This strange feeling of detachment persisted. We knew what day the donor would be donating because B had to go to the clinic to wank into a cup (it is what it is, so let’s not dress it up as anything else) so her eggs could be fertilised. And while I wanted to know how many eggs they’d got from her, how many had been fertilised, how many had got to day 2, day 5, how many blastocysts, I didn’t have that same desperate-for-the-phone-to-ring anxiety.
Maybe it was that I still felt quite detached from it, but I think a lot of it was also because I feel more sanguine about the whole process. More aware that there’s nothing I can do that will change the outcome so whether I know at 10am that day how many embryos looked healthy, or whether I don’t find that information out until seven hours later makes no odds.
Back sometime before the last Ice Age, we’d made the decision that we were going to try to conceive with donor eggs. OK, maybe it wasn’t that long ago, but it was pre-pandemic, pre-accidental-natural-unexpected pregnancy, pre-totally-predictable miscarriage, and so as a result it does feel like aeons ago. Even if it was only just over a year ago. Because since then we found (or rather the agency found us) the Mary Poppins donor who wasn’t, and the Mary Poppins replacement that didn’t fill us with joy. And then two days after I’d had it confirmed that I’d definitely miscarried, the agency got in touch with a suggestion of someone else.
It was John Lennon who apparently said that “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans” and Woody Allen’s credited with saying “If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans” — even though my suspicion is that Jewish grandmothers have been saying it for millennia. Undoubtedly there’s a bunch of other quotes from various wise civilisations that say pretty much the same thing. The bottom line is that you can do everything in your power to create a certain outcome, but it turns out that “everything in your power” is pretty much the square root of fuck all.
I know these things aren’t karmic. I know this by now. I know that when it comes to fertility, you don’t somehow suddenly get a smooth ride because it’s been bumpy so far. I know all this. But finding this Mary Poppins of a donor (she was practically perfect in every way) felt like we’d turned a corner, like it was the start of something brand new and positive. Like I said, I knew there were a load of hoops we still had to jump through, if this were a game of snakes and ladders, we had a lot more ladders to climb before we won that baby. But this was a pretty long ladder.
(I have a horrible feeling I published this post out of order, so I’ve reordered it — apologies if you already read an earlier iteration and felt you’d missed a bit, you had.)
When the call came, the number wasn’t in my phone, and a donor was the furthest thought from my mind. We’d had generic email updates from the agency keeping us posted about the impact that the pandemic had had on the recruitment of donors and the possibility of treatment delays, but for me, the whole things was sort of mentally parked. There was comfort in knowing that what happened next was in someone else’s hands. There was nothing we could do about it, it was just something that was happening elsewhere that we had no power or control over, all we could do was just get on with our lives. And so we did. Well, as much as anyone could in the middle of a global pandemic.
I’ve not written since July, and what I wrote in July was months out of date, so as you can imagine, what I’m writing now is even more out of date. But I want it written down. Partly because I feel some sense of duty to you, if you’re still following… because I’ve followed blogs and then they’ve tailed off and I’ve felt a bit, well, cheated, it’s like reading a book that someone never finished writing, or getting a library book and finding someone has ripped the last chapters out so you don’t know how it ends.
As I mentioned in my last blog (all those months ago), you can’t run away forever, so I got back from running away, and made a decision that I probably wouldn’t have made if I were on my own. I decided to try to find an egg donor.
When I was single and doing this alone, I had pretty much decided that I wasn’t OK with the idea of trying to become a parent of a child that I had no genetic relationship to. I had said — to myself as much as anything — that I might feel differently if I were in a relationship with someone else but that idea was so abstract, I didn’t have to think about Continue reading
I ran away in January. To a place that I didn’t associate with trying and not succeeding. Somewhere I drank wine and stopped worrying about whether I was eating enough vegetables. (I wasn’t.) Somewhere I stopped caring if food was packaged in plastic (it was), or whether the tomatoes were organic (they weren’t). Somewhere my life wasn’t measured out in blood tests and supplements and scans and injections. Where I rudely
The other day, I saw B, one of my dearest friends, and I was telling her about finding my donor. And, in passing, she called him “the father” — and I realised that’s not what I’m calling him. And I could have just not said anything, but a) I’m not very good at that, and b) for some reason it felt important to tell her that I was calling him “the donor” not “the father.”
And I realised that this is just the start. Continue reading
…and not just because I’d been told he was “extremely intelligent” and “made beautiful babies”, although I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t appealing.
As I said in my last post, the thought of having to explain to my hypothetical offspring why I chose the 50 per cent of their genes that weren’t mine rather focuses the mind, and so my darling hypothetical offspring, here is why I chose these genes… Continue reading