I was one of those girls; I knew from the start that I would be a Mom. According to mine, I practiced breastfeeding with my dolls. I always thought I wanted three kids; little did I know that just getting my two would wreak so much havoc on my body, my life, and my soul. Regardless, I fell in love, got married, did the newlywed things, and then we decided to have kids. It was that easy, right?
Baby number one
For two years we tried; the first year we just didn’t try not to get pregnant, if you know what I mean. The second year, we really tried. We timed, charted, tested, and were devastated every single month for a solid year. It was time to set aside our pride and seek help.
We welcomed the Jones Institute and every Doctor Tom, Dick, and Harriet into our private parts and lives. We timed, charted, tested, and they poked and prodded every inch of us. We didn’t care; we steamrolled that place. And we walked away with a beautiful embryo happily attached to my uterus. In fact, there were two (but one didn’t make it very long). We didn’t let it phase us because we had three adorable frozen embryos waiting for us to come back, and we were pregnant.
Pregnancy was supposedly wonderful, but I hated it. Where was the “glow” and my cute baby bump? I looked like I just ate too much for eight months. Although I loved every kick and hiccup, it was restricting. Don’t eat this, and don’t workout too hard, and too many other don’ts. The guilt of hating pregnancy was worse. I was relieved it was no longer twins. Except, how could I think like that after being jealous of every baby bump I’d seen for my entire life? And that last trimester, I was done. I swore off all future pregnancies. In the end, we got to embrace the most amazing, redheaded, six pounds and eleven ounces of pure joy. I guess I could suck it up one more time.
Nonetheless, she was not that easy first baby everyone talks about. You know the ones that all your friends had that slept, nursed like a champ, and did all the baby things perfectly. No, she, she was a screamer; she was a non-sleeping, silent-refluxing, breast milk, milk, and soymilk intolerant, screamer. It was horrific. And again, so was the guilt. I should have loved every minute of it, but I was robbed. I loathed infancy. We came out alive, yet I was not convinced about another.
Second pregnancy struggles
After it all, we decided to give it a go. We were hoping we’d be the anomalies that accidentally got pregnant after a successful round of invitro. We were not. When she was about a year and a half, we headed back to our frozen wonders and the timing, charting, testing, lack of privacy, poking and prodding, and left with heartbreak. Our cryo babies didn’t take. To make matters worse, my body went haywire from all the hormone shots, patches, and pills. Then, there was the exorbitant amounts of money; money we didn’t have. It was time to cut our losses or go for broke: a fresh cycle.
I had enough evidence to be happy with one bundle of joy. Now, she was the perfect walking, talking, and eating-like-a-champ toddler and sleeper there ever was. A piece of me reminisced about her lost twin during this “easy phase”. With a husband that travels for work, the logical side of me rejoiced about my one and only amazing daughter. Life was good. Plus, I had a healthy respect for parents of multiples; I would not be one. My lingering baby PTSD and plethora of proof was enough. Though it took a while to reconcile my heart, all the signs pointed to only-child happiness.
My husband was disgruntled with this state of mind. He thought that one more round would do the trick. Never give up is his motto. He didn’t want her to be alone; he needed more kids. I felt she and I should be family enough for us all. The more we struggled, the more my commitment waned. My picture-perfect, only-child family crumbled a bit. I couldn’t understand where his head was or his heart.
We sought help: the counseling kind. We talked, cried (mostly me), argued, and talked more. It was good for us overall, but we never reached a point where either one was willing to concede. It wasn’t until later that I had a change of heart, or really a change of mind.
Our daughter was four. We got back to that good place. Maybe it was the right time. Mostly, I knew if I didn’t try, I’d have to live with “what if” remorse. My heart was content with our family, but my head was wrought with a guilty conscience. What if my husband (and my daughter, whom now begged for a baby) resented me, and what if the foreboding mood never went away? What if I looked back and wondered why I didn’t try just one more time?
Going back to timing, charting, testing, poking, and prodding sucked; I despised that invasive money pit waiting to ruin my body. However, I knew this was a means to an end. What a terrible thing to say about getting pregnant. For me, for us, this was the only way. It was awful. There were new hurdles. But we got pregnant. I should be overjoyed. I was, sort of.
My Family is Whole
Yet, from this agony came my joy: my status as proudest mommy of not one, but two amazing children. He wasn’t the easy baby either. He was a screaming, non-sleeping, visibly refluxing (ew), breast milk, milk, and soy intolerant, ear-infection prone baby. But, man is he a happy boy. I have no idea how I ever existed without him. Although the struggle to have another was real; invitro sucks, pregnancy is not blissful for me, and disagreeing with your partner on something like kids is a major marital glitch, there is not one single iota of regret in my heart or my mind.