May 30, 2008

…keep Jennifer over at Contrary to Popular Belief in your thoughts and prayers. She recently lost her pregnancy at 17 weeks. I don’t know whether she is hoping for comments on her most recent post, but I know it helps me to know that people are reading along in support, especially when things have taken a painful turn. So in case you’re not a regular reader of her blog I thought I would call it to your attention.

I’m just speechless, and so devastated to hear this sad news.

Take care of yourselves; I will post a longer update on me-land soon.



May 19, 2008

Yes, friends, I’m alive. I don’t know why I haven’t been blogging–just not in the mood? I’ve been busy, but not outrageously so. I’ve certainly been spending plenty of time elsewhere on the internet: Facebook, various message boards and keeping up with other people’s blogs has definitely occupied my time recently. But my own blog, totally neglected for some reason… I guess because nothing much exciting is happening.

I don’t know how long this post will be either (answer: ┬áSO, SO LONG), as I’m starting to feel sleepy (and it’s already 1:00am) but I’m determined to post something before hitting the sack. So, what’s new? Ironically enough, even though I haven’t been writing, I certainly have been thinking quite a bit about infertility, parenting, and related issues.

So far we’re still planning to do our first IVF cycle in early August, but I have a lot of fears about it. Friday was CD1 for me (meaning my most recent cycle was 26 days), and meaning I’m expecting my next cycle to begin around June 11, and the one after that around July 7, and the one after THAT, which is the important one, around August 1. But I had some blood drawn at the doctor’s office last Wednesday, and I got a little nervous around the whole needle thing–I realized/remembered that I usually get through blood draws by looking away while the needle goes in. I guess if I’m doing the injecting, as with daily Lupron shots, that won’t really be an option, huh? G seems totally prepared to step up and do the injections for me, though, so maybe I can still keep up my “just don’t look, it’ll be over soon” approach.

Of course, needles are the least of my worries; actually I’ve been having a lot of anxiety, lately, about how much children might change our lives. Can I still stay invested in my career once we have children? Will I still be “me,” or will I lose myself to motherhood? Will G still be attracted to me once my boobs get (more) saggy post-breastfeeding? That last one is less about G and more about me–sure, it’s shallow and silly, but I’m very apprehensive about the bodily changes, as I’ve mentioned here before. Probably because I’ve lost so much weight recently, I’m overly conscious of my hard-won new body and what pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding are likely to do to it. And don’t get me started on my “gaining all the weight back” fears. If I do manage to get pregnant, I’m just going to have to be mindful about my eating and try to keep up a moderate exercise routine. Maybe I’ll subscribe to Fit Pregnancy.

The career thing is no small question, either. I’m finishing up my grading over the next couple of days, and so I’ve been sneaking in some work on my new book, and I’m getting really excited about it. If I get pregnant right away and give birth before the next part of my sabbatical (Fall 2009), will I actually write this big exciting book, or will it fade into “what might have been” as my sabbatical becomes a de facto maternity leave? I’m sure it sounds silly that I am worried I’ll “never” write my book–kids don’t stay infants forever, after all, and I should be able to devote time to writing during the summer months, even if I am teaching full time during the school year–but sabbaticals, uninterrupted research and writing time away from teaching, only come around once every seven years of service. If I squander this one, I’m looking at Fall 2016 as my next possible leave time. 2016! I guess I had better learn to be productive in smaller bits of time.

But all of that pales in comparison to the financial concerns. Here is where I get really terrified if I think about things too hard. For one, lately G and I have been wondering whether we’ll EVER be able to afford to buy a home. Things are so expensive here that a 20% down payment on a 2-bedroom condo or co-op is about as much as my annual salary. (!!!) How do you save that amount of money up? Neither of us has an inheritance to draw upon for the down payment, unlike so many of our friends and colleagues who’ve purchased homes in the city with their parents’ financial help. Plus, unfortunately, we owed so much in taxes this year that all of our expendable income is now going towards paying off the tax bill and none toward building up our savings.

In fact, once that tax bill is paid off, we’ll (hopefully!) be at the point of starting to pay through the nose for daycare. There is literally no room in the budget for daycare at this moment, like, zero. So the only way we can afford a kid at all is if I really do use the second half of my sabbatical as mat leave (*sigh*) and we don’t pay for daycare until February 2010, when the tax bill will be paid off and a decent chunk of money will re-enter the monthly budget.

Ultimately, I honestly cannot see how we will manage to get ahead once a child is in the picture. Or even stay where we are. Kids need so many things! Clothes, food, toys, not to mention tuition–etc, etc, etc. In this moment I very much feel that in choosing to pursue parenthood we are, in fact, choosing perpetual poverty. I know that the joy children bring can be well worth the sacrifice, but I feel like our budget is on a razor’s edge right now and I am SO AFRAID that having a child, no matter how much joy s/he will bring, is also going to mean taking on enormous credit card debt just to make ends meet (and UGH, how I fought to get out of credit card debt after graduate school! We have absolutely no CC debt right now, though we do have G’s student loans, which are more than enough debt for a lifetime).

I almost cannot fathom going down this unpredictable road when we are so financially unstable. Sure, we make decent money, but we live in one of the most expensive areas of the country, pay through the nose in taxes, and right now in addition to rent we’re paying a car note, those student loans, and the aforementioned tax bill.

The thing is, I am more sure than I have ever been that having children would be a wonderful thing, that G and I would make great parents, and that our marriage would, if anything, become stronger as a result of sharing the experience of parenting a child. I’m not convinced it would survive the financial hit, though, especially if we start bickering about money. In order to afford to pay the tax bill (on our new, smaller net income, as we are having much more withheld to avoid being in this situation again next year) we had to lower, drastically, the individual “mad money” we are each allowed every week–we cut it by about two thirds. Immediately, we started to squabble about little things like who owed whom three dollars in change from the Dunkin’ Donuts breakfast we shouldn’t have bought in the first place because we now need to eat every meal at home in order to be properly frugal. Once we adjusted to our new circumstances we got over that kind of pettiness, but I just cannot fathom having even less budget leeway (and more of a sense of fiscal urgency, because our child’s present and future well-being would be at stake) and the possible conflicts over money that might ensue.

My god, this must be the most boring post EVER to read. Right about now, if you’ve read this far at all, I’m sure you’re wishing I’d stayed away! Apologies.

The bottom line is, I’m anxious about doing IVF, and not all of it is baseless cold feet. Rationally, the smartest thing to do could be waiting another year to start treatment–I’ll still be young enough to have good IVF prospects, at 34–and maybe my book will be almost done, and we’ll be closer to having paid off the tax bill, and maybe found a way to build up a little more in savings… But emotionally, waiting just seems wrong. I think we’ve waited long enough. Maybe I’m foolish (probably) but I’d like to take the plunge and see what happens, in spite of all the practical terrors I’ve just laid out. I guess some part of me still believes it will work out okay for us if we just take a chance, and step out on faith.

Feel free to tell me I’m crazy, though.