Wednesday, August 13, 2008

What Were You Thinking?

*****I wrote this a few days ago, before the whole single uterine artery ultrasound debacle. The good news is, everything else we're dealing with is certainly helping to distract from the 'what ifs' of waiting for our amnio results. If you needed telling though, this post goes a long way to explain how attached I am already to this fledgling creature of ours, how devastating a blow the news was on Monday, and how much we have vested in her health and survival.

Thankyou all for your overwhelmingly kind thoughts and personal stories (by way of iVillage). I may have dissolved in to tears at the mere mention of this with some of you, (isn't it so much easier to hide behind a computer?), but I have appreciated your support nonetheless.********


One question I'm surprised I haven't been asked during this pregnancy is, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!

Or maybe it's just that no-one's said it to my face.

It would be perfectly understandable, given how much time I've devoted lately to bemoaning our financial state of affairs and generally uncertain future.

Why would anyone choose to have another child when things were looking so grim? And yes, we did choose to get pregnant. As I once said to LK 'what if I accidentally get pregnant?' and he replied 'Mrs K, I've seen how you behave with our bank account, you're never going to be accidentally anything'.

That is the crux of the issue believe it or not. No, it's certainly not the best of times to be adding a new addition to this sinking ship, but given how long it took to add this creature I can't for one minute feel bad about this pregnancy.

Getting pregnant with Anna took all of 14 days. We'd decided to 'stop trying not to get pregnant' after I finished the SB Triathlon - I'd decided I didn't want to run the race pregnant after all, I'm physically challenged enough as it is. Literally 4 weeks after the race I told LK we were knocked up and he could not believe it. Dreams of months of 'practice' suddenly turned in to months of 'don't touch or I'll slap you'.

Me saying 'he shoots he scores' was poor consolation.

Naturally, when it came time to think about a sibling for Anna we were cautious. Old fertile Myrtle here could plan sprog-dropping to the very week. Or so I thought.

One year plus of failing to produce was probably a very long-overdue wake-up call, teaching me to respect the miracle that is conception and gestation.

I can say that now of course. For an entire year, I smiled but couldn't quite look in the eye the countless millions of pregnant women I encountered on a daily basis. When people would ask if we were going to have any more I would say 'yes, but not right now', and would then have to sit through their well-meant assvice about siblings not being too far apart in age etc. In actual fact I would have loved Anna to be closer in age to her brother/sister. My brother and I are only 13 months apart, and after 16 years of blood, sweat and tears we are now close. Or maybe that's just because we're 8,000 miles apart?!

I also had 'suggestions' that while our decision to have children 'later' in our marriage 'on many levels looks like a good idea, no-one who does that ever thinks about the grandparents and the fact that they miss out on seeing their grandkids grow up'. What a fantastic guilt trip. Maybe we were thinking about the grandparents during conception. Maybe that was the problem....

More likely the issue was stress. That would certainly explain why I finally got pregnant within days of coming home from holiday. Or perhaps it was the fact that Anna was sleeping in our bed until just before she turned 3.

Either way, finding out you can't get pregnant when you want to is soul-destroying. Many finer writers than me have more eloquently described their battles. Fertility issues that make our year-long silent struggle a blip on the radar, a petulant cough in the face of full blown pneumonia. This brilliant card from the amazing a little pregnant continues to crack me up, especially as it now sounds rather like us.

How easy to write about it now. It feels a bit like cheating really, and I know that what we went through is absolutely nothing compared to the lengths some people have to go to in order to conceive a healthy child. I stopped going to my Mum's group because after the first year it became BYOB (and not the good kind). I think there were 3 Mum's out of a pool of 40 who were not pregnant within 2 years of having their first. The Bring Your Own Baby crowd rightly needed each other, but to my insecure mind it became an impenetrable fertility club.

I kept telling myself that some of my very favourite people came from families, close families, with 5 year plus age gaps between kids, or no siblings at all. Hi Mooks! Hi Jen! It is so hard to maintain perspective though. Something I've realized now that our kids will be 3.5 years apart and so many people are seeming to crawl out of the woodwork with the children of the same age gap. Where were you all six months ago? It's not that they've suddenly appeared, they were just hiding in plain sight. I could not see them because I'd become so obsessed with not conceiving.

