Thursday, May 23, 2013

You've been warned

That off week was just that. An off week.

Let me say that it's a bit hard to express things not going perfectly well to a community of women who struggle with infertility when you've got an infant on your hands. Thank you for reading what I had to say and not jumping down my throat. 

I'm much less lonely, and less down. I've had some insomnia (which is odd when your 2.5 month-old is sleeping through the night. You're tired, but not for the obvious reason), and some anxiety, but all in all, I think things are good.

I've become more proactive in scheduling outings and visits with friends, on top of weekly activities like yoga and our informal mama's group on Friday. I think I've also relaxed into the role a bit more, and stopped trying so hard to get shit done. Working without interruptions is a pipe dream.

I've also started taking the steps I feel I need to take to sort of wrap up (to avoid using the term closure) the stuff around the birth. And by stuff I mean the story, the thoughts and the emotions linked to what happened. And by what happened, I mean mostly the hemorrhage, but also the birth and the high blood pressure stuff. I've loosely mapped out three steps to this wrap up.

Step 1: talk about what happened to people who care about me and have time to listen. This is mainly so that I can have a full story of what happened by asking what others remember about it. Also, it helps to talk about it out loud so that I can stop running the scenario in my head over and over again (which I was doing for the first two months). 

Step 2: Send out thank you cards to the care providers who helped me during the birth and postpartum complications.

Step 3: Write out the details of the birth story and subsequent complications so that I've got a fleshed out narrative.*

Step 1 is mostly done. I've reviewed what happened in therapy, and with my therapist's suggestion, talked about it with those who were involved (Mr. A, friends who helped that night or weekend). Step 2 is well underway, and I would say that it has helped a great deal. And now, for your part. I can do step 3 in my journal, but I think I will do it here on my blog. It will be incredibly boring. You do not have to read it (or anything I write for that matter). But I'm asking you to be patient while I crank out a few posts containing waaaaaaaayyyy too many boring details about gross and scary stuff. I need to tell the story and then move on.

*Psychologists are annoying like that. Can't help it.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

just sayin'

I spend a lot of time alone with Gummy. I talk to her in English, then in French. She gurgles and smiles sometimes. Or grunts. Sometimes she farts, often to register disapproval, like when I change her diaper at 3am before feeding her. 

But mostly, I'm with my thoughts.

I had a pretty lonely week last week. I wondered if it was PPD (postpartum depression) visiting. I felt like PPD and I we were two cats on a fence, vying for the same backyard. We were checking each other out, ready to pounce at the first sign of weakness in the other.

I think I won that round, though. It was just loneliness. I didn't have too much scheduled and what I had scheduled fell through.

Monday: I went to the community centre for parent and child time. The place was crawling with toddlers and moms of toddlers who were way too exhausted to talk to me and my angelic looking infant. The moms that had infants also had toddlers, and were busy intellectually stimulating two progeny instead of one. So, no chance to make a connection. I left. One facilitator ran after me and said I should go to the infant time.

Tuesday: The other Augusta was nursing a sick baby. So, they didn't come to yoga. Only that annoying woman with the cute baby boy who she WON'T VACCINATE* was there, so I made myself scarce after class, lest she wanted to hang out again.

Wednesday: I had planned to attend the infant time at the community centre, held at their location at the mall, and to arrive early to get Gummy a sun hat. I realize early that the infant program runs on Tuesday for parents and their infants of 0 to 6 months, and Wednesdays for parents and their infants of 6 to 12 months. I had until then believed infant time was both on Tuesday and Wednesday, regardless of said infant's age. Plans foiled again.

Thursday: I planned to stay home and work on Gummy's napping (and get thank you cards all done. ha!). It sounds so ridiculous to write it like that, but that's what I thought at the time. We'll stay home and I'll put her down for several naps and she'll be blissed out on sleep and I'll win a "mother-of-the-year-award". Snort. She had terrible naps and went to bed cranky and exhausted at 8:45pm. No awards were handed out.

