Thursday, March 10, 2005

Cold feet

This is really happening. I am really going to do this. Right?

I got a call from my clinic yesterday saying that our donor is downregulated and ready to start her stimulation drugs next week. I will start Estrace this Sunday, to build up my uterine lining for implantation. (Sadly, I have to keep taking the evil Lupron...I thought I'd get to quit when I began Estrace, as I did in my own IVF cycle, but this time around they don't want my ovaries getting in on the act at all.) Egg retrieval from the donor will probably be March 29, with transfer on April 1. I do hope that isn't an omen.

I carefully wrote all that down as the nurse was speaking, and after we hung up I meticulously transferred it to my calendar. And then I sat back and tried to figure out why the bottom had just dropped out of my stomach. Why all my doubts and fears about donor egg were beating about my head like a manic bird's wings. Why I suddenly had, as they say, cold feet. Isn't this what I've been waiting and working for? What I've been longing for?

Well...no. What I've been waiting for, working for, longing for, is a baby. A donor egg cycle as my method of family building was never high on my list of life goals, and it carries with it such a freight of stress and uncertainty that if it were a box on my doorstep, I'd call the bomb squad. Sometimes, donor egg feels too hot to handle.

Many have said to me, "Bee, you think too much." This is no doubt true, especially since the quality of my thought often leaves much to be desired (think pete-and-repeat jokes, weird David-Lynch-esque daydreams, and dustbunnies). But I think this decision I've made, this step I'm about to take, deserves some high-grade cogitation. This is huge. The hugest. I'm at the altar, about to say "I do." I am reformatting the hard drive that is my life, and I'm about to press ENTER. Or, try this metaphor: I'm about to jump off the high dive; I know there's water in the pool, but can I swim? Have I really got the stuff to be a good donor egg mother?

That's why I have the willies today. I am so very close to the point of no return. Assuming I am lucky enough to have embryos to put into my body on April Fool's Day, I will no longer be a woman dithering about donor egg and wondering if I can possibly slay all my dragons and be a good mother to my sweet maybechildren. On that day, with those embryos inside me, I will be a donor egg mother, if only for the time between transfer and beta HCG. I will be responsible for those potential children, and committed to raising them as best I can, with all the love and care I can muster. There will be no avoiding the pain I fear ahead, if they have problems or issues with their origins. On that day, there will be no going back. No "do overs," like we gave ourselves in childhood when we blew it playing kickball.

God, who wouldn't be scared?

It sure would be easier if my reproductive decisions were as simple as a smooth Merlot and a date with my husband. But they're not. I'd like to report that after a night of calm reflection, I arrived at a Zen-like serenity in my decision to be a donor egg mother. Or at least, a steely determination to stick to my guns, and damn the torpedoes.

But that would be bullshit.

The bald truth is, I was so freaked out last night, and so freaked that I was freaked after all the time and blog pixels I have spent on my DE decision, that I drank a big glass of wine -- I know, I know, bad me -- and tossed and turned all night. I look like hell today, and the only certainty I have is this: If I were to cancel this cycle, I would regret it forever.

See, I make all my life decisions based on one simple principle: How can I keep bad things from happening to me later? It's lowering, to realize what a true pessimist I am. If I chicken out, the "What if?" question will torment me like Marley's ghost. I will grieve my maybechildren if I don't at least try to become their mother for real.

So I am not going to shrink back from this, no matter how frightened I am. I'm off that high dive, and I don't care if I go splat. I'm going to take my vows. I'm going to press that button. I will take this leap of faith, and trust that wherever I land, I can make that place a loving home for me, my husband, and all our children.

17 comments:

Andi said...

Bee, I hear you loud & clear. You could be speaking my own thoughts.

But when they ARE my own thoughts, this I know: It is not the fear of whether I can be a good mother to a DE baby that scares me. It is the fear of whether I can be a good mother at all. And that fear is borne of too much time spent trying to BE a mother in the first place - the fear that perhaps the prize we seek so relentlessly will turn out not to be what we were hoping for.

But then I look around me, at my relatives, my friends, and perfect strangers, and I see them raising kids, and for the most part, doing just fine at it. And I have to believe: If they can do it, so can I. Just give me the chance.

Bee said...

Thank you Andi, for that reminder that things really DO work out in th end! I appreciate it!

Holly said...

Bee,

I love this Blog! I'm still in the process of researching DE, but you speak all the things I think and fear. I "know" you from the BB, and I'm 100% certain you will be a great Mom to your children- however they may come to you!

Anonymous said...

Hi Bee :)
Sorry, but LOL :)
I too felt these feelings prior to actually going through. I based my knowledge of how much I wanted this on the fact that I kept continuing to do it... Ummm I mean I was doing what I had to do to get to where I am now. I never do anything I don't want to do, so since I was going through the motions of making it happen, then deep down I must want this pretty badly :).
Yes, I have wrestled w how the child will feel about it's conception, but we all have our crosses to bear. To me the important thing is that this child is so wanted and will be so loved and yours will to.
I plan to tell my child that they are so special it took 3 people to make him/her.
Just to let you know, I also had feelings of mild envy when my donor and my dh produced "wonderful, perfect" embryos and I didn't have anything to do w the process. Then after transfer, I felt a bit odd about having an embryo implanted that was half my dh and half my friend...
I think it is quite normal to feel all these feelings and best to deal with them as they come along. They are part of the process and the decision. As you said it is HUGE so we can expect nothing else then having to go through truckloads of doubts and questions. It is unknown territory that you are venturing down.
Take a deep breath, go with the flow, you'll be fine and you'll be an awesome mum.
Kat xx

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Anonymous said...

