It is July. I have the month off and have spent way too much time on Facebook. Some things are the same as before, and yet, I think some subtle changes have taken place in the way I have been thinking about the journey towards motherhood.
IUI #3 resulted in a BFN, with my period starting quite a bit sooner than expected, while I was still taking progesterone.
IUI #4 happened Friday June 25. My friend E came with me, bringing prayers and good wishes. She also promised to encourage the swimmers, in Korean (my donor is half-Korean), to swim swim swim!
Things felt different with this try, but they always do. Every month you go through this cycle of hope, anticipation, doubt, disappointment, then start all over again.
There has been some slight spotting since day 11, which is odd. It is, as far as I know, too late for implantation spotting, and too early for my period. I never have any spotting, so I know something is going on, but there's no telling what it means. I had a tiny nosebleed the other day, and have been feeling tired, headachy, and sometimes nauseous. I'm not sure any of this means anything.
My friend N has entered her second trimester. In broaching the subject with her parents, she got some unexpectedly negative reactions. I felt bad for her, but also knew that this was par for the course. I think most of these negative reactions stem from anxiety. Parents, no matter how old we are, will worry about how we will handle single motherhood. At any rate, I know her mother will come around and enjoy the excitement of this pregnancy rather than worry about what the neighbors will say about N being single. It was hard, of course, not to think about what my own parents would say should I get to the point of actually entering my second trimester. My father, no doubt, will offer his support by offering me money, and my mother will worry incessantly and share all her anxieties with me. It is no wonder that I haven't said anything yet!
My friend J, another SMC, just had her baby, a healthy girl at 7.5 pounds! It is really exciting news. She is 40, I believe, but got pregnant on her first IVF.
My colleague K, married, is due in a few weeks and has just finished decorating the baby's room. They don't know whether it will be a boy or a girl.
My brother and his wife are having a baby too. This I find out, quite accidentally, on Facebook! My friend K and discussed my feelings about my brother expecting a baby. I don't feel any envy towards him, nor self-pity about my situation. I am really happy for him, his wife, and for my parents, who could use a positive distraction in their lives.
The motherhood issue keeps coming up in my interactions with people. Quite unexpectedly my language teacher arrived for class the other day and asked "Can you recommend an acupuncturist for fertility? I have been trying for three years." She had no idea that I was trying too, and that I could indeed, recommend an acupuncturist. We talked about our respective situations, about adoption as an option, about how sad it would feel for me to never experience pregnancy and childbirth. It was nice to feel so helpful to her, if a bit bittersweet. It is amazing how much information I was able to provide, loaning her my Randine Lewis book on the TCM approach to fertility, recommending doctors and resources, and yet, all the time realizing that all this knowledge that I have accrued may or may not get me anywhere with regards to becoming a mom. This is one area in my life where the amount of research I do seems to have little effect on the outcome.
Still, I have started feeling differently about this process. I'm really quite happy with my life. I figure that if I want to be a mom, it will happen one way or another, perhaps not in the way I imagine. I've started looking into adoption, and in general, I've taken on a very Arjunian attitude towards this journey. I'm hoping to fight the good fight, as it were, but have surrendered the outcome to God.
The insurance question is a big and difficult one, and I constantly find myself asking for guidance. Do I retain a lawyer to try and get coverage? How much do I want to fight them on this? Is it worth the time, the money, the stress? Or, do I place my trust in the universe and know that what should happen will eventually happen? Can I have faith in the fact that if one door is closed, it simply means my path lies elsewhere?
Actually, these are difficult but valuable experiences. More than at any point in my life I feel a sense that I am in God's hands, that there is no need to feel afraid or lonely (even though I sometimes still feel these things), and that the obstacles on this journey only deepen my connection to the divine while making me stronger.
God has shown up in this journey in more than one way.
For one thing, dancing has completely replaced dating as a distraction, and thank goodness. I'm no longer interested or hopeful on the dating front, and in the context of dance, the interactions with men are just more fun. A few weeks ago local blues dancers hosted CUBE (Chicago Underground Blues Experience), a weekend of house parties and late-night dances starting after midnight. I never thought I would get up out of bed at 2am to attend an all-night dance party, but that is exactly what I did, stopping at 4am only because the speakers broke. It was dawn as I drove home, and not a few hours later I headed out again to Siddha Yoga to make chai for the meditators. This is shocking even to me, the person who used to fall asleep around 10pm every night of the week.
And then, there is the fact that into my life came this young man towards whom I have very maternal feelings. In a conversation a few weeks back I sensed something which prompted me to ask about his mother. He told me she'd left them when he was four, and that his father single-handedly raised him and his brother. She drank, apparently, and had also wanted him to be a daughter instead. I'll never know all the complexities behind this sad story, of course, but it is hard for me to feel anything but pity for this woman, who missed out on being a mother to this cute and wonderful kid who is sweeter, nicer, and more positive than almost anyone I know, not to mention extremely talented. He seems to have made his peace with this; he talked about how grateful he was for his father and how he had no bitterness or resentment for the sad fact of his motherless childhood, and how he did not feel entitled to anything beyond what he had. He told me about the strong foundation in faith his father had instilled in him, and how he knew he had to focus on his blessings and his strengths rather than the things that were missing in his life. I told him that if I had a son I would want my son to be just like him. And so I find myself in this odd situation of making cookies for him, bringing him food when I can, and sometimes, scrutinizing the girl he is dating and wondering if she's good enough for him. (Which, of course, she is. After all, he likes her, so she must be a really nice girl.)
So, I wait for the next pregnancy test this Friday. I was tempted to take one last night, quite a few days early, when the tests are supposedly 70% or so accurate. I decided to keep waiting. As my dance teacher B has taught me, after laughing at me for being too grabby while dancing, sometimes you just have to wait.