I felt like we were infertile before we'd even started actively trying to have a baby, and I'm starting to feel like we've got secondary infertility before we're actually inseminating for #2.
Cait and I have both known that we wanted children for what seems like our entire lives (and I mean that literally - neither of us can remember, even at the youngest ages, NOT knowing). By the time I was 24 I was wracking my brain trying to figure out how to have kids despite my single status, my efficiency apartment, and my minuscule salary. But it took nine more years before sperm ever even had a chance to meet egg - nine years of wanting, yearning, aching - and then, of course, we had that little sidebar where TWO SPERM met the one egg and all the molar mess that followed. Thankfully, after another torturous wait, we did welcome Natalie, and having her in our lives is spectacular. We are truly, truly grateful for the joy, hilarity, and wonder --heck, even the exhaustion -- she brings to our lives. (And, oh, how we wish that others, who have had longer waits, and more torturous losses, could join us on the other side. It just fucking sucks that anyone who wants children should have to endure waiting and loss.)
I should be spending my time and my brain cells enjoying our delightful girl (and in truth, most of the spare time/energy/thoughts I have ARE devoted to her... except the ones worrying about plastic and toys from China and organic vs. local food and... oops, I digress) but for the past several months , my thoughts and energy have been increasingly consumed by thoughts of a second child. There was never any doubt that we wanted more than one child. That certain self-knowledge from the youngest age involved being a mother to multiple if not many children, and I know the same was true for Cait. Our conversations about how many children we want have always focused on how many is too many. (I suppose that's what all conversations regarding numbers of children are about but in our case the foundational assumption is that there will be more than one.) I stunned our doula the day after Natalie's birth by talking about looking forward to another home birth. "Wow," she said. "Most women who've had unmedicated births don't even want to think about baby #2 for at least 6 weeks, if not 6 months!" But even then I was dreaming about the time when we'd* be pregnant again... and in my imaginings, that time was now.
We do, of course, know the fallacy of trying to plan or time pregnancies, having waited longer than either of us could have forseen for our first child. But hope is like a damn jack-in-the-box, popping up again and again, whether or not you're sick and tired of the plinkety-plink little tune. And so, to my frustration and consternation, not only am I not pregnant yet, but I don't even appear to be ovulating. Making that whole pregnant thing pretty (excuse the pun) fucking difficult. Meanwhile, friends are anxiously awaiting babies, making plans for baby #2, and/or gathering up all that TTC equipment again.
And wouldn't you know, just as we start to feel like we're missing the TTC train, IRL people all around us start popping up pregnant. The planned-for and worked-for ones are a bit of a stumbling block, but the accidental ones? OOF! There's that old familiar gut-punch again.
But there's an interesting twist this time. Unlike the first two years in which we were attempting to bring home a baby without success, this time I have direct control over one significant element of the process. I am still nursing Natalie, and I know that's impeding my fertility. I don't want to wean her just so I can get pregnant. But I really would like to be able to get pregnant, so I feel really, really ambivalent and stuck. (And then there are all the women on my extended breastfeeding listserv who keep turning up with surprise pregnancies, making me frustrated yet again at our limited and expensive access to sperm.)
Agh. I don't even know how to end this rambling, disjointed whining. Except to confess that we bought a whole bunch of cheap OPKs last month and I've been peeing on sticks (sometimes twice a day) for more than two weeks now in hopes that we can achieve the lesbian equivalent of an oops I never got my period back pregnancy.
Wouldn't it be nice?
*At that point, it wasn't clear whether it would be Cait or me trying to get pregnant, although in the intervening time, we've decided on me.