Monday, January 21, 2008

Jumping in the deep end

I've done lots of thinking the last few weeks and I've decided to keep putting one foot in front of the other and taking things one step forward at a time. I have an appointment with an RE on 2/7 to discuss next steps and review financing. I also checked my insurance coverage and luckily I live in a state with coverage so I should be all set once I'm authorized to move forward.

I don't really talk about my plans to have a child with too many people. My sister knows the basics but we don't have long conversations about it. She's never been one for big conversations. I have another sister who I told a year or so ago that this was something I was considering but she hasn't brought it up except one comment about me adopting. That says to me that she's not comfortable with the idea of me using a donor to get pregnant so I don't bring it up. Just this past weekend I was having dinner with my favorite cousin and I told her about my recent news and plans to move forward on having children. She has never met her father in spite of numerous attempts to contact him and I thought she would have some valuable insight to share. My wonderful cousin was so supportive and excited that I was going to do this. She asked lots of questions that gave me a chance to really talk about my plans and how I felt about moving forward.

I can't remember when it was exactly that I became aware that women had the option to buy sperm and get pregnant on their own. I'm sure it must have been television or perhaps a mention in one of my Women's Studies classes. I do remember that show in the late 90's 'Oh Baby' that started out with the main character deciding it was time to have a baby, picking a donor, getting pregnant first try and then meeting a cute guy to date pretty much in the same day. I remember the giving birth episode and the comical portrayal of the tape recording she had of the donor. The hard stuff was all brushed aside in favor of a laugh track but it still got my attention.

I think it was as I was approaching 30 I started to think that I might have to be one of those women who do it on their own. Of course I never thought it would come to that but it was something I tucked away in my back pocket. I had options and that was just one of them. Surely I would meet someone and we would decide to be parents together- I had options. There was always a chance for a happy accident- I had options. Well, turns out not so much- I don't have as many options as I thought. My tubes don't work so having a child will be a deliberate choice involving incredible effort, expense, uncomfortable conversations and decisions with far reaching impacts. My tubes suck and I don't get to take the easy way out. I don't know why I was surprised because nothing worth having ever comes easy and perhaps that is how it should be.

During my long career as a 'thinker' I've been ok with the parenting alone part. What always trips me up is the idea of using a donor and what that really means to me and to any potential children. The least of these concerns was when I thought this road would involve AI - I was seriously icked out by the idea of strange swimmers crashing my pool party. Useless tubes means that this is no longer an issue because the pool will now be a petri dish. Yeah, that pretty much is the only pro I could come up with.

What I still struggle with is using a donor. I am making a deliberate choice to deny my child half of their identity. I can't say that genetics and biology isn't important because it's important enough to me that I am taking this path to motherhood instead of adopting. We all have struggles in our lives and no one has a perfect family or childhood. I can offer my child half of their heritage which is better than what I would be able to provide if I had chosen international adoption. I have spent a lot of time lurking on message boards and reading everything I can about how DC people feel and it's not all good. I move forward with this choice knowing that no matter how wanted and loved my child is and no matter how honest I am about how they were conceived it is very likely that they will struggle with their identity. Using an anonymous donor isn't an option for me because it's not fair to lock the door to potential contact if my child decides they want it. I also think that choosing someone with a similar blend of nationalities will be beneficial because even if my child doesn't know the other half of their genetic family they might find some comfort in knowing that our ethnic heritage and traditions are most likely similar. I don't see too much discussion on this next one but I see half siblings as a positive thing. I would be more inclined to use a donor knowing that there are already families with half siblings willing to be in contact. I would want my child to have the option of knowing these other kids because seeing how they are alike and different will help them to figure out their other half.

I find it all so overwhelming. How to choose.... ugh.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Details and cement filled tubes

I was really anxious about the hyster*oscopy and HSG that I didn't get much sleep the night before. I took 800 mg of ad*vil an hour before my appointment and I'm glad I did!

The hyste*roscopy was up first-
I got to the exam room and everything was already set up which just made me want to bolt out of there! The instruments on a cart and disposable pads on the chair and on the floor. The nurse was really nice and walked me through the procedure and showed me the thin tube thing that would soon be piercing my cervix. I said it didn't look all that thin to me and she said that it was nothing compared to how huge they used to be... yeah that didn't make me think it was any thinner. The doctor was going to be using saline instead of gas so those pads were to catch the water. I appreciated the nurse telling that it was going to happen and that it was perfectly normal for it be messy. I only had to undress from the waist down which was a bonus because it's been pretty chilly lately. Hopped on the table and had to 'scooch' and then 'scooch' again. The doctor put some type of gel on my cervix to numb it (applied with a finger) and then something else to freeze it. I'm not sure what she used but I did feel a tiny pinch. I'll spare you the speculum details since we all know that horror. I didn't really feel the camera or the tube that was used to deliver the saline. Mostly I felt pressure and a little crampy. It was kind of cool to see the inside of my uterus but I declined the offer to take a photo home. I was in the stirrups for about 15 - 20 minutes all together. Once the test was finished and all the tools were removed they had me lay back for a few minutes before getting up. When I did get up I was surprised to see all the blood. I was glad that the 'scooching' had hiked up my sweater or it would have gotten bloody and wet. I brought my own pad from home and some baby wipes to help with the clean up. I only had minimal spotting and if I wasn't having another open wide type test I wouldn't have needed it for longer than an hour.

I had an hour until the HSG so I took more ad*vil.

The HSG was done in radiology and again I only had to undress from the waist down. The tools were all laid out again on a cart and they looked a little more evil in that setting. The table was an Xray table with no stirrups so it was extra fun to 'scooch' and keep my heels at the edge of the table. The doctor uses a cloth to wash you inside and out with some antibacterial... yes I said inside. I was still pretty numb from the earlier procedure so I didn't feel the instruments too much just pressure and slightly crampy. An Xray doctor joined the fun and he was blocking my view so I didn't get to see too much of the show. I had to lay on my back, then roll on to my right side then roll to my left side. It was all over in maybe 10 minutes. This time not much blood but lots of Orange iodine to wipe off. I was glad that they gave me a towel to clean up with since the baby wipes weren't going to cut it.

My results -
Unfortunately the HSG showed quite clearly that my tubes are blocked. My doctor was very matter-of-fact when she said that I wouldn't be able to get pregnant without the aid of IVF. I was crushed and shocked. I was not expecting that. All those months wasting my time charting, what an idiot I was for ever thinking that I might have been pregnant, wasted birth control when I wasn't trying to get pregnant, I can't give myself needles, how will ever afford IVF? hundreds of thoughts swirling around my head but the loudest of all was WHY ME, WHY AM I BROKEN? ISN'T ENOUGH THAT I HAVEN'T MANAGED TO FIND A PARTNER TO SHARE THIS JOURNEY WITH? I was sobbing in the bathroom and barely managed to collect myself long enough to make it my car. I think I might still be in shock or denial because I haven't really let myself think too much about what comes next and how I feel about it. I do have a little voice in my brain trying to get my attention. When I'm talking to someone about the weather it's whispering "yes it's very cold outside and I can't have children" or "blah blah blah work stuff oh and I can't have children with out a chemistry set and lots and lots of cash".

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