Finally! I can post a comment.

Bee,

I hear you. I question more about what kind of mother I'll be more than whether or not I'll even be a mother. It's scary, it's hard and when you're infertile, you have way too much time on your hands to think about everything to death instead of just jumping in and doing it. That's the one thing about this I wish I could remove -- having the time to think about everything (and believe me, I think of things that no one else would probably ever think of) because I have the time to think.

You'll be fine. It will be fine. Once you have the chance to just take that 'jump' the rest will smooth itself out. The way I think about it, since I've HAD all this time to think, I'm going to be a rocking, well prepared MOM!

xxoo,
Emily

Pam said...

Bee--I'm right there with you! I am scared. My retrieval and transfer date are scheduled on the same days yours are!

I've been really anxious and thinky in the past week or so too (I mean, more so than usual...) Waking up DH up at 4AM to talk about my sudden doubts and concerns...that sort of thing.

On top of that, we have been waiting to adopt domestically for a year now (we're pursuing all options!) and OF COURSE I get a call on Tuesday about a potential adoption situation (baby born on Monday would need to come home on Wednesday...). Well, as things played out, we weren't a match for this situation--not even close--but still! For the couple of hours I was just crazy.

Things have calmed down again for me today. I think it's dawning on me that really, really truly--no matter how much I read, prepare, discuss--in the end it is a matter of taking a big ol' leap of faith.

I'm going for it! Pam

wessel said...

Bee, I just know that I am going to have the same reaction (um . . . that is, if I ever get that far to begin with--still no donor on the horizon). I already feel alternating sensations of "ain't it great to have this option--our mothers certainly didn't have donor egg to fall back on--whew!" to "oh my gosh--my husband's sperm, a strange girl's egg--WHAT am I doing?"

But of course, it's not like I'm going to give birth to a puppy dog or something. I worry intensely about whether the child will hate me, will feel I've made them a freak, will feel alienated from me, will look me square in the eyes one day and say "who the hell are you? show me the DNA."

Sigh. But then I look at my DH, who is such a dear, sweet person and I know I would do anything to make him a father. And one thing is for sure--you say you wish you didn't have the time to worry so much. Well, I think when the baby comes, you'll get THAT wish!

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Bee said...

Hi Everyone! I guess Blogger was having issues since Friday. Seems like it's fixed now.

Hey Holly! Thanks for the blog compliments and the confidence on what kind of mother I will make...I am a stepmother right now and I can already see where my weak spots will be. (Ha!) I panic at the idea of addressing my child's DE questions, but that's years away and I need to just trust that DH and I can take care of it. He's a wise man -- he says, "They'll think whatever YOU think about it. If you are positive about it, they will be fine with it."

Kat, thanks for that lightbulb moment! No matter how much I run at the mouth about this, I keep plugging away at it, so I must want it to happen. But it's so good to hear that others freak about it too, and it doesn't mean I shouldn't do this. Here's hoping I can follow in your footsteps soon. I think I'm going to feel sad on retrieval day -- the only thing I'll have to do that day is drop off flowers and maybe a little gift for our donor, unless I just have DH do it when he goes in. And I KNOW I'm going to feel weird on transfer day. I have gone so far as to worry that I'll feel like the baby is a little alien in there, and not part of me! But so many DE moms post that this feeling GOES AWAY as the pregnancy progresses, should I be so lucky. What's helping me is to think of this as an adoption -- a very early one -- and I know in the end I can love this baby no matter how s/he comes into my life.

Emily, we're two peas in a pod as far as "thinking too much" and worrying about whether I'll be a good mom. Sometimes I have to tell myself, "Take a deep breath and let it go, because you can't control it or do anything about it at this point" -- for example, about how I'll handle my kid's questions about DE. Problem is...I have to tell that to myself every day! Sometimes I wish my spinning thoughts had an OFF switch. :D :D

Pam, what a crazy time for you with the chance at an adoption. My hat is OFF to you...I don't think I could stand the stress of pursuing both family-building options at once. Whew!!! You're right that in the end it is a leap of faith. You can tell I'm the biggest worrywart -- when I made the decision to go with DE, it HAD to be a leap of faith. If I had waited until I was "100% sure", I would never have done it!!! I will be looking forward to trading posts with you on our retrieval and transfer days....

