Thursday, September 27, 2007

A dose of reality

I do this every time. Whenever I get to a point where I think a cycle might actually work and we are at a place where we cannot back out (such as after transfer), I have moments when I have thought such as: Am I ready for this?; Am I ready to give up my freedom, my sleep, my hours of quality time with Brad?; What if I'm not a good mom?; GOOD GOD this is a 20 year plus commitment!; What if I don't like his or her spouse?!

Just last night as I went to bed - completely exhausted - I thought about how cool it would be to have a baby. Then I thought about how cool it is to know with a fair amount of certainty that my night will be undisturbed. It's funny how when I feel like my life is going to change I suddenly become nostalgic for my current life. The current life I couldn't wait to get rid of a few days ago.

Does anyone else do this? It seems so crazy. Still, I have done this many times when I was at a hopeful point in a cycle. I have come to recognize it as "just the way I am" and I tell myself I will cope just fine and I have no doubts that I really want this and then I forget about it.

Today was another such moment, but it had a new twist. I was making one of my favorite breakfasts - a peanut butter, banana and rice milk shake. It occurred to me that since so many people seem to have peanut allergies, maybe I should stop eating peanut butter so often - maybe it would be best for the embryos. I am used to having these types of thoughts too because some part of my still thinks that Ernest's birth defects may have been due to something I did or something I consumed. I quiet those thoughts just like I do my fear thoughts about being a mom - I put some logic to it and let it go. I told myself that some peanut butter couldn't be all that harmful - people do much worse things that that. Besides, Brad's family doesn't have any peanut allergies. My family doesn't have any peanut allergies.

And then it hit me.

It's not about my family not having peanut allergies. It's about whether or not Belinda's family has peanut allergies.

"So this is what it feels like, " I thought to myself. I'm not sure what "this" is though. Or I am not sure I can explain it. It was not a welcome feeling. I would have done fine having never been in a situation where I felt it, but it wasn't exactly a bad feeling. It was a bit of a sad feeling, mixed with a little bit of fear and no small part surprise and realization at how frequently those other genes may pop into my life. Yet, I felt ok about it. When I told a friend about it later, it hit me harder. I held back tears. At that moment I think it was more about feeling like a failure because I was unable to produce some healthy eggs than it was about dealing with the issues of using donated gametes. It's funny how your state of mind can influence the emotions you feel around the same event.

Later I had a similar situation arise and got another response. This afternoon, as I guiltily had my third square of very dark chocolate (I have been trying to cut back in case this cycle works), I thought about how Belinda doesn't like chocolate. I laughed to myself and thought, "Ha! I will show her! I will teach these babies to like chocolate before they are even born!" In my head, it was a friendly sort of competition - light hearted and fun - perhaps proof that I was coping well.

I almost called Belinda to tell her - to laugh about it together. But then like a good dream that starts to seem to be about more than just the images, I wondered where this came from and where it might lead if I keep having these thoughts. I don't want to always be in competition with Belinda for our child's behaviors and interests. I absolutely don't like the image of me coercing our child to be more like me - especially in order to be less like her. Which seems especially funny because I picked Belinda precisely because she seemed a lot like me. Am I going to tease out the differences so I can label every attribute "from me" or "from Brad" or "from Belinda"?

Maybe I think too much. Perhaps it is healthy to occasionally feel a competition with Belinda as long as it stays light hearted. Perhaps it is even better to accept those feelings as part of this process and not worry about forcing them to go away or reading too much into them.

I want to continue to be aware of these feelings. I want to keep an eye on them - hopefully a gentle, non-judgmental eye - so that they don't become a subliminal message either to me or a child that I need proof that our child really is ours.


Leah said...

Wow, what an amazing post. Just when I thought I had analyzed how I felt about donor eggs to death, you helped me realize that there are thousands of other emotions and ideas to be explored. I can't thank you enough for sharing all of this so openly, so honestly.

