After the honeymoon, and before DE

I have not been writing, and yet so very, very much has been going on. Like paradise, for example. Like getting toasted with Champagne at friends’ BBQs and feeling special and loved. Like trying to continue our honeymoon by doing wonderfully irresponsible things like spending hours on a weeknight eating whole fresh lobster and drinking fun drinks or swimming in the Sound at sunset. Readers, I don’t want this to end. I feel…normal. 

I have been feeling so normal that I had the thought, while we walked hand-in-hand through the gorgeous deciduous trees of our neighborhood, eating raspberry popsicles, that perhaps we should try naturally one more time. Yeah. That thought. Sigh. Do I just need to accept that that thought is probably going to percolate to the surface  until I’m on the transfer table?

DH (now officially DH!) and I have drawn up Pros and Cons lists, and it always comes down to “Donor Egg Now” being the most-Pro option. As far as our RBA pre-screening requirements go, we have very little left! Psychological consult in. All but one test result in. Getting our papers notarized on Monday and sending them off. Will complete our profile this Sunday and will pay $500 deposit on Monday. We’ll most likely get access to the donor database this week, or next week at the latest. Could be choosing a donor mid-July-ish. I should get my period middle of next week and could start Lupron injections at the end of this month. Could be on that transfer table by late August, early September. Eeeee….

I’m scared. Being a tad bit avoidant. Still drinking my coffee and wine, while I endlessly scroll through our wedding and honeymoon photos.  Not exercising or yoga-ing all that much. I know I have got to step up my game…

At the same time, I’ve been having weird thoughts out of nowhere like: “Hmm, what was that baby-food-making machine I heard about?” And thinking about getting the tub professionally cleaned so that a baby can bathe in it. Wha?? Brains are funny. They try so hard to figure out where we’re really at, to get us what we want, prepare us for what might be coming. My brain’s boinging around like a loving silver ball in a pinball machine.

I’m still thinking about my DNA blueprint, of course. In my wedding photos, I look so much like my mom when she was my age. A thousand comments on Facebook wedding photos: “You look JUST LIKE your beautiful mom! OMG I can’t believe how much!” And I get this sneaky little hollow feeling, accompanied by a tiny voice peeping: “Your daughter won’t look like you though.” And I say sternly back: “I don’t care.”

And then I see a photo of my niece, looking quite a bit like me, but with blond hair. And I say: “I accept this.” I think about how happy and eager-to-please I was as a kid, and the thought goes: “Your child won’t be anything like you. He or she will be sullen and bratty and won’t like to make art or sing!” And I say: “You are ridiculous,” and walk away.

I stop in the doorway of the room of one of my patients on the head-injury unit. I see the 85-year-old man lying quietly on the bed, surrounded by his concerned sons. Each one of them has taken on a piece of their father: His lips, his cheekbones, his nose, his pattern baldness, even his facial expressions. I am stunned for a moment by how clear it is that they all are related. I ache a little. And then I walk in.

But the aches are not so bad. I know I have to go through this process, and that it will be worth it.

Walking to the beach last night, I swung my arms around DH’s neck and cried out: “Let’s make babies!” giggling. And then I whispered in his ear: “In a petri dish!” He smiled, but didn’t really join the fun. Later, over dinner, I asked: “Aren’t you just a little bit excited about starting this donor egg program?”

“Not about the program, exactly,” he said. “But I do feel myself more drawn to kids. I saw a little boy, maybe about seven, today, and he was so sweet to his baby sister. She’d brought this stuffed-animal fish up to him, and he shook his head and said, ‘Where did you find this?’ really tickled by her. It was just so heartening to see him with her.” I love the things he notices. If this is where he is at, I am happy with it.

When we went to Forrest Hills for a BBQ on the 4th, I found myself running around the back yard with children (of course). A six-year-old boy loved playing with me. But dang, I got tired! I tried to hide my shortness of breath, but of course the kid noticed and had no filter. “You know what’s wrong with adults?” he said. “They’re so big that they’re slow. But kids go fast!” He zipped away from me like a cartoon character on speed, and I lumbered after him, exaggerating my slow, plodding, big-person steps, booming: “Bom-Bom-Bom-Bom,” with each step, which cracked him up. I kept doing it because it was much easier to for me to move that slowly.

