Wednesday, October 17, 2007

No words

I can't seem to get out in words how I have been feeling. I have started this post a few times and I end up meandering around and never communicating what I had hoped to communicate. At the request of M at The Maybe Baby as well as my buddy Jill, I will try again.

Physically I am feeling fine. I could point to a few things that I would, in past cycles, relate to being pregnant. This time around I don't want to acknowledge for fear I will later find out they were all in my head. Suffice it to say I am feeling fine. Nothing is going on that would cause me to fear that the pregnancy is not going well. While I don't dream about this pregnancy producing a baby, I also don't live in fear that it won't. I am simply waiting to find out. I feel detached from this pregnancy and growing embryo. I wish I wasn't so detached, but for the time being, it feels like the best way to go.

I can't seem to get down the rest of my thoughts in a coherent way. I am just going to say it and you can wade through it or not.

I am sad and angry and scared. It is about using donor eggs. I am thankful and even happy at times that we seem to have a viable pregnancy - a place where we would likely not be if it weren't for Belinda's generous gift. But, damn it, it is not what I wanted. And it makes me sad that I will never, ever see my genes expressed in our child. I am angry that we have gone through all of this shit to have an outcome that may never feel 100% ok. I am scared that I will always feel the pain of infertility because our solution was just not good enough.

Here I am, growing a (hopefully viable) baby who has no idea about all the stuff that came before him, will only ever know me as his mother and I need to show up in that capacity. I need to not think that she isn't good enough because she isn't half me. I want to feel attached to the embryo growing inside of me now, not sometime in the future. I don't know how to do it. I don't know how to think nice, loving thoughts toward him or her without feeling hurt and scared and angry that it isn't how we had hoped it would be. So I don't think about him or her at all.

I feel like such a failure. I tried really hard to have a child. I did all the research I could, I tried all kinds of alternative medicine. Other people get lucky and they don't even have to try. Other people who don't realize how lucky they are. They think they had it tough because it took a couple of cycles of ART to have their baby. I tried so much harder. It wasn't enough. I failed. I am not enough. (I intend no offense to anyone. I am feeling sorry for myself and logically recognize there is no value in comparisons.)

I wonder if it will always feel like this. The other day, Brad and I were joking about my seeming inability to clean up after myself. Then he said, "Gosh, we should have asked Belinda if she is tidy." He meant it as a joke, but it broke my heart. I cried for hours. I am not enough.

If we had gotten pregnant with IVF and our own gametes I could have (I thought) put all the pain behind me. I could have minimized the journey to conception. Now I can't. There will always be a third party in our procreation. We could have forgotten about the doctors and injections and retrievals. We can never forget about Belinda. She will always be the genetic mother of our child. And I am angry and sad and scared about what that will mean to me for the rest of my life.

I know I cannot look at this in terms of if I can get passed the use of donor eggs. I know I need to get passed it. The choice has been made. Even if this pregnancy doesn't work, we will not be revisiting the use of my eggs. We will move on to donor eggs and donor sperm. So I need to get passed it. I just don't know how. Yet.

23 comments:

REBECCA said...

Kami~ I wish I had words to comfort you or help you through...but as your post is titled, there aren't any. I think you're on your way though...acknowledging what you're feeling is the first step to working through it all. And that's the key...so often we feel like we have to "get past or get over" whatever it is that we're struggling with. In my experience, there's no "getting over"...there's only getting through and getting by. Try not to berate yourself too much, I know it's easier said than done. All of these feelings I'm sure are normal when you've gone through the hell you have. Honor your feelings, give them voice, and allow them to live in the place they need to live for a while. I hope that in time your feelings of inadequacy will lessen and your attachment will grow. I know these are probably empty words coming from someone who has not walked in your shoes, but I just wanted to let you know I'm thinking about you.

Geohde said...

Kami,

I have no nifty advice on how to 'just get passed it'. I don't think it's going to be easy, but hopefully the joy that a DE baby brings you will help ease the pain that your eggs were not involved.

xx

J

Fertilize Me said...

I am thinking of you and wishing I could reassure you ..I have not been at this place and will not pretend to offer advice .I just will try to send happy thoughts your way

Pamela Jeanne said...

I know I would have responded to the "tidy" comment in the exact same way.

