Processing My Feelings After Our Donor Disappeared

So yeah.  This is what happened.  Our donor is nowhere to be found, still.

I just can’t believe that this is happening to us.  I mean, I know that there is a possibility of donors bailing.  But I never thought that it would happen to us.  Not somebody who had donated twice before and followed through with everything that she needed to do.  One moment things were going well and we were on our way to our donor egg cycle.  The next moment, we are back at square one.  This journey is so unpredictable with so many twists and turns.

At 8am this morning, the phone rang literally when I was turning the door knob to walk out of the house for work.  It was our donor agency director.  Her voice was almost shaking.  She said that she had some bad news to tell me.  I came back into the house and sat down.  She told me that Iris, our donor, called to cancel the appointment with our clinic last Thursday saying that she had to go to work.  To our donor agency director, it was not a good sign, because it takes a long time to schedule an appointment with the clinic so once it is scheduled, a responsible donor should stick with it.  Anyhow, I guess it would have been fine for Iris to cancel the appointment if she had rescheduled it for another day.  But she didn’t.  Donor agency director tried to contact her, leaving her email, phone call, a longer email, and another phone call.  Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and today.  No response.  Donor agency director said that she was totally surprised by this turn of events because she thought that the meeting with Iris went really well.  Iris, who met with the director prior to our meeting, never expressed any doubts about egg donation.  She in fact indicated that she would like to donate again even before the last donation was completed.  The director said that donor backing out is not unheard of, but doing so after meeting with the recipient couple (us) is more rare.  And usually the donors who back out would contact the director and give an explanation or a reason.  It’s quite rare for someone to disappear without returning any phone calls or emails.

Donor agency director was feeling horrible that we are in this situation.  I took it as well as I could on the phone.  I told her that it was okay as I’d rather have the donor bail right now than later in the process, which would definitely cause more heartaches and cost more money.  The agency director was praising me for my mature response.  But really, what could one do?  Screaming and yelling would not change the outcome.  I just didn’t understand what had happened there.  Agency director told me NOT to think it was because of us that the donor bailed.  We just won’t know what happened and what went through Iris’ mind.  We are now out $450 for the genetic counseling.  If she had completed the medical screening then bailed, then we would be out another $800.  We talked about other donors on her database.  We saw a fully Chinese donor last week and asked about that one.  Of course she has already been matched.   Bob was there so I updated him, and I went on my way as calmly as possible to work.  Poor Bob.  Today was his first day at his new job, and he sat there being stunned for ten minutes before he could get himself up to get ready for work.

However, on my way to work, I grew angrier and angrier, and utterly disappointed.  Why can’t we catch a break?  There has been so many road blocks from the first day we started trying for a baby.  Now that we have decided on egg donation, the road still has not been smooth at all.  I teared up in the car but didn’t cry.  I just felt awful that this was happening.  I prayed and asked God to sustain me for the day so I could still fulfill my duties at work.

I walked into my office and saw my Dear Colleague.  I couldn’t hold my tears anymore.  I started crying while my Dear Colleague gave me a hug.  I was feeling a little better after crying a little.  Unfortunately, I had to get myself together for my 9am client.  And unfortunately, his very pregnant mom was also there this morning (usually grandma brings him in).  It was extra tough to have her in the session while I was trying so hard to pull myself back to a reasonable state.  I struggled through the whole session and did the best that I could.  I was supposed to work on a project the rest of the morning.  I could not focus and was just staring into space.  I just felt very upset, angry, and disappointed.

I realize that I am not mourning the loss of this particular donor per se.  I have always told myself not to fall in love with any particular donor.  I know we can always find another donor.  But it is about the loss of time, the sense of loss of control, the timeline being pushed back, the huge sense of uncertainty, and the seeming impossibility to get pregnant by the end of the year.  It was also a sense of unfairness that this is so easy for some people and so tough for many of us who struggle with this.  I am angry.

