Thursday, January 6, 2011

The appointment diptych

Today was the second appointment in the series of two this week, hence the title of this post. Mr. August and I met with the program psychologist on Tuesday. Today, Sattva and her husband met with him.

Our appointment was hard to get to for me. There was craziness at work, and I just had to put my foot down and leave. I had already told people I wasn't available on Tuesday afternoon. But of course, I felt pretty anxious about it. I haven't given up trying to be all things to all people yet, she says ironically.

Anyway, we got there and it took a while, but the psychologist finally came to get us. While he walked us to his office, he stopped and said he had to ask if it was ok to have his resident join us. Not ok. I am friendly with the psychology resident at work, and these folks are a small and tight group. Also, she will likely come to my work site for didactic lectures and I will inevitably run into her. No. I said it and even if I felt bad to deprive her of her learning experience (because remember, I was a psychology resident in that system 2 years ago), I stood my ground. This is my private life.

The meeting went for over 2 hours and I was completely knackered at the end of it. Ok, I hadn't slept well the night before and work was crazy for the hours that I was there, but the appointment was also demanding. It reminded me to think about how exhausting it is for my patients. It started with a recap of the IUI failures and what followed: the depression and the problems it caused in our relationship. He wanted to know if we had been told what the final diagnosis was. No, we hadn't been told. We know that my ovaries didn't and won't produce eggs. But he called it Primary Ovarian Failure. The words fell a bit heavy in the room. It bugged me that he asked whether I was getting symptoms of menopause. Later, Mr. August noted that there really isn't anybody in that clinic that understands my condition except our RE. My ovaries didn't stop working: they never did work. How can I go through menopause without ever having gone through puberty?

The rest of the appointment was spent talking about all the implications of egg donation. And let me tell you friends, there are many, especially with a known donor. Questions of what kind of relationship do we want with Sattva, her husband and kids after a baby is born. What role do we want her to have in the child's life. What if we both die: do we want her and her husband to be the legal guardian. When do we want to introduce to the child the concept that he or she was created through egg donation, and that aunty Sattva was the one with a basket full of eggs who shared with mommy and daddy?

We also talked about the reaction of our friends and family. "So, Augusta, how did your dad, your mom and your stepdad react to the news that you were planning on starting a family through egg donation?" Hum....I guess I would need to tell them to find out. It became clear to me that I had really only told safe people and had not yet challenged myself to tell people who probably should know, but whose reactions I could not really predict. I think that until it was more real and imminent, I didn't want to risk it.  I guess now it's real. Or maybe when we sign the consent to treatments. Or maybe when Sattva starts her meds. Or maybe when she goes for the egg retrieval. Or maybe when we know that some embryos have fertilized. I could also wait until I'm 12 weeks pregnant. When is it going to be real, I wonder?

Today was the appointment for Sattva and her husband. Because they have children, it usually is just Sattva who comes for appointments and her DH stays with the kids. But they brought the little one today; a two year old beauty that I will call Ginger. I was called on to be the babysitter.  I got the waiting room and said a warm hello to the receptionist who I really like. I asked if Sattva was here and she looked at me in consternation: "I can't tell you either way". Right, right, the whole confidentiality thing. Ok, gotcha. It turns out poor Sattva had gone to the wrong hospital and was quite late in getting there. I kicked myself for not having sent her a map and clarified which hospital it was. She had been there twice with us, but was never the one driving.

So there was this beautiful Ginger among the infertiles in the infertility clinic waiting room. I would like to publicly apologize for that sin on this blog. That was sacrilegious of us to bring her there and believe me, once mommy and daddy went to their appointment, I whisked her away to the cafeteria, out of the sight of these poor souls. I am really sorry.

My time with Ginger was pretty fantastic. I got her some chocolate pudding with whipped cream (half of it remained on her face until she finally let me wash it off). I brought pink paper and Dora stickers and she loved to create a little collage. By the end of it, she didn't want to leave the hospital. When I was at the machines for parking payment, little Ginger looked at me and said "uppy", meaning that she wanted me to pick her up. Parents were pretty surprised by that, as she usually prefers to be picked up only by mom and dad.

They said their appointment went well. I couldn't get a full read on Sattva's husband, but I don't know him well. Sattva said it went well, although she regretted having said yes to having the resident. Small world we work in, and she is probably right to think their paths may cross again. We decided to meet on the weekend, Sattva and I, so we could regroup and talk about the the appointments. I am really looking forward to spending time with her. I used to see her a few times per week when I was at school finishing my dis, but now not so much.

Next step, aside from some chats with Sattva, is to call a lawyer and arrange for consultations. Our big orientation appointment is on February 2. I believe that this is the day that treatments will start. Maybe it will be a bit more real then.


  1. Wow... what an exciting few days you have had. Sounds like you are well on your way to this new journey. Following you every step of the way!