You've got so much to sort through and I'm sure the hormones are adding to your emotional state. Wish I could give you a magic formula or elixir to alleviate your anxiety...Thinking of you, Kami, and feeling your angst.

Lori said...

Remember that this is a process, not a product. Everything you're feeling is part of your process, your journey to being a mom. And you are -- and will be -- a great mom.

Be gentle with yourself. Feel what you feel (you do this well) and be gentle.

Trust the process.

P.S Have you had any contact with my friend Laura lately? Maybe it would help to talk with someone who has BTDT. She's due in December, I think. I know she's had some of the same thoughts.

Jill said...

Kami - Thanks for the update. I'm sorry that you're having a hard time with it all. But I'm happy your pregnancy is going well!!

I also won't pretend to know what you're going through. But for what it's worth, I didn't feel "connected" to the embryo/fetus growing inside of me until wayyyyyy at the end. And even then, it was still too abstract to feel "really" connected. I think in some ways you and I are similar in that we over think things... I spent a lot of time after getting married saying "I can't believe I'm married. I don't *feel* married." Like somehow I was supposed to just be magically transformed. Even now I think "I don't *feel* like a mom"... like there's some special exact way you're supposed to feel.

I think the feelings evolve over time, and I think you'll get there. You just have to let it happen. You made such an informed decision when you started this. Know in your heart that you did the right thing. It wasn't a snap decision. It was long-considered.

Meg said...

Oh God. We have talked a lot over the past few days and I cant disagree with how you feel nor can I help you feel better about the decision you made. All I can say is remember...remember what we go through and what you went through to get where you are. I really hope you find peace....you are amazing and caring and someone I consider a friend..even though I havent met you IRL you care and I care...and I thank you Kami...continue being you.

Familyof2 said...

This is going to sound so very hollow, but it is the best I can come up with. Until one walks a mile in your shoes they truly have no concept. Thus the best advice I can give is to take it one day, one breath, one minute at a time. I won't say "in the end it will work its self out" for it may not be "worked out" but I do hope that in the end you find a workable solution to where you finally find comfort not only you for yourself BUT for YOUR family.

Regardless of how it came to be, it is YOUR family.

Irish Girl said...

Kami, I am no expert but everything you wrote makes complete sense to me. The losses you've been forced to endure are great ones and they will leave their mark on your soul, probably forever. How could you ever forget this road you've traveled? To me it seems unthinkable and maybe unhealthy to pretend these losses didn't happen or ignoring these feelings. I think you're a wonderful, inspiring, brave woman. I know you are the kind of woman who makes a fantastic Mom to a lucky child. You ARE good enough. Better than good enough. You inspire me. Please be gentle with yourself. You're doing great even though you think you're not.

stacyb said...

kami

similar thoughts have gone through my mind at times too...i get surprised at the feelings of resentment when i hear that so and so got pregnant after 2 mnths of trying, or when people just talk about i'm going to have another baby as if it were that easy. I thought those feelings would go away when we got pregnant. Maybe this is part of the legacy of years of infertility.

Sometimes I see all these moms with their children who look like them and think that wont be us, ever. And then I realize having a child is not about it looking or being like me. And then I feel lucky because it makes me focus on why we wanted to be parents in the first place: to raise a person who will make a positive difference in the world. That is what i/we can give this baby -- a stable loving home to grow and flourish in.

Finally we are not passive participants in the growth of a fetus. Although our genes are not responsible for what the baby will look like or what talents it will possess our bodies are feeding/nurturing it. Without us they couldn’t exist in this moment. What we eat, how we take care of ourselves during pregnancy has a direct impact on the growing life in the womb and out of it.

This is the long way of saying to me it seems natural to mourn or be angry at the genetic loss while understanding that genetic code is only one part of what makes us who we are. I agree it’s important to make peace with conceiving through DE. For me it’s an ongoing process (part of which I deal with by telling people about it). That said I know in my heart when our little one is born (hoping that all continues to go well) the fact that we used DE wont make one bit of difference.

Trace said...

Oh, Kami, obviously there is nothing we can do except listen to your pain. I don't have much to draw on, except my adoption experience. In that situation neither of us would be biologically related to our child and I was ok with that because I didn't feel the need for my crappy genes to be passed on, but I WAS very insecure about the birth mother. I was conviced our child would love her more than me. My point? It's hard to come to terms w/something that you never pictured yourself doing, life is not the way you expected it to be and it's hard to accept.

