As I was starting our IUI treatments at the time when A was diagnosed, I viewed it as a type of parenting test. (Those of you who have children can just burst out laughing now) As an only child, I'm inherently selfish with my time. When I lived alone prior to getting married, I loved having the freedom to come and go as I pleased. As long as I filled A's food and water bowls when I left the house in the morning, it didn't matter when I returned (although I received a very judgmental look when I once came home the next morning). Fortunately, I married a fellow only child who also values his independence and I still have a lot of latitude with my free time; I just have update him with a text message. Caring for A's diabetes required me to adjust my schedule around his twice daily insulin injections and gave me a slight representation on how I would have to arrange my daily routine based on someone else's needs. (Even if you don't have kids, feel free to laugh...)
At times it feels that there are certain expectations for when you are in a pre-children state. A few years ago, I went to England to speak at a conference. Husband stayed behind as we were in the process of closing on our house. During my visit, I met up with three friends, all had two kids and one was pregnant with her third. They were too keen to live vicariously through me. "You had better be hungover..." the pregnant one threatened as she picked me up from the train station. Oh, I could oblige their need for details. I spent the previous night in London with two of my old hockey teammates who were still single. We went to a wine bar, I flirted with an Irish banker and scored an accidentally on purpose breast graze. We walked home from a chip shop at 5 in the morning, and for reasons that I cannot remember, I was barefoot. As it had been so long since any of them had been out for an evening, they were enthralled. When we were still deciding if we wanted to pursue having kids, my cousin's husband encouraged us to have a final adventure as a couple before taking the plunge. It ended up being our trip to Hawaii where we purchased a time share so we could return with our child for family vacations.
As I now know that if we had started trying to procreate years ago, we may have been able to conceive spontaneously, and who knows maybe that pregnancy might have stuck. Perhaps, I could have a toddler running around our house right now. Is it a bad thing that I see an upside to the birth canal not travelled? I can't help to wonder how our life would be different if we had a baby earlier. We may not have acquired our time share or renovated our kitchen, but I'm not too bothered by the tangible possessions. I think about the experiences we may have missed in this alternative universe. I may not have started swimming, Husband may not progressed through the ranks of collegiate field hockey umpiring and we both may not have discovered cross-fit. Maybe having a baby at a younger age would have strained our relationship rather than having it strengthened by our infertility and RPL experience. Then again, maybe I'm also wondering what we'll do for an encore if we're still childless.