Here’s the deal. I never thought it’d go down this way. Surprising to many it may be, but most women I know – including women in my age range – never had a problem getting pregnant. I was on the birth control pill for 24 years. Yep, 24 years then on the 25th year transitioning to condoms to regulate and prepare my body for our baby. Our baby that cannot be made, because my eggs are no longer viable.
With shots and hormones and procedures, my ovaries still have given us the middle finger while my husband’s sperm is still flourishing, in record breaking numbers. This cervix that is practically closed shut. This age of mine where I finally am both willing AND ready to be pregnant, that reminds me is 8 years past when my mother gave birth to me – back when 33 was considered older – and tells me how close I am to menopause. Fucking menopause!
Our TWW is over and as per the odds, the IUI/injections/hormone combo pack didn’t work. I am not pregnant. And with that, it’s time to close the book on the DNA inside me, and accept that it’s not meant to be continued.
With minimal, low quality eggs, you don’t bother trying for years like many do. There’s no reason to and time is not a luxury I have, as they have disappeared like quicksand from my body. There are a lot of forums where a certain group of women mock those who have “only” been trying for 6 months, pooh-pooh-ing use of the word “struggle”. And I remind them of this: I don’t have five years to try. I don’t have two years to try. Anyone diagnosed with diminished ovarian reserve or other similar “your eggs are gone, rotten, or both” situations will get what I’m saying.
I knew going into this last procedure that it was a long shot, and we wanted to do it to say we tried all reasonable options before considering a donor egg.
But, people say, you are adopting, so you’re fine, what’s the big deal?
Yes, we are adopting. We are THRILLED to be adopting. But no, I’m not fine today. I’m far from fine.
But I will recover, and I will thrive again, I just need to feel what I’m feeling, let it wash over me and come out on the other side, ready for the next chapter.
I have always been good about writing in a logical, optimistic tone. But right now I’m going to get real. For a blog where people from the unknown to the family and friends to the occasional professional connection have stopped by, I’ve been hesitant to share the full range of my emotions.
You know, the progesterone-spurred emotions that caused me to stop a bike ride 3 minutes into it because I fell apart when my husband asked what was wrong because I wasn’t chatty and was going extra slow and cut him off without thinking. I rode home, got off my bike, tore him a new one, and fell into a puddle on the bed as he, bless his wonderful heart, stroked my hair and apologized for upsetting me. You know, the injection-inspired emotions that had me eating food I’ve not touched in years over the past week. Nacho Cheese Doritos, 7up, a cheap frozen microwave pizza, Ben & Jerry’s. Note they all tasted lackluster: FYI, self-sabotaging doesn’t care about taste, the foodie in me was shoved aside while the emotional eater laid in bed with a fashion zine and incredible lethargy. You know, the non-hormonally induced emotions that makes the reality of seeing happy little families make me run back into the house and cry.
I am grieving.
Because they tell us this is why we have these body parts, these organs, these hormones in our body. Because they tell us that if you’re overweight your infertility is your fault (even though studies show a miniscule percentage of infertility cases are due to the size of one’s belly). Because they tell us that they or their friends had been trying “forever” then gave up, went on vacation, and voila! they were pregnant. They say just relax, take this, eat that, try this. Because they talk about IVF as if that applies in every situation. Because at the end of what others say, the fact of the matter is that this is the end of the road for my gene pool. That what my mother and father created 41 years ago was a one time thing, and this unique person I am will never know what it’s like to say, “she’s got my eyes”, or “she laughs loud like me and her grandpa”, or “she’s stubborn like her mama”, she’s….
No more what ifs. That period is ending the sentence today.
There is an overwhelming grief that I am walking through, while at the same time preparing for the next stage of the adoption process. There is a sadness inside of me that, even with the next step of egg donation as our final “at least be pregnant with Dan’s DNA”, “at least nurture the baby with my blood and the vessel that is my body”, yadda yadda yadda. This wee, talking about it with my husband, I finally was able to put some words to this hurt in my heart, and it came out something like this:
I was never meant to be born.
The death of another child a decade earlier brought about my life in many ways, and because of his death, circumstances came up where my father and mother met and for a short time, were together to have me, before they parted ways. She already had her kids, and when he left, he had his own family. I was this sudden island in a stream of others’ DNA.
Never did I feel that I truly belonged to either side.
Never will I allow a child of mine to feel that way.
And I suppose that’s what’s made me okay with the idea of egg donation, because my life has never been one of tradition. One child we hope now will come from me yet come completely from a new, wonderful donor. Another will come from around the world, and both will be ours. Fiercely, beautifully ours.
My husband, that incredibly strong-hearted, gorgeous-minded, wonderful man, has given me the love and the courage I needed and helped me see the strength already inside myself. He came into my life in 2011 after a man had been very, very mean to me, and so I was cynical at first. Yet, after a few conversations, I never looked back. I knew deep in my gut this was my man, no matter how crazy it sounded, no matter how (now-former) certain friends doubted and criticized my choices. We moved forward together, and even though there were early obstacles some would say were insurmountable, we blew past them, grew tremendously closer, and forged a life.
We have built a marriage that is rock solid.
We agreed that family was ours to create, not based on DNA.
We reminded each other of this: WE are each other’s family, WE are each other’s rock.
All I can do is trust in the process, and hope for our children to find their way to us.
In the meantime? I kinda feel like this: