Yesterday, we got the bill to keep our embryosickles frozen for another year. Our clinic much prefers we move blastocysts from their freezer to a storage facility, and so ups the price each year as incentive to make the move. We have twice now decided to just pay the bill to gain some time, as we’d otherwise have to decide if we’re keeping the blastocysts in Hilly Quirky, or moving them to Canuckia, which is a significantly different endeavour.
It got us talking about timelines, and whether we thought we’d try a FET within the next calendar year. I was prosaically talking about age gaps and tenure timelines. Pea at one point was exclaiming “but Spud is so cute! Imagine if there were two! How much cuteness there would be!” with a HUGE smile and, I kid you not, an unironic, unplanned kermit-arm-flail. It was possibly the most excited I’ve ever seen Pea.
It made me laugh. It made my heart burst with love for him, and his love of being a father. It made me wince, a little, because there are a lot of what-ifs with this. How long do we try on our own, assuming my cycle returns with the magical no-dairy diet? What if none of our embryosickles stick?* What if I decide I am done, for career reasons?**
I am still struggling with having brought Spud into a world where catastrophic change is likely to occur in his lifetime. Can I double down on that risk?
I am still picking up the pieces of my brain after seven months of sleep deprivation.
I am still catching up on work, and getting my research program back on track. I have an intense five years in the offing, both for what I hope to accomplish and for what is expected of me (for tenure and to renew my fancy chair, which is a higher bar than tenure).
I catch myself thinking that, next time, I’ll stay home a bit longer, because Spud is so fun right now. I catch myself thinking of what timelines make sense for daycare versus nanny if a sibling is in the mix. I catch myself refusing to mourn lasts with Spud, assuming I’ll have a do-over. I might not, but these moments make it clear to me that I’m not done yet unless I have to be.
I’m also not ready to start this game again. I want more time with my current baby. I want more time with my fledgling lab and research program. I want more time at this current level of break-neck pace, before making it even busier. I want at least a few months where I can eat whatever I want, without fear of damaging my son’s intestines or my reproductive chances. I am not ready for daily needles for months and months, which I would face with a natural or assisted pregnancy because of the clotting disorder.
That said, FETs next summer would make a 2.5 year age difference, so it’s not a crazy idea as ideas go. It just makes me feel breathless.
* Thus far, we have transferred embryos four times (six embryos total). I have been pregnant three times from those transfers, if only briefly twice. This is either (a) a reassuring mathematical trend or (b) all of my implantation luck up front.
** There is a quiet unwritten rule in academia that it’s totally ok and encouraged and wonderful and lovely for a female prof to get pregnant and have a baby. Once. It’s arguably progress that once is now the “correct” way to do things (another post unto itself), but more than once has entirely different optics. I’m not going to make life choices around optics, and I have great support for leave and delaying tenure, and my lab would be in better shape later on. It is whether or not I want to permanently change the amount of focus I give my research again. Probably, but I do need to think it through and not just get caught up in muppet-style enthusiasm.