One thing that we have noticed about infertility is that it puts you in a state of temporary(ish) paralysis. Ordinarily, in the fertile world, you might be able to actually plan for the expansion of your family. If you don't have enough space, you make the decision to move or stay put and add on, or buy new furniture that fits your needs. Because you know for sure that your family is expanding, and it costs you money for the pregnancy (prenatal care, maternity clothes, nursery outfitting etc.) and for the baby's needs (bottles, diapers, formula, clothes, etc.) but the pregnancy itself was free and took some working with a calendar but not much extracurricular planning and medicating. So while it can be overwhelming to realize how much a baby costs once it's on it's way and/or arrived with all the equipment and gear that needs to be fit into your home somehow, the pregnancy itself didn't cost anything to achieve.
Enter infertility. I hate to keep harping on the fact that it costs so much for us to have a baby, I really do. I do not see our future progeny as one big dollar sign/money suck. However, it is incredibly frustrating to realize that our child is costing us their college fund before they even exist (sorry, kiddo(s), it's loans and scholarships for you unless we hit it big). And even more frustrating to realize that we have NO IDEA when this crazy rollercoaster of treatment will end, and if it will even actually end in a biological child. If it doesn't, and we decide to go another route, it's not like people are handing out babies to adopt on the corner for free, like surplus kittens. It costs a lot of money to adopt a child. And adoption is not exactly an easy process. I know of an awful lot of people who have had domestic adoptions fall through because the birth parent decided they wanted to parent after all (the length of time after you bring that baby home that you may have to turn around and hand that baby back depends on the laws in your state), or who have had difficulty adopting internationally because different countries have different rules on how long you must be married first, or how old you can be to adopt a younger child, or who close the door on international adoptions temporarily or permanently. There is no such thing as "just adopt." It is its own pricey, time-consuming, emotionally draining pathway to parenthood. Both pathways are beautiful and there's no "right" way to go about it--it's what works for you. For my husband and me, we want to exhaust the pregnancy pathway (biological or not) before we consider the adoption pathway. And, from what we've been told, a biological child is within the realm of realistic possibility. We have just been ridiculously unlucky so far.
So back to the topic at hand--we are stuck at the moment. We have no idea how much money we will have to spend overall. We have been very fortunate to have received financial assistance from programs and family, and so aren't eye-deep in debt for our three fresh cycles so far. However, it's not just the actual medical costs that add up. It's the organic eating; the Maya massage to prep the uterus; the vitamins and supplements to improve egg quality, thicken the uterine lining, and reduce possible birth defects; the counseling (I found an amazing counselor that I connect with and work very well with, but she is not affiliated with the free counseling offered by my clinic--an added expense but totally worth it); the yoga... All of it adds up to hundreds of dollars per month spent outside of actual doctor's appointments, procedures, and ridiculously expensive medication. So, even though we are fortunate to be in a good place with our income and to have people helping us out, it makes things very tight. We are not able to plan ahead.
Case in point--we spent almost our entire weekend trying to figure out how we can make our house work for us. We have a lovely house, a 1930's cape on a quiet cul-de-sac that backs to a wooded ravine. It's private, and also close to civilization. It's a 3 minute commute for my husband and a 15-20 minute commute for me. We are very lucky. Except for one thing--the house itself is not laid out well. It's rabbit-warren-y. And we have a major storage problem. We are constantly running out of room to put things and it's hard to assign useful function to different rooms. And there's only the two of us, our dog, and the two cats. No baby and thus none of the myriad gadgets/equipment that accompany the precious bundle. So we are, of course, freaking out. How are we going to find space for everything? We can't even keep everything we've got under control! We have gone back and forth--do we sacrifice our awesome location and killer outdoor space and move to a house that better suits our needs that might not be in the neighborhood that we like? Or do we love where we are so much that we need to bite the bullet and add on a two-story addition when the time is right? We honestly don't know. And the key phrase here is when the time is right. When is that, exactly? When we are finally at the end of our second trimester and can hope that we aren't such magnets for misfortune that we could still lose a baby late in the game? When we have squeezed twins into the tiny room that will be the baby's room? I don't even know if that's possible. If we have one baby, we could probably make things work until 12 months. Giving us about two years. Assuming that our next attempt works, which unfortunately, as much as we'd really like to, we just can't assume. So we're stuck. We are frustrated by our lack of space, but any major renovation or moving project is going to cost money, money we need to earmark for the babymaking itself. Even organizational solutions to make our space work cost money that is hard to part with when we have impending cycles to consider. And, honestly, we don't need the extra space, not really and truly, until we do accomplish what seems so elusive and nearly impossible--having an expanded family. It sucks. It is robbing us of the ability to plan for our family and to dream about what we can do to give this precious, incredibly desired baby the space he/she needs. It has us feeling cramped only because in our heads, we can already see the high chair, and the pack-n-play, and the exersaucer, and the basket of toys in the living room. But it's not really there. And it won't be, at least for another year or so, if we're extraordinarily lucky.
So, we have decided to try to make what we have work for us, for the time being, and to try to not even entertain all the other options until that's something we need to do. Because it is so depressing to realize that everything hinges on treatment working, and we have no guarantees. We can make our house work for the two of us (and if we can't, then we really have a problem!). We just so want to be able to plan ahead for the future that we can both see and almost taste, but just can't quite make reality yet.