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...

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Best of Intentions

For several years, I have carefully crafted a blog submission for RESOLVE's NIAW blogger challenge, but this year left me grasping at straws for a response. I guess what left me stumped most was this inertia I've been stuck in. Despite any intentions or even passion I might have for something, the action part of the equation is what I keep getting hung up on. So, devoting an entire blog resolving to DO something seemed futile from the start.

I don't want to give you the impression that I'm not even getting out of bed on most days. Sure, I have to peel myself out from under the covers (who doesn't?) and sure I probably skirt around borderline depression here-and-there, but I still function just fine in the course of an average day (mostly, depending on perspective). My work is done, my kid is fed, my hair is combed. The basics are covered, albeit somewhat thinly. But after all that, it's the 'extras' that I'm having a hard time finding motivation for. It's the things that I set out to do and that I have a heart for that go by the wayside. The things that give me purpose.

For instance, I have always wanted to start either a primary infertility or parenting after infertility peer group in my area via RESOLVE. My clinic has even offered to open up one of their conference rooms for meetings.  I've also wanted to get more active with RESOLVE's phone peer counseling.  While I may never use the countless years of painstaking research over every nook and cranny of treatment/adoption for myself, I can at least gift that to someone else. I've wanted to register for BlogHer and meet some of my amazing fellow ALI bloggers whose blogs I've followed for years and I always, always wish I was here writing more often.  I'd love to start being more thoughtful about saving money for cycling and start getting our pre-cycling tests in order, but frankly, I'm stuck.

There are also a lot of non-IF passions that I'm stalled on as well. Writing, organizing pictures into albums, getting my dog certified as a therapy dog, learning to decorate cakes and sew, joining a choir, getting my educational psychologist license (which is really just paperwork at this point), etc. etc. I'm not sure what's keeping my feet in the mud, but whatever it is, I have a sneaking suspicion that IF has at least something to do with it. Sometimes I wonder if that's why our community is not as loud as it could be. More of us might be following through on these resolutions if we weren't so busy trying to climb out of our own trench and once we do get to the surface, we're either so busy parenting or simply ready to move on that all of those good 'save the world' intentions fall through the cracks. And who can blame us? Infertility is draining.

So, while I would love to resolve to know more about a lot of things, the truth is, I'm not sure I can make that promise now. Maybe when I'm not so up to my eyeballs in my own trench I might be ready. One day.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Back-and-Forth, To-and-Fro

I don't ordinarily subscribe to astrology stuff, but I will own up to having pretty standard Gemini characteristics. I can run hot-and-cold quickly, I am a perfect 50/50 hybrid of introvert vs. extrovert, and I vacillate between uber-punctual, non-spontaneous, list-making type-A and misplacing my keys, doing things completely last minute, and throwing a towel over the kid's pee-stained sheets just to catch a few more hours of shut-eye type B. I really have found the twins in my personality and whether that started out as a self-fulfilling prophecy or not, it is who I am now. So, when it comes to making big life decisions, like whether to cash in all your coins for a second child or not, it can make for a very indecisive girl.

It doesn't make it much easier, either, that we've been faced with a lot of competing financial priorities, many of which have to do with taking care of my existing family. Each one seems to test my resolve on how badly I want a second child, and on somedays, it's all I can do to keep from throwing forward every last penny and banging down the clinic's doors already. And then, on other weeks, I watch mothers of multiple kids struggle to get the time to comb their own hair and I figure that perhaps this is what was meant to be, to have one child, and that life isn't what I planned, but perhaps an even more genius design. And I can take that trip to Hawaii I've been coveting for so long after all...

And then, my other child, my not-yet future child haunts me so deeply that I feel like a piece of my heart has been haphazardly cut from me and I walk around trying to nurse an open, though invisible wound.

*Sigh* Infertility. Have I mentioned how much you still suck lately?

So, as far as the decision to go forth and multiply is concerned, I am at odds with myself and my Gemini nature. Below (bullet-pointed for your reading convenience though not nearly as neatly formed in my head) are some of the competing thoughts that occur to me almost daily:

Pro-Trying for a Second Kid (because trying is not the same as getting and a try is all I am guaranteed):

  • The possibility that my son might not be a lone soldier in this world. He will have at least one other person to lament to about how crazy his folks are and this other person will totally get it, no drawn-out examples needed.  
  • As I've mentioned before, I can't imagine my son facing our end of life alone after I went through it as an only child. To leave him to that and to do so knowingly almost feels cruel.
  • The possibility of more little ones to cuddle and love and grow.  I love being a Mom. It's f*ing hard, but amazing.
  • The banishment of some of the future 'what-if' thoughts (at least ones that I had some sort of control over). I will never wonder, "well, what if I had taken that chance when I had the money? Would we have someone else in our lives now?" Even if we don't succeed, I will have tried.
  • The possibilities that holidays, forever more, will be fuller. 
  • We have an incredible part-time nanny who is itching to get her hands on another baby. Now that my son is going off to school, this would be the perfect timing, should we be lucky enough to succeed. 
  • Many of the 'inconveniences' of having a second would be temporary. 
  • While two kids is harder than one, the best things in life are not meant to be easy, but they are usually worth it.
  • I 'may' get to experience pregnancy again, for better or worse.

Pro-Not Trying for a Second Kid:
  • All of my attention and devotion will be directed on my son. I am sometimes a little scattered, borderline-ADD and get overwhelmed easily. Sometimes I wonder if having a second child would tip the scales in such a way that my kid would suffer to some extent. And he is a child who wants attention 24/7, especially from Mommy. I love that I can give that to him and know that I would be wracked with guilt if I couldn't. I know he would learn to live with this and probably be better for it, but it's still something to consider. 
  • I work part-time and am so excited that I get to spend at least a day or two in his classroom next year. I would not be able to do this as easily with a baby on my hip.
  • As an adult only child, my Mother's hyper-focus on me was so intense, it was sometimes smothering. While this may have been a function of personality, the apple sometimes does not fall far from the tree. Just saying'...
  • I think having one will probably be kinder to my marriage.  Having kids is hard, harder than I ever anticipated. And because I did not get an 'easy' child (nor would I want one as the one I have is exactly how he should be, which is lovely, bright, deeply creative, wildly emotional, perfect, but challenging at times), I think Mr. S is so much more hesitant to take on another.  
  • We would have more freedom (and money) as a family to do things like travel.
  • College savings will be easier.
  • More time to concentrate on our marriage and friends and everything that sometimes takes a backseat when kids come around.  Sometimes having an only child feels like a chance to have a little bit of everything.
  • Finding a babysitter is always easier with one.
  • No heart-pounding anxiety of early pregnancy. Or hell, even later pregnancy. I might have loved being pregnant, but I did not love how much I had to lose and how present that fear always was (not that it totally goes away once they're born, but it's lessened at least).
  • No more losses or BFNs to grieve. We would be done with this game.  The idea of moving on is seductive.

P.S. Some of you might have seen this published earlier this week, and then disappear just as quickly. I was stumped by some weird formatting issues, and being the semi-perfectionist I am, couldn't let it stay in the light of day until I fixed it. Lo and behold, after two seconds of my husband's fiddling, it's fixed!