Thursday, July 30, 2009

This one is too big, this one is too small, this one is just right

I had a weird dream last night. It was one that so obviously wreaks of anxiety and anticipation. All in all I have been feeling really great about the coming of our little one. A. seems to be tired but doing just fine. She has some heartburn and the biggest boobs of any of her pregnancies. It figures that my baby creates big boobs when I'm not the carrier. Maybe that's the real tragedy of my infertility is that I will never have big boobs, but that's another story. I am still slowly telling people. But I think you could say that I am ready to fast forward through these next 6 months of pregnancy. I am sort of bored with it because I am not carrying the pregnancy. I am in the mood to just skip right to the ending. Give me the baby already.

So in my dream I am very much like Goldilocks. I guess in a lot of ways I feel like I am in someone else's house since I am using a surrogate and donor egg. I am trying to find a spot that feels just right, but deep down I fear I don't belong. So I woke up this morning with the memory of this pretty strange dream. A. is giving birth and this enormous baby comes out of her. It's like a gigantic baby that proceeds to stand up and walk around and talk. I am bewildered and confused by it's size and how grown up it is. I am trying hard to see if it looks like my husband or the donor but get distracted by it's size. I turn to my husband and say, "That huge baby came straight from her uterus!" Then fade to black. The second part of my dream is the opposite. A little tiny baby comes out of A. and at first I am relieved it is much smaller than that enormous baby before, but then I see that it's just the size of my palm. I gasp and ask if we can incubate the baby and I am told it won't make it. I am devastated.

It's pretty clear generally what this all means. Of course I am still scared something is going to go wrong, but I am also so curious about what this baby is going to be like. Just like Goldilocks who tries to find the right porridge, right chair, and right bed, I am hoping to find the right child. Of course with donor egg I have all these fears about whether this is going to be the right kid for me, but obviously this is "right" or else we wouldn't be blessed with this new life. There is a great line in movie where this guy describes his dream girl who would have a big rack, sexy long legs, etc. etc. But then he talks about his girlfriend and he says, "She's better than my dream girl, she's real." So I know this is what it will be like for me too. The baby of my dreams through all this infertility is all theory, fantasy, hope, but this baby coming in January will be real. That's why I need January to be here NOW! Thanks for waiting with me.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Art of Evading Questions

Politicians do it. Celebrities do it. Why not infertiles? As I embarked on the first announcement to friends of our pregnancy, I didn't do much prep for spin control. I figured we'd just explain we are using a surrogate and that would be that. No mention of donor egg necessary at this point. It all went well in terms of reactions, which came as a huge relief. Joy, laughter, tears were all part of the response to our good news. The one thing I didn't figure out before hand is how to evade the questions about eggs.

We all know there is an art to evading certain questions you are not ready to answer. If you do this with confidence and finesse, no one will question you. I learned this by not having the right answer the first time around. When we told the first set of friends, I wasn't ready for this question:

"So how does it work? Is it the surrogate's egg or yours?"

I had some choices for this answer that I realized only in retrospect:

A) Lie and say, "My egg."
B) Withhold info and say, "Oh, it's not the surrogate's egg." (not the same as lying)
C) Sort of a lie, but not really, and say "No, they put our embryo in her." (In the most gruesome of terms we did buy the egg that made the embryo, so it's "our" embryo).
D) Spill the beans and tell the truth and disclose about the donor egg.
E) None of the above, just run.

So being caught off guard, I went with Choice D and told them about the donor egg. Even though we had no intention of telling them. But I really didn't know how to evade the question. We explained that we are keeping this private among close friends and family and that we feel strongly it it the child's story to tell, not ours. They understood.

But lesson learned. For the second try with another friend, we tried to bypass questions altogether and just told her we are using a surrogate and our embryo. That seemed to work and yet I had a lingering feeling of guilt that I wasn't revealing the whole truth. I explained we want it to be the child's story and began some non-sensical garbage about our hesitation to tell people which I could tell just started to confuse her. I could see her puzzled look and knew she was probably thinking, "What's the big deal if the child is genetically yours?" Which of course, it is not. But I realized I don't need to get into much, just keep it short and to the point. I am hoping this guilty feeling passes in time. However, I am finding that Choice C seems to be a good one for us. Just like the SATs, I remember some prep course teacher saying, "If you don't know the answer, choose C." It was something about the odds being in your favor that more "Cs" would be a correct answer.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Coming out of the closet in the 2nd Trimester

I awoke bright and early this morning, solely due to jet lag, and felt a strong urge to nest. After our long wonderful journey away in Europe, I wanted to dust my apartment clean, speckle it with flowers, organize the knickknacks, fluff the pillows, and mentally incubate the idea that I will be a mother. I think and think and think about what this is all going to be like while my baby safely grows miles away. I've decided that this endless thinking is my pregnancy. This is my gestation.I am convincing myself everyday that this is going to happen and it's not going to be taken away from me. This is my pregnancy. I may play no part in sharing my blood and body with this baby, but my mind is pregnant with ideas, fears, strength, chaos, and peace surrounding this baby. No longer are the miles mental or emotional, they are physical now. My baby is now roads and roads away in the Mid-West. I am not the gestational carrier, I am the gestational mind. My thoughts, my desires, my heart are carrying this child to life too.

But my anxiety is still lingering. Mostly because it's time to go public. That's right, we are coming out of the closet. Considering that reproductively I am the same as a gay man, this isn't surprising. But I'm forcing myself to accept that I now have to explain to other people my unique way of "being pregnant." I thought it would be easy once I hit second trimester because my god, it's second trimester! This is unknown territory for me. This is a million times closer than I have ever gotten to the promise land. But I am still afraid to tell people.

As I road my bike for miles and miles from Prague to Vienna, passing lush emerald pastures, rustic hobbit houses, and a history so rich it could clog your arteries, I tried my hardest to believe that all this hard work will pay off. Agonizing up those hills I could barely pedal up, there was nothing sweeter than the curving descent - wind melting away the harsh sun, the pavement smooth beneath me, and downhill speed thrusting me forward with graceful flight. It was all worth the burning legs and semi-hyperventilation. So I want to hold on to that same feeling as I await this baby to fall into my arms after being tortured for 3 years. If I can hold on to this pleasure, I can tell people with pride and genuine happiness about our pregnancy. People follow what you put out there. If I come off weird, apprehensive, ashamed, embarrassed or confused, they won't feel like celebrating. They'll give me that nervous awkwardness I hate, always accompanied by the deer in headlights expression. I want jumping up and down for joy for god sakes. I want to hear, "Oh we are over the moon for you guys!" I want heartfelt congratulations. So why am I afraid I won't get any of that? It's that damn insecurity that infertility cripples you with, telling me "you are not worthy, you aren't the same as the fertiles, you aren't going to be a 'real' mother." Fuck you infertility. So it's another ugly dragon for me to slay. We'll find out tomorrow when we tell our first set of friends. They just had a baby. Will I feel like fake or can I stand up and strongly croon like Frank Sinatra, "I am pregnant, and I did it myyyy waaaaay!"