“What inspired the elopement?” the BBQ hostess, a friend whom I don’t keep in touch with much, said to me later. She was looking at my stomach. Sometime after my first miscarriage, I had told her that DH and I were TTC (leaving out the miscarriage part). After having only one mc, I still felt like I could maybe-possibly-perhaps be in the normal boat and it was safe to say such a thing. She told me a cute story about a friend who’d recently gotten pregnant after having sex and riding the Cyclone shortly after; I was un-traumatized enough then to laugh along and think that perhaps a cute, legend-making story was in my future, too. But then 4 more miscarriages happened. This friend knew nothing about the RPL.

So she kept looking at my stomach (which has never gone down properly after the 5 pregnancies) and I think she was trying gauge whether or not a little person was budding inside. I didn’t blame her. In a way, it is nice that she would think we might have eloped because of pregnancy. I told her some of our reasons, and she nodded, smiling, but she was distracted by her children in the yard and wandered away, calling their names.

I smiled. I wonder what it will be like to be a mother—that distracted state, always at least partially living in your children’s worlds, ready to summon, feed, protect. I saw a little baby bird on the Grounds at work the other day. He couldn’t fly yet, but he kept spreading and flapping his fuzzy fledgling wings with extraordinary if wobbly effort. His mother was in the branch above, chirping encouragement. I felt so moved by the two of them. This world—it knocks me down with its beauty and its messages. This mother and baby bird were telling me: You will have this one day, and everything will be as it should be.

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11 Comments

  1. Congrats on your wedding & honeymoon. Loved your photos from your previous posts. I can relate to a lot of your feeling about DE though we are getting ready for our embryo donation transfer in September. We a a biracial couple and we often long to see how our kids would turn out and what features they would get from each of us. But we have come to the reality that if we are successful in becoming parents, our kids will not look anything like either of us. It kind of saddens me, but that is the reality of our journey. But we truly want to be parents would love our children no matter what. But the truth is, it still hurts and you will think about it.

    Following on your DE journey =)

    Reply
    • And following you on yours! I have been reading you for months now (have not been the best at commenting on people’s blogs lately, sorry) and am always eager to hear your new news. Yeah, as much as people say “You don’t think about it at all,” I know that if someone says, “Oh, she has your nose,” or something like that, I will feel very weird, that the non-genetic link will probably always be in the room, on some level. You and I are on the same schedule for transfer! (If all goes as I think it will on this end—possible we could go another month…) I think being a biracial couple (Korean/Caucasian) is particularly difficult when it comes to DE because let’s face it: It’s fun to see how the kids turn out when you are a biracial couple. The kids I hung out with on the 4th were biracial (Korean/Caucasian) and I could see the Caucasian woman’s facial features combined with Dad’s Korean eyes. Your situation is even more challenging, with neither of you having a genetic link. Will be continuing to read your amazing story.

      Reply
  2. This is such a peaceful post, friend. Congratulations on your marriage. You sounds veryvery happy. And also scared, but (at least currently) at peace with your fear. It must be an incredibly difficult process to come to terms with not having children who share your DNA. (I don’t agree with people who say they aren’t biologically related to you, though; if you carry these children in your uterus, they are biologically related to you.) I have a close friend who had triplets through embryo adoption (two were implanted, but one split!). She is told quite often that they look like her and/or her husband. And they really do. They have the same stature, same hair and eye color. Even the shape of their faces looks like a combo between mom and dad. But even more than that, I think the prenatal environment and the postnatal environment have played a role in the resemblance. Looking like your parents isn’t all about the shape of your lips or the tilt of your nose. It’s also about mannerisms and habits – the way you hold your head, how you wave, the prosody of your speech. This child/children will share these things with you, as her three do with her. And this (along with the fact that she carried those three babes on her 5’2, 105 lbs frame for nine months) means there is no mistaking that they are her children!

    Reply
    • Aw, thank you lentil, for all of your kind words. This comment means a great deal to me. I find it very helpful. You know, I believe in the biological connection too. That’s a wild story about your firend with the triplets! I have read about epigenetics, and the mother’s influence on the expression of genes in utero—even hair and eye color. Totally. Nutso. You are so right to make that point about mannerisms and habits, too. xo

      Reply
  3. L

     /  July 7, 2013

    As a fellow egg donor recipient, I do understand your fears about moving forward. But I honestly do not think about this very often anymore. As soon as I saw that perfect blast up on the screen on transfer day, I already felt like it was mine. I don’t know how else to describe it. And now that I am exhausted and hungry all the time and know that it’s growing into a baby, the connection to this embryo is even more intense. I am so grateful this was available to me. The magnitude of it is knocking me over every day.

