My cycles have always been the same way. Regardless of the spotting issue over the last 5 years, I have always been regular, on-time.
This month was different. Although I got major cramps on 'Day 1', my cycle had not started. The next day, I was so nauseous I could barely move. I tried Sprite, canned pears, hard candy, saltine crackers, all the usual stuff, and nothing helped. I was sick all morning. This was the first time in years I dared think I might be pregnant. The nausea faded that evening. I must have had a touch of the stomach flu. Even so, the next day (should be 'Day 3'), still no period. I took a pregnancy test and it was negative. That night, I finally started.
During this confusing chain of events, there was a day or so when I actually thought I might be pregnant. While I was 99% excited (albeit afraid to hope), about 1% felt unprepared. Now I know the mantra: 'You are never fully ready to become a parent'. I have heard that a million times and I believe it, I promise. But the tiny, minuscule, not-viewable-with-the-naked-eye silver lining on the dark cloud of infertility is that we get more time than most to prepare for the job of parenthood. I mean, infertility is all about waiting: waiting for the next cycle, waiting for the next treatment, waiting to save money for the next treatment, waiting to be chosen by a birth-mom, waiting for paperwork to be processed, waiting for test results, waiting for answers, waiting for blessings, just waiting.
While you wait, you might as well become the best parent-to-be you can, right?
Over the past several weeks, I have been reviewing my life and what it will take to achieve that goal of parenthood. I am in no financial position to seek adoption or fertility treatments right now. At this point, it seems those options will not be available until at least 2010. Therefore, my life in 2009 will consist of more waiting. So, how do I pass the time while I wait? There are several areas I need to work on:
Financial: Seeing that my finances are the reason for the delay, there is a lot to do in this department.
In the first four years of our marriage, Ryan and I racked up some consumer debt. Some of it is from unexpected and necessary expenses, some is a result of irresponsible purchases. Once I started working in financial planning, our habits changed. Unfortunately, rectifying the situation has been slow going. I am hoping in 2009, as I get my career going, our progress will speed up. I want to be consumer debt-free (or at least have my debt tamed) by the end of 2009. Then I can pursue adoption or fertility treatments with a clear conscience because I am bringing a child into a financially secure and responsible household.
Spiritual: I need to work out my relationship with God. I wrote a bit about it in Un-stuff that anger. It is the most important thing I need to work on.
Mental: I want to grow my career and become the best financial planner I can be. Although I enjoy what I do, I am often distracted at work by my feelings toward my infertility. Over the last few months especially, I have been struggling to keep the two separate and my work has begun to be affected by my sadness. I'd like that to stop, if possible.
I also am learning new and useful things, all those things that will help me be a great mom. How to grocery shop on a budget, cleaning tricks, and perfecting the art of chocolate chip cookie baking.
Emotional: I plan to continue with therapy as long as I find it helpful. I have recognized that I am dealing with some depression, and I am trying to work through that. I want to 'take care of myself' more by giving myself a break. If I would rather be alone on a Saturday night than go out with friends, that's okay. I'm not going to force myself to go to 'child events' if I am struggling that day. And I will not be attending church on Mother's Day (unless I go with my mom). After five years of torturous experiences dealing with that day, I refuse to do that to myself anymore.
Physical: I could be healthier. I could be stronger. In a couple years, I may be asking my body to do extrordinary things. I could prepare now to make that time in the future easier on myself, should I become pregnant with a child (or children).
So, this would be my life in 2009. It isn't what I planned or wanted, but I hope I can learn to be happy in this life. I hope I end the year a better person than when it began. It will be a long, tough year but, as long as I am working towards my goal, I should be able to make it.
Over the next year or so, I would love for one day to go by that I don't think, dream, or cry over my childless life. I'm not optimistic that will happen. Even so, I will get through it anyway. And at least now I have a plan, which is comforting for someone who loves to plan.
It should be an interesting year!