Family “Planning”

Last week, I had a vague idea of what the next ten months to a year would look like. Shoot, I had a vague idea of what the next four years would look like.

After getting a positive beta on Thursday, I’d have gone in for an early ultrasound somewhere around June 23. It would be a weird time, because I have a business trip scheduled around then, and Kyle’s birthday is June 22, but we’d have worked in the ultrasound around then. We would’ve seen a heartbeat, and I probably would’ve cried like a total asshole, and then we’d have gone home to start planning an announcement.

We were going to announce to my family on the Fourth of July, at the cookout my uncle always hosts. I was going to put Sam in a shirt that said something about him being a big brother or a brother at all (sidenote: I’ve always thought it would be funny to dress Sam in a shirt that said, “I’m the Little Brother!” and watch people get confused) and wait for people to catch on. Then we’d have made a Facebook announcement. I’ve been brainstorming ideas, and I’m sure we would’ve come up with something fun and catchy. Everyone would’ve known anyway, because I’ve been writing about things so much in here, but still. Announcing is fun.

(I mean we can’t go with this, but it’s still one of my favorites)

Going with Sam’s belief that this embryo was a girl, we’d have learned that for certain either around 10 weeks (if I could convince my OB that a blood test was a good idea, considering our history of chromosomally-based miscarriages) or around 20 weeks. Gender is, of course, a social construct, but I still would’ve announced that I was going to be investing in a lot of frills and pink and purple with some silly song and dance type thing, like maybe some balloons or a cake. Cakes are good. Everyone should have cake always.

(adulthood really begins when you realize that “because” is a totally acceptable reason to eat cake)

Kyle and I were preemptively planning our investments over the course of the next year. We’d need to get a van of some sort, new car seats (because Sam can’t switch to a booster until next May, so we couldn’t just give the new baby hand-me-downs), and a new stroller because ours has turned the bend from “this is a fine piece of equipment” to “why do we still own this?” We’d have cleaned out the green room, which used to be Sam’s, and maybe painted in there (though the pale green on the walls is a nice color; still, I’d like a more neutral dove grey, because that’s more versatile). There’d be a new bassinet and our minifridge brought upstairs for late-night feedings. Maybe we’d have bought a TV for our bedroom and a second Roku, so that those late nights could involve binge-watching the shows we’ve been saving up on for that exact moment.

Her name was going to be Carolyn Jeanette.

And I saw the next couple of years in a vague sense. Sam would go to preschool, real preschool, a year from September, and I’d stay home with the baby to save on daycare expenses. I’d dive back into parenthood, like I never had the energy to when Sam was a baby (but this time would be different because antidepressants). I’d exercise. I’d do Things. In five years, we’d go back to Disney World like we did this past December, only this time, we’d have an eight-year-old and a five-year-old. Everything would be new and different.

But then the beta was negative and the next year was a blank slate again.

I think this may be the weirdest part about IVF and trying to conceive… you can’t plan more than a month or so in advance. You’d like to say, “Oh yeah, we’ll definitely go on a vacation in October” or something like that, but then things change and October is the month you’ll have to do your transfer or have a bunch of ultrasounds or something like that. Your boss asks you for a five year career plan and you make one up, but really, you’re shrugging internally because you don’t know if you’re going to vanish at some point in the next five years because there’s suddenly an infant.

You think, “You know, we should get a puppy,” but then you don’t know if you’re going to have a puppy and a baby at the same time, which just seems ill-advised.

(adorable, but ill-advised)

You decide you’re going to get your hair done, REALLY done, but you don’t know if you’ll be pregnant enough for the chemicals to make you feel sick when it’s happening (though the hydrogen peroxide gives me a headache anyway, baby or no).

You look at company holiday parties and you don’t know if you’ll need to buy something from the maternity section or if you’ll be able to wear something from your favorite store.

When your college buddies talk about planning a meet-up in a couple of months, you don’t know how to respond because you have no idea where you’ll be at that point. Will you be pregnant and glowing? Will you have to abstain from alcohol? Will you have to cancel a dinner because you have a last-minute appointment? WHO KNOWS?


I like planning. As much as I still believe things will work out as they’re supposed to, that I’ll adapt, that we’ll find ways to make life work, I like to be able to plan. I like to be able to look at my life calendar and say, “Okay, a week from now, this is happening. A month from now, this is happening. A year from now, this is happening.” I know that nobody can do that with certainty, that being able to look forward is often a privilege rather than a stated fact.

But man, does it get frustrating to think you’ve got the next year or so all figured out and then have the rug pulled out from under you, and to have that happen multiple times. Since we started this journey, I’ve had that rug pulled out half a dozen times, and it’s exhausting. It’s taken over my life, more than parenting by itself ever has, and I’m so tired of it.

I just want to reach a point where I know with complete certainty that hey, in 10 months, a new baby will be here. And after that new baby gets here, I’m not going through this again. My brain and emotions just cannot take it anymore.

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