Why is it that whenever I write about our fertility process, I procrastinate as much as possible? Maybe it’s about avoiding the feelings, maybe it’s about fear of what the hell might come up and out of me…or maybe it’s just because it’s hard.
The last time we checked in on this topic, I filled you in on why we’re taking a break from trying for the next few months. And since then, a whole lot has changed. Yet again.
And all that change has landed me here:
Somewhere In Between
It was really hard to make the choice to take a break from trying. I kept going back and forth about it, because even though I knew I needed a break, it also felt like I was failing.
Anyone who has taken time to try for a baby- whether that’s at a fertility clinic, or not- probably knows how their weird little switch flips in your brain that somehow makes you think that you need to try every month no matter what. And if you don’t, well then you must not be trying hard enough.
And, sure, if you’re trying naturally at home, it doesn’t hurt to have as much sex as possible. Because that only increases your chances of something sticking.
But when you’re like me, and you’re doing IUI (or any other fertility treatment), trying every single month isn’t necessarily going to change the outcome. Plus, sperm is so freaking expensive (like, $1,500 for one vial). So, it’s not really attainable to try IUI more than once a month…unless of course you’re not paying for sperm, and you know the donor.
Anyways, I digress.
The point is that it was hard to finally accept (what felt like) defeat.
To be clear, this was initially just about taking a two month break over Thanksgiving and Christmas while we were in Nicaragua. This wasn’t like giving up on trying altogether, even though that’s kind of how it felt.
But then this thing happened, where the switch flipped the other way. And once I finally surrendered into the break, I didn’t even want to think about going back to trying again.
I was worried that I was going to feel guilty about taking a break, or anxious about doing everything “perfectly” in the interim period. But no, had the full opposite reaction to it.
As soon as we landed in Nicaragua, I knew that we couldn’t only stay for a month. I turned to Alix and said, “I’m not leaving.”
Which was probably not at all a surprise to her, because this happens every time we go back to Still Salty.
Luckily, other than our house in Nicaragua, we’re homeless (voluntarily…like, we sold our house and haven’t bought another one yet). And not having a mortgage all of the sudden gives us a heck of a lot more flexibility.
People on Instagram are always confused by this.
“Don’t you live in Nicaragua?” They write in when I tell them we’ve sold our house, or we’re in this floating, houseless phase of life.
Yes, we do live part-time in Nicaragua.
When we’re here, we can’t try for babies.
There are fertility clinics here, but they don’t allow same sex procreation. Plus, my Spanish isn’t to the level I’d want it to be in order to have a serious medical procedure. Yes, I know I had an appendectomy here two years ago, but that was an emergency situation.
Usually, we spend about half of the year in Nica. But this season, we decided to only come for one month, so that we didn’t have to take too much time off of trying as that was our main priority for the year.
As time passed and I was pregnant, and then not pregnant, and pregnant, and then not pregnant…it was clear that I wouldn’t be pregnant by the time we were meant to be in Nicaragua. It was a weird mix of devastation and relief, because there was also a part of me that was nervous to come here while I was newly pregnant, too.
Either way, deciding to stay for 3 months means that we’re taking a total of 4 months off from trying. What started as a two month break has quickly doubled.
Only this time, I didn’t have any resistance about making the choice. It actually felt really easy, because it feels like that baby making spell has broken, or something.
Whenever we come to Nicaragua, we always want to stay as long as possible. It’s simple, really, we just feel better here. Like we can finally take a full exhale, and just relax….even if we’re still working every day.
I also always get this burst of creativity when I’m here.
Honestly, I didn’t anticipate this happening this time around, because I’ve been in this vortex of stress, burnout, and anxiety with the pregnancies and moving around a lot. I kind of feel like I’ve just been staying afloat.
I was looking forward to coming here and just relaxing, enjoying, and recharging so that I could be as full as possible before we started right back up again with a new fertility clinic in January.
But then I got here. And that same thing happened where I had a million ideas, and my body started moving in ways it hasn’t in months, and my mind started churning in a way that it hadn’t all year.
I felt alive again.
And I felt like I had a purpose again that was beyond procreation.
All of this is a good thing, right?
And it was also confusing. Because I started questioning our plan. And I started questioning what I really wanted. All of which landed me in this in-between state that I still haven’t made a ton of sense of yet.