I can't imagine what if must be like to not be able to conceive and carry a much-wanted first child. Unless you had problems first time round no-one ever assumes a second child will be an issue. A 3 year plus age difference is assumed to be a willful act. Unless you advertise the fact that it's not all plain sailing, people will assume you've made the decision not to have another child straight away. I had one Mum at Anna's preschool describe her as an 'only child' when she wasn't even 3. A throwaway comment to her no doubt, but it just added to my feeling of panic. With each passing month I would see Anna's chance of a meaningful relationship with her future sibling become more and more unlikely.

I made the fatal error of researching fertility on the internet. There is an entire class of infertility called 'secondary infertility' for the unexplained inability to conceive a second child. A type of infertility that makes up 60% of all recorded cases. How's that for scaring you shitless?

So I booked an appointment with my doctor to discuss our 'infertility' and promptly arrived at her office, the requisite 6 weeks later, pregnant with this creature.

There have been many times within the last two years where I have been very thankful that we have not added a screaming infant, another childcare payment and time off work in to the mix. Who knows if it's pregnancy hormones, or just a long overdue sigh of relief but I have not once thought twice about this creature nor looked forward to it's arrival without immense joy. It's even more sweet given what we've been through, especially because I spent most of my pregnancy with Anna in bewildered apprehension about what was to come.

I realize that we still have a long way to go until I have this little one in my arms, but I could not be happier at the thought.


enidd said...

the man has a meaningful (very close) relationship with his older sister. 10 years older. so don't worry, whatever the gap, the relationship will work out if it's meant to be. there are twins who hate each other!

It'sgrimupnorth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
It'sgrimupnorth said...

The important thing is that it's a girl,therefore saving another unfortunate younger brother from having to wear his sister's hand-me-down clothes!!!

Almost American said...

The age gap is what it is - nothing you can do anything about. My two are 3 1/2 years apart. I would have liked them closer together in age too, but it just didn't happen that way with 3 pregnancy losses between the two healthy deliveries :-(

They say a year is a very normal amount of time to take to get pregnant - you just got lucky the first time!

Daffodilly said...

I have 4 years between my youngest & middle child. It works very well as it like having another mother around at times. It always surprises me how trustworthy & caring my older two were & still are with the younger one.

Good luck & Anna will be a natural mother number 2!

Expatmum said...

My little one is 7 and 10 years younger than my older two - he seems happy enough, but it wasn't planned.
As for 'what were you thinking' - you must have heard it said that there's never an ideal time to have a baby.
I've just been catching up on the ultrasound news and am with you in spirit. My 2nd one had something wrong with the main artery in his brain which was caught at the 5 month ultrasound. We had to have the amnio, genetic counseling etc. I spent the rest of the pregnancy knowing that this baby probably wouldn't live past a year. Then he came out perfect. The problem had disappeared on its own.
However, my husband all along, worked with the percentages in our favour instead of my approach which was less positive to say the least.
I hope the percentages are on your side, I really do.

Hyphen Mama said...

I have to echo what expatmum says about 'there's never an ideal time to have a baby'. You do what you do because it's in the name of the future of your family. If we all waited until there were tons of money in the bank, the species wouldn't go on.

The year Wynnie was born, I lost my job WHILE on maternity leave. I was the bread winner, now we live on almost nothing! So learning that Mr Hyphen is losing his NEW fabulous job is just the icing on the POOR cake. But you know what? We have our little family and that's what matters. The rest is just details. Someday we'll no longer be really scrimping... until then, we're clipping coupons and laughing a lot with our family. At home.

mama speak said...

There is no good time to have a baby. The best time is when your body has one, right?

My brother and I are 3 years difference and becuz of that we "planned" for our girls to be 3 years. I was sure I'd have the secondary infertility issues since #1 was a similar story to yours. I however am Fertile Myrtel. He shoots. He scores! Indeed! My girls are very much the very best of friends and I can not stress to you how very much fun it is to watch them have so much fun together.

AND back on the note of "what were you thinking?" Best laid plans honey: my husband got laid off a month before BigSpeak was born. Talk about a rude awakening. Luckily my version of nesting was not cleaning it was squireling away every extra $$ we had (almost like I knew). I had to go back to work (contract job) at 6 weeks, and Daddy was back not much long after that; also contract job. It was a good 6 months before he had something permanent again. The couple months after she was born was so awesome, cause he was able to be home and be part of it. Everything happens for a reason, even if we can't see it right now.