On Friday afternoon, I grabbed the mail and sorted: bed bath and beyond coupon, a couple of medical bills, a credit card offer, and the bill for embryo storage. $400 to keep our four little bundles encased in liquid nitrogen for the next 12 months.

We haven’t had this particular reminder of ‘what-if’ recently. Last year, when July came and went without a bill, I got freaked out and called the clinic to make sure they hadn’t inadvertently destroyed the embryos through some miscommunication of the USPS. The women I spoke to was very reassuring and guaranteed that even if we didn’t pay right away, there were many steps between sending the bill and the great thaw. But, in recognition of the error, they didn’t charge us for storage, which is the only time in my personal experience that a fertility clinic didn’t gobble up any opportunity to make a few extra (hundred) dollars.

Our plan had been to check in about prospective #3 when Angus turns 2 (which is just a few short weeks away) but the conversation has been coming up more spontaneously recently. We are both pretty solidly in the ‘not right now’ camp, and we both waver on the “if ever” question. This past Saturday, when I was on my own with both kids for most of the day, I couldn’t fathom adding another child to the dynamic. This morning, it seemed challenging but totally doable.

As little as 6 months ago, my ideal timeline was:

  • Angus turns 2!
  • I call the insurance company to find out if they would cover a transfer at the clinic in Colorado or if we would need to have the embryos shipped here
  • Depending on that answer, we start the process of shipping and scheduling with the clinic in WA or make an appointment with a doc in CO to talk timelines.
  • Transfer sometime in the winter – Maybe as early as December?
  • Baby arrives in the fall-ish of 2020 when Ansel has started kindergarten.

This plan is not happening. Laurie isn’t on board and honestly, neither am I.

But I do feel like a decision – one way or the other – needs to happen relatively soon. There are a few reasons for this: I don’t want a huge age gap between kids, I am inching up on 40 and feel nervous about having a baby too much after that, the inbetween of maybe/maybe not is hard for me and I want to either move forward or move on.

In January, our insurance will change to a plan with more flexibility in providers (the ‘top tier’ of my choices at work. We had been with the middle tier, but had to get a special dispensation for Ansel’s ABA therapist to be covered, so we’re switching for that reason and others) which would likely give us more options with clinics. For this reason, we are clear we wouldn’t want to do anything until the change in insurance coverage.

But on Sunday night, I told Laurie that I want to make a decision by the time the next storage bill comes, sometime in July 2020. Even if it was a last minute decision and we didn’t move forward until then, we’d be looking at a transfer in the fall/winter of 2020, around my 39th birthday, and a baby in the summer/fall of 2021. At that time, Ansel will be 6 and headed into first grade, Angus will be turning 4 and in his final year of preschool. The gap is a little more than I always dreamed, but it doesn’t seem too wide. And maybe by then, the two we have would be more independent. Maybe.

As immensely overwhelmed as I can feel at times, the idea of not having a third child fills me with deep sadness. As a kid, I always expected to have two kids and it wasn’t until I met Laurie and we started planning our dream family that having 3 even occurred to me. But once I had it in my mind, it stuck there and now it’s grown into my plan.

I like the idea of a rowdy home, filled with kids and their friends; of our kids having multiple relationships in case one doesn’t work (I haven’t spoken to my brother in 5 months, since he told me to ‘stay the fuck out of his life.’), and I want another opportunity to be pregnant and give birth.

I know there are pros to only having two – the ubiquitous ‘family four pack’, not needing to purchase a car with a third row (though, L is 100% team minivan anyway so . . .) one parent per kid means special time is more manageable and you have 1:1 supervision. Not to mention the fact that even getting pregnant again will cost a fair amount of money, even with good insurance coverage. This is not a rational feeling because if it was, the answer would probably be an easy no to #3.

I’ve been spinning on this for days now. Maybe because there is a piece of me that knows a “no” is more of a possibility than it used to be. Until recently, while I was pushing for sooner than later and L was telling me to slow down, she was always a solid yes, just not now. More and more I hear her sinking into that no and staying there for good. And while, yes, I waver from day to day and moment to moment, I think I know in my heart that I am longing for that third baby. I guess it comes down to this: If I was at a no but Laurie was at a yes, it wouldn’t take much for me to climb on board. But I don’t think that might be true for L. My fear is that her ‘not yet’ is becoming ‘not ever.’ And while I wouldn’t jeopardize my marriage over this longing, I would have to navigate through it and the idea of that scares me.

But, for now, we are here: trying to wade our way through the chest high mud of our lives. I shouldn’t borrow sadness from tomorrow when I’ve got so much to manage in this moment. But, that’s probably why I’m doing it, right?