Friday, July 30, 2010

Oh my, the irony.

Your baby's first exersaucer means so many things. It means they want more stimulation. It means they want to stand and jump. It means you finally can have free hands once in a while. In my case, while visiting her grandparents, our little girl was elated to get her first plastic micro-world of fun. However, she was a little too short for her feet to reach the ground. After searching around for just the right size foot boost, my mother came back with the perfect size book - My dad's old "Atlas of Pelvic Operations."

"Are you kidding me?" I thought to myself. But it was indeed, the perfect height. Having a father as an OBGYN is already ironic enough. Having grown up playing with a plastic uterus wreaks with irony that I, in the end, got a shoddy uterus. Now as I finally have my own baby, how peculiar to watch her jump happily on top of a book of pelvic operations. So what did I do? I of course looked up my own pelvic operations.

There, as I suspected, on page 81, was the description and diagram of my ectopic surgery. I studied the old fashion medical drawings. I looked carefully at how they rummaged around my ovaries and cut into my fallopian tube. It looked like a foreign world, a world that defeated me. It was my internal self laid out before my very eyes. Where, in these weird sausage-like organs was I? I didn't really know whether to laugh or cry. How could my body cause me so much pain? How could this fine-tuned reproductive system have gone so wrong?

I poured over them, examining the diagrams as if they were a treasure map. I wanted to find the golden key to unlock the mystery. My eyes traveled through the tissues and vessels and ligaments. With each sketchy line, I dove deeper into the emptiness of my loss.

I could only imagined the many embryos stuck inside that threadlike tubal space. I could only see these ovaries pumping out crappy eggs. I could only see this space continuing to bleed out every month failing to grow anything. These so-called nurturing life-giving organs very easily looked to me monstrous, alien, aggressive. This couldn't possible be inside of me.

As I caught myself falling down a dark hole of regret and sadness, I tried to focus on the dancing feet on top of this book. I could look at this strange visual juxtaposition of my baby and my past horrors in several ways. For one, it could be a reminder that sometimes great pain and loss gives birth to great and unexpected joy. It could be a reminder that despite my failing reproductive system, a baby symbolically grew out of me. But my most devilish side likes to see this as a big fuck you to infertility. Just as a person might dance on an enemy's grave - outliving them and celebrating their demise, my daughter was doing a dance on my infertility with the exact same sentiment.

Monday, July 12, 2010

I hope my kids are all right

I loved this film. I went in with apprehension. The story line of a donor coming into a family's life gave me the jitters. Did I really want to see a potential nightmare of mine on the big screen? But I was truly engaged and entertained by this film of a lesbian couple whose children seek out their sperm donor. Granted there had to be drama or else why make a film, but it was good to see more stories about alternative families. Although I highly doubt my egg donor will come into our lives and wreak havoc on my family, there is a tiny tiny minuscule ball of fear in me that my decision could come back to haunt me.

Like most donor parents, the idea of your donor somehow being considered more the parent is horrifying. If you choose to disclose, then you know there is potential of the day your child wants to meet their donor. I try to imagine my daughter at 18 years of age and feeling curious about this side of herself. I try to imagine myself being the cool and "on it" parent that calmly supports her finding the donor and welcoming her into our lives. But it's a long shot. No matter how much I can try to prepare, I think I will be devastated.

On some level, all parents face potential explosions. It all depends on who the child becomes. I do try to convince myself that there is no sense in stressing now when this day may never come. My daughter might not feel any need to find out more. But I can't help but feel that she might have a sense of loss not knowing her other genetic half. Will my family and their history be enough?

Of course, taking on this alternative family building, I have to believe that nurture is tremendously strong. But there are days I really wish I didn't have to feel this fear.