Monday, July 30, 2007

One step closer

Thank you ladies for you comments to my last post. They were are wonderfully uplifting to read. In fact, I have reread them a few times today. To answer your question, Sully - I wonder if I might feel differently if I were adopting a child who was already here. Although I also think of using donor eggs as a form of adoption, perhaps the tie between conceiving and being a mom wouldn't be so obvious.

Moving right along . . . Brad, Belinda and I met with the attorney today to put together the paperwork for the donor eggs. Brad and I signed it today, but Belinda and her husband need to meet with another attorney to go over it once more. It went very smoothly.

This was also the first time Brad and Belinda met. It went well in so many ways. Every time the attorney left the room to print or copy something we would launch into conversation, but it just wasn't enough. We were hoping she would have time to get together to chat, but were concerned about taking too much of her time. Happily, she offered to get together first. We headed off to the nearest cafe to chat!

We decided that I would ride with Belinda since Brad and I both knew (sort of) where we were going. As I climbed into the passenger seat, I moved a couple of items that were on the seat. Belinda said, "Oh, let me get that" and despite my protests came around to my side of the car to tidy up. To show how little I cared that she wasn't perfectly tidy, I locked my door. She took it in the spirit intended and laughed. It wasn't until about an hour later I found out why it bothered her so much. It was a package of baby wipes on the floor. She was concerned that seeing them would upset me. How many fertile people do you know who would notice something like that?!

At the cafe, we talked for over an hour. Sometimes asking for detailed information about her history, family, health, etc. and sometimes just talking about whatever came to mind. We determined that we are undecided about how much involvement we want from each other after a child is born (thinking positively here). I understand she would like some updates, but is leaving it up to us to decide the limits of involvement. I think I would like to stay in regular contact, but I don't know what "regular" means at this point -we will figure it out as we go.

There was also a conversation regarding how she wanted to give her child a full sibling. She was the product of a unique union and while she has 4 half-siblings, none share both her mother and father. This is something that has made her a bit sad.

The reason I mention this is because I sometimes still go back to the idea of cycling along with Belinda. I know, I said it was off the table, but that was when I didn't think we would be able to cycle in September with donor eggs - I thought I could use that cycle for one more try with my eggs if I wanted to. The part that holds me back is the possibility of having twins where one was from my eggs and one from Belinda's. I know there are many genetically mixed families out there and I know we could make it work if we decided on that path, but I also think it may be best not to add another layer of complication. I guess that is a very long-winded way of saying that Belinda's experience lends more weight to trying for 100% genetically linked siblings over the possibility of having my genetic offspring. Besides, to be brutally honest, cycling with my eggs is most likely to only produce a larger debt.

She is also willing to do a second cycle, if needed. Of course, since she hasn't done one yet we amiably acknowledged that she might change her mind. She is just a very kind person. Brad and I are happy to know her and feel very fortunate that we crossed paths and this time. I sure hope it works out all the way to having a baby.

This evening has been so peaceful because of our positive experience with Belinda. I feel very good about our path right now. I suspect that feeling will come and go just like it has over the last several weeks, but right now it feels wonderful.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

A little self pick-me-up

I have only recently returned home after a backpacking trip with friends. There was beautiful scenery, good companionship and even Harry Potter (it was a short hike in and well worth bringing the book). It was a nice few days. Of course, I never stopped thinking about ttc. I take that back - there were a few moments when I was able to be wholly present: swimming in the lake, watching the trees blow in the wind, taking in the view one evening.

Yet, the vast majority of moments involved thinking about the upcoming cycle. Mostly it was hopeful, I am happy to say. I counted the days until the next cycle begins. I dreamed about this cycle working. "Maybe I will be pregnant this winter." "Maybe we will have some embryos to freeze this time." I imagined reading Harry Potter to our children. I was feeling very good about the odds this cycle - the benefits of using a younger woman's eggs. Yes, it is a little bit sad that our child won't have my eyes, but to have a baby! It will be worth it. It will be so worth it.

