Saturday, November 29, 2008

A post after 1/4 bottle of wine and some rum

I haven't posted in a bit. I guess I'm all over the place. This blog should be a place where I can voice anything, right? Anything! I feel as if I wouldn't be this far along in my ttc journey WITHOUT this blog. And then here I am feeling strange and guilty about expressing hesitations.

I know that many of my readers have made very difficult decisions and are going through SO MUCH to have a child. So I guess it feels strange to post about not being sure whether this is the right decision for me. I want to say it has nothing to do with my desire to have children. God, no. But where I hesitate, ladies, is that I still haven't .... still...have...not....been able to convince myself that it's ok if it doesn't happen without a partner. I might admit that some recessive part of me thought that writing about it, planning it, would somehow make "him" appear. There is this part of me that is still in disbelief that I am alone at this point. Disbelief. And there's anger, too. I can't help it. I am still angry at my last boyfriend. Fuck.

I am reading a book by bell hooks called "all about love." She is a feminist writer who has written profoundly in this and other books about the absence of love in many of our lives. She is a major proponent of love being something you consciously decide to give, rather than something that you "fall into." God, maybe I'm shooting myself in the foot by reading these things, but it certainly makes me feel as if I have let a lot of opportunities pass me by. I feel a lot of regrets.

I have also been so wrapped up in work, and it has been so rewarding. I realize how rewarding my life is at the moment in so many ways. I think about how being alone works so well for me.

Here's what gets me, often. I have to admit that one of my major hesitations is leaving my child in daycare, something that would be unavoidable in my situation. I picture myself again and again taking my 6 week old child to some stranger for 8 hours a day and just wanting to die. I feel like I need to be in a situation where that's not my ONLY option. It hurts me to even think about it.

The thing about a blog is that we come to have a connection with our readers; I feel badly expressing my doubts because I know so many courageous women have taken the plunge and the last thing they need is some lady to say how scared she is about it. I think I will come 'round. Birthday number 38 on March 3 may be just the nudge I need.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

What I'm Getting Myself Into

I've had one of these weeks where I've thought very little about ttc. I think the last month of decision-making and thinking has been so overwhelming that psychologically I just needed a break.

Part of it was that last weekend I had a talk with my mom, who happened to have spent a few days last week with my big brother (lawyer brother, the one helping me with the kd contract). Of course I pried her a bit and asked "What did you two talk about, hmmm??" She admitted that they had discussed my plans, and then she said "He's worried. He made me worry."

Ummm. About what, mom? Is it the legal stuff, or other stuff?

"He just thinks you might not know what you're getting yourself into."

Oh. My. God. Is that not the most annoying thing to say? And frankly, to think? Not only is it condescending, but here's the REALLY ridiculous (not to mention ironic) thing: my big brother and his wife have made the decision NOT TO HAVE CHILDREN. Their decision is completely off limits to all family (no one is allowed to discuss it with them). Being a prying sister, I did have one discussion with my brother about it and he admitted, "I'm just scared; I don't know if I'd be a good father; I don't want to 'give up our life' for something that scares me so much."

This is the man saying he "worries I don't know what I'm getting myself into." Of course he worries!! HE doesn't know what I'm getting myself into! (and, apparently, has always been too scared to find out)! So you see why that statement is doubly annoying.

For God's sake. This is what I get for involving family at this early stage. Luckily, when I pointed out how ridiculous it was for him to say that, my mom said, "Oh. You're right. I feel better now." Poor woman.

But the rub of it is that I spent all weekend thinking maybe he was right! Grr. Family.

So I took the week off from thinking somehow. I went out two evenings and stayed out too late (once with the man from the last post...more later!). I worked my ass off. I made fun plans for the weekend.

And now, I feel ready again. Onward. Onward. Onward.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Past Re-Emerges

So there is a guy in town who I dated on two separate occasions. By which I mean that we dated for about a month, broke up, and then dated again for about a month about 3 months after that (confused yet..?) I broke it off the second time; the first time was more complicated.

