Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Let's Get This Show On The Damn Road

Very recently I came to the conclusion that it's now or never as far as trying for a second child goes. I probably shouldn't be making such final statements like that as we all know anything can change in life, including and especially opinions, but for now I need this. I'm done with living in limbo land.  I'm tired of waffling, of waiting on someday. My sanity needs a final statement, whatever that may be.

By late Fall, I will be back in the stirrups. (hint: I don't ride horses) Or, at least that's the plan now.

In the meantime, I haven't decided on a clinic. I haven't taken care of my lingering GI issues that flared like wildfire during my last pregnancy, and I haven't kept track of my periods for months now (which has yielded a lot of unwelcome surprises).  I still have money to save, decisions to make. I have a to do list about a mile long, but for now I think the clinic issue is at the forefront of my mind.

There are of course a number of factors to consider when choosing a clinic (location, success rates, etc), but one of the major deciding factors for me is a broad selection of egg donors.  So, I've been requesting access to some donor pools and jumping head first back into the task of selecting half of my potential child's gene pool. And let me tell you, after a year of trying to come to terms with my DOR diagnosis, I still find this act completely and utterly bizarre.  You have to sort out some real stuff within yourself before you can really embrace this. (Beyond health and genetic screening) What's important? Looks? Interests? Aptitude?

One of the first things people assume you look for in a donor is someone who looks like you. And that makes sense in so many ways.  But for me, I'm not finding that to be a major draw.  Besides the fact that I'm actually having a hard time finding someone who looks similar to me (and I am by no means a unique looking character, so I'm not sure why that is), I'm finding myself far more drawn to who they are rather than what they look like. I keep envisioning telling a future child about their genetic history and I want the story to be one that makes them smile: "I picked her because she sounded thoughtful and smart and like she had a wonderful heart" sounds better to me than, "I picked her because she looked like me."

For example, there was one girl whose responses I absolutely loved. Her interests, ambitions, and personality seems so close to mine. Even her GPAs and SAT scores are a near mirror (which means that this potential kid has just as much of a chance at sucking at math as my bio kid). And I am especially taken with her reasoning of why she is making this contribution. I mean, obviously donors are compensated financially, but her response truly reflected an altruism that I admired as she cited watching friends require donor egg to conceive after a struggle. After seeing this, she wanted to be a part of that gift for someone else.  Even if it is a load of horse manure, it's a brilliant one at that. Her responses are thoughtful and I really, really appreciate that. But...we look nothing alike. To her tall, thin, dark-haired, dark-eyed, olive-skinned Italian descent, I am average height, blue-eyed, freckled, light-skinned, and of stockier Northern European descent.  I am well aware that this could lead to many unwanted conversations with meddling strangers in the middle of the grocery store. And I'll deal, but it's something to consider.

How very odd to 'choose' a genetic package. I mean, we don't get to pick our own genes and for the most part, we don't pick our partner's (most people don't fall in love with a person's clear genetic panel, but hey, to each their own).  So, shouldn't I be just tossing a die here? No? Yeah, probably not. But how do I go about this process? It seems so important, like there's so much room for error in my choice, and then, on the other hand, (with all genetic and health information being equal) it seems pointless because of the proverbial genetic lottery that we all experience anyway. I won't lie and say that the initial discomfort of once again embracing this hasn't opened up conversation about adoption again. Seriously.

Yeah. Maybe I need to think on this for awhile...


3 comments:

S said...

I agree with you: choosing the donor who will contribute the genes (in substitute for what you had planned would be your OWN contribution) to your future child is a daunting and surreal task. Been there, done that, bought the souvenir Tshirt. :-)

Such a complex and individual decision. Good luck with it.

Heather said...

Hi Shelby! I'm Heather and I wanted to know if you could answer my question about your blog! If you could email me at Lifesabanquet1(at)gmail(dot)com that would be great!

Claudia said...

speaking as someone who chose nothing about my children.... they look nothing like me, and that honestly doesn't matter to me at all. Not a bit. My daughter is just like me on the inside and it's wonderful and awful in equal measure.