Thursday, November 4, 2010

Doubting Thomas

I've just finished reading this great book for book club called 'Too close to the falls' by Catherine Gildiner. It's her memoir of growing up in Lewsiton, NY, a town close to Niagara Falls. She goes to a strict catholic school and because she is so incredibly bright and so incredibly impulsive, she is perpetually in trouble with the nuns. When she questions something that the sister thinks she should take on faith, she gets called a doubting Thomas. Pretty soon, even the towns people are calling her that, because she was seeking proof (little empiricist that she was). 

Today, I feel like a doubting Thomas. The November 16 appointment is coming, and I see a red light in the distance, and not a green one. There are so many reasons why the egg donation with Sattva could be nixed by the good doctor. And there are good reasons why it should go ahead. Should I take it faith? I can't seem to make myself today.

I'm feeling very sad right now. And angry. Why would a whole entire system of my body just not work at all. I know that it's much better to have your reproductive system be non-functional than say, your cardiac system. Because, you know, that's game over. But I'll bitch about my hypertension and cholesterol in the next blog I write, maybe in 15 years after my first myocardial infarct.

Of course, if Sattva cannot donate her eggs, there are still some options. The two that I've been thinking of are these ones: We can sign up for this new embryo donation/adoption program that just started in Canada for couples who have extra embryos as a result of IVF. The other option is adoption. The private clinic who facilitates the embryo adoption is the same as the adoption agency I was thinking we would use. I'm pretty firmly committed to open adoption, and this is a bit harder through the public system. I have other reservations about the public system, but no doubt, you will hear about them later.

The reasons I think it will be a red light are (neither confirmed by facts nor rational): 1) Sattva's FSH is too high and her ovarian reserve is diminishing, making the egg donation a bad decision for her and for us. 2) Some other reason will prevent Sattva from being able to donate her eggs. 3) I've already been picked as the one who won't get pregnant. Done deal. I'm just building castles in the clouds. 4) My body won't have the slightest, effing clue what to do with an embryo, given the unlikely eventuality that we get to transfer.

The reasons I think that maybe it will be a green light: 1) Sattva is a healthy 36-year-old with proven fertility. 2) There is something selfless and transcendent in the generosity of her gesture; the Universe will reward this.

To add to my general malaise today, I go a call from some friends I have been actively avoiding. These are the friends who chose us to be the first ones to tell about their pregnancy last fall. That was hell. I hid from them through the pregnancy, was conveniently in Massachusetts for the baby shower, and made myself scarce after the baby was born. But they cornered me. Mr. August went over a few days ago, before he left on a business trip. So they knew he was away and wanted to have me over for dinner tonight. After I said I was focusing on my thesis, he persisted in finding a date when I could come over. My duck was cooked. I have to go over on Saturday and share a meal with them and their smugness (and their baby). I'm in no mood for that at the moment.

Ok, that's plenty of grapes of wrath for now. On a different note, I want to mention that there was a bright spot to my day. Jess at A little blog about the big infertility had a giveaway and guess who won 2nd prize???? That's right, kids! Yours truly. So excited!! THANK YOU JESS! The prize is one of her beautiful prints. I'm tickled.

Thesis update: General discussion is written, but still very rough. But that's a full document I have in front of me. Submitting to my advisor next week for a first read through.


  1. I have had some of the same anxieties and worries that you have. I'm here waiting with you and supporting you as the big appointment date approaches.

  2. The unknown. I cannot think of anything more scary when it comes to planning our ART. Unless perhaps it is the wait. You are sitting in a combination of the two. I understand you are feeling low. It would be hard not to get run down from all the news you have been processing lately.

    I am glad that you are mulling over some options - or more like that you do not see yourself at the end of the road. A little hope in your back pocket is a worthy friend.

    No one is picked to not get pregnant. Please shake that feeling as it is a grim one. I hate to think of you struggling with it.

    I understand that feeling. When my first daughter had severe genetic anomalies, they compared her problems to being 1 in a million. Someone has to be that one. I get it.

    You have a fine looking uterus that would love to welcome a guest. We just need to find that little traveller. You have no reason to believe this isn't true.

    Sending you lots of love and encouragement from here.

  3. I have not been in your specific situation, but these fears are normal for any IVF type cycle. I will say that. So much is on the line...

