Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Magnanimity and the grateful heart




A daily entry is something I strive for, but I have not reached cruising altitude on that goal yet. This mirrors where I am with my work. I have been working full time on finishing my PhD dissertation since July 19. I was trying to finish it part time while I was working since September 2009, but that did not get me very far. With the failure of our fertility treatments in October and the job, I did not have much left to give to the ol' dissertation. I quit said job on June 30, which I would describe as one of those 'I'm going to be on my own team' sort of decision. I'm very good at taking care of a lot of people, but it's taking good care of myself that I'm working on at the moment. So, I haven't reached my cruising altitude in either my blog entries nor in my dissertation work. And here is what I am trying to believe about that: It's ok: I will get there.

Before I get back to my statistical analyses (which are fun actually, as hard as that is to believe), I wanted to just share a dream I had last night. It is kind of fuzzy at this point, but it seemed pretty vivid when I woke up. In the dream, I had gone through the process of egg donation. The dream involved the minutia of every little step needed to go through it. I don't remember exactly what it involved, but I remember there were many, many steps. And then, it was over! I was pregnant. And really, really, really scared of having a miscarriage. I was scared to move or to laugh or anything. I kept thinking that a simple sneeze would take this gift away. And then I woke up.

I guess as we go ahead and plan for the egg donation, my mind is trying to wrap itself around what it will entail. I met with my friend who is offering to donate eggs this week and she is still fully on board. I was glad to meet with her and glad we had a chance to talk further about the donation. I feel so afraid of taking something away from her that is essential to her vitality. It's a big fear of mine that the treatments will make her uncomfortable or ill, and that she will be diminished by the process. She is such a beautiful, beautiful person. I wouldn't want anything, least of which something she does for us, to take away from who she is. So, as we talked I started crying, of course, and said it was too much to ask of her. And in her kindness, she said that I never asked and that she wants to do this. She explained that there are so many ways she would like to help the world, like volunteer in third world countries, or take in foster children, but that she feels she can't do those things (She's a professional and mom to 2 young girls). She said that donating eggs is something she CAN do to help the world, and help us.

Wow. That's a generous heart.

Because of my early history, I have always had such a hard time with needing something from another person. Egg donation is confronting me with this challenge in such a significant way. I need something that another person has and can give. And I won't be able to give something back to her that is commensurate. And I just have to let that be. So. Hard.

If hers is the generous heart, mine must be the grateful one then.

I guess I'll work on that when I'm taking breaks from my dissertation.

Friday, July 23, 2010

oh baby! I'm so sorry.

I feel like I need to apologize to all the babies whose births I am not as enthusiastic about as I feel I should be. That sounds a little strange. It's not like I am upset at a baby's birth, it's that I know how happy I used to be about hearing of a wee one being born, even from parents I knew distantly. There used to be this feeling of excitement in my heart when somebody would report a birth or when I would get wind of it electronically.

Of course, since October 1st, 2009 that enthusiasm in my heart has dampened.

I probably owe a bigger apology to all my pregnant friends whose pregnancies I have had difficulty getting excited about. I must admit, I have to limit my time with pregnant friends because it is too painful. It's a very strange thing to parcel out. I want to spend time with a friend, but the aversive nature of having to, in each moment I spend with her, be reminded of what is not likely to happen for me, well, it's difficult. And sometimes I can't really tolerate it for too long, before I want to physically leave or before I mentally vacate the premises.

But back to the babies. I held a 2-day old baby this morning. Little Nathan was born on Wednesday and I went to visit him and his mom briefly this morning. It was wonderful to hold him and I did let that sink into my hear to some extent. The perfection of a newborn is really awe-inspiring. I saw 11-week old Finn on the weekend and 5-week old Norah this afternoon as well. Such beautiful little ones. I can say that there was a discrepancy between hearing of these babies' births (through facebook or email) and the way I felt when I saw them. I think it was easier to dismiss the miracle when hearing of the births, and fold myself in on my own pain. But when you get to hold a baby, it's a different story. It's not really about my pain anymore, but about their arrival on earth and my wanting to welcome them.

So this is why I want to openly apologize for not showing much enthusiasm about the pregnancies and births going on all around me. I feel left out of this important life cycle and it's excruciatingly painful. And my retreat is simply a crude attempt at protecting myself. But I need to say that I welcome all babies, even if they did not come from me.

And maybe there will be a baby who is mine in the end.

Monday, July 19, 2010

phoned it in

I have had a few posts running in my head, but couldn't quite put them down. One of the posts I was writing in my head ended up in my journal, which is ok. I may still write about that in sort of a top 10 list of worse things to say to an infertile woman. I had 2 doozies in 1 day last week and I was a bit stunned by it.

Today, I would rather leave this a complaining free zone and instead, talk about the brave step I took. I phoned the infertility clinic to make an appointment with our RE. Sounds quite banal, doesn't it? Except that the reason we want an appointment is that we need to discuss egg donation. (pause). (deep breath). A donor has come forward.

In the US, egg donation can be arranged through anonymous donation or altruistic donation. In Canada, it is illegal to pay for gametes, hence sperm and egg donation are more complicated. Egg donation is mostly done through altruistic donors, with a few Canadian agencies appearing to have found loopholes around the legislation and providing eggs through I'm not sure what means (I think some work with US agencies). In any case, a trip to the US for egg donation would be upwards of 20k and folks, if I hadn't mentioned it before, I'm still a grad student (but hopefully not for long) and Mr. August is an organic farmer. So despite the lure of young American eggs, the price is outside of what we can reasonably afford.

So, altruistic donation has been the one option that wasn't completely shut close to us yet (yes, I guess anonymous donation in the US was also not completely closed, if you count winning at the lottery or begging our parents to part with a good segment of their life savings as viable options). This past year, two of my most beloved friends have offered to donate eggs when hearing about the failure of our fertility treatments. Their offers touched me so deeply and taught me about what generosity means. Both offers were most sincere, but in each case, circumstances made the potential to consider the egg donation difficult.

Yet in early June, another beloved friend (Have I ever mentioned that I am blessed with the best friends a girl could ever dream of?), upon hearing of our "last option", very seriously and wholeheartedly said that she wanted to donate eggs. Several discussions later between her and her husband, between me and my husband, and between she and I, we are ready to take the preliminary steps.

I have been very fearful of this next step. I could have called our clinic 3 weeks ago and didn't. Instead, we went canoeing and I put off the phone call.

The risk of hoping looms large in my heart.

Am I ready to get back on the roller coaster? Am I ready for the potential failure of yet another infertility intervention? I'm not sure. But much like Jess wrote today , there is an imperative to keep hoping.

I made the pone call, anyway. Mr. August and I are going on August 19. I like that date. 19 is a great number for me.

I want to write more about this but my brain is shutting down. I was up late last night dealing with my kitty who got sprayed by a skunk.