It has been a crazy week and I’m so grateful for this long weekend. I feel like the only time I spent with Tadpole during the work week involved (literally) wrestling him into his clothes so he and Roo could get out the door on time in the morning. Bleck. I’m not sure what’s going on, but lately everything has been even more of a struggle than usual, and he’s having melt-downs right and left. Suddenly, things that used to not be a big deal (like rinsing his mouth after brushing teeth or putting on a jacket before going out into the 20-degree weather) have turned into epic power struggles. Most of the time he is a sweet, easy-going guy, and these moments of flipping out seem to come out of nowhere and to last far longer than usual.
In contrast with the crazy work week, this weekend has been quiet but lovely. We’ve made waffles, done errands, gone to a friend’s birthday party and had time for snuggles and book-reading.
We also went to BSFC so that Roo could sign the consent paperwork for our March IUI cycle. It was hard for both of us to be signing in opposite places (me on the “patient” line, and her on the “partner” one). We are slowly moving through our grief about our change of plans, but moments like these are tough. The reality and finality of our decision feel huge at moments like this, or when Roo handed me her leftover bottle of prenatal vitamins. I think the paperwork visit at BSFC was particularly difficult for Roo. It was the physical location where she had gone for so many months with hope, knowing that this visit was about finalizing the end of her dreams of experiencing pregnancy. For me it helped that we ended up having to bring Tadpole with us (there wasn’t anyone else in the office). Having his cheerful presence makes everything easier to handle. And I think future appointments will be easier for me with the memory of our silly guy taking too many cups from the water cooler and being fascinated by the football figurines and decorative pens on the counter.
With that task completed, we are almost done with the checklist of things we need to do in preparation for the cycle. I had my initial appointment at BSFC a few weeks ago. Knowing what I do about the process, I was able to schedule it for CD3 so I could do the ultrasound and bloodwork the same day. I did my HSG the following week. After Roo’s horrible experience with it I was worried, but it was fine. Getting everything set up hurt (kind of like a Pap smear), but I didn’t feel the rest.
I found out that we don’t have to repeat the social work appointment. On the one hand, I’m relieved–one less hoop to jump through. On the other, I feel really aware that the requirements for this process seem based on the experiences of heterosexual folks. We were required to go to the appointment the first time around, to talk about the fact that we were using donor sperm. If we were straight folks for whom this was a big change in plans, that might make some sense. But it’s not like we have ever been under the illusion that we were going to be creating a child with DNA from both of us (much as we might wish we could). Not only that, but we were already almost three years into raising a child conceived that way. Switching wombs feels like a situation that is much more likely to wreak havoc on our relationship and our ability to co-parent, but this time we’re not required to do the counseling??? I’m glad to have one less thing on our pre-cycle checklist, and we have someone we can call on if we need to. But the difference in the requirements strikes me as odd.
The doctor commented at my initial appointment that I seemed more relaxed than at previous appointments. I think it was true, but I’m not sure why. Some if it is about knowing what to expect–I know all about the pre-cycle requirements, the CD3 bloodwork, the monitoring visits, etc. I’ve met the doctor before, and I have the same nurse as Roo did. I think I’m also a bit detatched from the whole process. When we went for Roo’s initial appointment, I was anxious to have a pregnancy immediately. I’m more jaded now and just want to get there eventually.
I also think some of it is about somehow feeling more in control of the process when it’s happening in my body. Logically I know that that is an illusion and that there’s a huge part of this process that is purely about luck. But, as I discussed here, having the process happening in Roo’s body was hard for me, given my desire to be in control.
After the bloodwork a few weeks ago my nurse called to tell me that the results were normal. That’s definitely good news, as I had fears of things being way off now that I’ve reached the ancient age of 35. But the phone call has resulted in a funny internal conflict about whether or not to ask her what the actual numbers are. Part of me would like to know so I could Google them. Am I on the high end of “normal” or the low end or in the middle? Did she mean “normal, considering that you’re as old and decrepit as you are?” Or “not bad, compared to some of the folks we see around here” or “completely average for your age” or what? So far I have held off on asking for the exact numbers. After so many textbook-perfect cycles with Roo, I’m aware that so much of this process is just about luck. What I’m really looking for is information about how many cycles it will take to get me pregnant and, whatever my bloodwork numbers are, they simply can’t tell me that.
This weekend a good friend of mine from college is visiting. Her grandmother lives near us, so we get to see each other more often than we might otherwise. This friend is 35 weeks pregnant. I’m so excited that she’ll be a mom, and am looking forward to seeing her and her husband. But I think it will also be hard. It took well over a year for her to get pregnant and she and her husband were on the verge of moving to IVF, so I know she gets how hard it will be. She has already mentioned knowing how complicated this visit might be for us, which helps a lot. And I’m trying to remember how good a friend she has been to me when she desperately wanted to have a partner and I was already with Roo. She also hand-made numerous sweet gifts for Tadpole when he was little, and listened patiently to stories about how great my life with him was, even when she was trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant. In that weird competitive world that I got to in my head sometimes, I’m more okay with her pregnancy because I’m “ahead” of her already (because I’ve been with Roo for so long, because we already have a kid, etc). And she “earned” this pregnancy because it was so long in coming.
I’m trying really hard not to see the world that way, though. It’s not helpful for me to be constantly keeping score in my head, or feeling that I am owed something because of the bad luck that we’ve had so far. Both wonderful magical things and horrendous terrible things are distributed randomly. And in the grand scheme of things, we are already very lucky. I was jealous of our neighbor’s sister who has two cute kids that are about as far apart in age as we wanted Tad and his sibling to be. And then I recently found out that she is hospitalized for an eating disorder. I was jealous of another college friend when I found out via fb that she was pregnant with #2, only to learn shortly thereafter that she was diagnosed with terminal cancer and won’t get to see those beautiful kids grow up.
This switching wombs thing is HARD. Not knowing how much longer it will take for us to get to a second kid is HARD. Facing more early-morning appointments and two week waits and (probably) negative pregnancy tests is HARD.
But we also have had so much amazingly good luck. Roo and I have each other . We have a boy in footy pajamas who does a dance of excitement at the prospect of making waffles and suggests we play an alphabet game at the breakfast table. We have warm-Friday-afternoon walks to the playground and cozy Sunday-morning snuggles in our big bed as a family of three. Despite the crappy luck we have had in some areas, our life is very sweet. I’m trying to remember that.