Sunday, August 30, 2009

Debates, Labs, Decisions and Love

There has been a major debate raging in my head for the past week, well actually more than one debate, but I will start with the first and see where it goes from there. In writing this blog, I have been very open about who I am and what has gone on during this journey. At the genesis of this little space in the world, I was a dark place where I felt completely alone and there were very few people who were blogging about beginning a surrogacy from the intended parent perspective. At that point this was my story, the end goal was to have another person walking around in the world, but a year and a bit ago that person felt so far away. So distant in fact that I never really let myself think that this was really the story of creating a new life, instead I saw this as a story of creating a mother. I know that this does not make a ton of sense, but little that goes on in my head ever really does. The closer that we get to making this dream of a person a reality, the more I feel that I have less of a right to tell the story to the world.

There is no easy conclusion to this debate. This story belongs to another person just as much as it belongs to me, but the other owner cannot give consent to have the story out in the world. Other bloggers write about their children all the time, and write about parts of their child's life that the child may not want everyone knowing when they are older. The main reason that I came to have this space in the world was that I wanted others to not feel like they were to only ones, to pull the curtain back from surrogacy, and hopefully change at least one person's mind about what this incredible journey was all about. Part of this process is giving information to complete strangers that one day my child may be angry about, but at this point I can say that I am okay with this. Not because I am a cold and heartless person, but because I hope that in telling this story, I am in some small way normalizing surrogacy so that the child may run into one less cruel comment. I know you are reading this and thinking that I have some really high opinion of myself, which could not be farther from the truth. What I do have a high opinion of is people's ability to talk about issues to others and helping others look at a situation from a different side. It is easy to sit in judgment when there is no human face on the other side, it is much harder when a real person is able to tell you what the experience was like for them.

Really, all of this is just a roundabout way of saying that I have some very big news, and have known for about a week, but I have been unable to find the right words to share the information. The clinic in England finally got back to us, saying that they could do the test. We received a timeline of 2 months, which is not great but something that we could live with. Call the clinic and let them know, and this is where the bomb drops, wait for it cause here it comes. Using a lab in another country would require that a lab in the US verify the results. The whole reason that we were going out of the country was because there was no lab that could do the test here! Verification could take anywhere from one to six months. To say that my heart sank into my stomach is an understatement; it dropped clear to my feet.

When we began this process, it was always our intention to use an egg donor. My main priority has always been to ensure that we had the healthiest child possible, and passing on von Willibrand's Disease would not accomplish this goal. Not that using an egg donor guarantees that our child will be the picture of health, but it does increase the odds. The other part of the egg donor decision, is that we have waited and waited for this to happen, put our lives on hold and we were ready to move on. Becoming a mother is way more important to me than seeing my own eyes rolled at me when I embarrass the kid. Yes, I was excited about the possibility of being able to use my eggs, but it was something that I have come to realize that other people wanted more for me than I ever wanted for myself.

The one aspect that has bothered me most in using an egg donor is how to tell the kid. To me, it is a much more difficult conversation than the surrogacy conversation. Children can grasp the "you grew in someone else's tummy" concept much easier than the whole egg donor concept, if for no other reason than having the intellectual capacity to understand the associated concepts. In other words, I do not want to have the BIG talk with a 3 year old. At the same time there is a very limited window of time when they are old enough to understand and when you have waited to the point that they will feel as if we lied or tried to hide something from them. Yes, I know that they are going to feel this way about a million things, but to me this is too big to let them feel this way about. So I am sure that this will be something that will take a lot of debate and cause a lot of worry, but it is also something that I know we will be able to handle.

So, we are moving on and creating our family with the help of 2 extraordinary women. I cannot begin to describe what it feels like to be on the receiving end of such an overwhelming amount of love. Sabrina has been such an amazing woman through all of this, taking on the role of sounding board, cheerleader, comedian, and the definition of patient. The gratitude that I have for her can never fully be expressed, but I will keep trying.


Cyn said...

So much to think about it in what you've written. Here's my take on 'sharing your child's story' without their permission. I personally think that by you sharing it all so openly now, it will only help to prove to your child that you are not wanting/trying to hide the history of 'how she came to be'. You're wanting to capture every moment and feeling to share with others, will also go a long way towards helping your child understand the why's of your choices.
I don't have a lot of experience with ED, but I know there are plenty of people that have gone that route and now have children that are older. I would try to reach out to that community and see what they've learned and can pass on, the things that they wish they could take back, change, do over and the things that worked for them.
And YAY for having reached this point and having an ED ready to go for you!!

Beautiful Mess said...

Oh Jaymee! Your words moved me so much. I felt like we were sitting together and you were talking and I was listening. Your love for your soon to be child, for Sabrina, for the woman who is donating her eggs so you can achieve your dream is so touching. I am so happy for you.

emilythehopeless said...

jaymee!! this is exciting news! sabrina is truly wonderful.. and so are you! <3

Gabby said...

i am so excited for you - sounds like you have a conclusion to the waiting problem.. you already have a donor? that is wonderful!

i am so happy to read more of the story

Kristin said...

A beautiful post from a beautiful woman. I am so excited that your journey is getting ready to move forward.

Meg. said...

Oh Jaymee. *hugs*

I know this was not an easy decision, but I'm so happy its one that you and DH have made peace with. You're right: The goal is to become a *mother*, period.

I thank you so much for putting your life out there for women (like me) to read, when they're in their darkest of places, wondering if anyone else in the world is struggling with the pain of not being able to carry their own child. Really, thank you.

And I thank you for allowing us to follow you along to the next stage of your journey towards motherhood. Who knows? I very well may end up in similar shoes (i.e. egg donor)....and if and when that time comes, I know that you will be a source of support, and this warms my heart.

I can't wait to read about the next steps! We're all here with you, ready to root you on!

Mugsy said...

As always you inspire me. The goal is to have a healthy happy child, right? That's what I keep telling myself. I understand your concern about sharing your story with the world at large. We had to make the choice recently to use donor sperm and I've been sitting with it for quite awhile and trying to figure out how to write about it in my blog or if it's even appropriate to write about.

How wonderful that you already have a donor and you are moving forward.

Thanks you for being so generous with us and sharing your journey with us.

Allison said...

I'm very excited for you Jaymee. I think it's wonderful for you to share everything so openly. That's my feeling too....I'm not embarrassed about what we're having to do.

FET Accompli said...

Hi Jamie,

What a thoughtful post, and I totally agree that the more open we are about surrogacy, the more accepted it will become within the general population. (For us in the bloggidy world, it feels perfectly normal - and having kids the old fashioned way is what's unusual!)

You had mentioned that verification could take anywhere from one to six months -- it sounds like this might have been resolved? If so, how were you able to resolve it?

FET Accompli said...

Oops, meant Jaymee, not Jamie :-)