Sometimes I wonder how much I want to share with the world. I like to write and this blog has been a great way for me to express my feelings and experiences with those who care enough to read it but I have to admit that I struggle with how honest I want to get. I guess I always felt like there was some stuff that should stay private and while I still believe that to be true, I realized how much I appreciate it when other bloggers write about their lives in an open and unfiltered way.
So. My husband and I have been trying to get pregnant for over a year now. Yeah, that’s a little tough for me to put out there though I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s the stigma of infertility or the fear that writing it down somehow makes it more real or even the concern that people will judge me for wanting to have another baby when it seems as if all I do is complain about how hard parenthood is. Still, I feel like it’s time to share this particular part of my life with you.
My husband and I had agreed a while ago that for us, the ideal spacing between kids was 2 years. Not too close together to be completely overwhelming but not too far apart so the kids wouldn’t form a tight bond. I know everybody has different opinions on what the best age gap is but we both felt that 2 years would be perfect. In order for that to happen, I would had to have gotten pregnant when Peanut was 15 months old. Well, here we are – our daughter is now 26 months old and not only am I not pregnant but I’m wondering whether I ever will be again.
They call this secondary infertility, I think. I’ve tried not to over-Google it or anything but I believe that’s the phrase I came upon a few times when referring to somebody who can’t get pregnant after successfully conceiving the first child. (Or something like that. Hey, I’m no doctor, you know.) The funny thing is that I was always nervous I wouldn’t be able to get pregnant at all. From the time I was pretty young -a teenager, I think- I had a feeling there would be struggles with fertility. I was diagnosed with PCOS about 15 years ago, had really irregular cycles and just had a sense that it wouldn’t be easy. I would read blog after blog of women and couples dealing with infertility and for some reason, I could always relate. Even though I had never been through it myself, I just felt a kinship with those women.
When my husband and I got married, we decided we’d start trying immediately because we’re not exactly young. I was 36 at the time and he was…let’s just say he was older than that. (If he wants to tell his age, that’s up to him. Old people get pretty sensitive about that sort of thing.) At around the 5 month mark, I actually did consult with a fertility specialist because at that age, it’s recommended you do it sooner rather than later. I left the consultation and figured I’d talk it over with my husband and we’d decide what treatments we would want to pursue. Luckily, we never had to because I got pregnant just one week later without any treatment at all.
My husband tried to use this as proof that all of my fears were unfounded. See? He’d say. You worried for nothing. But even then I don’t think I ever let go of my fears. I thought to myself: well, this all happened too easily. Surely something will go wrong down the road. And so, here we are. I’m turning 39 (!) in less than a month and we can’t get pregnant. We’ve done one round of IUI which didn’t work. We probably would’ve done more except for the fact that I found out the IUI was unsuccessful 3 days after we moved to Florida. Welcome to Florida! You’re not pregnant!
This morning I called my husband’s insurance carrier to find out what our infertility coverage is. Before I tell you about that, let me just say that my benefits with the job I just left in NYC were awesome. Like, seriously awesome. Besides the amazing 401(k) with the 150% company match and the various discounts to certain retailers (which I actually never took advantage of but I liked to know they existed) and the classes the company offered and the adoption benefits (again, never used but nice to know they were there), the health insurance was great. We had $25,000 worth of lifetime infertility coverage. IUI, IVF, the whole gamut. Covered. Obviously, there were deductibles and co-pays but it was still great.
Here’s something I learned only over the last month: did you know that in some states, insurance companies are required by law to provide coverage for infertility diagnosis and treatment and others have no such obligation? I didn’t but I certainly do now. New York is one of those great states that requires infertility coverage. Guess where Florida stands? Yup, Florida has no regulations concerning infertility coverage. So what I learned today is that the health insurance we have now with my husband’s new job will not cover anything they call “advanced reproductive technology.” Which basically means that unless your problem is easily treated with a pill, you’re shit outta luck. No IUI, no IVF, no nothin’.
I’m kind of angry, kind of sad and mostly just confused. What do we do? Do we just stop and consider ourselves lucky that we’ve got one amazing daughter who fills our lives with joy? How far do we want to go? I’ve never wanted to have an only child and neither has my husband (in fact, we both always wanted to have 3 kids though I think at our age, we realized that’s probably not very likely). Peanut has started asking about brothers and sisters and often points to pictures of families in books and says, “Mommy, Daddy, Peanut, Sister, Brother.” I don’t know if she has any concept of what a sister or a brother really is but I do think she’d be the best big sister ever. To make matters worse, it seems as if every couple with a child our daughter’s age has already had or is pregnant with their second child. It’s hard not to compare myself with other people and find myself constantly coming up short.
I often wonder if I brought this about myself. Did all my years of thinking I would have trouble having kids lead us to this? Did all my reading and relating to infertility blogs somehow take me in this direction? I know that sounds ridiculous but I guess that’s the thing about infertility – it finds a way to insert doubt into everything.
At some point, I’ll write about all my fears of not having another kid and I’ll also write about all my fears of having another kid. (Oy, it’s just never easy, is it?) For now, I just wanted to put this out there before I lost my nerve.