Friday: Mom's group at my house in the morning and out-of-town friends visiting in the afternoon. It was a lovely day. Gummy had great naps.

In that lonely week, I was often lured by the dangerous and seductive self-shaming thought that goes like this: "you've waited so damn long to have a baby, now that you have one, you need to enjoy every second of being a mother" I was helped by convincing myself that having the baby you wait so damn long for does allow you to press the reset button and become like every other mama out there. New parents are allowed to struggle and find some areas of parenting difficult. They are allowed to have an adjustment period to parenthood. Why shouldn't I also be allowed to adjust?

Consider yourself pressed, reset button. I'm just like any ordinary mother out there with my cute DE baby.

*Don't get me started on that

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Third Party

I recently read the post by Kelly Wendel on PVED in which she defends her choice of creating a family using third party conception. In her post, she cites different authors who argue against third party reproduction and ART in general, and I have read none of these. Truth is, I don't have that kind of time to waste right now. I have a 2-month-old to raise. But reading the post made me think about the hoopla related to third party conception, mainly the crap being issued by the religious right. There are, I believe, interesting and legitimate issues to be pondered with third party conception. Issues that I have pondered hard and long on this road. The potential for abuse is high in a situation where money is paid for human organs/tissue, and Mr. A and I had much to resolve internally before we were able to do DE in the US. When we started down this road, we didn't think we would go ahead and pay for gametes. But life experiences bring you to different decisions. As a general rule, I don't believe women are being exploited in donating their eggs, but I think some women potentially are. I don't think the industry as a whole is exploitative, but I think it has the potential to be.  I obviously had to be ok with our clinic and the way we believed they treated donors; but ultimately, I had to trust that they were well treated without knowing for sure.


In the time I've not been blogging and not been commenting in the last week (sorry, lovelies, I've been going for long walks with my girl and spending less time on the computer), I've been thinking about this idea of third party conception and what it means to me these days.

At this point, third party conception has become symbolic of something I am working on in my life: accepting help. Not just begrudgingly, or shamefully, or because I am so broken and dying and won't make it without help. No. Just accepting help because I need help.

Like everyone on this green planet, I need help sometimes. Because of my particular psychology, this is a challenge. I should be able to handle it all on my own. I was an enormous burden for my mother as a child, and so burdening others is something I fear like the plague. I will bend myself into all kinds of non-Augusta shapes to avoid burdening others, lest they start thinking I'm annoying and abandon me. Asking for help is part of that pattern.

In this quest to have a child, I've had no choice but to ask for A LOT OF help. I've had to ask for eggs. Twice. Once from a friend and once from a stranger. And most importantly, I've needed to receive their gift. With my whole grateful being, my job has been to just receive. Fuck, that's hard.

I haven't told you much of the story around the birth and the postpartum circus. I think I will, but it's a bit epic and I need to keep digesting it before I lay it all out here. But I'll say here that Mr. A and I needed a lot of help during that time, and we received more than we could have ever asked for. Two women friends of ours gave us breast milk so that we could feed Gummy in the early days when I was trying to breastfeed but wasn't producing milk. Three different sets of friends took Gummy in overnight when I was in hospital. One of our friends breastfed Gummy on an overnight, because she had lots of milk to give to her daughter and to mine. Another friend who is a midwife came to spend the day with me at the hospital after the postpartum hemorrhage so that she could help me sort out what had happened and what could happen as a result (ie try to avoid a hysterectomy if possible). Meals were delivered twice a week for 5-6 weeks after the birth so that we didn't have to cook.

So when I think of third party conception and people getting their panties in a knot about how wrong this might be in the eyes of their chosen deity, I feel like yawning in their face. That stuff is so esoteric to me. How about we look at what love and altruism really mean on this earth at this time. For me, there is something divine about the gifts I have received, from the egg donor, and from all the people who have supported us as we struggled to have a child.