Thursday, September 29, 2011

More process...and finally a decision


...Continued from my last post...

Because neither donor egg nor surrogacy felt intuitively right, I began to think that I just needed to surrender and accept that I wasn’t going to have that feeling, that maybe this would be one of those times in life when you use your head, leave your heart and gut out of it, and jump.

And in signing on with a surrogacy agency we jumped. We had our plan. Or so we thought. Only thing was, the further we looked into it, the less comfortable I felt.

As surrogate profiles came in slowly, one by one, I looked at them in front of me and was just filled with fear. None of them had the information I felt I needed to choose someone to carry my child.

On the questionnaires, there was a single question that asked about the carrier’s religious affiliation. So one GC was “Baptist,” another “Christian,” another “Pentecostal.” But honestly, we don’t really care what someone’s religious affiliation is. I’d be much more interested in a Likert-type item, such as “How religious are you on a scale of 0-10?” [With zero being anchored as “I am not religious at all” and 10 being “I am devoutly religious, with thoughts of religion filling most of my waking hours.”] What would my ideal answer be? Probably somewhere between 0-7.

Everyone appeared to potentially be falling on the very religious end of the spectrum, although this was based on their personal statements more than anything. And this seemed a little comforting (maybe the religious ones would have more social support? maybe they'd feel more grounded?), but it also scared me a little. I was raised Catholic but am not practicing so avidly these days. Would it bother me if someone quoted scripture to me when we talked? (maybe) Would I get offended if someone tried to tell me that my cancer or our six losses were “God’s plan”? (probably) What if the person was so religious that they wouldn’t terminate if we had a terrible problem like anecephaly? We don’t want to terminate, of course. We want a child! But not one born without a brain. Watching something like that unfold, and being helpless to stop it, and actually going into significant debt to make it happen, sounded horrible to me. Unlikely scenario, I know. But we've been pretty unlucky in the past! Around and around in my head went all the What Ifs.

The GC’s lifestyle was also really important to me. I wanted to know what their diet was like, were they physically fit? How well did they take care of themselves? But there was a single item on the questionnaire about diet that read simply, “How would you describe your diet”? Choices were “Excellent,” “Good,” “Average,”…etc. Problem is, all but one of the profiles listed their diet as “Average.” And I was left wondering, what in the world does “Average” mean? Being Mo, I didn’t think good thoughts. I thought… "standard American diet…hmmmm…what are they eating? French fries? Kraft Macaroni and Cheese? Popeyes?! There's no nutrition in that!!" More fear.

The other thing that we realized was critical for us was the person being in a stable home situation. We didn’t want someone in the middle of breakup, or the stress of a new relationship, or trying to date, move in, move out, etc. while dealing with pregnancy. And unfortunately, things for the potential GCs didn’t look so great on that front either, but again, information was scanty.

What I learned reading all the profiles is that a lot of things I told myself I could get over and weren’t that important to me were in fact Really Important To Me. And that there was no way to glean this information unless I interviewed each of the candidates myself. Which felt overwhelming. And made me start to resent the role of the agency. We’d be going into great debt to compensate this person - and the agency - and yet none of the things that were most important to me were answered in a way that felt satisfying.

Add to that the seemingly strong possibility that the whole venture wouldn’t even work, because our embryos, albeit chromosomally normal, are not typically developing and may be unable to produce a living child….and, well….

I felt defeated.

Much bigger than this though, and more surprising, was the surging feeling of loss that overcame me. This rush of grief at the idea that I would never be pregnant again. I began tearing up when I saw pregnant women, thinking that I would never have that, never experience it, something I’ve fantasized about since I was a child now completely taken out of the realm of possibility.

And for what? When I thought about it, we actually don’t really have great evidence that I can’t carry a child. Two out of three REs we’ve talked to since the last loss have said chromosomes normal or not, there is likely something fishy with my eggs. We have the one chromosomally normal miscarriage. Which apparently happens sometimes. All the others that were tested were aneuploid.

So I mulled and mulled. All the while we kept reviewing GC profiles. The feeling of loss grew so strong that I found myself asking Will to promise that after we used our embryos with a surrogate that he would agree to us trying an egg donor cycle because it was just too crushing to imagine I would never ever get to be pregnant and give birth. I wanted to at least be able to try. 

