This post is part of Project IF.
*Note: I have been working on this for days, so I'm sorry if it's disjointed or I'm rambling.
In the last six months, ever since we landed on this awful Infertile Island, there have only been about a million "What IFs" running through my head. They range from the silly:
OMG! What if the sperm donor has crazy messed-up eyebrows like the dude at the Chinese buffet last night? What if my children have crazy messed-up eyebrows like that?
to the serious:
What if there are problems with me too? It's beginning to look like there are. What if picking a donor wasn't the hardest part? What if I have to accept that both of us are infertile?
But there are two major "What IFs" that I keep coming back to. Two that plague me, that keep me awake at night, that keep me from following conversations and laughing at jokes. And because I can't get either of them to stop tearing through my mind, I'll explore both of them. The first one is easier for me to write about. The second one I have no words for, but I will try to find some.
WHAT IF infertility changes who I am?
The name I write my blog under is OnceIWas. You see, I was a super hero once.
That's right. Once, I was invincible. Once, I was ready to take on the world.
Once, I was confident. I was happy. I was goofy. I was laid-back and un-shakeable. I wasn't the kind of person to get worked up over anything.
I miss that person.
What IF I am stuck as this bitter, angry, jealous, depressed person? What IF I never go back to the way I was? What IF I spend the rest of my life constantly jealous of fertile couples? What IF every pregnancy announcement and growing baby bump brings back my anger towards God; towards life? What IF I can never do anything without this cloud of worry hanging over me? What IF, because of infertility, I am a shadow of who I used to be?
Now the hard one:
WHAT IF my husband wants to stop before I'm ready?
This particular fear of mine didn't actually occur to me until last Thursday. We had already gone from our RE thinking that I would get pregnant with no problems to him thinking that I wasn't going to ovulate on my own. We watched our unmedicated cycle triple in price as we added medicine and a trigger shot. Then, on Thursday afternoon, we were told by the doctor that the medicine wasn't doing the trick, and we would need to move on to injectables, which again tripled our costs. The first words out of my husband's mouth were "Sounds like it's time to look at adoption." I am fine with adoption, but all it took was one cycle that didn't work, and he was ready to stop everything.
That's just the way his brain operates. He has a budget and a time frame for everything. But, What IF his budget and time frame don't match mine?
There's one very important fact I've left out that makes this WHAT IF seem a little more imminent, and a little more real. To my 26 year old mind, we still have plenty of time. To my husband's 43 year old mind, we have less than 2 years. 45 is the age most adoption agencies seem to make the cut off. If we can't get pregnant, we'd like to adopt. But it would have to be in the next couple years. And, at this point, if we had a child in the next couple years, my husband would be in his 60's by the time the kid graduates.
My dreams of four children are gone. I know that. I know that right now, we'll be lucky to have one. But, What IF he wants to stop before that? What IF, at the age of 43 or 44 or 45, he decides he's done? What on Earth will I do then?
It's hard to think of any positive What IFs, but here are a few:
What IF this is all just a bad dream? (HA)
What IF it turns out I was just too stressed, and this month off gets everything back to normal, and we don't have to pay truckloads of money for each and every cycle?
What IF I get pregnant this summer?
What IF I have a beautiful baby next year?
What IF everything works out as it should, and all of my current fears become laughable?
What IF my sperm donor looks like Colin Firth, and I have gorgeous babies? (I still have a little goof-ball in me, I guess)
If you're new here, or just aren't sure what Project IF is:
For a basic understanding of infertility, click here.
To learn more about NIAW, click here.
To see Part One of Project IF, click here. I'm in there somewhere.