Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Our decision!

   Hello again. I know it’s been a long time. To be honest, I wasn’t sure I’d make it back here at all. Having my “family” situation laid out for everyone to know about has been both a blessing and extremely intimidating. People that I barely know were reading all about my personal life and, although I was the one putting it out there, I didn’t fully appreciate the effects of making it public until it was already done.
   But don’t get me wrong… everyone that has chosen to follow along with us on this journey has been nothing but supportive. It’s just that when things in your own world are going a mile a minute, crashing down, or even going wonderfully, and everyone knows all about it so they are asking about all the time, well, it can be difficult to know who to listen to, who’s advice to take and who’s to ignore, who is sincerely with you because they love you, and who is just wanting a good story. I truly believe most people are sincerely rooting for us, which is why I am starting this up again, but sometimes it can become overwhelming.
   As I explained in some of my earliest postings, I believe everything happens for a reason. I also believe that being open and willing to talk about the things that most people can’t talk about will help create understanding and make things less taboo. Most people that I have talked to since all of this “baby stuff” started happening have either experienced a miscarriage themselves, or know someone who has. If not a miscarriage, they, or someone they know, is having trouble conceiving, has used or might have to use IVF. And most don’t talk about it or understand it.
   Some people have expressed a mistrust or disbelief in assisted reproduction and have said that they would just adopt, or not have children at all instead of going that road. I get it. I totally understand. I also understand not talking about it… which is exactly what I have done for the past six months.
   I understand being confused, depressed, in shock, and I understand feelings of “why me.” I understand not wanting to pursue something that seems so unnatural, and being totally afraid of both what will happen, and what won’t. I have not had a miscarriage, so I don’t fully get that kind of loss. But I have lost, on more than one occasion, the possibility of what could be and what is a very similar loss.
   It is time that we, both as women and as families came together to rally around each other. It should not be taboo to discuss your dreams, your fears, your sadness, your losses. I say as families, not just as women because miscarriage, infertility, and inability to carry/bear your own children don’t just affect us. They affect our husbands, our parents, and our siblings. As much as this has all been MY problem, MY situation, MY decision even, it has totally changed Ryan’s life. It has affected both sets of parents, our siblings and their families, and how they react to us and how they support us.
   Ryan and I have taken it all one day at a time, and have left everyone, including our families, out of the loop from time to time. Sometimes we’ve needed to just let it sink in, or pretend it doesn’t exist. For us to really deal with it on our own, it has meant shutting a lot of the world out so we could just be… so we could really figure out what we want and how we are going to deal with it. That had to be hard for our families and friends who really wanted to help us and support us but didn’t know what was going on or how we felt.
   I know it’s been harder on me than Ryan, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t affected him, because it has. He is very good at putting other people’s needs and wants (especially mine) in front of his own, and I appreciate that so very much. But he still has needed to deal with it. He had very clear ideas about what he wanted… but being the amazing man he is, he never pressured me one way or the other. He made it clear that he wanted us to take a certain road but because it is MY body that would go through it that it ultimately was MY decision. Of course, and he doesn’t really understand the way a women desires to carry a child.

   What if I decided the opposite of what he wanted? What if it meant deadly consequences for me? For our baby? He has been willing to accept and face any of the potential realities… and that cannot be easy for him. 

So, where are we now, you all wonder. Well, it has obviously been tough these last several months, but we have made our decision and are going ahead with it. We are going to stick to our plan to have a baby via a gestational carrier… surrogacy. My “heart” told me to try out pregnancy, that I’d probably be fine, and that I could just go ahead and do it, but my head told me the risks are not worth it.
    I did a lot of research on women with my condition and other heart conditions and their successful pregnancy rates. A lot of women were successful with no issues, a lot of them experienced heart failure either during or after the pregnancy, and for a lot of those women the heart failure corrected itself with time… but for some it did not. Their health deteriorated.

One woman that I heard about, and I am sure there are many more, was told by her cardiologist as I was not to get pregnant. She decided to do it anyway and ended up having a really healthy and great pregnancy, and then died the day after giving birth due to heart complications. When I heard about her, my decision was solidified. I wonder if I could ask her spirit now, looking back and knowing what would happen, if it was all worth it, would she have chosen surrogacy instead. I am sure I know her answer because what good does it do to experience pregnancy and never get to know your child?
   For some, the risks are worth the chance to feel your own child growing inside of you. And believe me, I get that. I would so love that. But I want to be a mommy even more. I want to watch my baby grow, hear him or her laugh, and help them learn. I don’t want to miss a thing. And so, for Ryan and me, surrogacy is the best road to take. 
   Our surrogate was in town visiting when I made the decision. She had known that I might decide not to take her up on her offer. I waited to tell Ryan what I was thinking until she was over at our house, and then I told them together. It was a happy occasion! Ryan’s smile told me he was so relieved. The discussions began immediately as to the details of what was going to happen… all of our fears and questions. Together, we looked up all the infertility information we could, and we discussed how we felt about all kinds of things, like multiples, reduction, birth plans, even maternity photo shoots. (It can’t all be serious!)
   The next step was to get a referral to the only infertility clinic in all of Manitoba. Even though I am fertile (as far as we know), the situation is considered an infertility issue. The wait list is three to six months to get an appointment AFTER being referred, and they only see you if you’ve been referred. We got our appointment three months later. I was nervous when we went to the clinic. I wondered if they would refuse to see us because I had been told I “could” carry a baby, or that they wouldn’t support our decision to use a surrogate because it is still a fairly uncommon practice in Manitoba.
   Well, the doctor we saw loved us! I don’t think he sees very many people like us coming in very often. When we told him about our surrogacy plans, he was so excited! The impression I got was that most people he sees that are inquiring about surrogacy don’t have very valid medical reasons for doing so. He repeated over and over that we have very good reasons for choosing this route, and that it is, in fact, the smartest decision. That reassured me to no end! We talked for awhile and made a plan. It is going to be a long, expensive process. 
   As 'luck' would have it, my dear husband is currently laid off, Christmas is here, and times are tough, again. But we have some hope that our dreams might still come true with some patience and determination. We are now considering doing some fundraising to help offset the costs. I mean, most people just need to stop using birth control in order to become pregnant.
   Even using just IVF is expensive and with us going to use a surrogate there will be even more costs involved: lawyer’s fees, egg transfer fees, and many other “fees.” IVF is just a part of the process for us. At this point, if we can save, and possibly raise enough money, and all things go right (fingers crossed), we can be expecting a baby within the next one to two years!
   Isn’t that AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!