Will, wonderful husband that he is, heard the desperation in my voice and said if it was that important to me, we'd find a way to do it. 

And then I started to wonder, if using an egg donor felt truly acceptable, why would we do things in that order? Why do gestational carrier and then egg donor? Wouldn’t it make more sense to use an egg donor first and answer the question of whether I can carry a pregnancy? If I can, no surrogate needed. If I can’t, well, then maybe it wouldn’t feel agonizing in exactly the same way. Maybe then it would feel like this is the way that it is, something more defined and real and therefore easier to accept.

At the same time, I had continued to read about and reflect on our two egg donor candidates. I’d had one take the Myers Briggs Type Indicator and the other one had taken it previously on her own. They both had excellent health histories, were both very smart, both had my skin tone(ish) and hair color. Both were extraordinarily verbal, avid readers, and into the sciences. One was a little older and proven, perhaps a little more intellectual. One was very young and not a prior donor, but enthusiastic, athletic, and grounded. One was a bit of a hippie who wanted to be a museum curator. One was a psychology undergrad now going for an advanced degree in mathematics. One lived in the South. One lived in the West.

I can’t say exactly when the moment hit, but one day there was a rather distinctive shift.

There it was, finally. The “right” feeling I’d been searching for and missing. It was here. I walked around for several days with this feeling wrapped around me, trying it on for size. Was it going to pass as quickly as it came? It didn’t. And it’s been a few weeks now, and it hasn’t. I wasn’t sure exactly how, but one of the egg donors had really become “the one" for me. The other one is really good too, don’t get me wrong, but something about the one we chose clicked right into place. And with the selection, so did my questions about being a mom of a child not related to me; those concerns now seemed remote and not so relevant any more. I felt actually excited about moving ahead with this donor and hopefully bearing a child from her egg.

Will had been checking in with me daily – ok, more than daily - and was in full agreement. We had a decision! Egg donor first, and then surrogacy if needed. If we need a surrogate, hopefully we’ll have some frozens left from the egg donor and can use those in tandem with our own frozens. They won’t be of the same origin, but that really doesn’t feel like it matters much anymore.


I don’t know exactly how it happened, but I feel confident that we will make one – hopefully big – happy family of whatever size, composition, order and method of arrival need be.

If things go well, we will have an egg donor baby around October or November 2012. One way or another, we can make a go of it with the Mo and Will frozen five after that. And the one thing I am absolutely sure of? All babies arriving on the scene will be loved and cherished however and whenever they get here. 

Mo 

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48 comments:

  1. Good for you! So glad you've got to where it feels right.

    Also, thanks for spelling out your thought processes. A lot of stuff that I'd never even considered regarding the GC and donor issue.

    Best of luck with the donor cycle!

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  2. Yay! Great news that you have decided!!! I know what you mean about that 'right' feeling. I had been thinking that we probably SHOULD be pursuing pregnancy (somehow) but when we decided to adopt, it felt RIGHT for us in a way that other paths never did. And that feeling of rightness was needed to get us through a LOT of tough stuff later on so hang on to it!

    How wonderful that you now have a way forward. Congratulations!!!

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  3. Thrilled that you made a decision and you seem really happy and at peace with it. Good luck with the cycle, will be waiting to hear all the updates as they unfold.

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  4. YAY!!! So very happy for you, so pleased! And now I get to look forward again to our children playing together, and I Simply. Can't. Wait!

    Seriously. So happy that you're moving forward with this!

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  5. There really is so much to ponder when it comes to family expanding options. So glad you have decided to move forward and that you feel really good about it. I'm very excited to follow along on this journey of yours! Yay for a decision!

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  6. Hey, Mo. I'm so glad you have a plan that feels right. I'm not sure DE ever felt "right" to me....just seemed medically like the best thing to do...until it worked. And now I can't imagine not having THIS baby.

    And, as a November baby expecting a November baby, I like your timeline :)

    Looking forward to hearing more about the journey!

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  7. So glad that you have found peace with your decision :)

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  8. I am so happy for you and I can't wait to read about the journey. Though I don't know you IRL I want you to have your much desired and deserved baby so much! Keep us updated!

