Sunday, November 19, 2017

As Simple as That

When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up though the pace seems slow--
You may succeed with another blow,
Success is failure turned inside out--
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit--
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit." ~ Unknown

I finally had the consult - I had had to reschedule it - with my fertility doctor in Chicago. It had been just over 8 years since I had last spoken with him during my egg retrieval on September 18, 2009. He sounded exactly the same.

During our conversation he curiously asked me why I put my age as 53 on the forms they had sent when I was really 54. I was like, hey, I filled those forms out on September 30th, I wasn't going to age myself up a whole year when my birthday wasn't until the next day ; )

He also told me about all the dreadful statistics regarding me having my frozen eggs result in having a baby. At one point he said, "I know this is just going in one ear and out the other with you." And I told him, "Yep, it is!" I reminded him of the horrible statistical probability he had given me when I was just two weeks shy of turning 46, "The costs of the procedure," he said then, "is $10,000 and at your age you'll be lucky if I can get one good egg." I had told him it would be worth it not to have regrets.

And when I had gone to Chicago and had the procedure done and there were 18 eggs at the last ultrasound testing before retrieval he told his nurse, "She is making eggs like a spring chicken!" Of course, I wrote in a post of how devastated I was when he ended up only being able to get the nine eggs, how I was crying uncontrollably in the recovery area and the anesthesiologist stopped to ask me what was wrong, and I told him about how few eggs were retrieved and he said, "It only takes one good egg to make a baby."

I don't want to pay attention to his statistics. Why should I? I either will have a baby or I won't have a baby. I don't need to know what the outcome for others is. I'm my own person; different from every other statistic out there. I see differently. I think differently. I act differently. I'm sure the realm I live in is not the realm he lives in. It's my goal to bring him into my realm, not be boxed in by his. Only God and I control my destiny; the doctor is just a catalyst on my journey to motherhood.

So, yes, the statistics did go in one ear and out the other (I honestly could not tell you what he spouted off!). But what did stay between my ears was him telling me the timeline I was up against. He said that in the United States a doctor can't do IVF on a woman past the age of 55. You might wonder why, if I just turned 54 and am ready to have my eggs fertilized and the embryo implanted in my uterus, would the cut-off age of 55 matter. It matters because of my Plan.

My Plan is to have a procedure having 5-6 eggs fertilized and go on to have a child and then to use the other 3-4 eggs to try for a second child! But that's only part of the "fly in the ointment." The real kicker was when he told me that because I wasn't using anonymous sperm - because my donor would be known to me (another small hurdle... I have candidates but don't know who to ask!) - the guy would have to go through psychological testing ($500), have a consult with the doctor ($600) have his sperm “washed” etc. so the total costs of the donor part is like, $3,000! That’s added to the $10,000 I would be paying for the insemination. Bottom line: a lot of money. But what’s the worst thing of all is that the sperm has to be quarantined for six months!!! That’s six months cutting into my Plan timeline! 

I feel, per usual, that I take one step forward and two steps back. It’s frustrating. But every “Hero’s Journey” - the kind of journey I’m on - has dragons to slay (or some equally scary, near impossible conquest to overcome) before they can acquire the “boon.” I’m going to keep slaying dragons - however many come my way - until I get the boon I’ve always dreamed of. It’s as simple as that.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Dreaming Miracles

"Whatever you vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely believe, and enthusiastically act upon... must inevitably come to pass!" ~ Paul J. Meyer

I made the call!!! I called the fertility clinic where - eight years ago! just two weeks shy of my 46th birthday! - I had 8 oocytes and 1 germinal vesicle cell retrieved and cryopreserved. I set up an appointment to talk with the doctor who did my procedure back in 2009. We will have a consultation on Friday - a week away! - to talk about the next steps on my journey of having my babies!

When I have my phone consult with my fertility doctor I will be just two days shy of my 54th birthday - October 1st.

I'm completely excited that Life is propelling me towards the continuation of following my dreams, but I still have so much left to be conquered (nothing like slaying a lot more dragons to get me pumped up!). Like, soooooo much more!

First, I'm in menopause so I know that I will have to be jacked up with a lot of meds to put myself in a position of being able to carry a baby.

Second, I have found out in the last few years that I have two gene "markers" - the MTHFR gene mutation AND I'm homozygous for the COMT gene - that are going to be big obstacles to overcome. Both MTHFR and COMT affect fertility and being able to carry a child full term, as well as, having a healthy baby. But between my GP doctor, an internist, and her referral - a neurosurgeon by trade and biochemist by necessity - I feel that I could have no better help of achieving the best possible outcome for having a successful pregnancy and delivering healthy babies (I often write "babies" rather than "baby" because I feel as if I may have twins).

Third, I still don't know who the father of my children will be! I have a line-up of six potential guys - pretty big long shots in saying yes - but at least I know I've had the guts to get this far and I will have the guts to take a rejection until I get to my yes.

