Everything is different
I’m not sure what happens next, and for me that’s just about the scariest place I can be. I am still feeling quite sure that I never want to go through this again – and by ‘this’, I mean the whole nine yards. I mean the daily medications. I mean the “am I? aren’t I?” hell that is the 2ww. I mean the weekly ultrasounds to check “Is the heart still beating?” I mean the daily – no, make that the constant – infusion of terror that all is not as it should be. I mean the constant second-guessing, the constant refrain playing in the back of my mind that I am not good enough, young enough, special enough, lucky enough to have what comes way too easily to 90 percent of the world.
I want a family – I need one. I have given up rather a lot to try – so fucking hard – to make that happen. And it hasn’t. Over and over again it’s almost worked. But not quite. Every gamble seemed like a safe bet; the odds were in my favor every single time. Except life doesn’t work that way. At least mine doesn’t.
And I don’t know that there’s anything left in me with which to roll these dice. I may have hit bottom. For the first time, I am seriously contemplating adoption as not just a last-ditch option, but as, perhaps, the best option for me to come out of this with a child in my arms and with my self intact.
My head understands that my problems have almost assuredly been with my elderly, fucked-up-beyond-their-calendar-age eggs. Maybe living in the uranium capital of the world for so many years aged them all prematurely? Mutated them til they’re none of them compatible with life. Who knows. Honestly, at this point, who the hell cares? My eggs can’t make babies that can live even though the womb o’ death seems more than happy to let them stick around indefinitely. I fully expect the genetic testing to come back abnormal.
Which means that a donor egg cycle would likely work like a charm. I don’t have a problem maintaining a pregnancy, I have a problem making eggs that are normal enough to live past 9 weeks. Someone else’s eggs + my fabulous uterus, it’d probably = a great match. Probably a trouble-free pregnancy. I wouldn’t even have to worry so much about prenatal testing results and what to do with ’em, because – hey! – young-thang eggs! I know this, but I cannot believe it. My heart cannot believe that a pregnancy in my body could have a good – a live – result.
Last year when I was first looking at the demise of my dream of a child made of me, I knew that I still wanted that magical time of bonding with my baby in utero. I wanted to be able to labor to bring her into the world. I wanted to be the voice she recognized and turned toward when she was born. I wanted to be the first thing her eyes ever saw, my voice the first sound she heard. I wanted to feed her with my own body. I wanted that physical link, even if the chance of a genetic link was gone.
Now, I’m not so sure that’s important anymore. I’m not even sure if my previous belief that my body would be the safest place for a child is accurate anymore. How could an environment poisoned by a constant flow of adrenalin be a healthy place to grow a child, and how could I keep from hitting that level of stress if I were to go through this again? If I’m terrified of what a careless mother might do to my unborn baby in utero, how could I consider allowing a baby to partake of my toxic system. I cannot believe that high levels of stress could be anything but harmful for a developing fetus, and I cannot believe that I could have a pregnancy that would not be stressful. I’ve been through too much. I would be unable to relax and enjoy it. I would be unable to provide a healthy environment, as much as I might want to, as much as I might intend to.
I’m not sure I could. Not sure I can. I’m not sure I’m strong enough to keep going – I know other women are, but I might be hitting my limit. I know some women went through 15 miscarriages before they finally had their first child at age 48. But I don’t want to spend the next 8 years of my life like this. I want the next 8 years of my life to include about 7 years with my child, not just dreaming about him.
I’m still worried that my husband and I don’t look as good on paper as we should. He’s turning 56 this year, I’m turning 40. He has three grown kids. We’ve both been married before, and have only been married to each other for a year. We live in the city, not in a green place with a white picket fence. If I were a frightened 18 year old, would I choose people the same age as my parents to raise my baby? I don’t know. Will we commit to this course of action only to realize after a year or more of waiting that we are not getting any calls? I don’t know.
And I am so tired of not knowing, of not having any way to plan. Of not even having a map to show me what I should expect to see next. Have I mentioned recently that infertility sucks? It does, you know. It kills dreams, it kills joy, and it kills your soul, little by little until you look up one day and wonder where your life went while you were preoccupied by grief and fear.
I want all that back. I want to stop focusing on pregnancy and to start being able to dream of raising a child. I want whatever obstacles we encounter to be external ones that I can hate and resent – not internal ones that I have no control over but that make me feel inadequate and guilty anyway. I want to remember how to complete a sentence about a hoped-for future without knocking on wood. I want a baby, and I don’t care how it comes to me. I don’t care if it’s not the way I always dreamed of. I don’t care if I mix a bottle for my son instead of opening my blouse for him. I don’t care if we can’t play the “she has your nose” game with my daughter. I don’t care about any of that. I want a child in my life to love and to cherish and to carry my world into the future the way that children – the way that families – do.
I want to be a mother, and I just may be at the point where that doesn’t have to be a physical definition at all. I just might be (more than) ok with that.