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  9. MO!!!!!! YAY!!!!!!!!!! I am beyond ecstatic for you and Will that you have arrived at a decision. I can tell you that genetics plays less and less of a role as far as a baby. My LN10 will always have a certain mystery about him as he is lovingly made from a donor egg too. I love him no less. He is the joy of my life and I just know that if the baby is brought to this earth with your womb or the womb of a GC...he/she will be all yours. Congrats. I can't wait to follow along as always. Let me know if you need any help if any DE issues pop up.

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  10. I'm so happy for you and Will...I hope that you have great success creating the family you so deserve. Good luck!

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  11. I am so excited for you! Please keep posting as the process unfolds.

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  12. So very glad that you've come to a place where things seem 'right' to you. I have no doubt that the baby will be well loved...

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  13. I'm so glad you came to a decision that brings you peace (and obviously hopefully brings you a BABY!). I remember getting that feeling as we made our adoption decision, and when we saw our referral pictures and knew who they were, it was the most peaceful feeling in the world.
    Good luck with the donor cycle!!

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  14. OMG - this is huge!! I'm so excited for you, and also so happy that you feel good about the decision too - I think it sounds like a great plan. HOORAY!! Good luck with the upcoming cycle, and I hope you keep it posted on how things go. I'll be here to cheer you on!

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  15. Happy for you guys, and it's funny it's the decision I would have made too, after going through surrogacy, I gotta say, it would be easier in my mind to work with an egg donor than a surrogate, with surrogacy, you have zero control or say in anything, and that's hard, super hard, especially when say things go wrong.

    Cheering you on!

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  16. So glad you are back blogging, I'm late to the party so let me first say how sorry I am about your FIL, what a difficult time that must have been. I'm so glad you have come to a decision you feel comfortable with, I know when I looked into using DE it took some time to become comfortable with it so glad Will is supportive. Cheering you both on!

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  17. Mo. You are in my head. Like, so in my head I am linking to you with a "what she said" lead. We are with an agency now and you are just completely spelling out the things that are dragging this out for me - maybe its not them, maybe its ME. Maybe I still need to unturn a few more stones before I go this route...

    You absolutely have to go with what's right for you. Donor eggs was right for us. And one that I am hoping we have a chance to try again - with me. Happy to talk more about either of these experiences with you via DM. But mostly just really excited that something has clicked. And feels right.

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  18. I so feel your anguish over the GC route and how it's so hard to know if you're making the right decision. I'm in LV right now...meeting a GC this weekend, and I have the same worries and fears.

    Glad to hear you have a plan! It sounds like a good one and I can sense a bit of relief in your writing.

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  19. YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY! I'm so so glad you got to the right place. As the mom of DE/DS children, I can absolutely say these are 100% my children. As my husband's therapist says "Children make sure you love them", and that is so true. I am SO excited for you! I hope hope hope that this is the answer,and that you do have your baby next fall! So many many exclamation marks, clearly very happy over here! Do we get to know which donor your chose? Ms Math? Or Ms proven?

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  20. Congratulations on this decision! It's so helpful to hear how you reached this positive place. Wishing you luck and happiness as you move forward.

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  21. I'm glad you were able to come to a comfortable decision and I wish you both the best!!

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  22. So glad and relieved for you that you have come to a decision that feels right.

    Good luck as things continue to unfold and wishing you every success each step of the donor's cycle and beyond.

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  23. So happy for you and Will! Keep on blogging, you are one of my fav's!

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  24. Hot damn Mo, you sound good. Which means it must feel right, and I hear that, even through the screen/ether, and how it feels in your heart and head is so important.
    Congratulations, and hurrah. I am so excited for you for this next BIGASS step in your journey to create the family you so dearly want.
    This baby, these babies, these children, no one will ever be more beloved.
    We're here to testify.
    xoxo
    Kate

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  25. Congratulations on your decision! Wishing you all the best!

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  26. Congratulations on your decision! I wish you the best of luck in the following few months!!!!

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  27. Whoop! So happy to hear this- it sounds so right for you and Will (definitely on the super high end of the rightness Likert scale!). I am so happy that you have made a decision that feels good to you. Looking forward to updates and cheering you on all the way.