I try not to second guess ourselves and wonder if it was something that we said, or the fact that we made a decision to meet with her that drove her away.  If I had to make a choice again, I would still choose to meet with our donor if at all possible.  Bob had great intuition about this one.  After Iris talked about the future and how she was uncertain about how she would feel about egg donation, Bob asked me several times last week what Iris meant by that.  He wondered if she meant that she wouldn’t donate to us.  I dismissed his observation and told him not to be silly because I really didn’t feel that she was moving towards that direction.  But I guess I sometimes have to trust my husband’s intuition.  The only odd moment that I remember was how Iris rushed out of the house forgetting her purse and had to rush back to retrieve it.  In the back of my mind, I wonder what the rush was.  But that one moment didn’t clue me in on her decision to bail.  I just didn’t see it.  But when we choose our future donor, we will still like to meet with her.  I don’t think there is anything wrong with it and we will proceed with it if the new donor is willing.

All morning I was on the verge of tears.  But being at work prevented me from really crying.  I just didn’t feel well at all.  I inclined to cancel my afternoon clients and just go home.  However, I also felt bad for canceling them.  I struggled for another hour, and decided to take care of myself first.  I sent my sister-in-law a text when I left at lunch time.  I thought that it would be better for me to process my feeling crying in front of a person with sympathetic ears than all by myself.  Fortunately, she was available and urged me to go cry at her house.

I walked in her door.  Once I opened my mouth, I could not control my tears.  I just cried and cried and cried.  My wonderful sister-in-law, bless her heart, situated me on the couch and surrounded me with tissue, water, chips, nuts, and Toblerone! In her presence, I just cried my eyes out, wondering aloud about our journey, all the road blocks, the uncertainty about the next steps, and feeling unloved by God.  After crying for about an hour, my breathing was more smooth, my heart rate slowed down, and my emotions had calmed considerably.  Then I stared to feel hungry.  My wonderful SIL fed me lunch before I went back home.  She is amazing.  I am so glad that every time I needed someone to support me, she is there.

The rest of the afternoon I just sat on the couch and chatted with my wonderful friends online.  I just needed to sit and be by myself.  I also began to think about options.  Maybe we’ll start thinking about the frozen eggs that are available from the Chinese/Korean donor at our clinic?  Maybe it’s worth exploring?  There aren’t too many choices on the agency’s database as of now.  So as for fresh donors, we don’t have choices until someone else pops up on the database.  We have to continue to wait.  Unless we pursue egg donation with frozen eggs, I don’t think we will have a transfer by Thanksgiving, our original timeline.

Every time crisis strikes, I am thankful for Bob as my husband.  He came home after his first day of work at his new job and we chatted about things.  He was calm and reassuring.  I know that maybe this hasn’t sunk it yet for him, and he may feel angry later.  He did feel angry this morning, but like he said, life goes on.  We chatted a little about frozen eggs and agree that it’s worth exploring.  But no doubt we have lost a bit of confidence in this process and may be taunted in the future by the fear that this may happen again if we choose a donor for a fresh cycle.

What if Iris shows up again with a good explanation?  I really don’t know if I can put my trust in someone who could be flaky and disappear again without contacting anyone.  The confidence is gone.  We will see how this is going to unfold.

I am so fortunate that my work is flexible, so I was allowed to process my feeling at my own pace.  I am ready for work tomorrow, and whatever that we will have to face.  I am sure that I will still need more time to wrap my mind around this, but I still believe that everything will work out in the end, not according to my own timeline, but according to God’s.  I just hope that we continue to have the strength and perseverance to keep up our faith.

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MicroblogMondays: Meeting with Iris, Our Donor

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Edited to add:

Right now is Monday morning.  Just got a phone call an hour ago from our donor agency director with some bad news.  After meeting with us last week, Iris was supposed to have her first appointment with our RE on Thursday.  Apparently she canceled that appointment citing work related reasons.  Our agency director has been trying to reach her since that day with multiple emails and phone calls, and she has not returned any of them.  So guys, it sounds like whatever we experienced last week at the meeting with her doesn’t matter anymore, because it sounds like she bailed.  I will update more with a new post.

******

It’s interesting.  I chatted with quite a few people about their preference regarding meeting with a donor.  Some did not need egg donation to build their family.  Some did.  Many of them said that they would not meet with their donors.  Some of them fear that they would learn something about the donor that they do not like.  Some other ones would just want to move on with the process without any extra contact.  I can see their point of view and understand their preference.  In this highly emotional process, it is natural to just want to get to the end point without making it even more emotional.  Like I have said before, my intention is to make this process as open as possible so we can paint a complete picture for our future children about how they were created.

