Today was day two of a weekend long training to become foster or adoptive parents. We will be in the class again for 8 hours tomorrow. We have been through this before. We were foster parents in Alaska. It was a challenge then and I know it will be again. Long before my issues with fertility were known to me, I thought I would want to foster after having my own children. My heartbreaks knowing there are children in the world that don’t know their value and may not be safe in their own homes.
Prior to meeting my wife, i had a foster child for a few months. A teenage girl. Two weeks of living with a teenager, I called my mom and apologized for all the grief I ever caused her. We didn’t really bond and there things that were beyond my control. We did have moments of possibilities but it was not enough. I said if I ever did it again i would take younger children.
After I met my wife, we decided to try again. This time we got a sibling group, a 6 year old boy and a 2 year old girl. They were good kids. It took a lot of adjustment going from our no-children, carefree life to having two kids. It was also difficult for me because a year earlier was my first failed attempt at IVF. Somehow I was hoping that having foster kids would fill the hole in my heart around not having my own children. Through the process of caring for them and sending them off to a wonderful adoptive family, I have started to understand what my wife always says about holding space for them. I was selfish to think they would somehow do something for me when it was my purpose to take care of them. AND they did make me realize many things about myself, life and connections.
I understand now that adoption or fostering will not ever be the same as having my own child yet there is so much to gain by holding space for these children that need structure, understanding and love. If I can be the person that can keep them safe while their parents sober up then that is what I am here for. If it ever works out that we adopt a child that is great too. And I will continue…at least for now, to have a child of my own while holding space for other children.
I wrote about my visit to the specialist on Monday but one thing that I didn’t mention is that I met up with the generous man that is helping me get pregnant that night (I will write more about that another time). As I sit and write this entry, it is possible that I will be pregnant this month. My fingers are crossed and my hope is high.
Monday I went to see a fertility specialist in Portland. I have seen many before but this was the first I have seen since my failed IVF attempt in Alaska. She informed me that the best course of action, at this point considering all my past attempts, was to try IVF again. She also stated that she was concerned that I have used clomid so often. Clomid is linked to ovarian cancer and probably shouldn’t take it more than a half dozen times or so. I have taken about a dozen so not only am I without baby but may have increased my risk of cancer. We talked about all the statistic and the probabilities, even the possibility of using an egg donor. She explained the process to include weeks of shots multiple times a day and driving to portland (an hour away) every other day as we get close to the procedure. After weeks of shots and multiple ultrasounds, the goal is to get aproximately 10 eggs harvasted per cycle. Some eggs will not survive the harvast. About 5 to 7 will be fertized but only 3 will make it to day 5. Out of those 3, there MAY be ONE viable egg that is genetically sound. Then the one egg is transafered into my uterus. After all that, there is only 60% that it will turn into a successful pregnancy. 60 percent?!? With a donor egg, it is 80% success rate.
As if the day could not get any worse, we then had a consult with the financial counselor for the hospital. Multiple pieces of paper placed before us, lines and lines of numbers…big numbers. I knew it would be a lot. I have researched this for years especially before I tried IVF in alaska. My Alaska doctor was a bargain. The whole thing cost less than $10,000. The final numbers for the procedure this time? For a 60% chance of getting pregnant it will cost $25,000+. To use a donor egg will be around $35,000+.
How do normal people afford this? It’s like buying a car except with less favorable terms. At least with $25,000 towards a car…you end up with a car. At the end of $25,000 with IVF, you could have nothing but a debt to pay for the next five to seven years. Don’t get me wrong, if it was guaranteed, I would pay it in a heart beat. I would do 2 or 3 jobs, sell a kidney, eat nothing but raman noodles for 5 years. That’s a lot of money to gamble, not to mention the emotional cost.
I am a 41 year old lesbian that has tried to get pregnant for the last 8 years. I have decided to write about my experience in a blog. I know there are many people that struggle with infertility and this is a great outlet for me. It has been a very difficult journey. It is really setting in that this may never happen.
Every day I think of you. We have never met but I know your face, your essence. I can feel your hands in mine. Your head upon my chest. You are the missing piece of the puzzle. The one thing my life has always lacked. I thought we would have met sooner. I am 41 years old now and afraid we may never meet. By no means is 41 old, but the biological clock that ticks knows that time is running short. For eight years I have tried to create you through every physical, medical and spiritual path I could find.
My life has been a rollercoaster of emotions that run on two week cycles. Taking medicine, Chinese herbs, and hormone shots for days and weeks leading up to the possibility of conception. Using every possible method of ovulation prediction including taking my temperature on a daily basis to look for a half degree temperature change, collecting data on the stretchiness of my cervical mucus and spending hundreds of dollars on sticks to pee on, hoping any one of these methods will reveal the magical 24 to 48 hours when conception is possible. Then there is the waiting. Counting the days since possible conception to the start of my next cycle. Every day feeling hopeful that this time it took. This time I will be pregnant. This time I can change the page to the next chapter. Looking at the calendar counting the days until I can test. The make it or break it day that my cycle is supposed to start. Over analyzing every slight detection of something abnormal in my body wondering if the symptoms are early signs of pregnancy or something else. Multiple times during this period I will figure out when my due date would be. Then I calculate how much time I will take off for my pregnancy leave. Of course the first six weeks, but if I save up enough vacation time and sick days, maybe I would take three months off. I hate the idea of returning to work. How could I leave a baby that I have wanted for so long to the care of someone else? I am not even pregnant yet and already have guilt around returning to work. During this part of the waiting, I allow myself to walk through the baby aisles at the store. Picking out onesies, little socks and soft fluffy toys and blankets for baby. I don’t buy anything…I learned that lesson early on. It is too devastating to find the items later and remember all of the hope that filled the day that I made the purchase.
Inevitable it happens, I get my period, right on time like clockwork. You could predict the phases of the moon by my cycle. It is always 30 days. All the positive thoughts, all the day dreaming of being pregnant, all the planning gone in a flash. The sinking feeling of failure again. Cursing God, the universe, cursing myself for having hope. Wanting to crawl back into bed and hide from the world. Telling myself this is the last time. I am done trying. I can’t take it anymore. I can’t live this rollercoaster. I avoid the baby aisles at the store. I block my friends on Facebook that post pictures of their baby every day. I curse the happy birth announcements by friends and colleagues. I have grown used to my unexpected bouts of crying. Day 5 of my cycle comes around again and I take another clomid…just in case this month is the month that it will happen.