Saturday, April 6, 2013

The loss of an idea. My grief story

I often find that when I am speaking to friends and family about us using a donor egg, I do so in a lighthearted manner and may even throw in some funny quips about how thankful I am that our child will not have my hips and thighs. The truth is, I'm actually very comfortable with our decision to use an egg donor. I'm even more grateful to the anonymous woman who is choosing to go through a strenuous medical process to help us. The problem is that in my effort to show how "together" I am and by inserting humor to hopefully make other people comfortable, I gloss over the fact that getting to this place has been difficult. It would be disingenuous of me not to share that part of the story.

I have previously referenced how Ken and I took a break from trying a little over two years ago. While this is true and I didn't count my cycle days, take ovulation tests or stand on my head after sex, my secret fantasy the whole time was that we would get pregnant anyway. When people hear that you are trying to get pregnant and it's not happening you ALWAYS hear one or all of these stories:

My friend/sister/cousin/hairdresser's ex-sister-in-law couldn't get pregnant either so she and her husband...
  1. Adopted and then got pregnant!
  2. Stopped worrying and trying and then got pregnant!
  3. Tried IVF and had sextuplets and then got pregnant! (I shudder at the thought)
Even though I had a medical professional sit me down to explain my condition and in no uncertain terms tell me it just wasn't going to happen the old fashioned way for me, I still REALLY hoped that scenario #2 would happen. At least a half dozen times over that 2 year "break" I would go a little crazy. I would convince myself that my period was late (even though it is notoriously irregular) and would sneak to Walgreens and buy a pregnancy test.  I wouldn't tell my husband because deep down I knew this was half-baked stuff. I would wait until he was gone for work in the morning and pee on the stick. During the 3 minute waiting window I would hope that it would be positive. I would imagine how once I saw the test was positive, I would call in sick to work and drive to Boulder to Ken's office and text him to come outside and I would run to him and tell him that I was joyfully with child.  He would sweep me in an embrace, I would summon a pretty cry that Meryl Streep would be proud of and it would all be underscored musically in my head by Marvin Hamlisch. (Note: I never said my fantasies weren't dramatic and Oscar worthy.)

Reality would be that after my 3 minute rom-com daydream, the test would be negative. I would wrap the test in tissue paper and shove it to the bottom of the trashcan and go about my day convincing myself it was a stupid thing to do anyway. I would curse myself on my drive to work  that I had quite literally just pissed away $8. I share this story to say that I believe that most of us are hard wired to want to create life and to see a reflection of ourselves in the future. Even though the odds were stacked against me, I still wanted to think that we might get lucky and that I would get to see my crazy curly hair that my dad gave me on the top off a toddler's head. That maybe my mom's smile and amazing skin would make their way to a little girl. This is the hardest part about not having good eggs. You realize that those little details that make you YOU will not be present in your child and you have to grieve the loss of something you never had. You have to grieve the loss of an idea.

Over time, the pain of this loss lessened and I realized that I wouldn't love a child one iota less just because they didn't have my genes. We all love people who we have no genetic ties to.  For those of us who don't live close to our families, we build new communities and relationships close to home. Our family is what we make it. I look at my friend's children and how much I love them and I'm not their aunt, I'm their "Sinsey".  We are not related and I know without a doubt that I L-O-V-E everything about them. I'm head over heels for my husband and barring some crazy East Texas connection we don't know about, there's no blood relation there. The human heart was meant to love with abandon.

When our family is complete, whether through successful donor egg IVF, a future adoption, or the miraculous hand of the almighty, I'm going to love that child.  Curly hair or straight, thick hips or thin and God-willing we love and nurture that child into funny, crazy, hopefully well-balanced Gage.

1 comment:

  1. This is the first time I've read this. You are so gifted at sharing this struggle. Love the "Sinsey" part especially. The kids ask about you and miss you.