Attention Gord (my brother), as you sometimes read my blog, I should probably warn you the following nonsense is about your sister trying to make a baby. You may want to skip this post.
So here it is, my sad lament about The Second Kid.
I really don’t know where to start, so readers beware. This may turn into one of my typically confusing, meandering rambles about the crazy angst that’s rumbling around in my head.
The back story is this:
When Csilla was first born, she did not sleep. Like, at all. In the first year, she probably didn’t sleep more than 4 or 5 hours in a row. It was usually less than that. In true Carolyn-style, I was a stubborn ox and refused to let Csilla “cry it out”; and that stubbornness almost destroyed my sanity and my marriage.
After the first year, when Csilla sporadically started sleeping better and I started getting a little more hard-hearted about letting Csilla cry, things finally started to improve. Balazs and I began to mend our relationship, which was in a very serious state of disrepair. But by the time Csilla was two, Balazs and I were still not even close to discussing the option of The Second Kid. In my mind, I’d always assumed we’d have two kids, but after all the disruption Csilla’s arrival had caused, Balazs and I were extremely gun shy about turning our lives upside down again.
Now I hate to use the term “disruption” to describe the birth of our precious, perfect daughter, but that’s truly what it was. Balazs and I were completely and totally unprepared for a child. After all, we’d been married almost eight years when we got pregnant with Csilla. We had our own selfish little rhythms and routines comfortably in place. The arrival of a newborn was a rude awakening to say the least.
Fast forward to ten months ago.
Balazs and I began negotiations on The Second Kid. At first, I was the one pushing for it, but every once in a while he would agree. Of course, his agreement did not always coincide with prime baby making time, so, no baby. And as anyone who knows anything about tenth grade science, there are only certain times of the month when babies can be conceived and it kind of helps if the daddy-to-be actually has an interest in baby making at that time.
So it went like this for a few months. Some attempted baby making, more negotiations, further improvements in our marriage, further improvements in my mood and further improvements in Csilla’s development until we reach today. Balazs and I are both fully committed to the idea of The Second Kid and in the last few months there has been, ahem, much “baby making activity”. Balazs and I had a talk a while ago about how, despite all our neuroses, we think we’re actually doing a reasonably good job in raising Csilla so far. We often get compliments on how sweet and polite she is. We’re working hard at moulding a thoughtful, intelligent and kind human being, so why shouldn’t we do it twice? I’ve often thought it would be better to not over-populate the planet, but then perhaps our ailing planet could use a few more caring, eco-conscious human beings born onto it. Maybe we should have another kid just to bring another useful and productive member into society. Lord knows there are enough effed-up fools having copious numbers of babies that a wonderful child produced and raised by Balazs and I might actually offset the craziness a little.
These are just a few of the thoughts that have gone into our decision, once and for all, to produce The Second Kid. A few weeks ago I wrote about being on the fence with this decision. But that wasn’t entirely true. I think I was pretending to be on the fence to save myself some disappointment if it didn’t happen.
But no, we’re definitely on the baby making train now. Choo choo.
Something else I’ve thought about for a long time was all those poor women who can’t conceive. I’ve always felt sad for all of the lovely, beautiful couples who are infertile and, despite heroic efforts to try and get pregnant, just can’t. Don’t I owe it to couples like that to have a baby, because I can?
And here’s the sad lament part of my story.
Balazs and I have been trying to conceive, and now, suddenly, we can’t. Csilla was a “first try” kid. One day we decided to have a kid and nine months later she arrived.
And now? After several months of trying, we still have no pregnancy. And it’s really starting to weigh on me. This month was the saddest month so far because I was convinced I was pregnant. Convinced. How desperate must I be to believe that I actually felt implantation? How impossible is that? The other night I was lying in bed and felt this strange tickle in my abdomen that reminded me of Csilla kicking when she was in my womb. I was convinced I was feeling implantation. For the whole of last week I was giddy with the idea that after months of trying, we might actually be pregnant. And then, on Sunday, I took a pregnancy test. It was one of those tests you can take up to five days early and it's still supposed to be accurate. I was too excited to wait and see if I was “late” to find out for sure.
I got the pee-stick out and proceeded to take the test, when Csilla barged into the bathroom. Of course! There I am peeing on a stick, hoping hoping hoping for “two lines” and there’s Csilla, poking around and wondering what the heck is going on.
So I pee on the stick and when I’m finished, I place it on Csilla’s footstool between us. We both stare at it as the pee creeps up the stick to the little window where either one line or two will appear. I’m convinced it’s going to be two (meaning I’m pregnant) and Csilla has no idea what’s going on.
