Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My wishes for peace

I swear, this post will end on a positive!

Before that, though, a little reflection. Glenn and I were reminiscing and trying to decide which was worse for us - 2007 or 2008:

Uncle Allen passes away
Failed IVF #3
Uncle Teddy passes away
Miscarriage/D&C from IVF #4
Mimi Anna (my grandmother) passes away

Glenn's heart attack
Failed IVF #5
My multiple health scares (rheumatologist, hematologist, cardiologist)
Glenn's 4 angioplasty's
Failed IVF #6
Failed IVF #7
Our house officially on the market for almost 16 months

In the end, we've decided that it was a tie. Both years sucked.

But, don't get me wrong, there have been good things. Although it ended poorly, for a few weeks in 2007 it was wonderful to know that I was actually pregnant. This year, my mother got a kidney and a new lease on life. In this terrible economy, Glenn and I have both remained employed.

Also in 2008, I started this blog, and that definitely goes on the plus list. It has been a wonderful source of support for me and has given me the opportunity to "meet" and become virtual friends with so many of you. I just asked Glenn a question about 2007 and he realized what I was probably writing about and had the nerve to tell me (and, believe me, I told him it was nervy) that I shouldn't write this post because he felt that people don't want to always hear about misery. After telling him that he doesn't have to read it if he doesn't like what I'm posting, I realized that he is absolutely right. We are all tired of reading about each other's misery. If it was in our control, we would change it, not only for ourselves, but for everyone we know. I would like nothing more than to open everyone's blog tomorrow and read that they have been matched with a birth mother, successfully achieved a pregnancy, have no worries about a pregnancy ending badly, have given birth and brought their beautiful, healthy child home, and have no family, financial, employment, or other health problems.

But, that's not the reality of many of our lives. So, with everything I have in me, I thank you all for the support, encouragement, advice, suggestions, hugs, and love you have given me. And, the only resolution I will make this year is to continue being here for all of you into 2009 and beyond.

I am glad that 2008 is drawing to a close. Seriously, 2008, and its recent neighbor, 2007, can go to hell. I have no expectations of 2009, but, if I can be so bold as to hope for something, I wish for there to be Peace in the world, Peace in all of our families, and Peace in each of our individual hearts and souls.

Monday, December 29, 2008

The youngest kid at the dinner table

My baby brother turned 30 today. 3-0! Unbelievable!

I've written before that, while some people didn't know they wanted to be a parent until they were older, I've known since I was very young. See, I was almost 10 when he was born. And, those who knew me back then will attest to the fact that I was a very mature kid (both physically and emotionally), very close with my baby brother, and very much like a little mother to him. I have felt that maternal, nurturing instinct since then which, for me, makes my struggle with infertility even more difficult.

And, yes, if you've done the math, you've already figured out that his 30th birthday begins my countdown to 40. Numbers have never meant much to me, but, approaching 40 without being any closer to being a mother is a tough pill to swallow. I guess we'll see what happens in the next 5 months....

Back to my brother. In his teens and 20's, to my great distress, we didn't have a great relationship, for various reasons that he has finally grown out of over the last few years. He is now so much closer with Glenn and I, something I am extremely grateful for.

Now that he is 30, I think he is more than ready to not be the baby in the family. Happy Birthday Michael, and, I'm sorry, but despite how hard I've tried, I've yet to relieve you of that title.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The G-ds are just taunting me now!

I forgot to write about something that happened a few weeks ago. For those of you who know this story already, sorry!

I received an email a few weeks ago that said,

"Hi Everyone, Here are some pictures of Baby Lastname from Thanksgiving week (I was 16 1/2 weeks when they were taken) I'm almost 18!! Almost halfway there, and loving being pregnant!!.....We can't wait to meet our little one! Love, Amy"

This email was accompanied by 8, yes 8 pictures of Amy, at different angles, showing her growing belly.

Annoying, right? Well, here's the kicker - I have no bloody idea who this person is! I wracked my brain trying to figure out who she is and how I know her and, nothing, nada, zip - I have no friggin' clue who she is.

Not willing to let it rest, I emailed her back and asked who she was and she responded that, oops, she didn't know me either but I must have been added to her address book from a forward and she just quickly picked names to send this to!

You quickly picked names to send pregnant pictures of yourself??? OK, chickie, you should know who you're sending your stupid emails to!