Last week was a crazy week.  I was majorly short on time for everything else so going into the meeting I didn’t really have a free moment to think much about it ahead of time.  I didn’t prepare a lot of questions.  I just wanted to get to know Iris, our donor.  From what the agency director had told me, I knew we would have about 45 minutes to an hour of time with Iris.  I did wonder what we were going to talk about.

The meeting took place in the living room of the agency director’s house/office.  Upon arrival, Iris was already sitting in the living room.  When we walked in, she got up and gave us both a very firm hand shake.  I went to the bathroom leaving Bob by himself with Iris.  When I returned, they were chatting about Bob’s birth city and the city where he grew up.  I sat down and listened to the conversation quietly.

My first impression of Iris was that she looks just like her photo.  She was actually prettier in person.  She looked a lot more Asian than Caucasian, with dark eyes and dark brown hair.  Her hair was tied up.  Her thick eye liners made her eyes pop.  She was wearing a black T-shirt, an oversized sweater, casual pants, and canvas shoes.

Iris came across as a very open person.  From her strong hand shake to the confidence in her voice, she presented as somebody who was mature for her age.  I didn’t sense any awkwardness during our conversation.  The donor agency director told us to just ask each other any questions we wanted.  It was mostly me asking questions and her answering.  Bob mostly listened and made an occasional comment.  Iris told us why she became interested in egg donation (her friends who struggled with infertility finally got pregnant and gave birth through embryo adoption).  We were the first couple she had ever met, despite having two prior donations.  She was surprised that we wanted to meet with her and actually arrived early to talk to the agency director about the meeting.

Out of respect for Iris, I am not going to go into details about her life.  We talked about her current work situation, living situation, where she grew up, her siblings, and her relationships with her mother, her father, and her sisters.  She talked about her father and what he does.  It was nice to hear that she has a good relationship with her father, just like I do.  She shared about her childhood and what she was like.  Apparently she was an easy baby and was able to sleep through the night.  She preferred the outdoors when she was growing up, digging dirt in the yard and not being afraid of getting dirty.  She was also the oldest among her siblings and was often the leader of the neighborhood kids when it came to expeditions in the neighborhood.  It was lovely to be able to have an image of her childhood.

Iris was also very kind to show us the photos of her father, mother, and two younger sisters.  Her dad is fully Chinese.  To my surprise, her mother is blonde with blue eyes.  Her sisters are both gorgeous and look more Asian than Caucasian.  It seems that the Chinese genes are very strong in this family.  We discussed about how she felt being an offspring of a mixed couple and she said that she sees herself in both her mother and her father.  The interesting thing is her father is over 6 foot tall and her mother 5’10”.  One of her sisters is 5’10” but both she and her other sister are 5’4″.  You would expect tall parents to have tall kids.  I guess it’s not always the case.

I asked her if she wanted to know anything about us.  She didn’t really ask us questions per se.  She went on to tell us that she didn’t know what to expect at this meeting.  Since she’s still young (24), she wonders about the future and how it would be like if she bumps into us on the street in the future.  She said she doesn’t know how she will feel about her decision about egg donation in the future, but she currently feels that it is the right thing to do because she finds it fundamentally fulfilling to help out couples who can’t otherwise have a child.  She said that she sometimes sits across from couples in a fertility clinic and wonders about what these couples have gone through.

In response to what she said, I expressed my sincere gratitude to her for her and other young women’s willingness to give a part of themselves so couples like us have a chance to have a baby.  I felt a bit emotional when I told her a bit about our history and how long this process has been for us.  I didn’t cry.  I was just glad that we got to meet her.

About 30 minutes into our meeting, the agency director asked Bob to initial a part of our agreement with our donor to indicate whether we wanted anonymous donation with a meeting or non-anonymous donation with a meeting.  She had my initial next to the item that said anonymous donation with a meeting.  I was puzzled about that because I had indicated non-anonymous donation.  However, because there were so many things happening at the same time, I failed to question that part.