Then I arrived home and checked the mail. The bill for the upcoming cycle arrived. The first paragraph read, " . . . scheduled for in vitro fertilization with donor egg in the September 2007 series."

Suddenly I felt very different about everything. "How did I become her?", I thought. "How did I become someone who was incapable of creating a child with her own eggs? I don't want to be her. I can't be her!" I was so embarrassed. I panicked - thinking, "What if someone finds out?!"

Well, of course someone will find out. Or more accurately, everyone already knows. My friends, family, and co-workers all know. My internet community knows. There is no secret here. Why do I still feel shame? Why do I feel like there must be something inherently wrong with me? I feel like I have committed some horrible crime and am being marched in front of the camera with a subtitle reading: Kami - suspected of failing to produce viable embryos.

I don't have an answer to those questions, but I can tell you what I am doing about it. First of all, I am posting this in a blatant call for support and understanding. I am also reminding myself that there really is no shame in infertility. After all, that is one of the reasons I started this blog - to play my small part in helping to remove the stigma of infertility. And I am going to make a list of the reasons I am not a failure and there is no reason to be ashamed:
  • I have made the best choices I could at each step of this journey. It's not my fault it has come to this.
  • I have kept going after multiple losses, set backs and growing debt.
  • Brad and I have pulled together instead of apart during this journey.
  • I continue to move forward with donor eggs even though, at times, I am scared or sad or ashamed.
  • I choose to be content with who I am and peaceful in our choice to keep trying to have a baby.
  • I am not ashamed.
  • Someday (I hope!) I will proudly tell our children what we were willing to do to bring them into this world.
  • I am proud of Brad and I for being able to make such hard unconventional decisions than most to start a family. (Added after the suggestion from Inconceivable)
Well, I feel better already. I needed a little self pick-me-up. Thanks for listening.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

More Belinda (donor) updates

Things are starting to happen pretty quickly now. Belinda got in for her personality assessment (don't get me started on why they do this for egg donors and not sperm donors), she has her pre-cycle physical scheduled and we will all three (Brad, Belinda, me) will be meeting with the lawyer on Monday. If that all goes well - and I fully expect it will - just CD3 blood work for Belinda and a meeting with the social worker. We will both go on BCP's with our next cycle.

Belinda also spoke with the donor egg coordinator at our clinic today who said that it is striking how alike the two of us are. I think we are amazingly alike too both in appearance and personality.

Here is a picture of the two of us the day we met and first seriously discussed Belinda being our egg donor.

I'm the one who is 39.5 years old.

I did have a bit of a meltdown when my nurse coordinator told me to let her know when my next CD1 is so that I can go on BCP's to get in sync with Belinda. If I was cycling with my eggs, she wouldn't have be go on BCP's so soon. That may seem like a small thing, but it makes the whole "this is a donor cycle not my egg cycle" idea hit home. I really hate that someone else is doing what I should be doing. Fortunately, I have an office at my new job so I can close my door and cry. Which I did - and it helped.


Some random happenings that have effected the way I currently view our path . . .

I had a dream about my RE. Actually I had a dream I was my RE. I was looking across my desk explaining to a couple (Brad and I) how the cycle went beautifully - good E2 levels, good looking embryos, but we still failed to produce a viable baby. In the back of my mind, I was thinking about how I have done everything I could think of for this couple. I orchestrated the growth of the eggs with textbook like results. The embryologist grew healthy looking embryos. I was controlling for everything that was within my reach, yet it wasn't enough. What else could I offer them except to move on to donor eggs? I'd hate to see them keep trying this again and again and not be successful.

I told a friend that we had found a donor. She was so excited for me. She said, "I don't consider myself a psychic or empath, but sometimes I sense this energy . . . I know you will be a mom. I don't know which path you will take to get there, but I know you will be a mom. You are going to be a great mom." This brought instant tears to my eyes. I don't know if I really believe in being able to sense the future so it wasn't her confidence that shook me. It was the realization that this is all about me being a mom. Me. Being a mom. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in details, I forget what the end goal is.

