Childhood cancer survivor. That's the good news. Bad news? Chemo and radiation zapped my eggs leaving me infertile. Egg donors were found, several attempts were made and finally we were blessed with beautiful twin girls - born too early (21 wks, 5 days on Dec. 5, 2008). Hang out with me while we savor life with Big Baby Boy, who arrived via gestational surrogate on March 25, 2013.
Friday, April 30, 2010
Dudes, I've got some real angst over this.
I've spent all week debating whether or not I want to open my mind again to questions that begin with What if.... after spending well over a year and some significant mental energy training myself to knock it off. Started and stopped more posts than I can track. Tried different angles, different questions, positive spins. It's not that easy.
Of course I want to do something for National Infertility Awareness Week. Of course I want to support my community, my peeps, my strength. But...the what ifs, they slay me.
What if I realized I was going into pre-term labor sooner?
What if we would have been able to save baby J? At least buy her some more time?
What if my babies, my daughters, my children didn't die in our arms?
What if the two daughters we always wanted were here with us today, turning one. Together. With us?
When it comes to loss, we all have lists. Only I'm not as brave as Angie to post mine. Lists of things you could have done or not done that would have somehow made the difference in the life and death of your child. There is a lot of blame. Even more self-doubt. It can do a job on you, esp. when grief has made your mind a little mush to begin with.
And I don't even get into the what ifs that are so far removed from our reality. They are less what ifs and more hypothetical wouldn't it have been cool ifs.....
Wouldn't it have been cool if we could have conceived without significant medical intervention and someone else's eggs?
wouldn't it have been cool if we actually had a chance of conceiving again with my own body?
Wouldn't it have been cool if fertility was seen as an important part of surviving cancer?
But this is all old news. That part is past. And now the new what ifs emerge:
What if we can't move forward with our gestational carrier?
What if we do move forward and it doesn't work?
What if we run out of options and/or run through our line of credit - both of these feel perilously close.
What if we never, ever, ever have a child to love?
or, as Mrs. A asks:
What if I have to learn to live childfree with a smile….forever?
I'm not sure that I can.
And then the inner dialog begins because, sorry, I have a tendency to talk to myself:
well, guess what? You might HAVE to.
Ok, but living is very different than living with a smile. Obviously, I can exist in this space. But it doesn't mean I like it, or that its easy. Here's a what if for you, what if every day wasn't a struggle?
But sometimes it's not.
Yes, you're right. Sometimes its not. I bet, if I had to, I could live this life. After all, I've already had some practice. If we had to live without any living children, I suppose we would make it work. There would always be a space, an absence that wouldn't fill. A remark, a photo, an innocuous TV ad that would bring feelings and sadness to the surface. There will always be cliffs and ledges we will need to pull each other from, but we could survive. We'd have to.
For I. and for J., we'd have to. We owe them that.
As per Mel's instructions, I'm ending this post with a positive What if.... One that I really haven't allowed to enter my mind just yet.
What if our journey towards a family with our gestational carrier actually works? What if this time next year there is a happy, healthy baby in our arms?
Damn, that's a nice what if.
Labels: Infertility in the news, NIAW, resolve, what if
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I also found it hard to go into the space of "what if's" when I usually have to work soooo hard to not go there and beat myself up about e v e r y t h i n g.
Been thinking of you.
Yay, you - for writing this. (I've been putting mine off all week and am waiting for tomorrow's deadline!). It's important to write out - for yourself, for others and for the larger community. Thank You! My heart is with you as you journey... (((hugs)))
holy shit, that last what if just gave me a huge lump in my throat and my eyes just welled up with tears.
this was an amazing post.
I nodded my head with every "what if", and felt that last one in my chest.
Thanks for sharing this.
I know what you mean about not wanting to think about the what ifs. But that last one....I'm hoping with all my heart that that's exactly what happens.
(and if you ever want to chat with someone who's been through the gestational carrier process a couple of times, you know where to find me)
Thanks for writing, and I so so hope that the last what if, comes very true for you.
What Lani said.
I am totally rooting for your last what if! I have been following (though lurking mostly) your blog for awhile and I am rooting for you with everything I have.
Damn, I hope so.
Beautiful post. I hope so much for you that the last what if becomes your reality.
thanks for sharing your what if.
yes, the what ifs can lead you down a slippery slope. we all have those what ifs that we try to block out.
hoping for the best with your ending what if!!!
thanks for stopping by my blog
There are so many what IFs and should haves... I like your last one. Sending prayers that this one comes true.
I am listening and hoping beyond hope your last what if comes true.
I very much hope that last what IF comes true.
Stunning, raw, and beautiful, and a true tribute to the legacy of your children. Just beautiful.
Wow. It is so hard to write about that stuff. Kudos to an awesome post.
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