For some reason I had it in my head once we finally left the world of primary infertility we would join the post infertility ‘oops’ club. You know the one where you run into some friends that you used to be in support group with that are holding a baby that happened…take a deep breath in…without medical intervention.
Lately, Lisa and I keep running into a formerly distressed infertility support group attendee who is now an incredibly stressed out mother of 4 kids–2 of which are back to back oops.
There had been some sperm issues with her husband, and I can’t help feeling a little sting of jealousy that somehow his boys found a way to slip one past the goalie. Despite our lack of birth control for the 8 years since Elliana has been born, and the complete lack of pressure to conceive having returned us back to a healthy thriving sex life, a natural conception has eluded us.
Not that I am not thrilled to have such an amazing, beautiful, gregarious daughter that brightens every day, and completely fulfills my every vision of what it would be to be a father.
I just worry that maybe someday when we’re gone, Elliana will be lonely if she doesn’t have the annoyance or company of a sibling.
Lisa and I have gone back and forth about this many times, and I even developed a battle plan to budget for another IVF out to St. Barnabas where Elliana was conceived, but we just didn’t have the drive for number 2.
For me the thought of adding Elliana to the infertility mayhem seemed unfair. IVF is a mentally and physically challenging experience, and my ability to support Lisa’s emotional and physical needs would be limited by Elliana’s needs for me to be her daddy, answering her 20 million questions a day about everything she sees, ponders or worries about.
Lisa doesn’t have the same passion for the sibling effort. The six year journey to get Elliana through a dozen or so fertility procedures culminated in a draining two week prodromal labor, a c-section, and a myriad of post pregnancy complications that she is just starting to finally truly recover from.
I know anyone reading this who is still trying for baby number one probably hates me for writing about wanting an easy #2. That’s okay–I hated anyone like me back then too. It seemed selfish, greedy and unfair that someone who already had a child should be vying for the spirit of another baby when we hadn’t created our first.
But secondary infertility has its own set of emotional complications, not the least of which is a less sympathetic support system (at least that’s how it feels). When Lisa and I ran a Resolve support group, you could see the guilt of anyone who talked about their sadness over not having a 2nd baby when the bulk of the group was fighting so hard for their first. I had to hide my resentment, especially if we were fresh off a failed cycle.
Anyone who conceived with good old fashioned intercourse seems irritated that you just aren’t happy with the baby you have, so it can be a pretty solitary issue to deal with hoping for or trying for a sibling after you’ve finally gotten number one.
I don’t think I’ll ever completely give up on the idea that an ‘oops’ baby couldn’t happen for us.
I’ve just accepted that more than likely, that won’t be a part of our family building story.