Our donor may be ready as soon as September. It was always a possibility, but it is actually starting to seem likely. I just found out yesterday and I am very excited. I was talking to Belinda about scheduling a physical and suddenly I was so sad I could have sobbed if I wasn't calling from work. This really is the end of the journey for the possibility of having my genetic child. It's ok though. Around the edge of that sadness was a voice that said, "This is good. This grief means that I am moving on." As we get closer I suspect I will feel greater sadness, but I also know that beyond the sadness is greater acceptance. I am looking forward to the day when I will be ok with all of this.

On a lighter note - I just got some really neat yarn in the mail for my next baby blanket project. I also got some DMC #814 for my "secret handshake". I'm looking forward to getting started on both.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Share the love

I was going to post about how I am slowly coming to terms with moving to donor eggs, but it kept turning into "poor me" instead. So I took a breather and roamed around some of my favorite blogs and decided to take Lori up on her suggestion to count the ways I love myself.

This is probably just what I need today.

  • I love my ability to work with all kinds of people (I am still enjoying my new job).
  • I love my uterus. It creates a happy, safe place for our embryos.
  • I love my ovaries. They have done they best they could do in a tough situation.
  • I love my smile - especially when it goes all the way to my eyes.
  • I love my body. I can dance and ride my bicycle.
  • I love my tummy. I am more than thin enough.
  • I love my heart. It keeps beating and keeps me breathing even when it aches.
  • I love my eyes. They let me see the beauty of summer.
  • I love my skin. I love all the nerve endings that let me feel the breeze.
  • I love my mouth and the way it makes me feel when it smiles.
  • I love that I can still laugh and love and enjoy life.
  • I love me. I am my oldest and best friend.
Thank you Lori - a wonderful idea. I am feeling more content and less weepy. I think I will hold on to these thoughts while I take my lovely feet for a walk by the river.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

A message from our egg donor

I have asked Belinda, formerly "Miss D" to comment or be a guest blogger on my blog. This is her first, of hopefully many, posts.

In your July 3 blog you stated you would like to hear something believable in the direction of your worth or value. Allow me to lend you my opinion on the matter.
A woman who can have a baby when she is not "trying" could be construed as some one of value because she can bring new life to the world. That same woman then must choose what to do with this life she has created. (Not to leave the guys out here, but we are talking about women for now) Many women feel an immense amount of love and nurturing instinct. Many do not. So then, apparently, it is an option to keep this child alive until they are capable of doing so themselves, all the while they can feel they are unwanted.
A woman can care for a child that is not biologically her own, and love and nurture that child who will grow up knowing they were loved and wanted. Never knowing it could have gone a different way.
A woman can also feel such a strong drive to nurture and raise a child that she is willing to spend endless money, time, effort and tears so that she has the opportunity to fulfill this instinctual drive.
If I were to name women I knew who were of value, you would be one of them.
And when I say you have value, I feel quite confident in my expertise on the matter, and you should believe me.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . . 0

We have lift off! High speed is up and running at 2000x the speed of our dial up. We also wired for wi-fi so Brad and I will no longer be fighting for computer time - at least when he brings his laptop home from work.

My intention was to get caught up on blogs, but my first stop was Coming2Terms which led to the International Infertility Film Festival which led me to all kinds of fun (and some tears) on You Tube. I was just getting warmed up when my sister and her husband showed up for dinner. We invited them over to help just in case we had problems getting the high speed set up. We were ok, but Hoan did help us get our system encrypted. Thanks Hoan!

