Asking for More: Do I Dare?
featured on the essential life
Waking up to my sweet, smiling boy I realize it wasn't a dream. This is my reality. My child is warm & giggly & oh so affectionate.
So why isn't this enough?
As my husband pours Jack's morning cereal & I load his Toy Story toothbrush with toothpaste, I can't help but feel racked with guilt. Looking around our home I feel so much love. I feel the warmth of the heat under my bare feet that we're fortunate enough to have on this cold Winter morning, I hear Jack's voice floating from the kitchen where he's eating his breakfast & chattering away about the FitBit he wants for his birthday, & I see our beloved little dog, Bailey, running up & down the hallway, tail wagging, eagerly awaiting her morning walk.
Again I ask, why isn't this enough?
I feel like I'm in a deep state of mourning. For the past year & a half my husband, Mike, & I have been trying to have a second child. Thus far, we've been unsuccessful. All the charting & temping & testing & praying in the world hasn't helped. To say I feel empty would be the understatement of a lifetime.
Mike is an excellent father to my son Jack, though he came into his life when Jack was three after a bitter divorce & hugely dysfunctional marriage. Childhood friends who reconnected after my divorce, more children were never on our radar. As fate would have it though, after Mike fell in love with Jack & we got married, thoughts ofbaby making soon infected our brains & our hearts. I had been pregnant twice before, once ending in an early miscarriage & once yielding the most beautiful, healthy, happy, & chubby baby boy anybody could ask for. How hard could this be? We were on it.
One month turned to two turned to three & soon a feeling of dread set it. Each month I felt as though my body was at war with me. We were doing everything "right." We're deeply in love, we're good parents, we're college educated, & Mike is a very respected & successful chef. So what could the problem be?
Soon I found myself crying in my gynecologists office & being scheduled for a myriad of tests. After much poking, prodding, looking, & donating samples we were relieved to find everything was normal. Yes! Maybe it was just a matter of time. More time passed, though & still, nothing happened.
As friends joyfully announced their pregnancies I smiled, hugged, & congratulated them. Genuinely happy for my soon-to-be-mommy friends, I couldn't help but cry behind closed doors. I felt so guilty for feeling sorry for myself but the truth is, I did feel sorry for myself. I so badly wanted to see a "+" sign just one more time. I so badly wanted to see my husband's infectious smile as I presented him with the news that it was finally our turn.
The Passage of Time
An entire year has passed now & after visiting yet another OBGYN & reproductive endocrinologist we still have no answers. At this point, I feel like I've lost something. What it is? I'm not sure. The guilt is quite possibly worse than the mourning.
How dare I feel sorry for myself? I have so much. I'm so blessed already. Some people never experience pregnancy or childbirth, & I was fortunate enough to feel Jack move & grow inside of me. My body did what it was supposed to do. It built a healthy strong baby & nursed him exclusively.
Not only was I blessed with a healthy child, but I found love again in my husband. Real, honest, deeply passionate love that swept me off my feet. How dare I pity myself? I can't help it though. I feel broken. I feel empty. & I feel afraid. I fear that when Mike & I are gone Jack will have no one to recount stories of "Ma & Dad" with. I fear he will never know the love of a sibling the way both Mike & I do. I share a bond with my sisters & my brother that is absolutely unbreakable. They are each part of me. They know me down to my very core & for them I will always be grateful.
I fear Jack will never know this bond & I fear it's entirely my fault.
A Refusal to Give Up
Refusing to give up & admittedly terrified, we'll keep trying. I'll keep taking the prenatals "just in case," & Mike will continue taking Zinc to optimize the quality of his sperm.
I'm not sure if we'll ever stop. As a matter of fact, in just a few short days we have yet another appointment with a reported "rock star" of Reproductive Endocrinology. Maybe she will be able to help us? Maybe this time will finally be enough.
Walking into the kitchen where my husband & Jack are still eating their breakfast, I realize that this may very well end up being the family we ultimately have: Mike, Jack, Bailey, & myself.
Standing in that kitchen doorway gazing at & listening to my precious son & my genuinely loving husband, my eyes well up & a smile spreads across my tired & scared face. These tears are not due to another negative pregnancy test or another friend's pregnancy announcement, though. Instead, these are tears of love & gratitude. For in this moment, I realize this is enough. We are a happy & healthy family, rich in love & mutual respect. If this is how our family is meant to be structured this is enough for me.