Posted by: perchancetodream | December 9, 2009

Of Unsure Footing and Unknown Paths

I’m Cross-Pollinating today! For one day, bloggers in the ALI community swap posts without revealing who their guest blogger is as a part of Xpol. We sign up, we get matched, and agree to post the other blogger’s post in our own blog without revealing their name/blog. To see all the other busy bees cross-pollinating today, click on the image above. The guest post follows below- I’m so happy to share my blogspace with someone who has such a great story to tell. Leave a comment and see if you can guess who my guest blogger is (and thus where my blog post is hiding today)!

As I’ve gotten to exchange emails with PerchancetoDream and read her blog, it’s amazing to see the similarities. We’re both Jewish, we’ve both got Hashi’s, we both have a passion for communications. I’ve recently found a lot of interesting synchronicity in my life that I don’t half wonder if our pairing was intentional on higher level. In many ways, as I’ve gotten to read her story and how she’s come to her path, my own eyes have been opened to possibilities that I so quickly push aside. But before I get into that, allow me a brief allegory.

As we start on the journey to family building, for the most part, the road looks pretty clear, the route fairly self-explanatory. We walk confidently, vaguely aware of our surroundings, but focused on our destination. We hold hands, we laugh and joke along the way, enjoying the walk. For some, they arrive at their destination, happy parents who then venture on to other paths. For some, we just keep walking, but become more aware of our surroundings, sensing perhaps we’ve walked too far, did we miss it? There’s no point in turning around because we’ve only been on this one path, but my feet are starting to hurt and he’s getting tired and here- hand me the map, let me look at it. We compare the map to the path in front of us. Everything seems to look ok.

And then… diagnosis. For me, it was premature ovarian failure, and it stopped us dead in our tracks. But there are many specific names for infertility and they all pretty much have the same effect on the travelers: are we lost? What do we do now? In my case, we hadn’t even started walking on the family path. I would bring up the map with my husband, making travel plans, but we never put on our shoes and started walking. (As a complete aside to but within the vein of this metaphorical musing, I actually fainted while walking last year. The ensuing ER visit and 3 months of missed periods following was what eventually lead me to my current diagnosis earlier this year.) We get to this point, and where fertile others just keep on walking and eventually find their way, the IF community whips out their GPS. Suddenly, a plethora of paths we didn’t initially see as we walked pop up all over the map. With a little searching on the landscape, these paths make themselves evident. And we are left dumbfounded at the possibilities.

Whether it’s IUI, IVF, donor gametes, surrogacy, adoption, or even living childfree… these are all paths, and none are easy to walk. They each come with their own perils and no guarantees. My husband and I are still figuring out just which path to take. Instinctually, I yearn for donor egg and IVF. I see pregnancy as a healing act for me: I lost an ovary almost 10 years ago and was assured my fertility wouldn’t suffer. While this may not necessarily have been the root cause of my present diagnosis, I’m sure it didn’t help. But as my husband and I look more into the nitty-gritty of assisted reproductive technologies, there’s so much more depth than at first glance. I have been staunch about using an unknown donor, but my husband is opening my eyes to the use of known donors. I have been *extremely* blessed to have not one, not two, but FIVE women offer to be egg donors, my older sister included. I am honored and deeply moved by these genuine offers. My husband is one to look at the bottom line, and known donors make the most fiscal sense. It’s still a raw concept I am tumbling around and trying out in my head.

There’s embryo donation, another thought that had never crossed my mind until my husband and I started doing some more research. That way, it’s not like I’m “left out” of the equation as genetically, the child would be neither mine nor his. Again, the idea doesn’t sit comfortably with me, but it’s there. The seed has been planted and I am a reluctant gardener.

And then there’s adoption. I stand at the foot of this path, on tiptoes peering down the way, stretching and straining to get a better sense of what’s on the horizon. My eyes were first opened to adoption when I went to a panel discussion at a regional RESOLVE conference, on Adoption vs. Donor Egg. After all of the incredibly emotional and moving stories of how these couples came to the choices and resolutions they did, I left with this buzzing in my ears: “Donor egg is a gamble. Adoption has a 100% guarantee of coming home with a child.” Now, I know there are horror stories out there, but for the most part, the odds are a helluva lot better than donor egg, and there’s less chances for failure along the way. Eggs could be retrieved and fertilized with no viable blasts, blasts could be transferred and then not implant, and the if they implant, there’s still 9 months to make it to the finish line. There’s a lot of biological obstacles to overcome. Not so with adoption: the obstacles lie more in bureaucracy. And my husband raised a good point with me: after all of the grieving I’ve done over the last nine months over my diagnosis of POF, could I even take the emotional turmoil of a failed cycle, or worse, a pregnancy loss? These are all valid things to consider.

So with this Cross-Pollination, I’ve come here to PerchancetoDream’s blog, and she has shared with me her story of how she came to her decision to adopt. After all that she and her husband have been through, of all the paths they have walked, I am in awe of the determination and confidence in moving forward with their path to international adoption. It gives me hope that no matter what the path we take on this complicated journey, if we walk with confidence, with sure footing, we will reach our destination somehow. It might look very differently once we get there from where we started, but what a wondrous tale of our travels we can share with generations to come. And these travelogues of our journeys, no matter where they start and where they end up, are so vital to the other travelers wandering around these paths.

Mine and my husband’s footing may still be unsure, our initial path unknown, but we hope. And we research. We cry, we laugh, we pray, we fight, we make up, we daydream, we get jealous, we get sad, we get angry at the unfairness of it all, but always, always we are committed to reaching our destination. We are driven, we are determined, we are courageous. And as we walk confidently along our paths, we blaze new trails, redefining motherhood, fatherhood, parenthood. As we walk, confidently or otherwise, we are guided by love. A love so strong it practically guides our feet that our brains and bodies simply follow along.

May we all walk confidently. May our feet and hearts be spared as much as possible. And may we take comfort in the day we stop walking, reach our destination, and bask in the glow of our arrival. Let’s put our feet up, and let’s laugh and laugh about how we got here. May every step we take, not matter how sure the footing, bring us one step closer.

To meet the bee that cross-pollinated this post, click here.

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Responses

  1. wow that’s beautiful. Very poignant and touching post- I can’t wait to find out who wrote it.

  2. I adore this post. It’s beautiful.

    I am also dead chuffed when I introduce people well 🙂

    g


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