Then we were off to see Transformers. Parts of the movie were good and parts were goofy or just plain lame. Early in the movie there is a scene where some soldiers can't wait to go home. One comments about how he can't wait to hold his little girl for the first time blah blah blah. I admit, I was feeling a bit sensitive already, but when he told his wife over internet video, "We made a beautiful baby together," I walked out. Brad and I won't be making a beautiful baby together. Hopefully we will be raising a beautiful baby together which I know is more important, but at that moment all I heard was, "Not me." Come on! Wouldn't you think that Transformers would be a reproductively safe movie? It was like stubbing your toe in the middle of the night. The pain really isn't that bad, you just aren't mentally prepared for it.

Anyway, we got back home at around 11:00 and I did hit a couple of blogs, but since I haven't had enough sleep in weeks, I really must get to bed.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Dial up, a new job and other excuses

I want to thank everyone who has been reading my blog and offer my apologies - and excuses - as to why I haven't been returning the favor recently.

1) The new job is sucking away my free time. No, it hasn't been a lot of overtime, I just need to get reacquainted with working again. I am still enjoying it - it's not near as nice as being unemployed, but working pays better. It is making the week go a lot faster which means our chance to cycle will get here sooner. Sadly, it also means I haven't had more than a few minutes each evening to get on the net.

2) We still have dial up. Sometimes I load 3-4 blogs and then walk away for a few minutes (if my husband isn't around to steal the computer) Sometimes I will keep clicking from page to page waiting for one of them to show some text. I will think of all kinds of things I want to comment and will load those comment pages . . . only to lose track of what I wanted to say to whom. Obviously, I have done it in the past, it just takes hours and I haven't had that lately.

3) I haven't been sleeping well (warm at night and a lot on my mind) so I am tired and grumpy. I try not to leave grumpy posts.

The good news is that I will get used to working again and organizing my free time better, we are getting high speed this weekend (yeah!!!) and after the visit with my RE, I have felt a bit more peaceful and (hopefully) will start sleeping better.

I hope this weekend will be the chance I need to get catch up with everyone.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

A thoughtful discussion with my RE

I feel like I did when I sat across from Dr. R. this afternoon - "Where should I begin?" I keep going from, "We will just do X" to "But what about Y?" Unfortunately, this is precisely why I asked for our little chat. I was hoping to put to rest the "what if?" questions.

I have said it before, but I will say it again: I adore my RE. I know the book Unsung Lullabies talks about how infertility patients idealize their doctors. I suspect I may be a textbook example. Yet, I choose to believe that he is as compassionate, thoughtful and kind as I think he is. His stats dispassionately tell me that I can believe in his skills and experience. So why can't I take his advice and let all the "what if's" go? I am hoping I can. I am hoping that blogging about today will help.

With that said, I will just jump in and see where it goes. My apologies to Dr. R for my own interpretation about what he said.

I started by asking about natural cycle IVF.

Dr. R: If there really was a solution for someone in your situation, it would be in the literature. Where are the studies showing hundreds of women with failed IVF cycles that are having 75% success rates with natural or low dose cycles? Even the strongest proponents of natural cycle IVF are getting rates around 10%-15% and that is with younger women.

Me: I haven't seen any studies like that, but those anecdotal stories sure make me wonder, "Could that be me?" And what about those studies that find, for example, a 51% aneuploidy rate in a normal cycle and only a 35% rate with a low stim protocol?

Dr. R: Let's say that is true. On a normal cycle, we might get 20 eggs and only 10 would produce normal embryos. If we had a low stim protocol we might get 4 eggs and we would have 1 or 2 normal embryos. I just think it could be a disaster. You may not have anything to transfer.

Me: That just makes too much sense. But what about me? I'm not a statistic! I'm not going to do a hundred cycles. What if something like this would work for me? I keep thinking the answer is out there somewhere, we just need to find it. And I need to feel that I have tried everything possible.

