Becoming a mother, while it has been equal parts rewarding and grueling, has been amazing. I have been 110% devoted to my role as a new mom. It has been considerably harder for me to define, or perhaps, re-define my role as a wife. When I was deep in my infertile woe, I imagined that having a child would solve everything. I ignored a lot of red flags going up around me, because I had my eyes on the prize: getting pregnant. It's been more than a year, and I feel like we are still picking up the pieces. A lot of money (along with my sanity) flew out the window during those years. Infertility negatively impacted my marriage a lot more than I imagined it would. While going through treatments, we were like little machines working together to achieve this lofty goal. It felt like we were always in survival mode. When the baby was born, we were thrown into a different type of survival mode. But, a survival mode none the less. When the adrenaline from simply surviving wore off, we were left exhausted and sorta lost. For example, I was so used to having sex only to fulfill a specific need to "try to conceive" I couldn't remember what having sex for the sake of pure enjoyment actually felt like. I know we need marriage counseling, and probably should have been getting help while we were moving through infertility. I always had an excuse why I couldn't go. Now, we really, truly don't have the time. What can I say, other than we are working on things...
In terms of the role infertility plays in my current state of being, the answer is: a minor role. For years, infertility robbed me of a lot of happy moments. It made me feel isolated, self conscious, anxious, and angry. It was one of the first things I thought of when I woke up in the morning. It's easy to say "don't let it get you down" and "continue to enjoy your life," but it's hard when you want something so badly and you have almost no control over the outcome. It's almost impossible not to have those jealous, bitter moments. I had many of those moments. I still have them. They aren't nearly as frequent as when I was knee deep in fertility treatments, but it's still a part of my life. I can recall a conversation I had with fellow first time moms about trying for a second child. Many of the women I spoke to had conceived their babies on the first or second try, so their biggest worries were contraception and getting pregnant too soon after the first baby. Given that we have no idea if we will ever be able to conceive again, my contribution to that discussion was, "Well, it took us five years to have the first baby. So we just don't know." *shrug*
Let me just add that, many who know about our past struggles have told me about "someone they know" who had trouble conceiving #1 and then never had trouble conceiving again (told to me by the OB-GYN who delivered K). Or also "someone they know" who had endometriosis and it was cured by pregnancy (told to me this week by the OB-GYN who performed my laparoscopy). While I feel encouraged by these stories, I also know that there is a very good chance we will need IVF to conceive again.
It has been a long road. We have made it past infertility. Have we succeeded? I don't know how to answer that. We have this beautiful little girl. So, in that sense, we have achieved success! Would I go through IVF again? Yes. The thought of going through IVF is terrifying, but I would do it. We definitely aren't there yet, but still, my biological clock keeps ticking.
P.S. I'm not sure I am done sharing my thoughts on life after infertility. There may be future posts about this!