Tuesday, April 29, 2008

on making babies and how to talk to god.

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?

But wait.

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…

and slowly…

One line appears.

Only one.

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.


Jan said...

Where do I begin here. Csillas prayer was as pure as it gets. Faith and prayer is the right combo. She had it. She knew where to go for her plea. She's a gem Carolyn.

After we were married, it took 5 yrs., then 2 1/2 and then 10 for Mattie. I was older than you now when I finally recieved her. I know how you feel in so many ways.
Having children is a very good thing. Especially with the compassion and solid relationship that you can provide. So I say carry on.

You know me here, talk to God. Tell Him everything that you are feeling. He is there and hears your prayers and really wants to help. If anything, there is so MUCH comfort that comes from it. Believe in the power of prayer. I will also pray for you as well. Think about exactly what you want me to pray about and email me and I will do it with you and sweet little Csilla.

I will be thinking about you all day and so will Mattie. She is home today with me. Her sweet little hermit crab isn't doing well, and it has been too much for her to bear right now. She loved her crab Sarah. I hope Sarah makes it. She prayed a simular prayer for her Sarah as your daughter did for a new baby.

Take care Carolyn..........

softinthehead said...

What a lovely picture of Csilla at prayer. Hope someone's listening. And remember no two children are alike and you are not the same person you were when Csilla arrived. I had a similar experience with a screaming non sleeping baby for the first three to five months - it is a bit of a nightmare at the time but I now have three and never experienced quite the same feeling of loss of self. Good luck, sending you fertile wishes :)

Kaycie said...

Oh, sweetie. What a poignant post. Csilla is an angel.

My middle child did not sleep through the night even once until he was about nine months old. At that point, sleeping through the night was generously counted when he slumbered from midnight to six a.m. I know your pain.

The good news: my other two are sleeping machines. So there's hope for your next one.

I think God or the Universe or whatever gives us exactly what we can handle, exactly what we need. Unfortunately, it's usually not on our timetable.

Good luck. And keep up the baby making activities.

buzz bishop said...

negotiations on the second kid. lol. EXACTLY what we're going through at EXACTLY the same time. jen wants it. i'm good.

negotiations continue.

Kimberly said...

We're in a very similar place right now. Emma and Becca came so easily for us, this time has been such a struggle. All the illness running rampant through our household has definitely messed with our plans. I'm not so sure I ascribe any special meaning to that, as everyone I know has been sick of and on for months. We're now hoping for a Spring baby next year, but I'm scared and worried.

Last month, the stress of the move delayed my period by a week and I was sure I was pregnant. Taking the test hurt my heart so very badly. I hate this roller coaster.

Thank heaven we have little darling girls to remind us it's worth it. ~Hugs~

david mcmahon said...

Csilla's wish will be heard. But this is one aspect of Life with a capital L that we have less control than we are accustomed to.

Tammy said...

I loved Csilla's prayer. What a sweet pure heart she has. She's an angel...even when temper tanrums happen.

After we were married it took us nearly 3 years to have our first and then once she was 6 months old I was pregnant with my son. When he was 6 months old I became pregnant with my youngest daughter. Although I am not sure what the difference was not being able to get pregnant the first time. Then falling into preganacy whether we wanted to or not.

You have probably learned that I am a churchgoer, every week. I have not always been this way. I fell in love with my religion and when something this good makes my heart so full and helps my children to grow into wonderful young men and women it is a good thing.

Try it when the world has slowed down to a quiet moment. Lean back and talk to God as if you were talking to your best friend. It helps, it really does. The stress I felt for so long trying so hard to get pregnant began to melt away.

Now that you and hubby have cemented your relationship nothing can stop you now. Trust me, we have worked hard at ours for over 16 years and children are the one thing that forces you to give up yourself and put all your effort into them.

Don't worry my friend. The time will come.

Jen said...

Oh Carolyn, my heart goes out to you and your upsetting news. Csilla's prayer was just so sweet and innocent. I'm hoping that you are able to have a child soon and I'm sending hugs your way. It took us a long time to get pregnant the first time and it's just heartbreaking every time you could swear you are pregnant and you are not. I just wish all those in the world that are such incredible parents like you and your husband are could have children when you want them. LIke you said, it's frustrating to see all these people that do have kids over and over and don't take any responsibility for them when there are wonderful couples out there who ache for a child. My BIL and his wife are unable to have any more children and at times I consider being a surrogate as I just want them to experience the joy of parenthood that they having been trying for for years. Hopefully I'm making sense. I'm so tired and need to go to bed. Take care!! ((HUGS))

Potty Mummy said...