And fourth, I'm practically like a 16 year old girl who unexpectedly gets pregnant, feels very alone and has no idea what she is going to do - in all realms, but particularly, mental, physical, and financial  - in being able to actually have a baby and take care of that child for all of its life. I mean, I'm not in the greatest financial position to be having a child, but neither are many teen moms. I suppose in a perfect world - of which most everyone else I know seems to be in! - you and your spouse talk over when to bring a child into the world based on variables that make you feel most able. But Life has given me my particular journey and I don't have any of those variables in place. But just like the lost teen mom who puts her head down and just does what she needs to do for her child, I will do the same. It's too late in the game for me to wait any longer for a "best time" scenario. I have to understand that this IS the time and let the rest of the best part of it find me!

I'm not planning on doing the procedure until January or February - I need the interim months to help my body overcome the MTHFR and COMT gene problem through supplementation - but I want to talk to the doctor now to let him be prepared for taking me - a 54 year old menopausal women with gene problems - on and figuring out how he is going to be a part of allowing a true miracle to happen!

I started writing Dreaming Miracles in January of 2010 to chronicle my journey towards a miracle... I've said many times before that story was still being written... well, now, I think I'm heading into the last few chapters of the book. 

Monday, September 4, 2017

Anonymous Deception

"Problems are only opportunities with thorns on them."
~ Hugh Miller

This is why I know the anonymous sperm donor route isn't for me... it's not just that I want to know who the father of my children will be, it's the deception that can surround anonymity. Deception can surround anything, but I'd like to try to alleviate it as much as I might. As I've said before, the anonymous donor sperm route is right for many woman - it's their blessing! - just not me. I'm not the type of person - maybe the brave enough type of person - to do it. Even if it should mean I don't get the children I so desperately want, I won't do it. We all have to make our own decisions... this is one personal decision I made long ago. My prayers have been said... now I'm just waiting for the answer. 




Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Cliff Diving

"Never, never, never give up!" ~ Winston Churchill

Oh my gosh, it has been so long since I last posted. I'm actually kind of shocked out how quickly time has swept past me. I don't have any real good excuse for not writing. I mean, I guess things had slowed down to a near slug crawl, but the slug's still crawling.

The biggest thing - the thing I should have written about when it happened - was that I fell off a cliff... it was a pretty high cliff; it was a pretty long and hard fall... and it hurt... badly. But it wasn't my whole body that took that unexpected nose-dive, it was just my fertility. I went straight from "fertile-myrtle" to menopause.

One month I was still in that fertile window of opportunity, and the next month it was if I was shot into a different orbit. The orbit of infertility.

I had always thought that menopause was a stage kind of thing. As in, you were pre-menopausal, then menopausal, then post-menopausal; that menopause lasted a few years. That even when entering menopause you still had times where you might have a period until finally after a couple of years the time came where - after one full year of not having a period - you were given the full-on title of Menopausal and then the "post" followed.

I was wrong. And it was depressing.

I'm sure at the time - and gosh, it's probably been a year-and-a-half now - I went into full-on "woe is me" syndrome, but eventually I reminded myself that I still had nine frozen eggs cryopreserved in Chicago.

And then whenever I bemoaned the fact that I had so few eggs to count on in making my dream of having a child come true, I always remembered the anesthesiologist who encountered me sobbing uncontrollably in the hallway of the clinic after my egg retrieval. When he asked what was wrong and I said that the doctor was only able to get nine viable eggs from me, he said, "It only takes one good egg to make a baby."

Presently I'm strategizing on my new game plan. I've got a lot of things to figure out. I'm 53 1/2, and, Lord, I've gotta start figuring more quickly now. 

Stay tuned: I am going to be pregnant in my 54th year. 


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Discrimination?

"God gives us dreams a size too big so that we can grow in them. " ~ Unknown

Okay, I think I noted pretty much from the start of this blog that I'm not really a "feminist," at least not in the sense of what I think a "real" feminist probably thinks. Like, unless I thought hard, I don't know that I've ever felt discriminated against on the basis of my gender; never feeling like being a girl held me back from anything I wanted to do, nor that I was over-looked, or my talents and ability any less appreciated than some guy. But scanning those nooks and crannies of my memory, I do recall there was a time in high school - it was my junior year so that would be the late 70's - when the student body was allowed to have an a novel thing called an "Open Forum."

The Open Forum was set up for the entire school - about 600 students - to gather together, fill up the gym's bleachers and be able to ask questions or share grievances with the school's administrators, teachers and leadership. A podium, with a mic, was set up at the far end of the gym and you could get in line and when one student finished speaking about what was on their mind another student could walk up to the podium and express whatever it was they wanted to say. Other than a few Student Government Association leaders, kids weren't clamoring to be in that line. I mean, it was high school, if you got up to the mic you were going to be in front of - and judged! - by every single freshman, sophomore, junior and senior in the place. I sat in the bleachers with the rest of the school ready to snark and laugh at whatever "goodie-two-shoes" had enough nerve to put themselves out there for the ridicule that was sure to follow.

