Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Decision to do DEIVF

Fractal Ovary by Gilberto Santa Rosa
So where are we now as far as trying to add to our family? What’s the next step?

Basically, we have decided our next step will be to use donor eggs, also known as DEIVF (Donor Egg In Vitro Fertilization). It’s been tough getting here. Not just because of all we’ve been through. Making the actual decision has been hard. And since we can change our mind at any time realistically until our donor has started meds, maintaining this decision is also challenging.

First, it took some time for the Wacky Wicketeer to come around to the idea. When I brought it up at first he was just negative about it. Then he told me why – because he couldn’t imagine his DNA combining with anyone’s other than mine. It was this really weird, romantic, unexpected reaction, so I was like, “awww!” and “WTF?” at the same time! Later, we talked about it some more and I told him I didn’t think he realized what he was taking away from me by deciding we wouldn’t use donor eggs. As opposed to donor embryo, he was taking away my opportunity to bring more of HIM into the world. This man I love so much…I just can’t imagine the world without him in it, and part of my safeguarding that, since I know it will happen someday, is in trying to duplicate him. LOL. I know, that sounds strange, but there it is.

As compared to adoption, which he was ready to go ahead with, DEIVF would allow me to be pregnant, give birth, and possibly breastfeed. I would still have the opportunity to be the child’s birth mother, if not its genetic mother. I might be ready for adoption someday, but I’m not right now. To be ready for it, I would need to grieve these things.

He was still reluctant. Then one day he came home from work and said he was ready to proceed using donor eggs. I asked him what changed his mind. He told me a guy at work told him he needed to “just get over it!” Hah! After all that I had said, it took some guy from work who had been through an IVF or two to have his child, telling my Wacky Wicketeer to get over it.

I have heard it recommended that once you have a failed cycle at a clinic, you should change clinics. I think if it was a complete failure, i.e., no frozen embryos remaining, this is likely excellent advice. Each clinic I’ve been to has made little mistakes here or there that impact my confidence in them as a major part of my Fertility Team. So, we decided to change clinics. That same work friend of his, and an online friend of mine, each recommended a particular clinic in the Bay Area. So, we are switching to that one.

Because of the change, and because our initial infectious disease testing has expired, we have a lot to do before we’d actually cycle. I found myself procrastinating in getting the records and such. I finally realized that I hadn’t fully come to terms with the loss of my genetic connection to this theoretical child. I was, and still am, in the midst of grieving this aspect. My therapist says it will continue through to the child’s birth, but that the important part is that I get through some initial stages of it first. What I realized was that I was still in some denial about this being what we need to do.

I have recently lost about 20-25 pounds. For the first time during this infertility roller coaster, I have a healthy BMI. As I’ve mentioned before, the primary cause of my infertility and miscarriages is poor egg quality caused by PCOS. Hence the egg donor route. However, the weight loss, and the fact that I’m now running regularly, can help regulate my insulin, and possibly result in my ovaries being less PCOS-ey. (How’s that for a made-up word?) In summary, my improved weight could mean better fertility. Of course, we still have that pesky little slow sperm problem, so it’s still unlikely we’d get pregnant on our own.

Over the course of this journey, I’ve become a fairly religious person. So here’s what goes through my head: What if God meant for me to get healthy again before having kids? What if he delayed my dreams coming true because I was headed down the same path to diabetes and kidney failure that killed my Grandma at age 63? So just in case, how about giving my body a few cycles of trying out the old-fashioned way? Now that my eggs might be better? Maybe after all, God does intend us to use an egg donor, a donated embryo, or to adopt a born child. Maybe the child or children that we are destined to parent are a different genetic combination. But we can’t know that. I just need to give my body this opportunity, to accept the reality that we need an egg donor.

So, we’re taking our time getting the paperwork and initial testing done for the new clinic. Then we have to pick out a donor. By then, we’ll have gone through a few cycles of trying to get pregnant on our own again. What’s meant to be, will be!
If you have any questions, please ask! Nothing is off limits here. Just please be kind. J

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Filling My Life with Other People’s Children

Yes, it has been a loooong time since I’ve posted! I spent most of the year not thinking about kids of my own. Or at least, trying to not think about them. I had a few ideas for posts, but each time felt like I couldn’t focus on this blog at that moment.

One of the things that filled my life this year is other people’s children. This is an emotionally charged topic for us infertiles. Most of us experience so much longing for children of our own, envy is unavoidable. It’s not that we’re not happy for those that have kids. It is completely possible to be happy for someone and jealous of what they have at the same time. It’s part of the grief we have for that loss of what we expected. The loss of a dream of children, whether one or many, no matter how temporary or permanent.

I was there a couple of years ago. I’ve been on this TTP journey for five years now. Between years one and three-and-a-half was the hardest. I went through my miscarriages, my first failed IVF, and I couldn’t bear pregnant bellies, babies, or hardly kids of any age. When I was younger I found other people’s kids mostly irritating anyway. It seemed like so many of them were undisciplined. Now I have a better understanding of child development, and while there are still some brats that I will not hesitate to yell at or lecture, most kids are mostly good, and some even highly entertaining and/or helpful.

I have my Priest to thank for helping me move past my jealousy about other people’s kids. He knew about our infertility and miscarriages, and at the three-year mark, he suggested I help teach the Pre-K Sunday school class. It was hard at first. Seeing that adorable bunch of three and four year olds most Sundays was very emotional for me. But it was also exhausting and fulfilling. The following year, I took over as head Pre-K teacher, and I’m doing it again this school year. It has been wonderful watching them grow up, and even brings a tear to my eye as they move on to their Kindergarten class. We take a summer break from May through September, and I am so excited to start back up in October, and meet my new batch of three year olds!

I also have my nephew to thank, via my only sister. My sister got pregnant in between my two pregnancies that ended in miscarriage. I was so excited for her, and at the same time jealous. Even now, I still struggle with jealousy during others’ pregnancies. My Monchichi (my own personal nickname for my nephew) was born just past my third year mark. From day one, I have felt a connection with him that is indescribable. He reminds me of my sister as a baby, and it sort of feels like watching my best friend grow up all over again! (I’m over four years older than my sister.) I miss him so much when I’m not with him, and much of my traveling this year has been to visit him. I can’t wait until he’s old enough to come visit Aunt Jamie! He’s almost two, and we have conversations where he talks nonsense and I pretend to understand. I also give him raspberries, hang him upside down, and play silly games with him. We laugh so much together! I love him to pieces.

Finally, I have my Godkids to thank, via their mom, my friend Rebecca. Technically, we only sponsored the boy, but I don’t generally feel the need to distinguish them on that level. If that little girl ever needed me, I’d be there for her as much as for our Godson. The boy is 10 and the girl is 8 and a half. They’ve been in our lives for almost 2 years now. This past year I’ve had the opportunity to have them visit on an almost weekly basis. We do some schoolwork, character building, some sports, games, art projects, watch some cartoons, eat dinner and they sleepover. I often read to them at bedtime. They bring such innocence and light into my life! On weeks when I don’t get to spend time with them, life just isn’t quite as good.

I have other friends and family with kids who I would love to know better, too. Unfortunately, many of our friends dropped off the map once they had kids. Some people seem to think that since we don’t have kids, we don’t want to be around them. Admittedly, that may have been true once upon a time, when we were actively grieving. But it hasn’t been for awhile now. Sadly, we have lost friends over these years dealing with infertility and pregnancy loss. But, it has made more room in our lives for our younger friends!

For those of you dealing with infertility, how do you feel about other people’s kids? Has your experience changed over the years? Do you think you’ll try to have more of other people’s kids in your life?