    Try to take it one day at a time. The big picture can certainly overwhelm. Hugs!

    Ps- look out for an email from moi!

  4. None of this DE stuff is easy...hang in there and hoping your Plan B (Plan A is always our own eggs in my opinion) will work out. Here to support you as I have walked a mile in your shoes as well!

  5. I feel like Roccie pretty much said it all. But I hope the red light turns out to be a green one after all. It might not make tons of scientific sense, but the selflessness of her offer seems to carry a lot of weight for me. How could it not turn out to be the path to your child?

    Uggh, I'm SO SORRY you got trapped into hanging (without your husband, no less) with the smug baby folks. (That post you linked to is really lovely, by the way.) It's not too late to e-mail and say you're not up for it! I know, easier said than done, but sometimes people who are overly persistent in the face of obvious avoidance need...a punch in the nose! Sorry, that's not in keeping with your approach to life, is it? How about if I punch 'em for you!

  6. Oh, my dear Augs, I'm sorry you were seeing red lights yesterday. Sometimes our minds do wildly uncool things to mess with us, don't they? I'm frustrated for you that your fertile owl brain has imagined in such detail the impediments to your childfulness, but please don't forget to give yourself loving, regular reminders that you made all these nay-sayings up, and that they do not currently reside in the Land of Truth. We can't always avoid the places our minds go, but we can counter the darkness with light.

    I'm glad you're thinking down the road to other acceptable possibilities. Never hurts to have some extra irons on the fire (or is it "in the fire"?), and getting more comfortable with some additional ideas for the ingredients in your baby recipe seems wise. That way, after Sattva is approved and you get pregnant, you can give other IF friends well informed advice. ;)

    Couple more things:

    1. You are absolutely NOT the one who won't get pregnant. Mr. August is.
    2. Don't let these douchey baby friends entrap you! Call in uninterested.

    Congratulations on having a full thesis before you, rough or otherwise. That's huge! Thinking of you, sending hugs and love, and wishing you a lovely weekend.

  7. Don't beat yourself up so much for being in a funk. You're allowed.

    It's completely normal to feel like you're always going to be faced with roadblocks, but don't forget that you are making all the right moves to lead you to a great big avenue of only green lights.

    As for having to attend that dinner, don't forget that we'll all be here when you get back to comfort you.

  8. Why is it that people with babies don't understand enough not to push? I'll never understand it. Maybe because they feel themselves cut off and disconnected in their newly domestic state...I don't know. But I am 100% for your developing a terrible flu (wink, wink) at the last moment.

    The negative blues...they come upon me, too. I find that I almost always think in terms of "best case" and "worst case" scenarios. The worst case because I want to prepare myself, the best case...because I have not yet been able to prevent myself from doing this. The thing is, though, that before November 16 you just don't know. There is all sorts of anxiety attached to not knowing, I realize. But it's a blank slate of this moment. And from following a few different blogs I actually think that the "proven fertility" is a huge, huge thing.

    Also, I don't believe in #4: your body not having any effing clue. I know how frustrating it is when your body does not do what it should (boy, do I know it). But the processes that lead up to a healthy fertilization are very different from the processes that come after, and medicine has always been better at the second half of the equation.

  9. I'm of the opinion that the Discussion section of theses/papers/dissertations is one of the hardest to write, so congrats on that!

    I also wanted to respond to your reason #4 that the egg donation might not go through. I think all of us who have more trouble than the average woman in getting pregnant start to think that our bodies simply have no clue what to do--and how could they ever figure it out. But our bodies are amazing in knowing what to do, how to be pregnant, how to deliver babies. It's only one part of your reproductive system that's a little confused, but the rest is there and raring to go! I think you said that part of your problem has been diagnosed as hypothalamic amenorrhea, and I can say from the collective experience of a 5-year-long discussion board of women with HA that we are often surprisingly fertile once our bodies figure out how to ovulate (or are helped along in some way). We've had a high percentage of multiple pregnancies, which means our bodies often do the implantation thing pretty well.

    And do you think your friends are trying to reach out to you in kindness perhaps? Are they really smug, or is that just how it seems :)? I know how that goes! Of course I don't know the situation at all, but maybe they're trying to reach out in love?

  10. Sending you hugs and love, and deep faith in the face of doubt. XOXOXO, H.