    But I do think the passing on of genetics is a serious thing, and part of me wonders if I will feel the same small regret when people do or do not comment on our similarities some day. But for me, I was just so tired of disappointment when using my OE, and so ready to have a baby. This was easy and this was the first time I’ve seen a positive pregnancy test. The miracle of that is enough to keep me happy, I think, for the rest of my life. I won’t forget that moment.

    As for choosing a donor, it was easier than I thought, but I put a big emphasis on physical resemblance (so maybe I do care more about that then I let on). I will be really interested to hear how you find the process.

    Reply
    • Wow—your words are so powerful, this experience you’ve had since the positive pregnancy test.

      I imagine that you do feel biologically related, after feeling those feelings of hunger and exhaustion as you’re growing the little thing. Thank you for sharing your intense connection.

      I’m so grateful to be alive during a time when this is even possible.

      That’s interesting that you put a big emphasis on physical resemblance—I sometimes lean that way, when I think “Well everything else is nurture, isn’t it?” (or is it?) Love to hear more about why you emphasized that.

      Reply
      • Well, we narrowed it down to two donors and liked them both, so we ultimately chose the one that looks more like me. Inherited traits are kind of a crapshoot anyway, but I thought it would be nice to have the kid look at least a little like me. My husband is fair and I am dark haired and dark eyed, as is the donor we chose, so who knows what we will end up with.

        I believe that most personality traits are more nurture than nature. There is some genetic component but I think the important stuff is mostly learned. So we picked a donor who has some physical resemblance, and one whose profile we would not be embarrassed to show a future child (some, but not many, of the donors were… um… not people I would have wanted to have dinner with). We picked a kind, happy, passionate woman, and though she doesn’t have some of the traits we value in each other, I think we’ll do what we can to raise a kid who is a good person.

        I’ll be so curious to hear how you approach the donor selection process. I haven’t read much about it (one blogger who does discuss the experience: http://nogoodeggs.wordpress.com/).

        Reply
  4. newtoivf

     /  July 8, 2013

    huge congratulations on your wedding. After my recent first failed IVF cycle we’ve decided to get married after being engaged for 3 and half years and always thinking its not the right time because of TTC. Wishing you so much luck with the donor programme. …I know how hard it must be to let go of the physical traits but I think the emotional ones are learnt and therefore your child will be like you as a child.

    Reply
    • It’s so hard to make that leap to finally get married when you’re in the middle of this, I know. Congratulations on deciding to get married! For me it has done a lot of good—changed my perspective, made me feel more on the same page with DH. And thank you for the reassurance, as well.

      Reply
  5. Congratulations on your elopement! And on inching your way towards that transfer table… I totally understand the thoughts about resemblance and feeling a loss with that. It is a struggle when everyone wants so badly to see family resemblances and get-togethers include things like, “oh she’s got grandma’s nose” or “she looks just like her mom” and you wonder if that will be the case for you given the DE component. Honestly genetics are a funny thing and I have seen more babies born who look NOTHING like either parent who were made the “old-fashioned way” lately. I also think that people look for resemblances so much that they will see one even where there may be nothing. I am a big believer in epigenetics and I also believe that you will be the biological mom to this baby even if genetically there isn’t as much influence as there could be (I say as much because you do have influence through carrying and blood transfer even if the original ingredient wasn’t yours). I am glad that you are in a time of hope and anticipation even after so much loss. It’s amazing what you can be capable of in terms of healing and perseverance. I wish you the best of luck — everything will be moving so fast now! I hope it brings you your happy ending.

    Reply
    • Oh, thank you so much for the encouragement, reassurance, and happy thoughts. This time of hope and excitement IS so wonderful after all of that pain! I know you are so right about people seeing a resemblance because they want to—I did that for years with my girlfriend’s kids, saying one of the daughter’s looked so much like her husband. Come to find out (recently): She used donor sperm! We just sent off our paperwork so…it really is just a matter of a few days now, I think, before gaining access to the database. I’m sure it’ll go whoooosh, once the process gets started. It’s nice to be on the DE path with you.

      Reply

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