Dr. R: You have every right to try everything you can. You need to feel comfortable at the end of this journey that you have done enough. But we can only address the things that we know about. There may be someone in Antarctica who has the answer for you, but you'll just never know it. The good news it that you can choose to be ok with whatever happens. You can choose to make the best decisions you can and decide that no matter how it turns out, you will be ok. You have many other aspects in your life. You are someones best friend, you are someone's best wife, you are someone's best patient. You have many roles and you can choose to be ok with your life however it turns out. I know you well enough to know that you are capable of that. Not that I'm saying I think donor eggs will not work for you, I do think it will work. There are just no guarantees and in the end you can choose to be happy with however it turns out.

I nodded my head to acknowledge than I understood. I would have like to have said that I knew I could make that choice - a choice to be happy no matter what. In my heart, I know I can be happy having a baby that was not my genetic baby. I just don't know if I can be happy if I never get to give birth to a baby that will live. I hope I will never find out if I am capable of making that choice.

I brought up Ernest - how I wondered if his issues were related to our infertility. In the past the "experts" said it was just bad luck. Could we have that much bad luck? He had previously agreed with the "bad luck" diagnosis, but today he admitted that he is a bit worried that it may be a sperm issue as well. Not that it is likely, he quickly added, but that he did worry about those kinds of things. When I asked what he would do if we asked him to make all the decisions for us, he said he would use donor eggs for all the embryos and donor egg plus donor sperm for some portion and then put back one of each. Or maybe he would put back two donor egg and donor sperm embryos. Or maybe he would put back three DE/DS embros! (Yes, he was kidding - or at least kidding on the square). He just wants us to have a baby. (He made it clear he was sensitive to our needs too.) He said it was a good sign that I would have likely carried Ernest to term if his issues hadn't caused the pre-term labor, it was a good indication that there weren't undiagnosed implantation issues.

We talked about a few other possibilities. We talked about the financial burden of IVF. He really doesn't want us to spend money on a cycle that isn't likely to produce a baby. He has seen some disasters (as he called it) when couples chose to do cycles when they weren't likely to work - and they didn't. He said he feels it is part of his job to discourage couples from going down that path. Some people have a hard time letting go and he doesn't want to make money off of desperate couples. If we suddenly had a financial windfall, he would feel differently about us trying a bit longer for our genetic child.

That pretty much sums up the meeting.

Now I am sitting here wondering if putting it all down helped. I think I feel a bit better about not trying again with my own eggs. I may even be able to put it completely to rest. But I don't know what to do with the donor sperm idea. And with that thought comes the thought that maybe it is a sperm issue after all and what we ought to be doing is IUI with donor sperm. Ahhh . . . but that brings me full circle. It is all those, "what if?" questions again.

I know what we need to do. We need to just make a decision and hope it will work. If it doesn't, we can choose again. I can't keep losing sleep over "what if?". There are no more answers for us. We won't know what will work until we try something that does. For myself, I like the idea of a known donor over an unknown one and we have a known egg donor. At this moment, I would choose to not try again with my own eggs. I think we should continue with an egg donor and Brad's sperm. If it doesn't work, we will do the next cycle with donor eggs and donor sperm. If we have any frozen embryos from either cycle, we will try for a sibling if we are successful or start doing FET's if we are not.

Of course, I will need to confer with Brad and see how he wants to proceed. In the meantime, it will be my job to quiet my mind to the paths that we don't choose. I'll remind myself that we are doing everything possible and making the best decisions we can with the information we have.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Closer to a decision

We have decided not to cycle at the same time as the donor. I think putting it all down in one succinct post helped to make it more obvious that it wasn't the best choice. Although it was actually my husband who said, "Why would you want to work so hard for a pregnancy and then put it at risk with a cvs or selective reduction? If you want to try again with your eggs, fine. Just don't do it at the same time as a donor." Made perfect sense as soon as he said it. That is one of the reasons I love him. I tend to stay in my head, logically weighing all the options. He listens to his intuition and just comes up with the answer.