But outside of any other consideration, everyone was excited to be in the gym sitting at the Open Forum because it meant we weren't sitting in our math, English, history or religion classes (I went to a Catholic school); the Open Forum had been highly anticipated on our school calendar because of the welcome disruption to our schedule. 

So many years have passed since then that I can't recount exactly the turn of events - I think it had something to do with our Athletic Director, Coach E., enthusiastically discussing the brand new weight room that had been added onto the boy's locker room and how great it was going to be for our loser (he didn't use that term) football team. But however it happened, I must have felt he was giving out one too many accolades to our inept gridiron boys over the back-to-back-to-back State Champion girl's basketball team that I played on. All the sudden I was no longer just a bored student body member in the gym; my ears perked up enough to actually listen and then I had heard enough wherein I believe steam started coming out of them. The next thing I knew I was stepping over people to climb down from the bleacher and be the next student in line for the podium!

I was a shy girl back in high school. I was a star athlete in three different sports, but outside of sports I'm not sure if I could have clearly enunciated a thought, much less an opinion. But when our Athletic Director started droning on about the boy's sports teams and their beautiful new locker room all I could think of was how pitiful the girl's locker room was. Girls just didn't take showers after P.E. class because all we had was cold water. I don't know if our cold water misery was because the water heater was over on the boy's side of the gym so that by the time it reached us all the hot water had been used up, or because the boy's had a hot water heater and we didn't, but the fact was the fact: they had a nice new addition to their locker room AND hot water!

When it was my turn I stepped to the mic, looked around the packed gym, turned to Coach E. and asked him if he had ever heard of a law enacted a few years earlier called Title IX? I didn't wait for his answer. I just explained to the assembled students what it was - a comprehensive federal law that prohibited discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity. I reiterated to the student body that because we went to a private Catholic school our Athletic Director and leaders didn't need to adhere to the letter of the law, but that their blatant dismissal of the intent of the law shouldn't be anything to be proud of. I bluntly asked him to explain to all the students why the girls seemed to be treated in a second class manor? Though, I continued, we would probably overcome it - just like we had been doing - and bring home another State Championship! The gym erupted in cheers! As I turned to walk back to my seat in the bleachers I saw Coach E. turn a nice, burnt red and heard him fumble through trying to spin an answer to my question. With each high-five a kid gave me, as I took my seat, I thought, game. set. match.

But, yeah, outside of having to dig deep to recall that story of gender inequity - of which I never felt me, or our championship winning team, were ever really victims - I've never thought too much about gender discrimination. Until now. Until I read this article about the fashion designer, Tom Ford in the Hollywood Reporter magazine. 

The article was about Mr. Ford's transitioning from fashion into making films, but what caught my attention was the following paragraph, "At some point, he might even find time to drop by L.A., where he has made a home with his longtime partner and husband of two years, Richard Buckley, 68, and their 4-year-old son, Jack." That paragraph had followed the one in which Mr. Ford's age was stated as 55 years old. So, I thought, wow, Tom Ford was able to adopt a son at age 51... and, then, his partner is 13 years older! But I was surprised at how "no-news" that information was in the article. I mean, I've seen, throughout the years, when an older woman gets pregnant - even if her husband is considerably younger - she gets crucified for being so selfish as to have a child at an older age, but I have yet to come across the same kind of ageism or gender discrimination against Tom Ford and his 68 year old partner for having a child late in life... and, to me, I feel it's wonderful for Tom Ford and his partner, but that seems like absolute bias. Like, why is Tom Ford at 51 and his partner at age 64 having a child a-okay, but when a women does the same thing she is selfish and doesn't have the interest of the child at heart?

Maybe I'm wrong - I often am! - but it just seems like one of the very rare times where I actually feel like a women is discriminated against for wanting or having a child at an older age and a man is not. Like, the same principles don't apply purely based on gender. What do you think? 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Amen, Sister!

"All my life I had been looking for something, and everywhere I turned someone tried to tell me what it was. I accepted their answers too, though they were often in contradiction and even self-contradictory. I was na├»ve. I was looking for myself and asking everyone except myself questions which I, and only I, could answer. It took me a long time and much painful boomeranging of my expectations to achieve a realization everyone else appears to have been born with: that I am nobody but myself." ~ Ralph Ellison

This!

Monday, October 3, 2016

God and Babies

"I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position one has reached in life as by the obstacles which one has overcome while trying to succeed." ~ Booker T. Washington

This is an inspiring story for any woman that wants to get pregnant later in life. And cheers to God and babies!