Thursday, June 4, 2015

Empowerment, or Deranged Psychosis?

Because only three "events" were involved in the conception of my son, it's reasonable to figure out when he came into the picture.  I entered this journey with a great deal of fear and doubt; mostly about myself, where I was at that time in my life (unmarried, under-employed and a total mess), and through the ensuing years I found ways to bring myself up, and surround myself with success of my own making. I shed a number of tears first at my own foolishness, in that bringing a child into the world so vastly unprepared to tackle parenting.  Then later tears of guilt that it would not be born into a home with two loving hearts, and just the one.

As it turned out, one loving heart was all that was needed.  It has never ceased to amaze me at how lucky I was to have my little boy, and how relatively easy everything he brought with him was.  Sure, it was a learning process; I had no idea what to do when he was awake, fed, dry, and prepped for bed at 3am, but I figured it all out eventually.  I still have moments of panic as a parent on those "what to do's", and the kid is 6 1/2 now.

Time passed, and I met someone, and we liked each other.  But he came with baggage, like I did.  His was a teenage daughter and a vasectomy.  I tread this introduction with in trepidation; infertility put a major thorn in the side of my hopes for another baby, but ultimately he expressed that he'd pay to have it reconnected, or we could move onto other options like donor sperm, adoption or fostering.  He was very open and willing for all the possibilities.  He recognized how hasty that decision was on his part.

It's been 4 years of marriage now.  Lots of ups and downs, lots of delays and backtracking on the plans to move forward with this.  We found out that reconnecting a vasectomy is regarded as elective surgery, and not covered with insurance to the tune of around 10k. The efficacy of it plummets with every passing year you've had it.  It's as though once the swimmers were shut in, their health declined without hope of improvement. Sucking them out of the testicle with a needle should only be done by a professional, and would only be useful for IVF.  This is 18K per round.

Much to his chagrin, this left us with adoption (for around 40k, and that's for foreign kids!), foster children, or donated sperm.  As a man, none of those options really felt appealing to him. He had no part in the production.  Ultimately, this is where he started to lose his interest.  Conversations subsequent to this stage involved him not wanting to read of the info on any donors that had similar features to his, or show interest in coming with me to meet the OB who would perform my IUI.

I met him at 29, and I'm now 34, and still waiting to make moves towards baby#2.  By all accounts, if I were to get pregnant right now, and give birth just prior to my 35th birthday, I kid you not: I would be labeled a geriatric mother.   That's right.  10 years before when menopause might be coming to call, I've already been shoved aside to the geriatric ward, where OBs automatically sign you up for your C-section the second you get a double-line on your piss-wand.

At first I was able to keep doing things like reading up on pregnancy nutrition, exercises, birth groups and clubs.  But as other women kept having delightful pregnancy announcements, luminous pregnancy photos, smiling round and happily exhausted faces filled with anticipation and joy, and then squishy and milk-smelling babies...  I felt myself start to crumble.  It didn't happen right away at first.  It happened when I couldn't watch birth videos anymore without breaking into silent, and constantly-streaming tears. When I started hiding the baby photos in my Facebook feed. When I could no longer even open up the baby & kids section of Craigslist to browse for cheap & useful kids stuff,

When you're fertility incompetent, watching others around you conceive and celebrate, your resilience falls into the toilet, along with your hope and your ability to keep your head about you when a co-worker drops by with their newborn.  Your fein an illness and stay in your cube, listening to the cooing across the office. 

Challenges with fertility make women insane. They become toxic, like being sprayed by a skunk: the stench dies down after a while, but you feel like your nose has been so permeated with the smell, you're not even sure it totally went away to begin with.  You keep sniffing and sniffing because you're sure it's still there.

Four years isn't as long as some people have battled and hoped.  But oddly I read all these stories of couples that are supportive and strong, and hopeful still about their chances of their miracle baby coming to fruition, and I get envious.  I think "how is it that I fall apart every time my husband tells me he thinks the time is wrong, and none of these people ever talk about how goddamned hard it is to keep waiting, and trying, and failing?!"  I must be the only one with a mouth the size of the Rio Grand, because this shit has sucked. 

When things have gotten bad....  Like we were shouting threats of the big D at each other, there was always the sadness in me that realized whoever this little baby was going to be, that I wanted to have, was never going to happen.  And for a long time recently, it's been something that I've felt more and more. 

I can't decide if my husband has postponed and stalled us out so long that I've finally given up hope and let the dream go, or I've just moved on emotionally from the issue.  The apathy I experience on the subject is terrifying, to be honest. I can't believe I don't feel that urge anymore!  The pull!  The want! 

I like to think I'm a good mom.  I work hard on being patient, and loving, and honest.  I like being fun, and my son and I always play little fun games and have conversations about wonderful things.  He rides his bicycle with me while I go on runs in the evening, and always cheers me on to push myself harder.  Every time I hold him in my arms I feel that I've done at least 1 thing right in my life, and it fills me with a lot of pride and happiness.  

And yet I realize that once he's on his own....  he won't have anyone else in this world as family.  No sibling near his age to commiserate with once my husband get old, and weirder than we are now.  No one to shed tears with when he'd got to face losing one -or both- of us.  And certainly no one to blame when one of them breaks something, and I demand to know who was screwing around with it.  Ah, what fun it is to have a sibling to harass and torture!

I digress......   Deny as I might want to, but my best and youngest years are behind me. I'm sure AARP already has me on their future mailing lists, and my advertising choices via social media will stop being promotions for 5ks, and start being coupons for hemorrhoid creams.  My time is running out, and the conversation I have with my husband always ends with "just a little longer".

Having my child was a fast and furious crash into a new routine, and a lot of changes.  I managed to land on my feet and somehow amble into a run sometime after that.  He wasn't planned, and I was in far worse shape in my life than I am now. 

So unreservedly, albeit quietly, I have chosen my donor.  B1047.  I have tracked my periods and cycles diligently, and assuming that I get a positive ovulation around mid-July, this will be my plan to move forward. 

For a few years I've been patient and laissez fair, allowing myself to ease up when my husband wouldn't engage when I suggested looking at donors or discussing when to map out the due date. Unfortunately that patience has worn so thin that what's left of my trust in the fact that "we'll get there, just a little longer" seems not to exist anymore.

Marriage shows you a lot about your spouse. Most specifically you get to see who this person is, an all their purity.  With my husband I know that while he never wanted to be a father in the first place, he half-assedly raised his daughter (as long as things remained convenient). With me, he understood that in order to get me in a relationship, I was a packaged deal and that was something he had to shoulder. 

Vasectomies are not hasty; they're deliberate.  They're an act of finality.  He didn't want the 1st kid he had, let alone anymore.  Ex's are a hassle and who needs that shit?

Whatever this rant or rave is, be it pre-menopausal breakdown, or a manifesto of my plans to say "well fuck this, I'm not giving this part of my dreams up" and throwing the gauntlet out the window.

Really the saddest part of this is that if I get pregnant, and he's not on board at all for it......   I don't really care anymore.