Pregnant pictures from someone I don't even know. Lovely.

I truly wish Amy, her husband, and her unborn child all the best. I just hope I don't have to see anymore pictures of them!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bad girl!

I am slapping my own wrists, spanking my own tushie (OK, maybe I'll let Glenn do that one!), and sending myself to bed without supper. I've been a really bad girl!

What, you may be wondering, could I have done that is so bad that I'm willing to forego the yummy homemade pizza I'm planning to make tonight??

Ok, here goes. I've become a really bad communicator. There, I said it. It's out there now and I can't take it back!

I don't know why. Everytime I get an email that I want to respond to, I Star it, with intentions of coming back and responding. These include messages from friends, notifications of absolutely amazing comments from some of you on earlier blog posts, or messages on Facebook. If you could only see how any starred messages I have in my inbox you'd laugh! Add to that the 50 some-odd blog posts that were unread in my Google Reader until this morning and the fact that I haven't even posted on my own blog in a week and a half and you may see where this confession is heading.

I'm sorry for all of the un-responded to posts and messages! I read everything. I cry with you all and rejoice with you all. I continue to be marveled by the support and encouragement I receive here, on the nest, on facebook, and in person.

Thank you for the amazing comments about my family history. Thank you for the words of understanding about why the egg decision is so difficult for me. Thank you for the encouragement that the best parts of what makes a family a family will be passed on, regardless of whether or not donor eggs are used. Thank you for the image that has formed in my head from the words "branches can be also strengthened and continue to grow with a graft" (Selmada - I think about what you wrote every single day!).

Oh, and to a certain family member who reads this blog (and, hopefully knows I'm talking to her), thank you for always wanting to know what's going on with my treatments and understanding why the genetics thing is so overwhelmingly difficult. Not everyone understands that like you do.

Mostly, thank you all for being a part of my world and letting me share a part of yours.

Phew, now that I've duly punished myself and, hopefully, made retribution, I feel absolved of my sins and ready to move forward and be a good communicator once again! Hmm, while not a part of Judaism, this confession thing feels pretty darn good!!

Now, can I have the pizza tonight?? ;-)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Why does genetics matter to me?

Everyone who has used or considered using donor eggs (or donor sperm) has thought about their answer to this question. I figured I'd share my reasoning, since I've been very vocal about the fact that I'm really struggling with admitting that donor egg is our best option and, as a result, giving up my genetic connection to my child.

My father is a Holocaust survivor. He was born in 1940. When my grandmother was 8 months pregnant, the Nazi's stormed their city in Poland, so my grandparents and uncle fled. Thankfully, they fled east, to Russia, and ended up in a border dispute town in the Ukraine, where my father was born. When they were captured, rather than being sent to a concentration camp, they were sent to a work camp in Siberia, where they persevered and lived out the years of the war. They then traveled to Germany, where they spent 3 years in a Displaced Persons camp before coming to the states in 1949.

Three of my four grandparents came to the U.S.A., from Poland. They were the lucky ones. Many, many members of our family did not survive the war. This is on both my mother and my father's sides. I have an image in my head of a tree, a family tree. And, next to the tree, is a pile of broken-off branches. That's what Hitler did to my family - broke off huge branches of the family tree which can never be reattached.

This family history has always been important to me. I have always been fascinated by the survivors who made it to this country and how their branches have grown and thickened, as children grow up, get married, and have babies. And, the fact that it is and always has been important to me makes it all the more painful that I'm losing this battle to infertility.

Those branches on which I sit in my family tree are in jeopardy of not thickening. It is almost a given that neither of my siblings will ever have children. I only have 2 first cousins and, although married longer than me, neither (1 five years older, 1 two years younger) appear to be moving towards building their families, nor do either feel this strongly about the family roots thing as I do. The continuation of at least 3 of my grandparents branches rests on me. My grandparents siblings branches have all grown, while theirs remain stagnant. I would be remiss if I didn't point out that NOBODY has put this pressure on me. It just is what it is and it's important to me.

I have such pride in my family, in who I am, in where I come from. It's not just my mother's curly hair (which I got from her), my fathers ability to wiggle his ears (yep, I got that one, too), or my dimples that I hope to pass on. It's that strength and determination of my European Jewish ancestors that I want to be born into my child.

This is what makes the decision about whether or not to give up on my eggs so very difficult.