Here’s the thing:
I don’t want to start trying again. I just don’t. It’s been hell. Why would I want to subject myself that willingly?
Well, of course the reason I’d do that to myself is because I do still want children. We still want children. We want to grow our little family.
I really like our life. No, I actually love our life the way it is. The worst part about it lately has been the fertility process, and I imagine that if that wasn’t happening, then it would be damn near perfect.
But then again.
I know that we would feel incomplete without children. Whether we’d feel that way next year, in 10 years, or when we’re super old and gray…I know that if we never had kids, we’d regret it.
I love my job. I love working. And I know that it’s not one or the other when it comes to having kids, or working. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not hard. That doesn’t mean that things don’t change…because they do. They just do.
Part of the reason I want to continually grow my business and generate more wealth is to take care of my family. Otherwise, what’s the point?
I’m scared of the way that hormones affect me. Even now, after only taking minimal hormonal treatments with each attempt, I feel the effects. Yeah, I get sore boobs, breakouts, and gain a little weight. But the part that scares me is the way it impacts my mental health. It’s dark.
It seems like it’s worth it.
Everyone always says it’s worth it once you have your baby. All of the darkness, the pain, the stress, the anxiety…it’s worth it.
It just sure as hell doesn’t seem like it is right now.
I should also mention that I’m not a baby person. I’m also not a big pregnancy person. Like, I wasn’t the girl who stuffed a pillow in her shirt when she was little and fantasized about being a mom.
I’ve always seen pregnancy as more of a means to an end. I feel pretty indifferent about it. I don’t dread it, but I’m not stoked to experience it, either. It just kind of…is.
And babies are the same. They’re a means to an end for a real life little human. That’s what really excites me. I’m not someone who sees babies and feels my ovaries throb. Sure, they’re cute and pure and perfect and everything, but I’d rather hang out with a toddler, ya know?
So then I’m here, thinking about how much I love our life, and how much I don’t want it to change, but also how we’re about to make the biggest change of all by adding a new human into the mix.
And then the guilt creeps in, and I think: Is that why it hasn’t worked? Because I love our life too much, and I’m scared of change?
The back and forth and overwhelm just makes me think:
Maybe we should just wait a little longer, then.
But at the same time I feel that constriction in my chest that reminds me every day that passes I’m essentially one step closer to death as my eggs age and die.
I don’t have any more time.
Well, that’s how it feels at least.
Before you start telling me how Kourtney Kardashian just had a baby at 40 something…I know. Okay, I know. Of course I’m not out of time, and of course it’s totally possible for me.
And at the same time, science is real. Biology matters. Our eggs do age and decrease every single month. That is a fact. With age and declining egg quality comes increased chances of miscarriages or pregnancy loss. Which is also a fact.
I know I can’t control how many miscarriages I’ll have. And I know that I might’ve had just as many if I started a decade sooner. But also, if it’s within my control to be able to reduce the risk of more, of course I’m going to take that.
Is your head spinning yet?
If it is, then welcome to the space in between. The space where I feel like I have to make a baby now or never, where I want a family, but I don’t want things to change. The space where I want kids, but not babies. And where I want to feel like myself, but need to take hormones.
It’s all just…a lot. And really confusing.
Look, I know that we’re going to keep trying. Alix and I both feel clear that we want kids no matter what. But the way we do things might just change a little.
Until then, I’m doing my best to enjoy my time here.
To enjoy my freedom, my flexibility, my creativity. To take deep breaths, and to make choices just for me.
I’m trying not to dread going back to it all, but I still feel it creeping into moments of joy here. Like this looming reminder of how temporary this blip in time is.
But I guess joy is always temporary, and life is always hard. Not in a negative way, but in a way that’s just…true.
I’ve thought a lot about women in the last month, because my god does womanhood come with a lot. We have this built in gift of making new life, and with that comes a lot of responsibility, compromise, and even sacrifice. It’s like this core part of our identity, and also this piece that shouldn’t define us at the same time.
I know modern day feminism says we can have it all. And I believe that, too. But the truth is having it all can also feel really fucking tiresome.
I guess this word vomit of a post is to just get it out of me, and hoping that whoever is reading this might be able to relate in some way shape or form.
Who else out there is in the space in between?
Tell me about it in the comments below.