Monday, May 12, 2008

Some posts I have been meaning to write

Are cousins better than hot wheels cars?

My nephew has a big heart. He was one month shy of his 4th birthday when we lost Ernest. Unknown to me, his mom hadn't told him he wouldn't be getting a cousin when he caught me crying. He asked me why I was crying and I told him it was because the baby died. "Oh. Well, I'm not sad," was his reply. I told him that I was glad he wasn't sad, but I could tell he didn't like the news. He didn't know what a "cousin" was, but he understood it was supposed to be a pretty big deal.

The next day, when I was in a room by myself, he came in and said, "Kami, I'm sorry the baby died." He then probed me for when he might be able to have a cousin. "I hope I have a cousin by my next birthday." I hoped so too. His "next birthday" came and went two and a half years ago. Since then he has been at least somewhat aware of what we have gone through. He knew we had a baby growing two summers ago and knew that that one had died as well.

Yesterday, now at a mature 7 years old, he called to ask how the baby was doing. I told him everything seemed fine and we were hopeful. I asked if he wanted to get a cousin. "Uh huh," was his reply. Poor kid, I think we have made this cousin thing out to something it can't possibly live up to. I thought I would get some idea of what he might expect out of this elusive cousin thing by asking about how he enjoyed having a little brother who is currently two and a half. "Yeah, I like it," was his somewhat neutral reply. I suspect he thinks a cousin must be more special. Still very sweet of him - even if a good part of it is for his own perceived benefit.

Then his mom came on the line and I told her what a sweetheart her son was. He practically had me in tears. She shared a conversation they had a few nights prior to this phone call as she tucked him into bed:
Nephew: Mom, is Kami still pregnant?
Mom: Yes, she is.
Nephew: I hope she has a baby this time.
Oh, me too!


Midwife update:

I failed to provide an update after our latest midwifery appointment. It was pretty uneventful. The baby continues to be head down with good heart tones. We talked about the beta strep test and she said she could give me an IV during labor if I chose to get the test done and found out I was positive. That was good news. I also shared some of my anxiety about giving birth - mostly because I concerned that this anxiety my stall labor. No, I am not afraid of the pain or the safety of a home birth. I am afraid I won't bond with the baby because he / she won't be of my genes. I know that probably sounds crazy to some people and it is very possible I would have similar fears even if this baby was our mutually genetic baby. Sometimes I think the emotions come first (hormonally induced?) and then our rational mind puts a reason to it.

She was very reassuring and said, "When you hold your baby for the first time, you will bond." I know that seems to be most peoples experience with donor gametes or adoption. If not right away, then within a few weeks. I keep reminding myself that I am likely not that different than most people.

I then confessed through tears that I was afraid I would see too much of Belinda in our baby. My midwife said, "Well, maybe you shouldn't have used a known donor." That wasn't quite as helpful a response as her previous one. I wanted to say, "It is a little to late to change that, don't you think?" She then went on to say that I need to be happy for the baby because those chemicals do affect him. Of course, I know that, but what do you do? I am not always sad (although it may seem that way to readers of this blog) and when I am sad I tell Little Butterfly that it isn't about her. Not that he can hear or understand, but maybe the act sends a little bit less sad chemicals or a little bit more loving chemicals through the placenta. At any rate, I have decided that my therapist may have it right - that it is better to grieve than to pretend everything is ok or to put it off until . . . .when? When Little Butterfly is born? When he is a year? When she is 5?

In the end, I decided she is doing the best she can. I am quite certain she has never had a client who has gone through infertility or donor gametes. Instead of expecting her to understand, I have made an appointment with my hypnotherapist in hopes she will have some positive influence in calming this anxiety.

Oh, the really cool part about the midwife visit is that we will now be seeing her weekly. We must be getting close!


I think my RE was right when he said that I am someone who holds on to my dreams very (too?) tightly. It is hard for me to let go of how I thought it would be. Even before I knew Brad was "the one", I wondered what kind of children we would make together. In those early days, I didn't think too much about how we would parent together (I didn't know him well enough yet), but I did wonder how our children would be as a genetic blend of the two of us.

Yesterday, as I read the wonderful news that Mrs. Spock has given birth and welcomed Jonah, I was reminded again over what I will never experience. Mrs. Spock's sister (Auntie Noonie) wrote the announcement post which contained this paragraph:
He looks just like Mr. Spock, except he has Mrs Spock's ears and nose. Oh and he has his Auntie Noonie's giant Peggy Hill feet! :-)

I am genuinely happy for Mrs. Spock and hold no ill will toward her sister. It is what we humans do. We welcome a newborn baby and we look for those physical characteristics that tie us together. We delight in those things the prove we are of the same blood. While I know that there is much more to family ties than this genetic connection, I still long to have that experience.

Yesterday, far too late in the evening, it hit me . . . I will never have that experience. Never. What a hard word. When I thought that I may never have that experience or may never be a mom, it was scary, but so much less certain. That tiny bit of hope made it easier to deal with. That word never grabbed a hold of me and held me so that I could barely breathe. I wanted to scream to the universe: "But I wanted to have that too! Please let me go back and try again! I promise this time I will do it better. This time I won't be so afraid and I will go to an RE sooner. PLEASE! "

But I can't go back. I need to be ok with never. Unfortunately, like the concert that seemed like a good idea until it was sold out and suddenly became the concert you can-not-miss, never makes losing my genetic connection much more important than it probably is. At least, that is my hope and, when I am less fatigued, I think I actually believe it.