Hey there Wessel. I'm so sorry it's taking such a looooong time to find a donor...it just gives you that much more time to worry about the whole darned thing. If there's one thing I'm learning by keeping this blog it's that my feelings, which are all over the place and hard to cope with, are even so NORMAL for this out-of-the-ordinary life experience. I do share your intense worry about how the child will feel about himself or herself, AND about me, when s/he is old enough to truly understand. It's my personal nightmare in this process -- that they'll scream at me one day: "How could you DO this to me! I don't even know who I am or where I come from because you did this. And don't bother trying to help me because you're not my mother."

It is that scenario that makes me want to chuck the whole thing, and I think about it every day. But that's another leap of faith. DH says, "Other than an angry teenager who doesn't mean it anyway...I can't imagine any child raised by you acting like that. Our child will be loved so much that this won't be an issue."

I just have to trust that he's right. Or, if he's not, trust that we can deal with the problems when they come. I'm trying to be realistic -- I'm sure there WILL be problems. It's hard, knowing I'm already doing something that will bring complications into my child's life. But isn't that part of a mother's job -- to stand there and get blamed for everything. :D

Have a good week everyone! -- Bee

Anonymous said...

My tentative retrieval and tsf dates are the same week as yours. When we decided on DE, I felt like a huge burden was lifted. Selecting the donor, getting all of the consents signed, etc were all exciting. Then it was time for me to start the Lupron shots and I got very scared. Not of the shots - those are old hat after several IVF cycles. I just got cold feet and I can't explain why.

I visit several bulletin boards and they are all so happy and excited about the process. No one has ever mentioned the fears I was experiencing. So, thank you for letting me know that I am not the only person going through this that had some last minute reservations. I am so very glad to have found your blog!

Michelle

Pamplemousse said...

You can do this! I am not using donor eggs but I know the hard road of IF. Keep on walking the road!

Anonymous said...

Hi Bee,

I have been following you story and it is the same as so many of us here. Thank you for capturing the thoughts and fears that we all face in this endeavor.

I too have had the moments of sheer panic, but then I take a step back and remind myself that this is my best shot at motherhood.

I am a little ahead of you in the process as I had the transfer of 2 day 5 blasts this afternoon, so there is no turning back now, just hopes for the future!

Believe me, the cycle will fly by and you will be in my position in a few short days! My beta is the day of your transfer...and we will not be April Fools!

Good luck to you and to all the ladies going down this path.

Once we are holding our babies, I am sure that the only panic we will face is, "now then I am here, how can it get any better"!!!

Mom to a DE baby said...

Hi Bee,

I have been very fortunate to have two beautiful children. One of them is from DE. Your feelings are so normal and so natural as well. I remember when I was going through my DE cycle the lowest moment for me was the day my dh had to go and give his "donation". I was so surpirzed at how sad I felt. I was so into my cycle and was happy to be progressing and getting closer to my dreams. I thought I had accepted the DE with out any doubts. But that particular day, my heart was sad. But you know what? When the nurse called to tell me how many of my embies fertilized... yes MY embies I was ok. I was more than OK I was so excited. As soon as I saw thier pictures on transfer day they were MINE! I love my baby so much! I have no regrets at all and I can not imagine my life without this precious gift. If God told me that I could have a baby from my own eggs but I would have to give my sweetie pie back I would say NO WAY! Hang in there and I wish you success and happiness. You will be a wonderful mom. Each person will hit thier highs and lows throughout this process but let me assure you of one thing I have never ever met a mom who had a child from Donor Egg ever regret having her baby.

GOOD LUCK!

Bee said...

Hi Everyone,

All I can say is...Wow. The world has GOOD things to offer me, everything from you kind women posting here all the way to a DE baby of my own. You guys are wonderful; you give me courage and heart. Thanks to each and every one of you.

Love,

Bee

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for posting, I am struggling with the decision to use an egg donor. Have looked at egg donor USA and Shady Groves; both are incredibly efficient at taking your money!

However, four failed IVF cycles later I feel that I am out of choices.... getting older.

I wish I could say I have the perfect family, but I do not. Generally they are self centered and insensitive to our struggle because hey, they all have kids so what do they care? Throw in coming from an Indian culture where we do not discuss "science babies" and it is a real shit show.

I struggle with this decision, can I do it? What if the child so clearly does not look Indian/like us? I will not let anyone hurt my child or make him or her feel less because they are from an egg donor..... I thus feel like I cannot disclose truth to anyone and it is a very lonely feeling for both my DH and I.

Just finished a retrieval and get yet another intrusive phone call from the sister asking how many embryos (?!!). But this time, I felt like I had to lie.... thinking ahead to the future and the possibility of using an egg donor.

Despite a very painful stim and retrieval, there are no embryos to use, but I had to make small talk and say sure we have a few embies only to be drilled about how many..... made me regret ever disclosing anything to family. I know damn well this info will travel to her husband and my mother.

I do not know if I did the right thing lying and saying we had three embryos, but it left the door open in case we do find an egg donor we like. I am not ashamed of looking for an egg donor, I am just so scared my family and my community will not accept my child.

In looking at the blogs from donors I feel strongly that I cannot be involved in any process that exploits another woman, so we are trying to find an option that is transparent and fair to everyone...I can dream right?

I know our stories are very different, but I just wanted to share my thoughts with you and all these other amazing brave women that are going through this journey.