Sunday, October 10, 2010

Frozen Maybes

So, I don't know. I've been so stuck about how to keep writing here. I wish I could just transition easily to paragraphs about jumpy bouncers and first teeth, but it's been hard for me to recuperate from having every single thing in my life revolve around infertility. For so long it seemed like every vacation plan, every spat with my husband, every decision about my job was really about whether or not I would, could, or should even keep trying to get pregnant. I think I was just so used to thinking about my whole life in terms of cycling that I literally couldn't adjust for a while.

Of course, the sleep deprivation is a kind of eraser. I hadn't been able to actually think about much of anything for a while when I suddenly noticed that old harbinger of possibility, EWCM. It was such a shock that at first I didn't even know what to think. I mean, I actually entertained the idea of trying to jump on the post-pregnancy hormonal rollercoaster and maybe get lucky the old fashioned way. Which is the absolutely ridiculous, both statistically and practically. But still, it was impossible not to think about it.

And then reality really hit hard when my lab called to say that my pre-paid embryo storage was about to expire and did I want to go on a yearly payment plan?

And while it is SO OBVIOUS that we will never use those embryos, I can't help but feel wretched about destroying them. It took me seven years to get those embryos. I will never again even get a chance to have embryos of my own. Those embryos are related to my kids. But of course it is SO OBVIOUS that another pregnancy would not be good for me, that both my husband and I are too old to do this again, that we are worn out and tapped out and emotionally spent and that cycling put such a strain on our marriage that even talking about those embryos caused a gigantic argument. There are a jillion reasons to put an end to this whole thing and move on with our lives and not even think about the frozen maybes anymore.

If I had fifteen fabulous embryos I would donate them and hope that they would make somebody incredibly happy. But I have two semi-good embryos that came from 40 year old eggs. I'm pretty sure isn't what couples who have gone through whatever it takes to get to donor embryos are looking for. I think about my daughter's sunset-colored hair or my son's olive-green eyes, her abnormally high IQ, his impish crinkly grin. They are both long and lean, with delicate features and old-soul eyes. As a mother, it's impossible for me to imagine that somebody wouldn't want these exact traits, even the pale skin and freckles. But as an infertile, I know that nobody chooses embryos that don't maximize their chances of a take-home baby.

So, that leaves research. Which I wholeheartedly support, knowing that research is the only thing that helps anyone have success with IVF. And increasing the chances for success, especially on "old" eggs, is so important to me that I really WANT to be more gung-ho about just signing the donation papers and getting on with things. But it's hard to just give away, give up, something I fought for so desperately.

I have always said that the longer someone struggles with infertility, the more damage it seems to do, and I know that's what this is all about. Seven years of clinging to hope makes it hard to just let go.

18 comments:

Lara (NoodleGirl) said...

This was such a good and interesting post. DH and I considered it a mixed blessing that I was such a poor responder in that I never had an frozen embryos left over for which to make a decision. But now that I'm past 6 weeks post partum and have had the contraception conversation with my OB (basically decided to use protection until January when we'll make a FINAL decision), we've been forced to think, through over sleep deprived haze, about what our final decision actually will be. We used to think we definitely wanted a 2nd child but after 3 years of IF, 7+ medicated cycles, 5 surgeries, 2 miscarriages and 3 lost babies total, I don't know if we can do it again. Plus, this baby is both everything we could have hoped for plus so much more all-absorbing than we expected. But it's tough to walk away from the hope of having another, even if you know it's not the best idea for your family. I imagine it's all the harder if you have totsicles ready and waiting -- I hope you can make your decision and move on with peace -- you're so right that the longer IF goes on, the harder it is to walk away.

lastchanceivf said...

Oh your description of your beautiful and amazing children made my heart leap....who wouldn't want a chance at children like those??
I'm sorry it is such a hard decision. We never had anything left and never saw success so I cannot even imagine the questions...when we theoretically talked about 'extra' embryos we had never seen embryos come into actual being, and I think that would make the decisions that much harder.
Good to 'see' you again in the blogworld. Hope everything else is well!

Celia said...