Ahead of the meeting, I emailed the agency director to get an okay to ask our donor if she was willing to take a few photos with us.  By the end of our meeting, the agency director brought it up and Iris was totally up for it.  She moved over from her chair to the spot right next to me on the couch.  She also took off her oversized sweater and mumbled something about being warm.  Then I saw the tattoos on on arms.  I didn’t say much but I think she was a bit self-conscious about showing her tattoos to us, the recipients of her eggs.  She didn’t have to be because we have absolutely no problem with her tattoos.  I now have a few digital copies of Bob, Iris, and me together.  We all had a big smile in the photos.  It was very nice of Iris to be willing to share her face with our future children.  The agency director said that she could forward the digital copies of Iris’ photos on the profile to us.  Iris then said that she can also give us a few more clearer photos of hers.

By the end of the hour, the agency director ended our meeting.  She said she would walk Iris to the door while we waited in the living room.  Iris got up and gave both me and Bob a hug each.  She wished us luck and just turned around to leave, forgetting her purse.  She returned, got her purse, and said bye to us again.  When her sweater was left on the chair, I realized that she must have asked to borrow a sweater from the agency director.

We stayed for a little longer chatting about the rest of the process.  Iris will meet with my RE this week.  After that, we will be able to get a calendar.  Depending on Iris’ cycle, we should be able to finish with our cycle with a transfer before Thanksgiving, if not sooner.  It seems like a long time from now so we’ll see how it all works out.  We also went on to talk about transferring one vs. two embryos.  It seems like the agency director is a proponent of transferring two embryos if the total number of embryos is fewer than six.  She showed us some statistics for our clinic and another Bay Area clinic.  The fresh transfer rate with an average of 1.4 embryos per transfer is 70% pregnancy rate.  However, the frozen embryo transfer rate is about 35%, half of that of the fresh transfer rate.  We only get one chance for a fresh transfer.  She said that she has seen couples who transferred one embryo at a time and exhausted all of their 4 to 5 embryos without getting pregnant.  She wanted us (mostly me) to think long and hard about that.  So yeah, it is something definitely to discuss with our RE again.

I emailed the agency director about the agreement the next day.  She then told me that Iris was originally willing to have a open donation, but prior to meeting with us, she indicated that she would like to remain anonymous.  The agency director said she could ask Iris again if we would like.  I told her that we don’t want to push Iris if she wanted to remain anonymous, but we would like to have a way to contact her in the future if a health-related issue comes up for our child.  We will see if she will accept that.

Overall, the experience meeting with our donor was positive and wonderful.  Iris is no longer just on a profile with words and photos only.  She has become alive for us as an integral part for our fertility journey.  We like her as a person and are very grateful for her willingness to donate.  We know that she is serious about this process and will follow through with the required injections and the rest of the procedure like she did in her first two donations.  Now that we have met, Bob and I have good memories of this encounter and can share with our future children about the time when we met with the nice lady who helped us make them.  My hope is that one day this dream of sitting next to our children looking at a book that details our fertility journey including egg donation will come true.

I hope, pray, and believe that this dream is not too far-fetched.

MicroblogMondays: Action-Packed Week Ahead

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This is going to be one busy week.  Bob continues to have his time off, but I do have to go to work on Monday and Tuesday.

At 7:30pm this evening, we will have our meeting with our donor.  What?!  Yes.  We do!  Our donor is open to communication and sharing her identifying information.  So we took advantage of her openness and asked to schedule a meeting with her.  Since Bob will start his new job next week somewhere away from the city, it feels like it’s the best to set up a meeting with Iris, our donor, before the new job begins.  I gave the agency director a few dates and she chose Monday.  It’s coming up really quickly.  I am very excited about it.  And since I haven’t had the time to think much about it, I am not feeling nervous just yet.  I know I will be, at least a little bit, when the time comes closer.  I don’t yet know what we will talk about.  Since we have learned a great deal about her in her profile already, I don’t necessarily have a list of questions for her.  The whole purpose of this is for us to tell our future child(ren) as completely as possible the whole process of creating him/her/them.  I would like to describe to my child(ren) the meeting, our donor’s appearance, mannerism, and things that we talked about.  So I think we will just talk a bit about ourselves and what we are like as a couple.  I would also like to learn about her as a person, her likes and dislikes, and her life in the city.  I know that she didn’t have a happy childhood due to her parents’ divorce and her strained relationship with her mother.  So I may not ask her too much about her childhood.  Anyhow, I know that not everyone has the chance to meet with their donor, or has the desire to.  This just feels like the logical next steps for us.  I really hope for a positive and meaningful meeting with Iris.