I do think it's great you are aware of your feelings and talking about them. You're in my thoughts.

JJ said...

Whew, a very touching post Kami--I can imagine the roller coaster of emotions you are going through right now--I wish I could give you the perfect answer on how to FEEL about all this-but I dont. I can just offer you many hugs and well wishes-you are being loved and thought of by all of us out in blogland!

Yodasmistress said...

I'm not sure if what I am about to say will be comforting to you or not...

Most of us think we know/understand that genes make us who we are. However, that is not completely true. There is also something called the epigenome. In simple terms, the epigenome, chemicals in our body, decides which genes to turn on and off, when. There is a lab experiment that I remember the results of VERY well which helps to illustrate this phenomenon:

There were two "breeds" of mice: A and B. All mice within each group were basically clones of one another. A group were "high anxiety" and B group were "laid back". A group ALWAYS produced "high anxiety" babies and B group ALWAYS produced "laid back" mice. This could be nature or nurture right?

Experiment 1: Take a B baby and have it be raised by an A mom. The B baby came out as "laid back" even though it was raised by an A, or "high anxiety" mom. The experiment was repeated may times, always with the same outcome. Seems straight forward enough that "nature" (i.e., genes) is the controller of this personality trait, right?

Experiment 2: Take a B fetus, implant it in the womb of an A mom. The genetically B baby came out like an A - it was "high anxiety". Well what the heck does that mean? Turns out that the epigenome plays a huge role in this personality characteristic. The chemicals within the mom's body plays a role on which of the fetus's genes are activated.

The reason I am relating all this is that you should take at least a little comfort in knowing that this baby WILL be different after growing in you for 9 months vs how s/he would come out after growing in Belinda for 9 months. YOU and YOUR BODY will have a huge impact on the moods, personality and temperament that this child has when they are born. (Not to mention all the stuff that comes after that.)

Many hugs.

Foreverhopeful said...

Oh Kami.... thank you for sharing your thoughts. I agree with many of the coments here, what you are feeling is to be expected. Losing the genentic connection is huge and a great great loss. And the pain does not go away majically just because you are pregnant. I think being honest to yourself and working through your feelings is definitely a step in the right direction. What you had to endure is SO unfair.... I struggle with that every day as well. When people get pregnant with their 1st IVF or when they eventually do, it hurts me as well because it was something I was not able to do. And now I'm scared I won't even be able to carry a child and there is something wrong with me. I'm not sure if I will ever completely get over the pain and scars this whole process has left me with. But I know time will make it easier and we will all eventually slowly heal from all of this. AND I also do know this about you... I KNOW you are going to be a great mom and love your child. And I know when you hold that baby in your arms and you and Brad are finally parents, I truly believe none of this will matter. But for now... I know its hard to see and I know you are still scared. Don't be so hard on yourself. Keep writing, keep working through your thoughts and feelings.., be honest with yourself and be kind to yourself and I know you will eventually find peace. Big hugs to you and I'm thinking of you.

kristylynne said...

As someone who is considering DE, you have put into words the exact reasons why I'm still considering it and not doing it. I'm afraid to feel the way you are feeling now.

However, I do believe that you will come to love your little hitchhiker, and I bet it will happen soon. I think that infertility has a way of making us all a little afraid to latch on to hope and to believe that our dream of being parents will really come true. Our hopes have been dashed too many times. But the longer that baby sticks around in there, the more you'll let yourself love.

Be patient, and be good to yourself.

Frenchie said...

Hi Kami,
I think you do an amazing job at describing some very complex emotions. Thank you for being so honest and open. Think of all the people you are touching by doing so. You're in my thoughts. Hugs from here!

midlife mommy said...

We used donor eggs. In the beginning of my pregnancy, I was very detached. For me, it wasn't because of DE (though don't think that thought didn't cross my mind!), but because I thought I was going to have another loss and I didn't want to get too attached. Once I could feel her moving inside, I was in awe. It was really the best thing that I have every done.

