Thursday, November 12, 2009

Making Babies

Mark and I have a teenage daughter; she'll be 14 in December. I was single when Burgundy was born, and I remained so until I met Mark. I think I dated three men in six years, all of whom I knew from the beginning were not right. Each of them probably could justify his own post, but that isn't why I'm writing today.

I met Mark when Burgundy was six, and we married when she was eight. By the time we married, we were barely scraping by financially. Mark needed to finish college, and I was the main breadwinner.

By the time he finished college, we had too much debt for his salary to support us, and we had always agreed that with future children, I would stay home for their early years. So we agreed that we would pay off our non-mortgage debt before having more children. Eventually, we scaled that back to say that we would pay off enough non-mortgage debt to live on just Mark's salary.

By the time we reached the magic number, Burgundy was 12. We started trying in March, 2008 and conceived immediately. On May 2, 2008, I miscarried. We've never since been pregnant. Inexplicably, we appear to be infertile.

I'm heartbroken and relieved all at once. We definitely want more children; however, with Burgundy almost grown, I'm all manner of ambivalent* about more children. I fear that it will feel like having two separate families.

Burgundy always has been almost my second self; I can't bear the thought of feeling like she isn't fully a part of the new family. Given that we'll almost definitely need intervention to get pregnant, she'll likely be 15 or 16, a sophomore or junior in high school, by the time a sibling is born. Old enough to feel well-defined outside her nuclear family. Old enough to feel more like an aunt than a sibling. I don't want Burgundy's childhood to become a secondary memory or to be replaced by the new memories. I want her childhood to be a part of the new memories, and I want her to be a part of the new family. Instead, she'll be working on college and her plans as an exchange student. Her brother or sister will have no memory of the amazing, wonderful older sister living in the house, loving him or her daily. Only the distant figure off to Germany, off to college. We'll have two distinct families.

I also knew I wanted a large family from the moment I felt Burgundy move inside. I'm heartbroken to think I might never hold another babe of my own. Mark might never look into his own eyes or comfort his own child. Mark will never know the joy and agony of confronting himself in his own child. Not that Burgundy hasn't confronted him, but it's different when you know it's your own young self staring back in fury while you do what you know is right.

Our reproductive endocrinologist is covered by my insurance, and we can get most of the testing, if not the treatment, we need paid for. The RE has ruled out male factors, PCOS, and a wild range of other possible female problems. Now she wants to do a laparascopic surgery and push dye through my tubes to see what's going on inside. We'll have this done. We'll probably do it this year. I'm a little worried about the slippery slope of infertility. I don't want to go in for an exploratory procedure to figure out what's wrong with my girly bits (if anything) and wake up 10 months later $20,000 in debt with mini-me growing in a test tube. I'm counting on that ambivalence to keep me in check.

*ambivalence often is used incorrectly. It does not mean that a person doesn't care either way. It means that a person has simultaneous, conflicting feelings about a situation, thing, or person.

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