Tomorrow we will meet with my RE to hopefully answer the question, "Have we really tried hard enough?!" I am going to suggest a low stim protocol or natural cycle IVF. Brad is happy to try again if we do something different. I am excited about the possibility, but I hope I will at least come away feeling more at peace with giving up on my eggs and moving on.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

First day back at work

Thank you everyone who wished me well on going back to work. I am happy to report it went quite well. I think it will be challenging, but still not more than a 40 hour work week most of the time. I spent probably half the day just chatting with and getting to know my coworkers who all have been very kind and supportive.

True to my nature, I have already brought up our infertility and loss struggles - not for sympathy, but because we were having conversations about who we were outside of work and this is a big part of who we are. Well, one lady had a m/c earlier in her life (she is right around 40) and decided not to continue to try to have kids. She seems very happy with her life and we were just starting a good conversation about her few doubts about her decision vs. my inability to let go of this dream when someone else walked in. Oh well, lots of time for that conversation in the future.

All is well.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

How much is enough?

That song by The Fixx has been going through my head. I just change the words a bit:

How much is enough? when your womb is empty
How much is enough? in the land of plenty
When you have (almost) all you want and you still feel nothing at all
How much is enough, is enough

The reason the chorus is on perpetual repeat in my head is because I keep thinking maybe I should try just one more time. What if my eggs are good, but just have a bad reaction to the stims? Low-dose and natural cycle IVF are all the rage these days. What if that is the answer, the magic cycle, the miracle cure for me? What if I don't try it and always wonder, "What if?"

And yet, I am feeling emotionally - and certainly financially - spent. There is a part of me that wants to completely let go of the possibility of having a biological baby for the greater possibility of being successful with donor eggs. I also want to not care at all that he / she would not be my biological offspring now and forever. I just don't think that is likely.

Should I spend another $12,000 for one more chance - which my RE (who doesn't believe in low-dose protocols but might be talked into it) gives a 10-15% chance of a live birth? Perhaps I could cycle along with the donor and save 1-3 thousand dollars. Of course, if all goes well we could have 3-4 babies implant and be faced with selective reduction. You may be shocked to hear that I have thought about this possibility and discovered that a maternity (instead of "paternity") test can be done with a CVS (an earlier, but riskier test similar to amniocentesis). I could maximize my odds of success and then reduce her babies if need be. Yes, I do know how awful that sounds.

Another scenario might be that I cycle with my eggs along with the donor and have one or two babies implant. I am not going to pretend they are my genetic offspring. I am going to find out and be honest about it with our children. Will my bonding be slowed or otherwise negatively affected because I don't know if he / she / they are my biological children? Wouldn't it be better to fully come to terms with the loss of a genetically related child before our potential babies are born? What if I have one of hers and one of mine? Would that be hard on our children? What if I treated them differently because I was trying so hard not to?

Then there is the fact that my donor won't be ready until November at the earliest. I could just do another cycle with my eggs while I am waiting. If there was no cost to us, I would already be signed up. Better to at least be distracted with the hope of a successful cycle than just wait it out. How much is $12,000 worth anyway? I used to know. I used to have a feel for that amount of money, but after spending more than four times that amount (and counting) it could all just be monopoly money by now. Who needs to retire anyway?

And so I go around and around and around. Have I really tried hard enough? Wouldn't I love a donor egg baby as much as my own? I believe I would. Should I use this time to grieve this loss and be farther along the journey of healing before we start the donor egg cycle? Would one more chance be worth potentially throwing away more than ten thousand dollars? Is it worth that money for closure? Do I really want a biological child just that much? I don't know. Maybe I should ask Dear Jane.

How much is enough in the land of plenty . . .

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Why do I want it so much?

With the new job looming in just a few days, I have been busy getting a bunch of "I'll do it tomorrow" stuff done. To that end, I decided to go to Costco and get some more brochures printed for an infertility support group that I have formed. While I waited for my print job to be done, I wandered around the store to see if there was anything I didn't know about that I couldn't live without.

