My yoga teacher has this phrase, when she is asking us to pay attention to our bodies or our breath, to what our mind flits to while it should be still. “Be curious”, she says. I like this notion of curiosity. I like not examining and obsessing, researching and analyzing. I can think about what my emotions feel like, and be curious. It becomes ok to say “I am angry or frustrated or sad” without trying to link feeling with event. I can stand up and say that I don’t know what I feel, I don’t have words for these emotions, and that is ok too.
I haven’t talked about it at all, but Mr. Spit and I went to go and see a fertility specialist in January. I wasn’t kidding when I told you that I have no intention of turning this blog into an infertility one. My inner bits just aren’t that interesting to me, and I can’t fathom that anyone else would find them intriguing. I spend enough time obsessing over my cycle, and I can’t fathom wasting your time with existential menstrual angst.
Anyway, my cycle might have regulated its self a bit more with the exercise, or it might not have. It’s hard to tell. The doctor was pleased with my exercise and the diet and the weight loss, and when I announced that I was running a 5K race in March was perfectly willing to postpone treatment until then. She says, for what it is worth, that I am a great candidate for an IUI. Or I could keep trying on my own, or yes, I could move on to IVF. Effectively, she asked what Iwanted to do. I’m supposed to tell her at the next appointment.
That deadline is coming up soon. I have a sheaf of lab work on my kitchen table, and I have done nothing about it. It’s just sitting there, bugging me. Except, when you work 65 hour weeks, the time that something can bug you is limited, so I have been able to ignore the situation.
I spent a lot of time yesterday doing something mindless, a task that gave my brain time to range and think and meander. I spent a lot of time trying to decide what to tell the doctor I wanted to do. I spent a lot of time counting cost.
I think it comes down to this: we know the cost of living child free – or at least we know the “now” cost. Don’t misunderstand, the cost has been heavy, we’ve been ostracized, had to find new friends, had to question the purpose of our marriage without children, had to re-arrange our dreams of the future. We’ve had to figure out how to live as a childless couple in a christian world that venerates children, that can’t comprehend of a family as something other than a mum, a dad and 2 children. But, we are doing that. It’s not even that we are content to pay the cost, we have in fact paid the cost already. To use the lexicon of economics, this is a sunk cost. We’ve paid it, and whatever happens next, we can’t get it back.
We know the cost of a dead baby, we’ve paid that, and while we would become that more horribly tragic couple, who has lost another child, who is afflicted with permanent judgement, we know that we survived Gabriel’s death, and we would survive another one. We know that we would only do this once more. 2 dead children would be quite enough, thank you very much.
The only cost we can’t fully count is that of more aggressive measures to have children. I’m I think I’m aware of some of the costs, after all, I wrote gravida:5, para:0 in my own chart at the fertility specialist. And I’m well enough informed to know that pursuing aggressive fertility treatmennt means ceding control of my life, of the most intimate parts of my marriage. I’m surrendering something of myself to a medical system that rates success as a live baby. And whether or not I want to truly admit it, I could give myself drugs, suffer all manner of indignity, and find myself sitting in the emergency room again, losing another child. I could find myself not pregnant at all. The fact that I am counting costs means that I am aware I will not do anything to have a baby. Indeed, there are a great many things I won’t do at all. I’ve counted those cost, and I am not willing to pay them. I will not become obsessed with having a baby, I will not put myself, my husband through treatment after treatment. I will not pay for failed cycles, in both cold hard cash, but also by giving up my privacy, my sense of self, my marital harmony, in exposing my family building activities to my co-workers, in living in 2 week cycles, in living life by an RE’s appointment schedule.
When I count up the costs, I am forced to admit, I know the cost of living child free now, and I know the costs of having another baby die, but I don’t completely know the costs of aggressive fertility treatment and I really don’t know the costs of living child free in 20, in 30, in 50 years. We would die alone, Mr. Spit and I. My grandmother’s china, the bits of silver I have collected, all the books we have bought sold in some giant estate sale, nothing left of us in the world. We will be truly gone when we are dead, gone in a way that those who have children are never gone. I don’t like those feelings, I don’t like the feeling of dying alone, in fact it terrifies me.
And I realized, all of my reasons, my concerns over my work, my concerns about a high risk pregnancy, my concerns about aggressive treatment don’t matter all that much. I know that I’m not willing to do anything to have a baby – I find the notion of doing anything I could to have a baby to be obsessive, and I find obsessiveness repugnant. I am willing to go and talk some more about my options, and ask what is most likely to succeed, and try that once. To re-evaluate the situation after that. The truth of the matter is this: I don’t like the idea of intrusive fertility treatments, but I know, if they fail and I am living child free in 50 years we will only have that with which to console ourselves. All we we will be able to do is look back at the treatments and console ourselves, we did what we could.
And I guess, that’s enough of a cost in itself.