Wednesday, April 21, 2010

nice things. and other things.

So I mentioned in my comment to my own previous post that the HPT I took Monday night (CD2, counting midnight as the start of any given day) was definitely negative. I take that as an indication that I had a 35-day cycle - I was not miscarrying. I will start taking temperatures any day now so I don't have to entertain such suspicions in the future.

Even nicer: I (neglectfully!) didn't post about this the day I got it, but I received a lovely present from my prayer buddy over at A Thorn in the Pew. It was so sweet! She sent me all sorts of adorable things (and so thoughtful!), including a couple of prayers/prayer books to St. Joseph (perfect!!), cute little bags to put things in (they would fit prayer cards...or pills...or a thermometer...maybe even an HPT ;) ), and the most exquisite, beautiful, precious little figure of the Infant of Prague I have seen ever, which is now sitting right next to my bed, and makes me happy whenever I see it. I don't know where you got it, prayer buddy, but it's magnificent. (And all Slavic Catholics have a thing about the Infant of Prague. I remember seeing it from earliest childhood, displayed next to the altar in my Polish parish.)

To my prayer buddy - I have not forgotten you! I have half of the things I wanted sitting on the table in my living room, waiting for a chance to nip out and get the other thing I'm looking for. I shall straighten out my schedule and get that over to you, OK? Sorry I'm delinquent :(.

And a few other small "castle" (the very very old house) has now been on the market over 30 days and is still not under contract. Does that mean they may be ready to negotiate on the price and it will be my house? My DH has expressed continued misgivings about buying a house before he knows where his post-2010 job will be. I guess that makes sense. I did include in my St. Joseph novenas that he would take care of that too, so I have to trust that it's all taken care of. It's so hard to be patient. St. Joseph, if you're listening, maybe by the time he gets back, you could just line up that job thing, and then we could close on the house?

Meanwhile, my mixed feelings on my (totally trumped up in my head) theory that I could be pg this past cycle really got me thinking seriously about the house thing. I have done the math on what prices we can afford based on the goal that we be able to make our payments even if I were making half as much (so I don't foreclose the possibility of working part-time), and that we still be able to save a good bit. But there's really no pretending that we could afford the castle house if I stopped working altogether.

When I realized I wasn't so enthusiastic about the possibility of a BFP, I knew it was in large part because I could not responsibly endorse buying that house if I were pregnant. Under our current financial profile, I could stay home for a couple of years to take care of a baby, and we would survive. (We could even buy something, if it were quite modest.) The house I want isn't a mansion or swathed in granite or anything extravagant like that (it is a good size - 4 bedrooms), but everything is more expensive in this area, and one income just wouldn't be enough to pay for it - not with all the law school debt and everything.

I realized that the plans I've made because I can't have kids threatened to be the plans I've made that would make me not want to have kids. Now don't get me wrong. If I were really pregnant, I might go on with my mixed feelings for months (and wish the BFP had happened to someone who would appreciate it more, and has been waiting more patiently!), but I would love my child, and make any change necessary to take care of that baby as well as possible. No question.

But my conclusion from my house-versus-baby ambivalence was that I needed to be looking for a house that we could swing on 1 income (for a year or so), and 1.5 incomes comfortably. And what about saving for college tuition? We've literally been ttc since plural years before we both had permanent jobs. I have never set up a financial plan that included college savings! (I save aggressively, but at present with almost nothing invested or segregated, which I expect to change soon. If I had kids, I would have savings for each of them already.) Admittedly, my parents didn't save anything for my college (they paid about $20,000 to get me my BA and I paid for my JD), but I might not be ready to assume my kids would be similarly fortunate.

But I hadn't seen anything that looked acceptable (even if more modest) that would cost a lot less. Then the other day I found this:

I haven't checked out the neighborhood in person yet, but I may drive through this weekend, and I decided that if it passed inspection, this would become my backup house. (Pretty sweet for a backup house.)

And then my brain turned back on.

This is the only time I've ever had any reason at all to believe I was pregnant, and only the fact that I had a really long cycle. That was it. And of course I've been super-irregular since surgery, so it's not like that was an isolated fluke and I shouldn't have been able to think of any other cause.

I have no reason to believe that I will ever be pregnant. Nothing has changed from last month, when I assumed that I could use my earning potential toward my home, rather than my time toward my babies. There are no babies. There are not going to be babies.

My DH has said that we should look into adoption more. I was open to investigating last year - until I did investigate, and turned up a lot of details I think are just going to be an absolutely not for us. I have a strong feeling that when he does a little research of his own, he is going to feel the same way, but I have no objection to being open-minded while he looks at things and forms his own opinion. I also have no objection to adopting, in theory - at present, though, my conclusion is that I want no part of the adoption process. So an acquaintance would literally have to call me and ask me to take on some child(ren). But parenthood being a vocation and all, I don't see why it's at all unreasonable to expect that to happen.

Being open to life doesn't mean I'm required to procure children. It means that when God chooses to insert into my life the children He intends me to raise, I will be grateful, and take good care of them. I don't see how more could possibly be expected of me; in my view, that's the whole idea of Christian marriage. This is not meant - as usual - to disparage the efforts of those who are working valiantly toward adoption. If that's what you believe you're called to do, then do it, by all means. I just don't see it for myself.