Tomorrow evening, our night with Phantom has finally arrived!  The crazy me back in January pondered about my potential pregnancy and wondered if I should buy these musical tickets so much in advance risking being seven months pregnant.  Silly me.  Well, good thing I did because the night is almost here!  I am thankful for the decision to live life rather than to wait.  I’ve gotta say, seven months went by really quickly.

Our Vegas trip is from Wednesday to Friday.  Our flight leaves at 8am Wednesday morning, so it doesn’t leave us much time to rest after our Phantom night.  But it’s okay, because I know we will be having fun!  Las Vegas will be extremely hot, so I think most likely we’ll stay indoors.  I really hope that O will wow me!

It is definitely going to be a full week.  Hopefully it will be a fulfilling one too!

Wise Words

Last week, I had another session with my therapist to address my issues of having fears about the upcoming donor cycle, which I described in this post.  Prior to last week’s session, I naively thought that since I had accepted our path of using donor eggs as our means to hopefully have a baby, I wouldn’t need to talk to my therapist anymore.  Boy was I wrong.  I think that I will probably need to talk to her on a regular basis for a while.

What I described to her was what I wrote in the post.  I am scared.  I am scared that even egg donation won’t bring us our baby.  I am scared that I will fall into the other side of the stellar donor egg IVF statistics.  I have been basically operating on a mode of failure because that’s what I know and am familiar with.  I haven’t been able to get myself out of that mode.  I am still stuck at the phase of Isabelle’s-eggs-suck.  I know how to do infertility.  I don’t know how to anticipate success and pregnancy.

Well, I told my dear friend A. a few weeks ago how I felt.  What she told me is so so true, that I have to remind myself over and over again.  These are her wise words: “You’re conditioned for heartbreak.  It’s hard to think differently.  Just remember that you’re not playing the same game anymore.  New stadium, new sport entirely.  Look at it with fresh eyes.”  

Yes.  I am so used to bad news, heartbreak, being on the wrong side of stats.  It seems to be an impossible thing to imagine the outcome to be different this time.  But she’s right.  We are talking about eggs from a 24-year-old donor.  My eggs play no part in it anymore.  I really need a paradigm shift.

My therapist agrees with A.  She reminds me that this is a totally different ball game.  I have to consider the fact that we have chosen somebody who is young, so statistically, the chances of her eggs are normal are much higher.  Look at her donation history: pregnancy was achieved at both of her prior donations.  The chances of it working for me are so much higher than when I was using my own eggs.  She thinks that my fear may also stem from the lack of control.  When I was doing my own egg cycles, I had total control over the timing of injections, taking medications, being on time for monitoring appointments, and other aspects of the process.  I currently have no control over what our donor will or will not do.  I can only exercise my faith that she will have the integrity to follow through with everything.  I have no control over when the clinic can schedule her for what appointment.  My therapist told me to keep in mind that my clinic may not update me on the progress as much as I would like.  That will continue to play into my sense of lack of control.

Since those are the things I really can’t control, my therapist told me to focus on what I can control.  We all know from the operative hysteroscopy that my uterus looks good.  In fact, my surgeon said that there is no reason why I can’t get pregnant with such nice looking uterus and lining.  My very wise friend A. once compared the ovaries to uteruses.  She thinks that woman is fickle and complex, hard to read, hard to please, like ovaries.  To her, uterus is like a man, easy to treat and manipulate, resilient, reliable, and simple.  Both A. and my therapist reminded me that I should look at my situation like it’s brand new because my baggages and bad experiences have been brought on by my own eggs, which have been completely removed from the  current equation.  My own eggs do not play a role in the upcoming donor egg cycle.  All I can do is to make sure that I am taking good care of myself and my health and do everything in my power to make sure I follow my RE’s instructions to grow the best lining that I can.  