While we wait, I explain, feebly, that this test can tell if Mama has a baby growing inside her tummy or not. Csilla is excited now. She’s been asking for a baby brother for months and wants the test to show two lines almost as much as I do. (Interestingly, she does not want a baby sister, but that’s for another post).
So the pee creeps up the stick slowly, slowly, slowly…
One line appears.
Not two. Two lines means you’re pregnant.
But one? One line means nothing. Negative. Nada. No baby. No tears of joy. No excitement. No jumping up and down (but not too much) because Mama is pregnant and we’re going to have a baby yippee! Nope. One line. Nothing.
The test is negative and I am seriously and completely disappointed. After two weeks of fantasizing that I might actually be pregnant, it turns out that I am not. And what could be better than wallowing in my own sadness and self-pity than adding a crying three-year-old into the mix?
Csilla started bawling. No wonder I tried to do this test with the bathroom door closed.
“What? There’s no baby in your tummy?” she says. “But… whaaaaaaaa… I really want a baby brother… whaaaaaaaa.”
So do I kid. So do I.
And that’s it. I’m very sad today because we are definitely not pregnant (if you catch my drift) and I’d really like to be. And even worse, I’m panicked that maybe we’ve waited too long. That maybe after all our humming and hawing about whether or not we should have The Second Kid, we’ve missed our window of opportunity. That maybe we blew it. Could our selfishness and refusal to “disrupt” our lifestyle again have finally bitten us in the butt in the most heart wrenching way?
I can say I’m even more grateful for Csilla now that we’re going through all this. Csilla is dreamier and more wonderful than ever since contemplating how difficult she might have been to conceive.
I know many couples struggle with infertility for more than a few months, but I feel like I’m running out of time. I turn 36 this year, and I’m not sure I want to go through a whole fertility process to conceive another child. Financially and emotionally I just don’t think we’re up for it.
Before I wrap this up, I should probably explain where the “talking to God” part of this story fits in. As you may or may not be able to tell from my blog, I’m not particularly religious. I would certainly consider myself spiritual and I do believe in some sort of higher power or universal energy, but I’ve never been a regular churchgoer. I’ve never “prayed to God”, although I have asked the “universe” for help a few times.
When it comes to the whole baby making thing, I’ve felt like the universe has been a little bit against me. More than a number of times, on a prime baby making days, the universe has conspired to keep it from happening. Like barfing episodes or severe gastro-intestinal upsets or terrible head colds or awful headaches. All of these things are not conducive to the baby making mindset, to say the least. And each time the prime baby making days come and go while in the throws of some illness or another, I’ve wondered if the universe was trying to tell me something. Perhaps the universe is reminding me that I’ve got all I can handle on my plate right now and really shouldn’t be toying with the balance. Is it possible the universe is trying to tell me something?
If Csilla has anything to say about it, she’d like to upset the balance. She wants a baby brother and she’s not afraid to talk to God to get it.
Csilla’s preschool is held in a church where there is a slight religious influence to their daily activities. I am not remotely opposed to this, as I believe that Christian morals and values have a very important place in our lives and in society, even if I don’t subscribe to “religion” specifically. Before snack time at preschool, the kids always sing a small prayer to God, thanking Him for the food. We’ve started doing this at home with Csilla, because not only is the song incredibly adorable coming out of her mouth, but we also think it’s important to give her a sense of God or the universe at large. At this point, the concept of God is something she might be able to understand, rather than some esoteric notion of “the Universe”.
So last night at dinner, Csilla and I were sitting quietly eating, when she brought up the subject of the baby brother again. I told her I was terribly sad about not having a baby yet, but that Mama and Daddy were going to keep trying.
And then Csilla said, looking up at me with her sweet little doe eyes, “maybe I’m just not asking God hard enough.”
I smiled and said, “I’m sure you’re doing just fine and God will grant Mama and Daddy a baby when He’s ready.”
And that was that. I went back to eating my dinner.
And then I noticed Csilla leaning back in her chair with her head all the way back and she was looking up at the ceiling behind her, while quietly whispering something I could barely make out:
“Please God I want a baby brother so when mama pees on the stick she’ll get a new baby. Please? Thanks.”
And that, apparently, is how you talk to God. Head leaned all the way back, sincerely, politely and in a heart-felt whisper. Ask for what you really want, and mean it. And maybe, just maybe, it will happen.
I hope so.