Seeing as how it's looking more and more like donor eggs are the next step for us, I am very much looking forward to sharing the rest of this journey with you.

As for molding your child(ren) in your image (or with your personality traits), it's simply going to happen. We can debate the nature vs. nurture concept until we are blue in the face but I've seen it myself -- my nieces are adopted and we couldn't possibly imagine two children more like their parents. (My nieces are full sisters, but one is EXACTLY like my BIL and the other is EXACTLY like my sister.)

I will be holding my breath until your beta, I am desperately wishing great things for you!

Fertilize Me said...

kami- i love your post- they just make me think so much and help me learn so much. WIshing you the absolute bestest cycle ever!

Frenchie said...

Thank you for being so open about all these intimate feelings. I can relate, somewhat. Though I have not been in your exact situation, I am an adoptive mother, and my husband and I chose to meet our son's birthparents. So, I know when I look at my son exactly where his eyes, hair color, mouth, nose, etc., came from. Every once in a while, I feel a little sad that it's not from me or my husband. But, then, I look at him, and think about how perfect he is, and that, I wouldn't want him to be any other way, and so...I am thankful for his birthmom and dad. It goes around in a big circle like that.

Geohde said...


To say that your experience is emotionally complex is an understatement.

I really, really hope that those embryos implant.

It must be so emotionally rough to do a DE cycle,



Meg said...

Ok the child will be yours - granted we all have weird traits from our parents but we all have werid traits on our own. I honestly believe that most of our behavior is learned. For instance, a beauty queen could end up being the town geek if she is brought up by parents that happen to buy pants to short or like their hair in barettes - not that thats a bad thing but honestly I think a lot has to do with environment.

Yes I have the same feelings as you. I want this soooo bad then question whether or not this is the right thing and if I am ready.

I am still holding out hope for the both of us. We need this.

I read Earnests story for the first time the other day. I am sooo sorry you had to go through that but I am so happy you had your tea and husband to take that beautiful picture.

Thinking of you.......

Irish Girl said...

I can relate so much to the beginning of this post ... the conflicting emotions are exactly what has held me back from IVF. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings so openly. We're all doing the best we can do. I am so hopeful for you and Brad with this cycle.

niobe said...

Not the same thing, but I have these little moments that bring me up short all the time. I think "If I'm lucky enough to get pregnant.." and then I realize that I'm not the one who would be pregnant.

Foreverhopeful said...

Hi Kami. Thank you again for your honesty and openess. I think its natural to have a million thoughts in your head about this whole process. There is a certain amount of fear and what if it goes terribly wrong and I do something wrong as a mother and worry about this whole process. I went through something similiar. I freaked out during my 2ww that when my child finds out I used my sister egss (since we do plan to tell) they will love her more than me. What if the child doesn't see me as the mother and runs away to her. And I got so scared I was doing the wrong thing. But you know at the very end of the day... when you hold that baby in your arms, it will be yours and you will love it like yours (and your fears will disappear). You are going to be his/her mother and none of this will matter. I truly believe that. You and Brad will make wonderful parents. You have so much love to give that child is going to be so lucky and its going to be raised in you and Brad's image and they are going to be wonderful kids. I wish you luck and I'm very hopeful for you. Thinking of you and I can't wait until your beta.

mchope said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and emotions throughout this process. What a gift you are giving to others who might be in or contemplating a similar situation. I could really relate to the beginning of your post. With IVF #1 looming, I find myself thinking about all that could change in our lives and wondering if I am really up for it all. After so many years NOT being a mom, am I too set in my ways, too lazy, too self-involved for motherhood? Of course I snap back to reality and tell myself that I would deal with it the best way I know how and my "old" life would not be longed for if we were lucky enough to become parents.

B said...

I hope this goes well for you kami

I think I have things to learn from your humour and humility.

JJ said...

Just hoping with all hope for you--beautiful post.