My therapist once again reminded me to do this: when I have these negative thoughts, ask myself if they are helpful to my situation.  If they are not helpful, acknowledge the thoughts and feelings then file them away.  Don’t think about them until my scheduled “worry time” at night.  So I have been asking myself that same question whenever I fear that the upcoming cycle won’t work: Is this thought helpful to my situation?  No?  Okay, then I won’t worry about it until 10pm tonight.  It has been helping.  Rather than constantly worrying about the what-ifs and things that may not ever happen, my mind has been mostly freed up during the day from these fears.

At the end of the session, my therapist reminded that I have something positive and beautiful happening in my life.  A new possibility that was not available to me in the past.  For such a positive thing, I should surround myself with positivity rather than negativity.

Very wise words.  Something to think about.  I feel very fortunate to have wise friends like A. and a wise therapist who truly understands this process of ups and downs during infertility.  I have been feeling much better ever since the last therapy session.  I am sure I will feel the struggles and have fear again.  The good thing is, wise friends and my therapist are going to be there when I need them. This thought is very assuring.

MicroblogMondays: Dinner and Vegas!

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Dinner last Friday with old friends turned out to be great.  Leanne, my usually thoughtful friend, texted me Thursday night and asked if we could speak briefly on the phone.  Leanne is someone who is not into social media, so I knew that she hadn’t seen Candace’s baby shower photos on Face.book.  Thus, she didn’t know that I had already known about the pregnancy.  When we got on the phone, she said that she wanted to make sure that I didn’t get blindsided by some news that might come up during our Friday dinner.  To save her from further stammering to find the right word to break the news to me, I told her that I knew about Candace’s pregnancy.  I went on to tell her about the emotions that I had experienced the whole week to make sure that I would be fine during dinner.  My conclusion to her was that since I had already prepared myself, regardless of Candace’s presence, I should be fine during dinner.  Leanne then told me that Candace wouldn’t be there for dinner as her pregnancy has been very difficult and driving in traffic for several hours on a Friday is not exactly the best thing for her.  I truly appreciate Leanne’s thoughtfulness in trying to prepare me for the news.  She actually wanted to tell me about it the last time we met up, but because I was telling updating her on our egg donation, she didn’t feel that it was the most appropriate time to bring up someone else’s pregnancy.  She sat at home not feeling good about not letting me know ahead of the Friday dinner knowing that I would usually need time to process pregnancy news.  Her thoughtfulness is a big contrast to our friend Chloe’s oblivion to my need to process pregnancy news ahead of time.

Dinner was great.  It was just the four of us, the core group of friends, plus Leanne’s baby.  Pregnant lady couldn’t come.  Chloe didn’t bring the kids.  Her other friends couldn’t make it.  We caught up without having to be careful with what we talked about since there was no outsiders.  We could truly talk about anything we wanted to.  It was just like old times.  It reminds me of why I still want to maintain a friendship with these friends.  And Chloe asked me in private for an update for our egg donation, which I gladly told her.  She is genuine in wanting me and Bob to be successful and to become parents.  Candace’s name came up but nobody talked about her pregnancy.  Those were some very pleasant 2.5 hours with some very good friends over tapas.

*****

Bob accepted his job offer and will start his new job on August 31st.  He will have the next two weeks off.  And we are going to Las Vegas!  When we want to take a few days off, we usually consider driving up and down the coast.  We usually like quiet time and just hang out.  Las Vegas looks like a very unusual choice for us.  But since we have not done Vegas, why not?  Flight and hotel packages are inexpensive in comparison to other times during the year.  I guess Vegas is too hot?  The most exciting thing for me is to be able to watch O!  I have been wanting to watch this Cirq.ue du Sol.eil show forever.  We (or mainly I) have splurged for some good tickets so hopefully I will not be disappointed!  We will be there in 1.5 weeks.

