Disclaimer: While all blog posts venture into too-much-information territory, this post may be playing chicken with the “too” in “too much.” I also recognize that my snarkiness translates much better in person than on paper — so if I refer to an embryo as “the little alien,” you’ll take it all in good fun, won’t you? I mean no harm.
Today was the big sit-down between Dr. M, the trusty fertility doc, and Z, the trusty husband. Despite having relayed all of Dr. M’s information to Z regarding our child bearing potential, Z wanted to hear it straight from the doc’s mouth. Fair enough. I got lunch at Cheesecake Factory out of the deal.
So a little background: Z and I have been working on this potential parenting deal for over a year, since April-ish 2010. Right on cue, possibly as some sort of cosmic intervention, my body went on the fritz. The fritz, I say! There were pieces-parts that went into hyper drive, parts that didn’t work any longer, and frankly, parts I’ve never even noticed before. It was quite unpleasant. After six, seven, eight visits to my regular doctor, I was referred to a specialist in Raleigh — Dr. M. Well that was an unfortunate turn of events, because he promptly slapped me on the operating table. He did some demolition, some renovation, spiffed things up. [Public Service Announcement: If a doctor or nurse ever tells you that puffing up your gut with carbon dioxide isn’t a big deal, slap them and run away. They are lying.] Dr. M was feeling proud of his work until the thing happened that no one wanted to happen — the dye didn’t move through my fallopian tubes. Completely blocked. The freeway was closed to all traffic. In my follow-up appointment, I learned that our only hope for biological parenthood is in vitro fertilization [IVF].
IVF is exactly as complicated as it sounds and a little bit more. Dr. M laid out my options:
Option #1: Using My Eggs – Obviously, the first choice, right? Well… maybe not. Turns out that my eggs are as old as I am. We’ve been together all along. Every woman is born with their lot of lifetime eggs. We never increase, only decrease. And just like our bodies [and, let’s face it, our minds] start getting a little slack around 40, so do our eggs. They just aren’t fresh anymore. The DNA is breaking down, which causes miscarriages, birth defects and special needs children. Now not every 40+ year old egg will suffer, but the percentages are much higher than their 20-something year old egg friends in the house next door.
Option #2: Using a Donor Egg – The kid will be half Z/half stranger baby. I would still carry the baby though. Fun. It would seem I drew the short stick somewhere along the way.
Option #3: The Little Alien – An embryo from another couple is given to Z and me and I carry it as if it is ours. The embryos are frozen and are up for adoption because 1) their biological mommy and daddy have hit their quota on kids 2) their biological mommy and daddy got a divorce and the frozen kids are the ones to suffer. I’m sure there are other reasons too. A good option for some, but it doesn’t sit easy with me.
I explained all of this to Z over Skype while he was away. [All really important decisions in life should be made over Skype.] It was all a bit mind boggling for us. I had been fighting this battle on my own while he was away and was tired. He was, well, away and it was a little hard to wrap his brain around. Hence today’s sit down with Dr. M.
I’m still a fan of adoption — especially since all viable options point toward me carrying another woman’s baby. I am not Mother Earth and I don’t know nothin’ about birthin’ no baby. Dr. M asked, “How invested are you in the birthing experience?” Uh, not very, Doc.
And, for the record, I believe in a very broad definition of family. The family is not just hetero dad procreating with hetero mom to make hetero babies. Yes, families are nice that way, but so are the families with mom, dad, adopted baby… families with mom, dad, alien baby… families with mom, dad, fur babies… families with two daddies… families with two mommies… families with white, black, brown and green (for the alien babies)… and families with whose-kid-is-that? i-don’t-know-but-we-took-him-in. Family is about love and devotion and sticking together, not necessarily biology. So there.
And, you know, there is the It Is What It Is option. Maybe Z and I are just destined to be the cool aunt and uncle handing out sugar and noisy games at all family gatherings.
Time will tell.
[In the time it took me to write this post, 450 babies were born to teenaged mothers.]