I have been thinking of you. I think donation would be a wonderful thing.

bwub said...

I want the long, lean redhead with freckles! I keep thinking it would be great for my little boy to have a sibling, but the way things look now, I seriously doubt it will happen. Are you certain your clinic wouldn't accept them as donor embryos to another couple? Yes, they are 40-year old egg embryos, but there is always PGD to help sort things out. Of course, if you want to donate them to research, that's a noble thing to do too.

The couple who donated our embryos to us (there were a total of 5 embryos) took 5 years to make their decision to donate. Our little guy was on ice for 6 years (including her pg time). I totally get that you'd be emotionally attached to them and that it will be hard to let them go - whichever choice you make.

Hope the family and your little prince are all doing well!

katery said...

research sounds like the obvious option but after reading your post i can understand why it is so hard to give those little embies up, so under the circumstances, whatever you decide to do with those embryos will be the right choice.

Sky said...

With those killer genes and your being open to donating them - why not? It may give you enormous peace of mind to know you gave them a chance to "be."

musicmakermomma said...

Hey, it is great to hear from you! I am wondering many of the same things - although our embies are from a fresh young thing (and my old decrepit husband!) At this point I have to question whether th universe wants me to even try again, it has been so long since we've even been able to try; and if we put back all 4 that would be one thing, but if we put back two and it works, or we decide that's enough trying, we would have the other 2... And do we really want some genetic copy of my DH out there, which perhaps didn't bother him in his wild oats sowing days, but does now...

So many things. And I wish for a sib for D, but how long can we go on like this? Getting ridiculous, as you know, but you're younger than I!

My fabulous advice is that if you are comfortable having the DNA out there, and your clinic WILL accept them, donate to another couple. If not, research. If you can't decide, cough up money to pay storage another year and decide then. Things may be clearer to you in that time, you are still hormonal now! All part of the cost of IF.

(Erica) Rebel With.A.Cause said...

Big hugs sweetie.... I totally know what you are feeling right now. I will support you in whatever decision that you make. It is never easy when the battle is this hard.

Celia said...

Hey, our ped. told us infant advil works better on teething pain than tylenol does because it helps inflammation. Check with your ped.

Celia said...

DUDE, I know you are busy but I missss yooooouuuu.

peesticksandstones said...

It's awesome to hear from you again! This topic fascinates me, too. While I hope, hope, hope our frozen blasts will equal kid #2 some day, I still think about them all the time -- how weird it all is, how theoretically we could leave them frozen indefinitely and my son's own wife could give birth to his own siblings, etc -- crazy stuff. I can only imagine the made-for-TV movies on Lifetime that are going to result from all this in the next 10 or 20 years...

Kami said...

It was good to hear from you. Thoughtful discussion on the embryos too. I am with Sky - someone might want to give them a try. In Washington state it is a big pain and costly to donate so that coupled with the maternal age (no offense) might make it too hard.

Hope things are going well.

Lisa DG said...

I feel your pain since I am 42 with a frozen embryo. I will just hold on a bit longer as I can't decide what to do...you may want to chat with an embryo adoption place. You'd be surprised at what people want. Most embryos do come from women just like you.

Hope you are well and that 2011 is a great year for you.

PJ said...

Just thinking of you and wondering how life is treating you.

We have some froze maybes ourselves, that I am about to pay to stay frozen for another year.

I guess "if only", would describe how we feel about that. If only, I were younger. I turned 38 in December. If only, we had more space or were able to move right away. If only, we weren't tapped out financially. If only...

We are however, not trying to prevent a pregnancy. Which, is probably kind of laughable, but if it happened we would probably figure things out.

But yes, I do love those three little frozen possibilities, and am somewhat sad that they might realize their full potential.

I miss your blog and hope things are good.

Lost in Space said...

Miss hearing from you and would love to hear an update...

katery said...

hey lorraine, miss you, hope you're all doing well :)

katery said...

lorrrrrrrrrrrrrrine!!!

katery said...

lorraine, i miss you so. i know you are very busy but i'm always hoping for a quick update from you, i can't imagine how much has happened since you last posted. just know that i think of you often and hope you are all doing well.