So, anyway, if theoretically we could adopt at some point in the future, the child(ren) could be below school-aged. It could still be necessary that I quit working for a while. Should I drop my preferred housing price on that basis?

I know that the IF experts say (and I agree with them more than 100%, if that were possible) not to plan for children, but to plan for life. Don't buy a house you would love in a neighborhood you would love if you had children. Buy the house that will make you happy anyway. And I totally agree with that, and obviously, that's what I was doing. (Most of my houses would be perfect for kids, too, in that they've got several bedrooms, and a yard. But I wasn't looking for good school districts, or for neighborhoods with young families.)

But I don't recall the advice including buying a house that will prevent you from taking care of a family. If I make a reasonable conclusion based on the available medical evidence that I will not have kids, and commit my resources in a way that I couldn't do if I had them, does that mean I'm not open to life? Would that be wrong? And if it would be wrong, does it mean that I have to spend the next 25 years allocating untouchable portions of my income and savings to children who are not in evidence?

I am aware that this is the reason I need a spiritual director. But I made what I consider to be more than sufficient efforts to acquire one, and they were stymied. I took the hint, and will now wait for an appropriate spiritual director to present himself to me. (I am willing to, and should already have, put myself more in the way of encountering such people, by involving myself in prayer and other endeavors in the local Catholic community.)

Just when I think that the hard part is just being infertile, and that all the unpleasant nasty jagged suffering delivers itself to my door, ready to be endured in the form in which it arrives, it turns out there are more unanswered questions that I could answer wrong.


  1. This post is very thought provoking. This comment is not.
    There def are unintended consequences to our actions. Like when I started my PhD thinking I was using my single time wisely. Then got married while in the program, was told about IF and told to ttc right away and so we did cuz kids more important than education. Here I am now 7 years into the program, busting my butt on my proposal while my child is in daycare (not so I can actually work and make money-okay some days that is what I do while he is there) and trying to get it done before #2. Not what I had in mind. In hindsight, they won't remember a thing, so that is good. But dh certainly thinks for this much time and money in school, I should work when I get done. Um, always wanted to stay at home with kids for a few years. So, I think we have a compromise now of forever part time work but no total time off...the point is unintended consequences! And what about the fact that we bought two ridiculous cars in 2003 while newly dating and both had to buy totally new cars in 2008 when we had my son. Not ideal. But then who wants to live like children will come any second chillin in an empty mini van?! So that makes me say buy the house that is more $. Worst case scenario you don't live in it as long as you like. Best case scenario, Murphy's law and you get pregnant while closing. lol. Does this rant make any sense?!

  2. I totally see what you're saying. I think I end up walking a fine line between accepting my life as it is now, planning for a life without children, and hoping I still have a child. A lot of the decisions I'm making right now are assuming we won't have a child, and I would definitely do things differently if we were. But, at the same time, I can't make decisions based on the idea that we could have a child, when I know that it isn't necessarily going to happen. To retain my sanity (whatever is left of it), I think I need to make decisions that make sense for us right now, and not take children into account. It does tend me make me swing the other way, though, where the decisions I make would make it more difficult to have a life with a child.

    A few years ago, we were going to get a dog and wanted to adopt a retired greyhound. My car was breaking and very expensive to fix, so I bought a SUV, partially because it would easily accommodate a greyhound. They couldn't find a good match for us (we had stairs and a cat, which are both issues), and we ended up getting a mini dachshund. Now, I have a large vehicle that uses tons of gas, and a small dog. I know it's not the same thing, but close!

  3. I think the one in the picture is beautiful ! make that door red and bam! lol. if deep down you are hoping to be pg then buy the more expensive one-dimensional like wheel said. murphys law !

  4. Wow what a post! The house you posted is realy cute. :) St. Joseph is amazing, and you will get the answer to your prayer soon I know it!
    I agree with WheelbarrowRider. You can't live like you will have a kid tomorrow, you have to do whats right for you right now. It is hard to think that way, I have a hard time with it. Every decision I make I think about how it will effect my future kids. And what if I don't have any? What if its years before I have kids? and to quote WheelbarrowRider "who wants to live like children will come any second chillin in an empty mini van?!" lol. When the kids come we will make decisions based on them at that time. But for now, it's all about us. :)

  5. Yeah, so glad you got your package. I make the little zippered pouches and love to give them as gifts, so much you can do with them :) The Infant of Prague...I could stare all day and think of the things I hope and dream for. There is a precious older man at my parish who walks slowly up the side aisle every week after Mass and gazes on the Infant with such tenderness and devotion, my love for Him just got deeper seeing someone so taken by the promises and devotion to this tradition. I just had to share that :) I will continue to pray for you, we are praying the St Gianna novena now.

  6. Sounds like you have so much to think about. I hope it all works out. I suffered through IF for a couple years, and it sucks, and not only that, but it manages to make everything uncertain.

  7. I definitely understand the thought about how a decision will be affected if we actually manage to get pregnant, but like Wheelbarrow Rider said, if you plan your life that way, you'll end up drive around alone in a mini-van. If you buy the house and end up pregnant or adopting and can't afford to not work, then you sell the house. Just pray about and feel comfortable with whatever decision you make.