Ugandan Odyssey

Ugandan Odyssey
Me and the kidlets of Uganda

Friday, June 3, 2011

A sad yet uplifting update...

I sent this recently to a bunch of my close friends:

Hello BabyDust Sisters and Brothers,

First of all, thank you to so many of you who have visited, called, emailed and skyped over the past several weeks...You are all true angels!

As many of you now know, my embryos did not survive and sadly, I am not pregnant.

I found out on the 18th of May but was just too devastated to send out a mass email...
And quite frankly, who the hell wants to send out crap news like that anyway?  There we were, my babydustsisters and I in the clinic Om-ing & meditating & laughing & singing while the transfer was happening. I was so hopeful as there were so many auspicious omens that day and so, so many of you from all around the globe were sending me such awesome vibes, that I thought, "Yes, this really feels like it's going to happen!" 

When it didn't, I was hurt, sad, furious and bitter.

It may seem like it's not a big deal and actually, because I'd had four years off from this roller coaster ride, I thought I was immune to a big, huge let-down, but the truth is, that for someone who has had so many sad outcomes in this arena, every lost baby and every lost cycle build upon each other. In other words, the losses add up. 

As one of the courageous women in my fiercely amazing Resolve group (national infertility organization) put it after she had had a second blighted ovum (false pregnancy), "I have now lost all of my innocence around trying to become a mother." 

That's how I felt: sad, disillusioned and beyond pissed off...I thought of the extreme injustice of crack mothers who often have a brood of severely neglected and abused children and then I thought of those of us who've had so many heartbreaking fertility losses and are sorely aching to have just one, healthy child. We have suffered so much that any one of us would be a phenomenal mother because due to our losses, we would never, ever take our children for granted. It just felt so f*cking unfair and all kinds of wrong.

If you had asked me ten years ago if I could ever imagine this kind of emotional pain, I would probably have said, "sure, I think I can imagine what that would feel like" and I would have been completely ignorant in my thinking. There really is no description, no imagining, no conjurring up of what this feels like...It's just such an intense experience: to create a life, become attached to it and then loose it within your own life-bearing vessel...Or, to try to get pregnant with your own possible "snowflake" babies, ones that took so much out of you to create in the first place, and have them not survive...It's so upsetting and overwhelming that it can be crazy-making...I have some friends in my Resolve group who because of their losses can't even go to a park right now, visit with friends who have kids, or even go to a baby shower as it's just too painful and triggering for them.

Thankfully, that's not my story...I've had years of self-reflection, meditation and other therapeutic practices to draw upon and so I know how to "grieve well" and let go and move on...Still, grief is often a murky and messy business and I hated that I couldn't just sail right through it but instead had to bear witness to often tumultuous and heartwrenching feelings...It was like I was lost in an ocean of giant waves without a boat or even a surfboard to cling to...One minute I'd be feeling fine and the next, I'd feel so devastated 
that I crawled into bed and went through 2 boxes of tissues (I really need to buy stock in Kleenex sometime soon)...I even took off and went to a festival where I indulged in all manner of hedonistic activites...It was an escape of sorts, and yet I was able to excercise some more of my grief demons.

I am now, today, feeling pretty darned OK...NOT that the situation is OK, but I'm doing OK and that is f*cking awesome.

I've had a lot of time to think about things as well as to talk with my RE (Reproductive Endocrinologist)...I got angry with him as he had convinced me not to put in all 9 embryos at once...I had a feeling, that because these were 41 yr old embryos, were the "B" team, and were frozen before the invention of vitrification (fast-freezing process) that they wouldn't make it...My doctor, however, was concerned with me having multiples...In the end, I acquiesced and we only put in four...and they didn't survive...It turns out that my odds were only 25%...If I'd have known that they were so crappy, I'd have insisted that he put in all 9...But that's water under the bridge right now.

So here is where I'm at: I do not want to deal with anymore pregnancy dissappointments, 
in-utero losses or stilbirth possibilities....And yes, I know that there are no guarantees in this risky world of infertilty HOWEVER, I can greatly increase my odds if I make the transition to donor eggs.

This is intense as it means that I will no longer be trying with my own DNA. It makes me sad to think that I won't be passing on my genes to my child. However, I am encouraged as science has recently been uncovering amazing things about the donor egg process. 
Due to these discoveries, there is even a new form of genetics called "epigenetics".  Within this field of science there have been lots of recent clues regarding how the gestational carrier, has a HUGE affect on the donated embryo/baby growing inside of her.