MicroblogMondays: Another Dilemma with Fertile Friends

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About five months ago, I had a little conflict with my out-of-town friend Chloe because she had said some hurtful things to me when she learned that I wasn’t going to attend dinner with her and our other friends, including my pregnant friend Leanne.  I love Leanne and usually wouldn’t mind seeing her, but I just couldn’t see her the week after I got my BFN for my last Own Egg cycle.  Chloe and I have since mostly made up.  I promised her that I would see her when she is in town in August.  Here we are.  The dinner has been planned for this coming Friday.

Originally when Chloe arranged for this dinner, she only asked me, Leanne, and another friend.  We are the core group of people.  Last week, she sent out a text to the three of us and then three more people regarding dinner.  There were two phone numbers that I didn’t recognize.  I really do hate it when she does this: inviting people that I don’t know.  It makes it really hard to talk about anything.  I can predict that there will not be much catching up, especially sitting next to people you don’t know.  It defeats the purpose of getting together when you can’t even talk about your life.

I am friends with one of the extra girls that Chloe invited.  Let’s call her Candace.  She got married last year at age 38, so I was quite sure that she was going to try to have a baby.  I haven’t seen her since her wedding.  She texted back saying that she might or might not come to dinner because she lives and works two to three hours away from the restaurant, and would need to leave at 2pm to make it to dinner.

Well, Candace, who usually is not active on Fac.ebook, suddenly posted her baby shower photos.  Baby shower photos!  What?  I was totally surprised and felt blindsided.  Apparently she is due in October, and her coworkers threw her a surprise baby shower, so she had to post it.  I don’t blame her for posting and announcing, but my first reaction was that I just wanted to hide from her and escape dinner.  If our last transfer had succeeded, my due date would be October as well.  If she comes to dinner, imagine this: I will have to hug her, say congratulations, and I am quite sure others will be oohing and ahhing over her bump, pregnancy, new life, etc etc.  This is too much of a trigger for me.  When I said yes to dinner, I didn’t sign up for a soiree with a pregnant woman.  This is different from having dinner with Leanne.  Candace and I aren’t close friends and we don’t necessarily have to get together.  This is a situation I really didn’t have to subject myself to.

I went to bed feeling bugged.  And I woke up feeling bugged.  Bob told me that I should skip dinner and was a bit mad at me for torturing myself by still going.  But I really can’t bail this time.  If I want to maintain my friendship with Chloe, I better make it to dinner.  So Bob’s question is, why do I want to maintain my friendship with Chloe?  We really go way back.  She and I went through a lot as friends.  It is stupid for letting these things go between us.  But it’s also very sad that I do not look forward to our dinner.  Going to this dinner stresses me out.  All this week I will have to work on getting myself mentally ready to spend two hours enduring the talk of pregnancy.

If Chloe had already known of Candace’s pregnancy and still invited her, I would be very mad at her.  I guess I can’t expect her to understand how I would feel because I guess to her it has never been that big of a deal.  Probably in her mind, I, as an infertile, just have to handle my emotions for the sake of friendship.  To me, it’s almost asking for too much from her to give it a little thought about how I might feel sitting there staring at a seven-month baby bump and listening to pregnancy talk.

I don’t even think that it’s worth it to talk to Chloe about my feelings.  After the conflict last time, I just feel that the divide between her and me is too wide when it comes to my point-of-view as an infertile person.  So this is what I will do.  I will just suck it up and go to the dinner, smile, say my congratulations, and pretend to be happy.  I know that it doesn’t match my usual way of handling things: being honest and transparent.  However, this time I just really feel that it is not worth it.

Or, maybe Candace will decide not to go.  After all, it is probably no fun to sit through three hours of traffic while you are 7-month pregnant.

Either way, I think I will do fine.  I just need to vent.

Fear

This seems like the theme recently in our household.

Iris, our donor, may well have been scheduled with appointments.  But I haven’t contacted my nurse to find out more.  The only update that I was given was a voicemail from my nurse scheduling an appointment with me for a consultation for August 17th to go over the findings from Iris’ genetic consult.  Other than that, nothing much is going on.

It’s a waiting game, right?  So we wait.