Ponderous man, really ponderous

While I was taking a break in writing this post, I popped over to Stacyb's blog who has a timely post about the genetic connection between mother and child. In it, she talks about a good friend who is mourning the loss of her mother - her adopted mother. Stacy makes some good points, but what struck me was the question, "What makes your mom your mom?"

Hmmm . . . that is an interesting thought.

What makes my mom my mom? We are nothing alike and haven't gotten along well since I was a teenager. I know she did the best she could, but sometimes it feels like I raised myself. When I think about her as "my mom", my first thoughts are of how much we look alike. I have her hands, her eyes, her smile and her body shape. We are both far sighted. Outside of that and a penchant for noticing what is missing in our lives more easily than noting what we have, we don't have a lot in common.

Of course, I still love her and would miss her if she were gone, but it makes me wonder - Perhaps this is why I struggle so much with the genetic connection. Perhaps the strongest connection I have with my mom is my genetic connection and some subconscious part my mind can't conceive of a mother / child relationship not based on genetics.

Let's hope that I can prove myself wrong, if that is the case. Either way, that is enough navel gazing for one day. I am off to take the dog for a walk.


Anonymous said...

I think most people are trying to do their best... but some do it better than others. I think her comment about not using a known donor sucked, personally. I can think of a hundred things more supportive than that to say.

Happy Mother's Day, Kami! I hope you are doing well...

Familyof2 said...

Personally I commend you for not burying the feelings and telling people that everything is sunshine and roses. You are probably very correct, your midwife has very likely never dealt with infertility much less what you have gone through.

On a happier note...I LOVE LOVE LOVE your nephew...he sure is something special, as will your child be once he/she gazes his eyes on his/her MOM...because regardless of how they come to isn't who gives them life that is important...but rather who guides them through it...

Summer said...

It's true that whatever connections you have with your child will not be because of genetics. But, I am also constantly amazed at the stories adoptive parents tell about how they get remarks from strangers about how alike (physical and otherwise) they and their kids are. Sometimes, even when the parent and child are of a different race.

I completely understand the grief you still feel for not having that genetic connection. But I am hoping you and your child will have other, unexpected connections that are just as strong.

I also want to share something with you from an adoptee, that I read in the NY Times when they did a series on adoption. She said something like, blood is thicker than water, but love can be thicker than blood.

stacyb said...

what a great thought: love can be thicker than blood...really like that one.

that comment about the donor did truly suck. clearly she wasn't thinking at all when she said it and as was pointed out above she may not have much experience with infertility my guess is she thought she was saying something helpful.still it sucks.

happy mother's day kami -- next year everything will be totally different.

Anonymous said...

That comment was pretty shitty. Maybe that sounded (a little) better in her head before it came out. She probably was just having a bad day, but.....I hope she's better at birthin' babies than diplomacy!

I've wondered about everything you just said, hoping that I wasn't making the wrong decision for IVF w/ DE. I always come back to what lots of mothers have told me - the fear of not bonding with their child is gone when they see them. I didn't give birth to my dogs, but I love them dearly. For my part, I completely agree with familyof2 - it isn't who gives them life, but who guides them through it. So well said.....

But hey - I guess I should get past the second HCG before I act like I know something, huh? :)
Happy belated Mother's Day, Kami!

Foreverhopeful said...

I guess you had lots on your mind.. :) :) What an adorable nephew. It put a smile on my face today.

I'm sorry about the insensitive comment from you midwife. Its so obvious she's never had to walk in our shoes and she just doesn't get it.

Knowing that Dh and I will never have our own child is something that I'm not even sure I've come to terms with. I'm still grieving and its a process. I'm not sure if I will ever get over it. When I married Dh, it was the one thing I was so excited about was to create someone half of me and half of DH. I dreamnt about what our children would look and turn out like and I will never have that and it still hurts. I still envy every women who gets that.

But I truly believe in the end it will not matter. It will the bond you create with your child and the love you give him/her and I know you will prove yourself wrong Kami. I can't wait for you to hold your baby in your arms soon.

B said...

This one is surely a complicated ride.

I am glad bubs is doing OK.

I hope Kami has the baby this time too. Amen.

I hope that, when the time comes, you won't need to keep protecting your heart. I know you know how to love and already you love this little one so much, even while you grieve the loss your children and the hope of a living child, made in love, from the joining of you and your husband.

So much to untangle.

I don't know if this helps but my latest mantra to myself is "It doesn't matter what places I go (anger, despair, jealousy, confusion) as long as I don't stay there.

It enabled Barbie to look at poor grieving broken hearted angry spikey Barbie in the corner, and go over and give her a hug. Sit beside her. and then gently take her hand and lead her to the next place.

I don't know why I am telling you this.

I have faith in the love and healing that will come with this little one. But I can only begin to imagine the confusion......

my love to you beautiful lady and almost mummy.


B said...

I hope that post didn't offend.

I think I was trying to say I hope you don't add guilt or self judgement to your heavy heavy load.


sarah said...

I know I'm a year late, but...
I really struggle with this--my father is obsessed with geneology, but is pretty remote in other ways, and my husband pointed out to me that the genetic connections in my family (the resemblances etc), are the bulk of the connections we have. So, I've been working that one through. Oh I am so glad you wrote all this stuff!