I can see you're worried about getting older, but I was 36 when Boy #1 was born and 38 (but very nearly 39) when Boy #2 arrived. And when I told a gynaecologist last week that we weren't having on any more babies mainly because, at 41, I feel too old, he laughed at me.

So have hope.

Carla Marion Peritz said...

Oh, bless your heart, Carolyn. I was so moved by this post because I know exactly what you are going through.

We went through the same thing trying to get pregnant with Donald. I was 33. We tried for 2 years, and had gone through hundreds of thousands of peepee sticks. We finally went to a "specialist" to see what was "wrong with us". Sadly, it wasn't my husband's junk, it was me.

I went in for a test where they shoot some goop into your tubes (you see all your interior girl parts on a TV...and yes, my uterus did look 10 pounds heavier) to see if they're tied up like a pretzel or something and sure enough, one was clogged, but the goop pushed through. Seconds later, I was knocked up...but really, only after I had resigned myself to the fact that I could not have a baby.

This time was different, I guess because Donald is so young and the plumbing is totally different now.

So for us, the 1st time around, it was the tube check that cleared up the minor issue. That, and the tip that my dr gave me about "doing it" on days 10, 12, 14, 16, and 18. There's nothing romantic about any of that, really.

I did learn that the more I worried about getting preggo, the more uptight my eggs got. They're too damn sensitive, those eggs of ours...sheesh!

Y'all are in my thoughts. (A little Texas flavor for ya!)

Sandi McBride said...

When will you children learn! You are trying to hard...just lie back and enjoy it and in your head keep saying don't need a baby now...and voila...baby on the way...life's a joke, laugh along with it!
David sent me!

CrazyCath said...

Carolyn - you got me crying girl. I've been there. I remember.

Not a lot I can say that you don't already know. Just a few things to "ground" you -

1. You know as well as I do that the more you stress, the less likely you'll conceive. Yeah I know - easy said. But hormones and our bodies are very sensitive. Try to genuinely put in the hands of the universe or God or whoever - Life is great as it is. Don't want anything else - if I get pregnant it's a bonus. (Bonus - not "need to in order to be fulfilled".

2. If God wants you to have another baby, you will. You have no way of controlling this. (You know this I know).

3. 36 is not too old. I have a theory about the age of starting to have babies relating to the age your body stops. I was my mum's first baby at age 34. She had her 4th at age 43. Not too old. No probs with any.

4. It will happen at the right time. I waited 8 years. When I stopped wishing and gave up the possibility of having a 2nd child - he decided to grow~!

5. I have no daughter. I spent years wishing for one. I have now accepted I won't have one. I am no longer sad. I am blessed with what I have. This takes me back to #1 - be fulfilled as you are - the rest is extra.

This sounds terribly sanctimonious and I don't mean it to be. I have done the "not fair" and "why me?" and guilt and blame stuff for years. I have learnt. I am sharing my learning with you and I hope it helps. It is still sad sometimes that I don't have a daughter, but it is no longer painful or an overwhelming empty space, which in reality detracted from me enjoying my boys. My boys are the best. I would not change it for the world now if I had my time over.

I do hope you can find some peace and contentment.
A wise man says that if you stop looking for it, it will find you.

*Hugs* galore to you and prayers and love.
Btw loved Csilla's prayer. God hears children. (But he doesn't HAVE to say "ok then!")

A.Bananna said...

I came here from David's Blog. wonderful story!

Daryl E said...

I havent read any of the other comments but here's my 2 cents worth .. stop trying .. I dont mean stop trying but dont think about it .. just do it. Get it? Just do it. Enjoy it. No pressure. No worry. Preggers. Happens all the time. Honest.


The Rotten Correspondent said...

You have just described my "baby making" adventures - to a T. First baby was a first shot deal and he didn't sleep until he was about four. Colic, cranky, name it. After a couple of years of negotiations I did get pregnant and had a miscarriage.

And then could not get pregnant again. Finally had to go (after a year) and do one cycle of meds - which did work. But I had always said no holiday babies and Gumby was born Dec. 27. I didn't even care at that point. He was the calmest, sweetest baby ever and slept beautifully really quickly.

My OB said no more babies for you, but then - 8 months later - after just one (ahem) shot, I was pregnant again - at age 35. And this kid was so mellow he made Gumby look crazed. It all worked out.

And it will work out for you, too. Try to not stress yourself out too much, even though I know how easy it is to do. I cried every month when I only got one line.

You'll get there.

Jennifer H said...

I can't say much other than that I hope you get what you are hoping for. 36 is not too old, by any definition. Relax. And I'll cross my fingers for you.