I can alway tell when I am at Costco during normal work day hours because of the unique cross-section of people. It is about 50% retired people (clogging up the aisles around food samples) , 10% business people (dressed nicely and moving efficiently) and 40% moms and kids (breaking my heart). That last group can be broken down further to about 70% moms and babies or moms and young children plus baby; and about 30% are moms with young kids to young teens.

Perhaps I was feeling a bit masochistic, but I decided not to look away when I came across a mom and her kids, I observed her for a while. I tried to get inside her head, see what she was thinking, imagine myself in her shoes. Maybe I could understand why it is so important that I mimic her life in this aspect.

This woman, at the print center, had a young girl, about six years old. It was taking mom a bit to put things together and the six year old kept wandering. Every few seconds mom would crane her head, walk around a corner, peak down an isle to make sure her daughter was still around and, I presume, behaving herself. This woman did not seem happier than I did. In fact, she seemed more harried and tired. Would I be happier in that moment had I been her instead of me? I don't think so.

Then another mom came around the corner followed by preteen-boy pushing the cart . . . and skating on the backs of his tennis shoes with the built in wheels. This boy was behaving himself at the moment, but I have seen enough of preteen-boys on those shoes weaving among shoppers to automatically think, "Why would I want one of those?"

Next was a woman with four kids ranging in age from newborn to about eight. After automatically thinking to myself, "Selfish bitch! Why does she get to pollute the gene pool?!" I moved on to thinking about the amount of time that must go into keeping those kids fed, clothed and guided into adulthood. Why do I want to saddle myself with that responsibility? I am blissfully only responsible for myself right now. Brad and I are very happily married and have a great time together. Why mess that up?

While I was checking out, I spied a woman several lanes over. She was picking up her toddler from the cart. "Ahhh . . . would that I were her. I wonder if she truly appreciates how fortunate she is." Was she happy? I don't know. I didn't care. I knew I would be happy in her shoes.

On the way out, just my luck, I pass within inches of ready-to-pop-pregnant-lady. She was holding hands with her husband. I felt again the stabbing wounds of infertility.

During the drive home, I thought about what I imagined was so wonderful about parenthood. I didn't think about trips to Costco or shopping for shoes or making dinner (except when we playfully made dinner together as a family). I thought about going for walks; discovering new bugs; changing diapers while cooing to our baby; breastfeeding; the sound of the unbelievably joyful laughter that only the young seem capable of; the three (or four) of us together as a family -just happily sharing each other's company.

I know, logically, that life with children is not one big happy moment. I know that most of the day is spent doing mundane things. Logically, it seems having children ought not to be that big of a deal. But it is and I can't figure out why.

I was never so broken hearted over the job I didn't get or the boyfriend I couldn't keep, the favorite pet that died or the grandparent who passed away in my arms. I saw my life going on without all of those things. Why can't I imagine a life without children? Why can't Brad and I just say, "Well, that didn't work. Let's just live child-free. " and be happy about it? Why is it so darn important?

Today when I learned I wouldn't get my one last chance with my own eggs, I suddenly felt the pain of our failures and losses all over again. While part of me was lost in grief, tears streaming down my face, the other part wondered how something that ought not to be that important could hurt so bad. Why is the absence of the preteen-boy with the skates (the one I don't even want) so utterly painful?

I just don't know. The pain of infertility is real. The incredible longing is real. The sadness and grief and fear are all very real. I want to have children more than I have ever wanted anything else in my life - nothing else even compares. Yet, I can't figure out why it is all so important.

In the end, I reach the same conclusion I always reach. It must be instinct - a primal urge that leads us down the path of reproduction. I want children like I want to keep breathing. I just do. Any reason is merely the rationalization of a decision already made in the programming of my genes. Or maybe not. Either way, I don't know what else to do at this point other than keep trying so maybe it doesn't matter why I want to be a mom so badly. I just do.

Not Covered

That was the statement on my new jobs health insurance plan after the words "Infertility treatment."

