While getting ready this morning my mind drifted somewhere it has not been in ages – buying my own car.
The husband and I live a financially minimal life by most people’s standards and, realistically, will continue to do so for many years to come. I am a writer and he is a mathematics professor at the local college. This does not make for a huge bank account and life in the lap of luxury. We choose to live minimally in some areas so we can be debt free while still having cash for some of the finer things in life – high-end electronics, cameras and my never-ending shoe and cosmetic addiction.
Unlike the bulk of our society, we only have one used, non-glamorous car that we share. We choose to live in an area of town where we can walk, bike or take the bus to all our daily necessities. We do not own our home but instead live in one owned by his parents and pay “rent” by doing renovations so they make a handsome profit when we move on. When traveling we opt to visit places where we have a free place to stay or to travel with another couple and split as many costs as possible. We pack our own lunches. We shop carefully and compare prices. We live with slip-covered Ikea furniture.
We make these “sacrifices” today in preparation for when our family expands from two to three. We are very aware that adding a child to our household would make our finances even more tight. This is a sacrifice we are absolutely willing to make if it means having the joy of a young person in our lives for years to come. I could even live with drug store makeup instead of my high-end department store cosmetics if need be!
But what if we didn’t have children? What if this does not work? After 21 months, 1 failed Clomid cycle, 2 failed IUIs, 1 failed FET and 1 miscarriage our chances at a charmed life with even one child are dwindling. We have three more embryos in the freezer. After that I’m not sure we’ll pursue this life any more. What then, though?
We could loosen our purse strings. Without a college fund to plan for we could consider buying our own home where I could paint the walls whatever bold colors I dared. We could take that long talked about bicycle tour through Scotland. We could look at jobs abroad. I could go back to school. I could buy my own car. We could invest in more permanent furnishings that’s covers are not loaded into the washing machine with my husband’s white socks and underwear.
Not that these things can’t be done with children – they can – but they take more planning and require an attention to school schedules, dance recitals and football practice that can make planning a weekend away challenging, let along a month abroad. Having children means slip covers for years to come and responsible, four door vehicles. Having children means likely never owning our own home.
Even more importantly than the material aspects of life without children is getting to actually reclaim our lives. No longer would activities revolve around my cycle. Never again would my sensitive husband have to blink back tears as he prepares to inject me with progesterone. I could reclaim my body and my emotions. We could plan a trip home to Arizona or Alabama without worry that we might have to cancel due to pregnancy or, worse, miscarriage. We could be intimate again without feeling the weight of infertility.
As these thoughts tumbled through my mind I saw something in my reflection that I have not seen in a very long time. I saw a little, tiny bit of hope. Hope that maybe there is life after infertility.
I’m not ready to give up this fight yet: that glimmer of hope is still soaked in tears. I still get a giant lump in my throat every time a stark single line stares back at me. While I’m not ready to quit today, the thought it is crossing my mind more and more when I’m alone and occasionally when a sleek sports car zips by. I could have my own car. A crappy consolation prize? Maybe. But it is the most symbolic way I could embrace a childless life. That and new furniture.
The HPT this morning was also negative. I’ll test again tomorrow and Saturday. If it’s still BFN I’m done peeing on things.