I didn't attach to her right away after birth (honestly, it took months). I didn't even kiss her until the second day. I also thought that was because of DE, but I have since learned that DE doesn't have much to do with it. All moms and dads are different with regard to attachment. It took my husband a little while to attach as well, and we used his sperm, so he had no excuse (other than being a normal human being).

It may have been easier for us then, because we used an anonymous donor (we had no choice in the matter) and I could pretend it didn't happen if I wanted -- and I wanted to. Now that we are three years out from her birth and I rarely think about DE, I think a known donor would have been better. My daughter might want to know her donor someday. The donor cannot replace me, but she did contribute to what (not who) my daughter is today.

Now, the only time I think "DE" is when I'm asked for family history at the doctor or when someone says my daughter looks like me. As for the former, I just say we used DE, and I don't know. As for the latter, I've learned to say "thank you." Because you know what? She does look a little like me. It follows, I guess, because we were told the donor looked like me.

I am my daughter's biological, social, and environmental mother. Someone else gave her half of her DNA -- but I've since read that the womb environment causes certain genes to be turned on and others turned off. In other words, she would be a different person genetically even if she were carried by her genetic mother (or anyone else). So I did have some influence on her genes as well.

It is OK to have the feelings that you are having. Your child may have some feelings of his or her own to sort through, should you decide to tell. We are in the telling camp, and I have some age-appropriate books that we are using. My daughter is still too young to understand much, but she will in time.

Looking back, I thank God for my donor. Without her, I couldn't have the daughter that I do have. And she is so wonderful, and so worth it. I wouldn't have her any other way, because ehe wouldn't be who she is any other way.

But all of this takes time, at least it did for me.

Drowned Girl said...

Oh sweetheart. No words of wisdom from me, but a hug instead

xx

Carmen said...

You know ...I just want to thank you. I can't comfort you but you voice a lot of the emotions that I bite back and swallow.

I am going for a DE cylce in Czech republic and even though I logically try to reason why we need to do this ..the pain of WHY not me, hurts.

You have the courage to ackowdlege these emotions. Let them breathe and leave you. I hope that the joy of your child will erase the angts that you feel.

The other day my husband make a joke.."well if she does this then we will know which side of the family she take after...." and I remembered you. That moment of pain reflected in my eyes and my husband caught his mistake and it hit both of us. That pang of sadness it there for a reason, we are allowed to grieve that.

We consolded each other that we were trying for adoption and wanted a chinese girl... in our hearts we would have loved her as our own.

China closed it's doors to people like us last year so (married less then 5 years if divorced) so for now If we are lucky enough when the hurt comes we will deal with it and hope the joy of the little smiling face will erase the pain.

You may not feel couragoues or strong and just need to vent, but trust me youare stronger then you know.

KarenO said...

Oh Kami I'm in tears over your post, and wish I could say or do something to make you feel better. I'm so terribly sorry for the hurt and sorrow you're going through... hugs!

m said...

Kami, you amaze me with your honesty and the eloquence with which you express things which so many of us feel/are feeling. I'm not sure you'll ever know how much I admire you. I do wish you weren't so hard on yourself.

I don't have anything to add to the sound advice that so many before me have given you. This post, like so many of yours before this, seems to have become a meeting place, a common ground, for those of us trying to figure out how we feel about all of this. By this, I mean infertility, moving forward with trying to have a family despite the cards we have been dealt, and sadly, that feeling of sometimes being "not enough."

I have to believe that you are part of the development of your baby - you can't spend 9 months with someone 24/7 without some of him/her rubbing off on you, right? Right?

Sending you hugs, my thoughts, some ohms when I try to meditate tonight. Anything you need. Just ask.

Soupy said...

I know what you mean. Once that baby is born,though, you will forget anything else and just "be" with that baby, and DE will just be something you did to achieve the miracle you are growing inside you...........and each day, my bond with my daughter (product of DE) gets deeper and deeper and my heart could burst from the emotions I feel for her.....I can't wait for you to feel that..........

Carrie
lifeinthesoupbowl.blogspot.com

sarah said...

Thank you so much for posting this. I imagine these feelings within myself, and i feel ashamed, as if other people who are doing DE are better than me becaue they don't say these things outloud. As it is, I'm doing one more IVF, but I am really working to wrap my head around the DE possbility (it seems extremely likely).