Dang it! I as hoping. I didn't really expect it, but I allowed myself to hope that maybe that would be an excuse to try one more time with my eggs. It looks like they might cover some infertility drugs, but not sure how that will work with a DE cycle.

I feel so broken right now. I just want someone to tell me that just because I can't have a baby doesn't mean I am without value. Oh, and I want to believe her too. I guess that is the tricky part.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Our wonderful (likely) egg donor

Note: In later posts I "out" these two individuals - "L" becomes Leah and "Miss D" becomes Belinda.

I met her three days ago. We had talked on the phone twice over the last several weeks. The conversations went pretty well considering what we were discussing. I liked that she seemed to act the way I think I would act in her position. I also think I acted the way she would act were she in my position. She assured me I could as any questions I wanted and didn't want me to be uncomfortable. I told her I expected to be uncomfortable at times, but I was okay with that. It was important to find a good match. "Good," was her reply.

We made arrangements to meet at our mutual friend's house. I came to know our mutual friend, L, only about 6 months ago. We came together through our shared experience with infertility. Shortly after our third failed IVF cycle I let her know we were not happy with our clinic's donor program and were attempting to find our own donor. I asked her (and everyone else I knew) to please keep an eye out for someone kind of like me who might be willing to be our donor. She immediately thought of "Miss D" who was about my height, hair and eye color.

So last Friday I went out the door to meet Miss D for the first time. I realized on the way there that while I couldn't find it in me to fill out my clinics "Recipient Profile Form" because I hated thinking about needing to find a substitute for my genes, here I was getting ready to interview a substitute in person. It's funny how the mind works. Perhaps I just find it easier to take control of the situation and find my own match rather than fill out paper work that gives someone else the power to match us to a donor. Did I previously mention I can be a bit of a control freak?

At any rate, there I was, at my friends house waiting for Miss D to arrive. I was very conscious of the fact that I was acting natural. My hands were hanging loosely at my sides when they wanted to be crossed over my chest. I made an effort not to pace. I made small talk with L. Then I heard a vehicle in the driveway. It was an SUV. I thought, "Ugh. I would never drive an SUV!" OK, I told myself, not enough to go on. She has three kids after all and lives in an area where my Prius would likely get stuck a dozen times during the winter. I didn't watch her get out of the car. I just wasn't ready.

As she approached the house, I was trying not to let on that I was scrutinizing her appearance. She had her kids with her as I expected (they are cute and seemed intelligent) and the two year old was being carried on her hip. Her other hand was carrying a tray of fruit. She was wearing large dark sunglasses and I couldn't see her eyes. "I wonder what her eyes look like?", I thought to myself. Almost on cue, she announced, "Let me put this down so I can take off these bug-eyed sunglasses." She removed her sunglasses and looked at me in such a way that it was obvious I could have as long and detailed a look as I wanted. As I relive that moment, tears have come to my eyes at the thought of her kindness.

In fact, many things she did that day were very kind. When she found out her hormonal IUD would need to be removed, she made the appointment that very day. She gave me a hug when we met and when we parted. She made it easy to ask her whatever I wanted. It was obvious that she really wanted to help.

I am sorry to say that I didn't express my gratitude. At the time, I had put away my emotional self and was playing the professional. I could have been interviewing someone for a position at work or negotiating to buy some left over tires. It took about 24 hours for it all to sink in - the hope of finding a suitable donor and that sadness of needing to look. I woke up Sunday morning thinking, "Oh my gosh, how could I not have shown her how much her kindness meant - and means to me?" I wrote her an email that morning expressing my thanks. I suspect she understands.

Now we are in the process of getting the other details out of the way. She needs to take a Personality Assessment Inventory and start the process of getting checked out physically once the effects of the IUD wear off. Brad and I need to get in for our interview with the social worker and we both need to consult attorneys. At this point, it looks like we may still be able to cycle in November, but if that doesn't work, January should be the latest.