I have definitely wondered if I broke it off with him prematurely. You see, since "the big break up" 5 years ago I have been unusually quick to dismiss relationships. I tell myself that if there is anything that doesn't feel exactly right--any red flags whatsoever--I need to end things. This is an obvious offshoot of past experience, when I continued for years in a situation that didn't feel so great. And then it ended very painfully.

Anyway, I haven't seen this guy for a year (or even talked to him) and then last Friday night while I was out with some friends, there he was. Cute as ever. Nice as ever.

We talked for awhile. My friends told me we were both "glowing" and that it was a sight to behold. He spilled some beer on my suede shoes and was appropriately horrified (good sign). And yesterday, there it was in my inbox: an email from him suggesting that we should get together for a drink. I decided why not. One more try. Last year he had recently ended a long-term relationship so, I think, maybe he's more open to intimacy now (in a nutshell, that was the problem before). Hm. Right decision? I have no idea.

It's funny how dating seems like a distraction from the baby-making process, rather than a step toward it! Seriously. I am so convinced that doing this alone is my path; the thought of waiting to see if it will happen with a partner at this point seems ludicrous.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Big Bro Brings out the Big Guns

Thanks for your supportive words regarding my last post. Unfortunately I am still struggling with doubts, although now of a type more practical and less irrational.

I had a 2 hour conversation with my lawyer big brother about the known donor contract the other night. He is taking it very seriously and researching everything as best he can. He can't answer every possible eventuality however, since laws in this area have yet to be written (and let's hope my life isn't the one that will write them!)

But the talk did bring up some tough issues. I know my brother is trying to be the best advocate that he can be and also, in a combined lawyer-ly and brotherly sense, make sure I have thought everything through to the nth degree. I appreciate this! Using a known donor is indeed beyond complicated. But it's also tiring to concentrate on every future eventuality. Part of this has to be a leap of faith, doesn't it?

First, he thinks I should go even further than the recommended tests on my donor. He thinks I should be testing numerous genetic diseases as much as possible. He says how would I handle it if my child is born with a terrible condition and I could have known this beforehand? He's probably right. But where does it stop?

Secondly, he worries about my using a midwife, or anything non MD, for the insemination. I kind of chalk this up to a general suspicion of people working outside of established medical channels (this actually goes back hundreds of years)! I shouldn't place much stock in his opinion here, since the procedure is relatively simple. But ok--it did make me pause. He is my big brother and his opinions affect me.

Finally, he is worried about me financially (and I think he was "allowed" to bring this up with me because there is a clause in the contract about my financial fitness). He told me a story about an SMC he knows who was forced to leave her job to find something more flexible. Yea, that happens. But in my case I have a flexible job already. I think his major concern is that I haven't adequately considered just how difficult it might be. Maybe he feels he has to speak to me about it to get it off his own conscience.

I'm not giving up. Just waylaid in details at the moment.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

On the Couch

Here's the post where my blog acts somewhat like therapy. I'm going to talk about some things that keep me up at night and that in past times I may have only shared with a professional. Since I don't want to spend the dough on that right now, here goes.

My anxieties seems to revolve around the stress of being the sole caregiver to my future child. Here are the things that run through my head (and that seem much scarier at 3 a.m.)

1. What if something happens to me? My child is 50% more likely to be left parent-less than with a 2-parent family. I worry about my child being left without me. Somehow planning for life insurance and custodial rights doesn't seem to banish this fear. Part of me feels guilty for subjecting my future child to this possibility.

2. Last night I woke up thinking of my future baby with colic, or with a cold or flu in the middle of the night, and the loneliness and fear of that moment. I even had a kind of vision of me standing by my window trying to comfort her/him. Those are the moments I think will be the hardest.

