It's official: my sweet little Snow Pea isn't a baby anymore. She is 14 months old as of a few days ago and she is walking and talking a little more each day. Despite my all of my attempts to savor every second and slow down time, she has become a toddler.
It is an amazing stage really. I love the sound of curiosity in her voice asking "What's that?" and I do my best to answer as enthusiastically the 400th time she asks as I do the 1st. Even better is when she asks, I answer and she responds, "ooo cool". I love watching her toddle into the kitchen every morning- step, step, fall, crawl- to pull open every cabinet until she finds the small saucepan the is just the perfect size for carrying around and banging on the floor. I love hear her exclaim "woof, woof!" anytime she hears or sees a dog. I love how absolutely nuts she goes when a playground is in eyesight, begging to go play by signing "more, please, more, please, please". Speaking of signing, I am blown away by all of the signs she does! She knows about 40 now and the other day, Chad and I spied on her pulling all the books from her shelves and "reading" them to herself by flipping through the pages and doing the signs for every picture she knew the word for. It was amazing!
Toddlerhood is not without its challenges though. As she gets older she is learning more about what she likes and does not like and can get pretty demanding and whiny. Our new nickname for her is "Yelly Ellie" because she is quite vocal with her opinions. She also has no problem physically pushing someone away if they get too close and she doesn't want them to. She has done it to both myself and Chad, as well as a few of her baby friends and even a stranger who wanted to say hi but made the mistake of penetrating Eliana's "bubble". She throws food on the floor, arches and wiggles out of our arms anytime we try to hold her and gets into EVERYTHING. Anyone with a toddler and a clean house must be a superhero.
All this toddler stuff really is great, but I feel like it snuck up on me. I knew it would go fast but I really can't get over how quickly her baby days flew by. It's like I blinked and they were over! And now that she is no longer a "baby", the inevitable questions about when we will try for number two have started. I am now very outspoken about my infertility and the nature of Eliana's conception, so thankfully most people know and try to be respectful when they ask. I make sure they know I am completely ok with answering anything they want to know. I do find it interesting though that almost everyone's first question is whether a FET means we get to choose the sex of our baby. (The answer is no, in case you are wondering. The embryos do have a genetic make-up that is male or female but there is no way of finding that out without costly and risky genetic testing, which is typically reserved for cases of medical need).
Every time I'm asked I have to really stop and think about my answer. Chad and I have had a plan for a while now that we would revisit Dr Jedi for another FET sometime in the first half of 2013. But as my Snow Pea continues to grow, I find myself daydreaming of another tiny baby in the house. I begin romanticizing late night feedings and newborn cries. I even caught myself researching baby names & texting Chad for his input, just like I did when I was pregnant. More and more I can see a sibling for Eliana. I almost feel ready to have that baby. But when I think about what it would take to make that happen, I realize I am nowhere near ready to go through that process again.
The sleepless nights, the aching back, the swollen feet, the leaky boobs. None of it was easy, but none of it compared to the anxious hopes, the empty arms, the broken heart. I try to relive what another treatment cycle would be like, and it emotionally overwhelms me. I don't think I always realize just how much having Eliana in my arms has healed me. Taken away the pain, anxiety and fear that I lived with daily. A day without tears was a rarity in my life not too long ago, now the opposite is true. It's unbelievable how much happiness she has brought into my life. But I remember those emotions, that pain. I know how easily they could come back as I anxiously hope and pray myself through another two week wait or a BFN.
I admit though, the next time around won't be nearly as emotional as the last. If we attempt a FET without success, I will be disappointed and emotional, but it won't be as devastating now that we have our sweet girl to hold on to for comfort. The stakes will never be as high as they were before I became a mom. Even if we aren't fortunate enough to ever have another child, we will always be parents to this amazing little girl. I know all of that, but I am still not ready. I want another child, I do. I want a sibling for Eliana. And if it was as simple as just that, who knows what our choice would be, but the fact is that it's not that simple and I am not yet ready to leave my happy bubble to dive back into treatment and the anxiety that comes with it. Thankfully, we have no reason to rush. I can focus on parenting our toddler and my educational goals and cross the FET bridge when we get to it. And I know that I will get through that future cycle no matter what happens. I have learned so much on this journey and connected with so many incredible, supportive people, and I know those things will help see me through any difficulty I may face. We'll get there. In the meantime, I am going to keep working on my "slow down time" machine