Check this out: there is now evidence that gestational carriers (that would be me), not only affect things like a child's intelligence and their emotional stability, but there are now unexplainable outcomes happening like a 6 ft tall, blond haired, green eyed woman giving birth to a child who has those very same physical characteristics but whose egg donor was 5' 2", dark haired & dark eyed!...Science can't even explain it yet. It's pretty miraculous as all signs point to the fact that gestational carriers are deeply affecting their embryos DNA regardless of whether these embryos are theirs or someone elses...How freakin' COOL!!!

Now for the bad news: this will drain me financially...One shot at a donor egg/IVF cycle is 
a whopping $36,000-$43,000!!! Subsequent shots at FETs (frozen embryo transfers--as hopefully the egg donor will produce at least 6-9 good embryos and we will only put in two 
at a time) will run $3,500. Using an egg donor does increase my odds to 80%, but it will hit me hard in the pocket book as when all is said and done, I may be looking at upwards of $50,000. Also, there will be even more hormones and other fun things like shots in the leg, stomach and tush each evening, as I will have to get on the same exact cycle as my donor in order to make a successful cycle happen (it's kind of like imagining 2 people on a flying trapeze....they have to fly out towards each other at exactly the right moment in order to make a successful "catch"  happen).

I've asked my doctor if I can put in my four remaining embryos with a fresh, donor egg embryo and he has said, "absolutely not." Apparently it is all kinds of unsafe to mix up frozen embryos with fresh ones...Therefore I am thinking of giving away my four remaining embryos to another needy couple who can't afford an egg donor cycle...I have a lovely one in mind...They are willing to deal with the 25% odds and the chances of a misscarriage, 
I, because of where I'm now at in this journey, am not.

I've recently begun my search for an egg donor and it is truly daunting:
All of the things that we take for granted about ourselves have to be put into the mix:
my donor's intelligence, her eyesight and hearing, the health of her siblings, parents and grandparents, whether she carries possible birth defect genes, her emotional and mental stability, her physical appearance, her values, her morals, her reasons for becoming a donor (some do it for the money yet I'm looking for someone with more altruistic reasons). This is a very lucrative business so there are a lot of agencies out there and therefore I find myself looking at lots of photos and bios each day and getting overwhelmed. 

But it's cool, as I know my donor is out there.

I just have to locate her AND if I select her hope that she doesn't back out at the last minute AND hope that she passes the physical and psych. testing AND hope that she is not already "in cycle" with someone else AND hope that if she is, that she will be willing to do another cycle after this one is completed (it does take a lot out of them as they are put on a ton of hormones during the process) AND hope that if she has done a lot of successful cycle's that the agency doesn't "retire" her before I can use her as my donor...
Jeez, it's like a freakin' game of chess!!

But, never fear... as most of you know, I'm a very persistant and fierce little bunny when I want something badly, and I won't stop until I manifest it...Soooooooo, if I have anything to do with this process (and I will), come hell or high water, I will make my dream of becoming a mom a reality. 

In fact, if this egg donor process doesn't work, and I've exhausted my funds, I've decided to adopt from the county, as those children are free (the govt. even provides for their health insurance until they are 18). However, at that point, I will be opening myself up to adopting a child who has been crack or heroin exposed or may have other special needs...but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. 

In the end, it really is all about me mothering a child and so I have to give up the dream of the way I thought that it would look. Still, I am heartened as many women give up way before these possibilities are even pondered...I know deep down inside that me being able to be open to multiple outcomes is a gift. 

What I'm discovering in this process of having to let go of all of my wants, desires and expectations around motherhood is this:

It doesn't matter who I mother, it just matters that I get to mother in this lifetime.

OK, I think that's it...Thanks for listening to this very long diatribe...I'll keep you all informed as things progress..and they will likely progress more slowly at this point because so many things have to fall into place at just the right time.
But it will happen...mark my words...

I am holding onto this vision, perhaps you might care to as well: Me showing up at your doorstep for a visit one day with a child (or two) strapped to my back, deliriously happy, with a well-founded sense of grace and gratitude and the knowledge that in the end, everything worked out exactly the way that it was supposed to.

hugs and blessings to you all,
ps-Huge shout outs and lots of love to little baby Elias who was born to my dear friends Francis and Jeremy a week ago in London. I'm so, so happy for you guys!!

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