3. What if somewhere in there I am Mommy Dearest? Ok, this is really irrational, and surely brought on by the showing of that film last Friday evening on the WE network. There is no reason to fear in any way that I would be such a horrible, hurtful, mean mother as Mommy Dearest. Really. I don't want to scare anyone out there. I am a true devotee of wire hangers and even use those horrible dry cleaner hangers with the sticky rolls on them on a regular basis. Wouldn't be caught dead scrubbing the floor on my hands and knees with bleach. I'm going to file this under the "will I be a good mother???" "will my child love me?" anxiety.

[btw, sometimes I feel like tv is channeling into my brain; in addition to Mommy Dearest, did anyone catch the episode of House a couple weeks ago where the single woman Doc (name?) was trying to adopt a child and the child died? I thought the actress did a good job showing the hesitation of dealing with the biological mother--not wanting to seem too controlling but also hugely vulnerable to the bio mom's decisions. Ug. Part of me was happy this story line found its way onto network tv but the other part of me was hugely distressed while watching it.]

I think I feel better now. Thanks for listening.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Six Steps Forward

First I just want to say that the last two days have been amazing...I am so proud to live in America. The stories on the news about people and their reactions to Obama's success keep me constantly teary-eyed.

So I've been researching and researching and listening to other bloggers and reading and here are the things that seem really pertinent to my situation at the moment:

1. I need to get a signed contract with my PKD before we ttc.

This is in the works. I am the lucky sister of a brilliant law professor. I hadn't talked to him about my situation until last week, when I decided it was time to get him involved with the legal side of things. He was shocked, but immediately open and supportive. He told me he thought I would be a wonderful mother. Such a good thing to hear. He also told me that we need to get the legal thing pinned down. He has now sent my sample contract out to numerous colleagues who he hopes will comment on it. I will be more than happy to share the results with the SMC community. Did I say I love my older brother? He is a sweet guy.

2. Trying home insems may lead to months of frustration

Yea, I'm aware of this, and at my age, every month counts. So, I started to look into how I could move on to IUIs, but with LIVE UNQUARANTINED SPERM rather than the frozen stuff, and found that

3. This isn't possible in Rhode Island

Yea, the FDA has a problem with this. However, there are some states (like NY, CA, MA, go figure) where live unquarantined sperm can be used from a directed donor, so...

4. Lucky me, I live next to one of the most liberal states in the union, Massachusetts!

In Massachusetts, it turns out, midwives can perform IUIs. They wash the sperm and then do the procedure for the SMALLEST PERCENTAGE of what it would cost me at the RE, with the added benefit of being a fresh specimen.

How cool is that?

5. I currently have an inquiry in to a MA midwife.

6. This is going to work. I am psyched. Knocking on wood here.

Please don't burst my bubble. :)

Monday, November 3, 2008

FDA Approved

Today I had a follow-up with my RE. I left feeling ashamed. He didn't mean to shame me; it's just that I brought up the idea of "home inseminations," which apparently is a big taboo. He stopped me right there and said we couldn't even discuss it, that it was against the law for him to give me any advice! Maybe I should've known that. But it was so abrupt and then it felt like we couldn't recover from it. I think he wanted to get me out of his office as soon as possible after that.

I feel kind of embarrassed by the whole thing. It's funny that if I was a "normal" patient (ie: married and ttc the old fashioned way), I'm sure they could discuss regular sexual practices but anything using donor sperm that doesn't go through the correct FDA channels is a big no-no. I guess it's a don't ask-don't tell situation from now on. Fine. I just wanted his advice anyway. Whether or not he approves of the situation doesn't concern me. What's most important is that I'm confident in my donor (who has been tested for absolutely everyting btw)!

It's just ironic that when a woman really really wants to have a child (as opposed to just accidentally getting pregnant with a man who may not be "FDA approved"), the red tape appears...

A friend of mine suggested using a midwife at home; apparently in Massachusetts midwives are allowed to do home IUI's. They clean the sperm and everything right there. I have a feeling it is not possible in my state (RI). If anyone has knowledge about this, please let me know.