I'm trying to look on the bright side of yet another failed cycle. First of all, my luteal phase lasted 14 days. With last month's lasting only 11 and the previous cycle only a week, that is great news.
I had successfully convinced myself that it was great news last night, as I was obsessively counting the days on my chart (speaking of which, does anyone else count their luteal phase days over and over, hoping you might have skipped a day and 14 could suddenly become 15, in the hopes that it's inching closer to that magic 17? I do. It gets me really [needlessly] excited).
This morning, though, when cycle day one was confirmed, the bad news (still not pregnant after almost a year) began to topple my positive spin.
I'm just going to go ahead and get it out of the way. I'm going to let the reality that I am officially going through secondary infertility sink in so that I can deal with it and move on. I have feared it for so long that it's just looming and the questions of "do I?" or "don't I?" and "who am I kidding?" are always right there.
After all, I am of that age where I really only need to be trying for six months to be considered infertile. But I was giving myself the benefit of the doubt since I am still breastfeeding. So, in my own little equation, advanced maternal age (ugh) was canceled out by nursing. So I bumped six months up to a year.
But that's next month - and I made up that rule anyway - so I'm just going to consider myself secondarily infertile. So, there you go.
I know I've said this before but it's worth repeating - this is no where near as crushing as the first time around. And, in a way, it's really as if it's the third time around because I already have two children. It's not lost on me whatsoever that I will never have to deal with wishing for a sibling for my only child. I really feel (which is ironic since it took us so long to become parents) like I got a head start when it comes to that.
God has blessed me so immensely that I will be fine if our family never grows again, if I never conceive and if we can never afford to adopt. I'll be fine, but I can't say I won't be disappointed at times. I definitely hope our family will grow, and by a lot. But whereas before, when I was childless, I was convinced I would most definitely not be okay if our family never grew, I know this time I will be fine (and, by the grace of God, I would have been okay then, too).
Practically speaking, I don't cry when a new cycle starts. Despair isn't on my radar. I might be in a bit of a bad mood for a day, but that could be chalked up to changing hormones.
That's a far cry from my infertility days when I felt as if I could barely breath.
If God chooses to stop growing our family at four members, I will be incredibly happy. But there's just that something. I know it's natural to want to add children (at least to those of us who value them) but, if I'm honest, it's more than that. I think it's the loss of control that is so hard to take. Or, I should say, not so much the "loss" of it, as feeling as though I might have had it there for a minute (when I did get pregnant and have a successful pregnancy), only to now lose it again. A one-way ticket back to the Land of No Control.
I know, in reality, I never had it. But when things go right, when you get your wish, when you appear to be a resident of the Land of the Fertile... you can fool yourself into thinking you are suddenly one of them, that you suddenly have gained control over your body and your reproductive organs. Because in all my dreams of how they live, in the Land of the Fertile, they always have total control and it is glorious.
When I stepped a foot into their world for a minute, the idea of getting pregnant when you want (which was, for me, as soon as I could) seemed a real possibility. The idea of many pregnancies, of babies in the future, of a large family, of filling up our house with children of all ages - because I wanted it - seemed to be there for the taking. I let myself believe it could be mine because I was in control.
Turned out I wasn't, after all. But the truth is, they don't have control. No one does. Some might act like they do, but I wouldn't do those things even if I were one of them. God is always in control. He was in control when I was infertile for nearly six years, He was in control when I was pregnant, and He has been in control ever since.
I'm trying to remind myself that there is no better side of the fence. There may be a Land of the Fertile, but just like the Land of the Infertile, it's securely under the jurisdiction of the Land of No Control.
I am, once again, being forced to rely completely on Jesus. Another example of God knowing what He's doing, because I would certainly take my fertility and run with it if I had the chance. I wouldn't look back. It's hard enough to grow spiritually when I am happily busy with two babies. I couldn't imagine if I got everything I wanted.
I know all fertiles don't think they're in control. That's just how I picture them in my daydreams, all of them sitting around deciding when to get pregnant and stuff. And I know they're not all spiritually stunted because of their fertility. And, of course, there are also the faithful Catholic ones, the ones on the other side of the coin, who really have to trust God to grow their families because of their fertility. While I'll never know what that's like, I know it must take an enormous amount of trust.
So as I start the process of tattooing Secondary Infertility across my forehead (maybe I should just make it my cover photo on facebook... just have it say, "Officially Infertility Again"), I will attempt to not squander this awesome opportunity that God has given me to grow spiritually. I'm pretty sure I was just thinking I need to anyway. Funny how that works.
And I'll keep thanking Him for the blessings in my life. For a great luteal phase, without taking any progesterone. For a loving husband who I get to watch be a father. And for my two incredible gifts, two more babies than, for a long time, I ever thought I'd have. And for once again being forced to face the fact, head on, that I have no control whatsoever. It's so much easier for me to give it all to Him when I have to.