situation, but somehow to me the pain seemed magnified because they were lacking any family support.
The second scenario was one presented to me by - I think - a New Yorker article about 15 years ago. In it a woman described returning to her family home to pack it up after both her parents had died within a few weeks of each other. She told how she had a sister, a sister she'd barely spoken to in the last 5 years. They'd gone different ways, didn't have much in common. But her sister was the only person she wanted to be there with her. She wanted someone who had a shared memory of her parents, who knew what her family looked like from the inside.
The third is a concern that the weight of parental expectations is awfully heavy for an only child. No matter how cool we try to be, both H and I have expectations of what we thought our child would be like, of what we wanted her to be. If she isn't a book lover, I will survive. If she doesn't like sport, H will cope. But at some point Pob will know how much we wanted certain futures for her and she will have to cope with that. She might rebel utterly. She might try desparately to please us but not be true to herself in the process. Yes, I know we can try our hardest to avoid this, but my own childhood tells me it's not always possible.
So I feel a strong obligation to try to provide a sibling for Pob. And it will be a biological sibling or none at all, at least given how H is feeling at the moment. No donor eggs, no adoption. We'll try naturally. We might do a fresh IVF cycle to see if I can still produce any eggs. We will use up our frozen embryos. And then we will be done. We'll see if we can stick to this plan but this is where we are right now. We have an appointment with Dr Candour set up for next Tuesday. We'll see what he says.
So I'm angry. I'm angry that we have to think about this now rather than simply enjoying Pob's babyhood. I'm angry that it might not work and that Pob will never have a sibling to love, to support her. I'm angry and I'm happy all at one.