Today is cycle day 1. The day I have to make phone calls, send e-mails, await responses, book flights and juggle my work schedule all without being too attached to the outcome for which I’m doing all of this. I fly out to our clinic and back this Sunday to get a baseline ultrasound (to make sure that the lady bits are all good to be jacked up on drugs) and some blood work.
Why not (too) attached? Because being attached is going to increase my suffering. But who the heck goes to all ends of the earth to have a child and isn’t attached to the outcome being one that includes a living, breathing child at the end of the road? Do The Enlightened (whomever They may Be) never struggle with (in)fertility? Do they simply accept an inability to procreate and not suffer? I don’t know any Enlightened infertiles, apparently. Certainly if I do they have not outed themselves as such to me.
The “art”-making has continued. My attempt to practice Tonglen continues, too. And my ability to detach from outcome? Well, that’s floundering about as much as it usually does. But something about this is different.
This IUI is, in several respects, a means to an end. If it works and we end up bringing home our spirit baby/ies, I will practice attachment parenting with another blessed and beloved little person and I will promise not to curse, blame or even begrudge the Universe, God, my body, western medicine, eastern medicine, anyone or anything related to fertility ever again. I will be living a glorious dream, a dream I have carried in my heart for a long time. That is Plan A. A serious long shot at my “advanced maternal age”.
Plan B is the more likely reality. It involves us going through with IUI after our failed IVF attempt, not succeeding in bringing home our little spirit(s) in human form, and me going into battle with the LP about my longing to have another child and his unwillingness to consider using donor eggs to get there because he wants all our children to genetically tied to both of us (unless we adopted, which he was open to until he found out that in our country it’s pretty much open adoption or nothing if you’re going private and serious health and other potential issues if you’re not).
To be fair, choosing to give up on one’s own eggs is not easy. It’s hard. Very hard. Like the LP, I was not warm to the idea of donor eggs initially. But that changed after 3 miscarriages and our recent biochemical pregnancy with the IVF. And now I have secretly picked out a short list of potential frozen egg donors and I plan to set the stage for that serious conversation the LP promised we could have if we didn’t succeed in getting and staying pregnant by about June this year. I’m not sure I’m willing to wait until June to start that conversation. Not true. I know I’m not ready to wait until then. In my head, June is when we pick our donor and schedule the donor cycle. In my heart, I want Plan B to be all but endorsed with the LP’s signature by the time June rolls around.
It’s not that I don’t have compassion for the LP and his heartache in all of this (which is enormous, much like mine). It’s not that I don’t believe I can get pregnant on our own (or maybe through IUI with injectables). It’s not even that I don’t trust my eggs to go the distance before they run out or fully expire (the question is when? and at what cost?). My line-in-the-sand is that I do not want to live in heartache, longing and a cycle of loss forever. Or even for another 6, 8, 14, 24 months.
I know there are no guarantees, even with donor eggs, though our chances if we were to transfer two would be 70% and even with IVF right now we have a 10% chance. But I also know that I ache for another child to hold in my arms , a child whose life and development I long to share with the LP and our Miracle Baby. I don’t care if that child is genetically “mine”. I do care if I have to keep putting my life on hold, my heart in a vice, blender and salt bath on repeat indefinately. And I care about being a crappier parent because I’m perpetually obsessing and compulsing about trying to get and stay pregnant. I’m also not getting any younger here, right?
All of that to say I am going to find me a good read about epigenetics and I’m going to make it required reading for the LP. Sounds bossy, doesn’t it? It is. But he can take it. He’s a professional scrapper, like me. And he has a science background, unlike me, so it should make sense to him. How can one come to the table to have a “serious discussion” about donor eggs based on romanticism alone? Bring on the science! We should both be educated to have our serious conversation.
And who knows? Maybe if we get all set up to buy us some donor eggs and test out that epigenetics theory, my body will get ‘er done in the meantime, while I’m off worrying about Plan B. Either way, I hope we get to bring home that baby or babies we are so deeply longing to love, hold and compassionately raise.
On that note, does anyone else see the humour in aiming for detachment as a way of living but attachment when parenting?