  2. That is definitely a lot to process and so much to be thrown at you guys. Good for you for standing your ground, there is so little we have control over in terms of IF it's important we take control where we can. So excited for you guys as you move forward on this journey. Sending so much love, hope, and peace your way my friend!

  3. Whew, I am exhausted reading this. So many question marks, so little time. I get the feeling that this went well overall and that you are just a few steps closer to February.

    So, about this puberty thing, way overrated. Just letting you know that you didn't miss out. I would have been spitting mad to have someone write me off with POF, and that last F would stand for the unkind word I'd like to swing right back to anyone handing out labels. Harumph.

    Ginger sounds like a delightful distraction during this and I like to think that you got plenty of daggers from all these people who assumed your relationship. I'm looking forward to having that envy very well deserved.

  4. What a huge appointment. Huge. It seems like this is a big step forward though. I guess it's normal to have all the questions but one by one you'll get the answers.

    And in regards to the telling or not telling of your family about the egg donor... I say don't feel pressured to tell anyone if you dont want to. I can understand why the psychologist wants you to share but I also think that it's your life and you are able to withold stuff if you want. I dont think that just because someone is related to you they have unreserved rights on every part of your private life. At this stage you are just figuring things out for yourself so I dont think its wrong to wait till you feel comfortable before letting people know. Or not. I dont think you should HAVE to tell anyone. Your choice I say. xxx

  5. Ugh - just lost my long comment. I'm so excited for you. I know how draining that appointment can be, but it sounds like it went well. Congrats!

  6. Wow this is such a big process. Definitely a very exciting time though for you!

  7. Wow, this process sounds a lot like what I am learning about embryo adoption.I just went through my psych appt. and now we are considering open embryo adoption where we may know the mom too. So, yes, I can relate to a lot of things you said here. Figners crossed all continues to go well!

  8. My word, what a lot of STUFF! Exhausting stuff, depressing stuff, exhilarating stuff. Plus pudding! Yay to you for standing your ground on the no resident. She will have plenty of other opportunities for learning.

    I think waiting till you're 12 weeks pregnant is a good choice on telling the family. There's allowing yourself to be challenged, and then there's dealing with a whole lotta ignorance and judgment that might not have any positive effects at all. Maybe if there's one person who can be trusted not to react in a hurtful fashion, he or she could be a test case... But yeah, like Egghunt says, it's no one's right to tell you what to do on this issue.

    I hope the chat goes great--I can't imagine there will be any unexpected surprises, but I hope you guys both get to reassure each other about anything you're not 100% confident on.

    Is it hard to resist looking at Ginger and subtracting Mr. Sattva and adding in Mr. August? Hey, I guess there's no need to resist!

  9. I have been in the same situation where they wanted a resident or student to come and observe a NO F*cking Way! Good for you for standing your ground. Wow, it sounds like the emotional roller coaster was covered in detail I am sure you are still trying to process everything. Even now, with the DE embryos, it doesn't always feel real, but when they get transferred, it is SO real.

    For me, I loved the DE cycle as I was not obsessed with every aspect of it. I just went with the flow. Very different for me.

    Good luck in the coming weeks.

  10. Wow, that sounds like an intense appointment, to have to talk through all those questions. But it doesn't sound like there were any major surprises or roadblocks, which is great.

  11. Heavy. This is a lot to get through. I think when you know the lovely Sattva it is probably complicated. I mean, I dont know my donor and I remember being rocked to the core after the meeting with our lawyer.

    Try to consider this is the job we pay them top dollar to complete - challenge us with all the possibilities and interpretations we cannot produce on our own.

    I am not surprised you stood up for your privacy but it doesnt mean I dont admire it. Go, Gusta, go!

  12. Wait a minute, why is it important how your family has reacted to your news? From where I sit you're absolutely right not to have told them, and frankly it's none of their business unless you want it to be.

    OK, that sounded angrier than I meant it to...

    Dropped into the very end of your post is February 2--that's coming up soon!

  13. Wow, this appointment sounds slightly like having one's feet placed to an open flame. I guess that's the point, making you consider the big questions and all possible scenarios at this end. That said, I am thrilled (and I'm not using that word lightly) that you said no to the resident sitting in. That was a very, very good move in taking care of yourself. First, emotionally. But also professionally.

    I would have been extremely annoyed at being asked the questions re: menopause. Yes. A fundamental lack of understanding about your situation.

    (I'm not a fan of children in RE waiting rooms BUT I am willing to wager that any woman in that room who understood the circumstances would more than give leeway for sweet Ginger's appearance. I would).

    Crossing fingers that you find smart, sensitive lawyers who make the next step utterly painless.

  14. If you weren't tired before your appt, you definitely would be afterwards.
    Hope you can determine when would be the right time to tell your family. That is tricky.
    Glad you had a good time with Ginger.