In the mean time, I got some very good news from a reader of this blog.  She reached out to me a little while ago, letting me know that she is cheering me on. She goes to the same clinic and was going to pursue egg donation.  Since she and her husband wanted a fully Chinese donor, the wait was a little longer.  She eventually picked a donor who did not pass the initial screening.  How devastating it is to finally find a suitable person only to know that she did not qualify to donate.  Fortunately, the agency director (the same one that we work with) helped her find a repeat donor who agreed to donate to her.  I had been waiting for her news since I knew she transferred end of June.  I was so worried that her silence meant an unsuccessful cycle.  When I learned that she is now over 7 weeks pregnant, I was so thrilled for her!  Somehow, anyone who gets pregnant with donor eggs just gives me hope that my cycle can work too.

Hope.  And fear.

I was having a discussion with Aramis about it.  I have been having fear daily about my future cycle that it won’t work for me.  On some level, I feel that the odds are on our side.  But on some other level, it is really hard for me to believe that I will finally get pregnant.  I just feel that I can’t be that lucky because I always fall on the wrong side of statistics.  But if I continue this line of thinking, I am discounting what God has planned for me.  I don’t know what will happen, but having fear is not the way to go.  It is irrational, which I know.  No one knows what will happen in the future except for God, and I need to choose to trust Him daily for the future.  I was telling Aramis that I can play devil’s advocate myself to counter my own irrational thoughts and fear.  It is a weird position to be in: to have a lot of hope but at the same time not to dare to hope too much.  It’s so crazy.  Somehow, I can’t wait for the cycle to start so if the first round fails, I can start the second round sooner rather than later.

However, my dear friend Aramis reassured me that it is not crazy.  These are “just the thoughts of someone who’s been through this more than enough and is ready for it to be over.”

Which is so true.

I am so thankful that I have friends around me who have done this and have had similar emotions resulting from the whole egg donation process.  I do not hesitate to go talk to them when I need to.  And they have constantly been providing unwavering support even when they are very busy mothers with their little ones.  I can’t imagine going through this without them.

In a sense, because of my own fear, I can actually understand my husband’s recent fear.

Bob’s current company may run out of funding in the next couple of months, which means job insecurity for him.  As a software engineer in this area, he is contacted by recruiters on a regular basis.  He wasn’t really interested in talking to any of them prior to learning about the potential fate of his company.  Once he found out that he might not have a job in the near future, he started doing some phone interviews, online interviews, and in-person ones.  He recently received a job offer with a bigger and more established company, with a significant pay raise, a more senior position, and new career directions and challenges that he feels excited about.  He even gets as many vacation days as I do, which I had worked hard for after being with my company for over ten years.  The only drawback is the location, which is 45-minute drive away rather than in the city.  All in all, it is a very good change for him.  He spoke with the person that he’ll report to, and felt even better about the direction of the team and the company.  However, his excitement is also complicated by last year’s experience with his previous job where he was let go.  Because of that experience, when things just happened out of the blue and went downhill fast for no particular reason, it is somehow hard for him to trust, especially start-up companies.  He came home and told me his irrational fear: that somehow this new company would withdraw its offer after he quits his current job.  He knows that it is irrational.  But somehow he can’t help himself.

I did not tease him or dismiss his fear.  It is real.  This is coming from someone who has been hurt before by trusting those who were not trustworthy.  I can totally see the parallel between his experience and mine.  He got burnt, and really needs time to recover from it even though now he gets good news.  In order to protect himself, he questions his decisions and wonders whether this is the right thing to do.  I have also been burnt so many times in the past few years (with Bob together no less), with so much hope in all the cycles which resulted in nothing but a significantly smaller bank account.

I told Bob that I understand his fear.  It is irrational.  But it is so real.  I told him about my fear.  To him, my fear is a lot more significant than his.  If his job fails, he can find a new job.  If our cycle fails, then what next?  Can we live child-free the rest of our lives?

I think it is healthy to let ourselves process our feelings.  But I will try not to dwell on it for too long.  I encouraged Bob to pray about his fears and to give it all up to God.  I promise him that I will do the same.  Since things are so out of our control, there is really nothing much we can do about our situations, right?

Bob and I are in this together.   We are so blessed that we can lift each other up in times of need and in times of fear.  This is the silver lining of this journey called life.