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  28. I am thrilled that you found a path that feels right for you both! After such a difficult process, I am very excited for what you have ahead:)

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  29. It's so great to hear (read?) you sounding upbeat & hopeful again. And it's always so interesting to hear how & why people arrive at the decisions they make. I'll be cheering for you in the months ahead! : )

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  30. Congratulations on reaching a decision. You were wise to sit with it for a while, let it sink in.

    My love of the DE has nothing but intensified over the year as it became more and more of our life. There are ups and downs, but you always keep the trajectory upward, say like at least > 45 degree angle.

    ps - I think 6 Take Homes is a lot, but I will start collecting names for you.

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  31. Congrats on making a decision! That's basically the same decision we came to as well. We are doing our first DE IVF cycle and in case it doesn't work and we get enough frozens, we will consider doing a GS.... it feels good to have a plan?

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  32. Congratulations on your decision. It sounds like it's the right one for you and Will, and ultimately yours are the only two opinions that matter. I hope DE is the path that brings you success. (And soon!)

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  33. I am so happy that you all have come to a decision. Congratulations!

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  34. So glad you've come to a decision you are both happy with! I can't wait to see how this works out!

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  35. It sounds like you've come to the absolute right decision for you right now, and that's great. I am so filled with hope for you, thought it sounds like you've got plenty of hope to go around right now!

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  36. It's so good to hear that this path feels right. I'm excited for you. I know, after all you've been through, you'll be anxious through any pregnancy, but it really is magical to feel your baby moving inside you. I want that for you.

    I owe you an email. Coming shortly. xoxo

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  37. I'm so glad you were able to come to a decision you feel good about! I am so hopeful for you - can't wait to see you have success after so long. Congrats on a huge decision!

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  38. You sound in a good place, and I'm so glad to hear that you've come to peace with the decision. It sounds like exactly what I would decide to do in your place. I'm so excited for you, and am looking forward to following along as you go through the process. Best of luck, and I hope "the one" produces a good number of wonderful eggs to make your future children.

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  39. Soooo glad to see you back. I totally understand your need to really examine this decision and not only have all the facts in order...but have the "feeling" to back it up. This is how we came to embryo adoption. We spent so much time (and some money too) going to adoption seminars, completing a 9 weeks foster adopt program (talk about intense and oh so depressing)...We were actually tryin got AVOID being pregnant...We had a son thru IVF and the pregnancy was healthy but I was over 40 and it was really hard on me and I ended up not liking it like I thought I would...BUT...I did get to do it...so I think that has a lot to do with why I wasn't longing for it anymore. BUT...none of those options felt right, not foster, not domestic and not foreign adoption...even though we were totally pro-adoption and very open to it...it just didn't "settle". And then came the embryo adoption program at our clinic....and immediately both of us just said...Yes....this is the route for us. Not 100% guaranteed...but just "felt" better. And...I really ended up enjoying that pregnancy so much more than I thought I would even though physically it was harder because I was older and actually had a handful of complications. And now...beautiful 10 month old daughter who we all love (especially her big brother) to pieces. So...I am so excited to hear about this journey you are about to embark upon and I have lots and lots of hope for you and Will.

    kd

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  40. Mo, I love that you have clarity on the plan forward!

    Yes, it took time but that's all part of the "rightness" for you.

    So excited!!!

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  41. Just catching up and so so happy that you've arrived at a plan you're comfortable with. And that baby to be? Is one lucky baby to be. S/he will be SO loved. Best wishes!

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  42. Wow -- so glad you have a plan you feel good about and hoping all will go smoothly and bring you the "bunch" you are seeking. And thanks for writing about your thought process and decision making, I found that very interesting.

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  43. This is something we considered, so excited for the direction you all are going, can't wait to follow you on the journey!

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  44. Its all about that- the feeling of rightness about something. I'm SO glad you found it and did not have to make a decision going with what you felt was the least unpalatable choice.

    From your timeline, it looks like I will be TTCing at the same time as well. The last time we tried this around the same time it ended in disaster for both of us- lets pray that the fates are kinder this time around!

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  45. So glad to hear that you've made a decision and feel good about it! I'm hoping that this is finally the way to your baby - I'm looking forward to hearing more about your journey!

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  46. Good luck with the DE cycle. It really is hard to come to a decision about what is right for you, and I'm glad you figured out what it is. Also, a belated condolences for your FIL.

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  47. So happy that you came to a decision that "felt right"! Wishing you the best!

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