Saturday, November 18, 2006

And the answer is...

Thank you all for your patience and understanding. I've had a very emotional week, filled with tears, doubts, hesitancy, uncertainty, more crying jags than you can possibly shake a stick at, and more than one heart-to-heart with hubby. Side note: Why is it that so many heart-to-heart chats are held late at night, in bed, with the lights off and while he holds me? I dunno, but for some reason, I find that extremely reassuring.

Anyway, we have made a decision and we are going to be open and honest about it, to you, to our families, to our close friends, and to any child we may be lucky enough to call our own.

We are going to use donor sperm.

There, I've said it. It makes it all seem so real putting it out there for all the world to see, doesn't it? Eeesh!

Why donor sperm you ask? Well, the fact of the matter is, we could do the IVF/ICSI route at a substantial cost of course. But not impossible. And then we think about what that cost will take away from the child; it would mean less trips back to see "Grandma and Grandpa," less money available for college, less of an opportunity for him or her to have siblings, less of everything. Now, while we're not ruling out IVF/ICSI as a last chance, should the donor sperm not do the trick, we're moving it further down the list.

With that decision made, I have spent this week wrestling with my own emotions. Where DO I stand on the donor sperm option? (Bear with me, because my mind and its logic are not attuned with my emotional state at the moment!) In so many ways, I feel like a failure. You see, I cannot have my husband's biological child. I just can't. It is an impossibility. I cannot give that to him no matter how many times we try the IUI with his aspirated sperm. It just isn't working. And heavens knows, we have tried. We count approximately 24 IUIs with aspirated sperm, two resulting in chemical pregnancies and miscarriages. The emotional rollercoaster that comes every month is taking its toll, and it's finally starting to show.

Now combine that with your most quiet, private thoughts. I met my hubby almost six years ago. We didn't get married until two and a half years ago. And when you meet someone, and you envisage a future, and you eventually DO marry, you hope for so many good things. You hope for love, a family, a home, a sense of belonging, of warmth, of closeness. At least I do, even in today's seemingly dysfunctional society! Anyway, like any normal, happy, about-to-be-wed woman, I hoped for those things. And in hoping for a family, the possibility that any children in our home would NOT be of my husband's genealogy just never entered my mind. I mean, it would only follow that your husband would be the "father" of your children right? (Note that I use that term in quotes.)

What makes a dad anyway?
And here is what a friend explained to me (and I really knew anyway in my own head). Pretty much anyone can be a father. It takes a special kind of guy to be a dad. A dad is there for the firsts: the first word, the first step, the first day of school, the first fall off a bike, the first love, the first tears, the first "I hate you," the first day of university, etc. A dad is the one who loves you, who cares for you, who raises you and protects you, who says "no" when he has to, and who holds you when you need comforting. And you know something? My husband will make a great dad. I want to give him that. He wants that himself. For with his own two children, he is a "father" but not so much a dad. He deserves the opportunity. And I so badly wish to give that to him, and to be a mom myself. Cause you know, somehow, even though the two cats are my babies, they're my furbabies, and don't quite make the cut!

The donor sperm route it is. But the other thing we are doing this month is the short protocol stimulation, or mini superovulation. So, from CD3-7, I take Clomid, and I have an appointment on CD8 with the specialist to check my follicles. He may start me on FSH injections right there and then. Hubby changed his shift to come with me to this appointment to learn how to give me the injections... again, the needle thing kinda wigs me out, but at least it's easier to give me a shot than it is to get any blood out of me. I'll have an appointment with the specialist every two days from CD8-12, and during this time, we'll be doing injections at home to increase the number of follicles that I have (hopefully more than two to work with) so that the donor sperm can find at least one of 'em!

So we took the necessary steps earlier this week. My husband and I pored over the catalogues of donors from both organizations with whom my specialist liaises. We narrowed down a short list of donors from both organizations. And selected one of the two, simply because that short list contained three donors, all of whom had reported pregnancies in the past, whereas the short list of three donors from the other organization only had two of the three with reported pregnancies.

We selected our donor based mainly on physical characteristics of course; race, hair colour, hair texture, eye colour, height, weight, etc. And when we looked at our number one selection, we realized that the blood type wasn't the same as my husband's. I am A+. Hubby is A+. Our number one choice of donor? B-. Will that pose a problem in the future? I don't know. I know it won't be an issue during gestation, because only Rh- mothers with Rh+ babies would have a problem. But I'm wondering if down the road, there would be ANY possible reason why having a child with B- blood (if that happens) would cause a problem. If you know of anything, speak up or forever hold your peace!

So, with that done, I went online and ordered three vials of donor sperm, plus a full medical and personal history of the donor. If we get lucky and the first month works, we will have two vials left to work with in the future if we want more children. You see, it often happens that when X number of births have been reported with the same donor's sperm, they take that donor off the market and his sperm won't be available any longer. So if we're on the threshhold of that, I don't want to chance not having that sperm to use at a later date, if we need or want it. Three vials it was.

And D*MN but that stuff is horridly expensive! Ranging in cost from $350 to over $500 per vial, depending on the preparation, it'll put you in the poorhouse if you do it too often! My credit card was hit with a punch, but I look at it this way: it's about the same cost as a trip home. It's about the same cost as two years worth of chemicals and upkeep for our in-ground pool. Heck, I spend that much on Christmas gifts for my family and friends, easily! It's certainly worth it to spend that much on creating a child for my husband and me to hold, and snuggle, and love and raise.

There you go. Donor sperm and short protocol stims. And we hope. And we wait. And we get through each day praying that we too will have the opportunity to be parents.

Sending love to...
Before I leave you with my thoughts, let me send along my own hopes and wishes to Barely Sane at Infertility Licks. She is from BC and she and her hubby headed to Ohio on extremely short notice because they are >>this close<< to adopting a newborn baby girl. She had the opportunity to hold and feed her daughter on Wednesday. They still have some legal hurdles to jump, but I know in my heart that it will all work out. My hopes and prayers, go out to both of them, the birth mother, and all the families involved.


DI_Dad said...

If you or your husband have any DI related questions feel free to ask.


Gil said...

Eric, thank you SO much for stopping by. As you probably know, I've been reading your blog and a few others who are donor moms, dads (who, as you indicate seem to be rather rare lately), and other people who might be involved in the donor process.

As you can see, I've added your blog to my sidebar, and hubby and I have read the article from USA Today in which you participated. We're in the "information gathering" process as I call it... culling our resources, and figuring out how best to proceed. I know I'll have TONS of questions as this all moves ahead, and I'll be extremely glad to have you, and others like you, to call upon! Thank you again for your help. The online community can prove to be a wonderful resource.

Lisa said...

Gil -
I'm glad you've made a decision and shared it with us. Good luck as you go through the process! I've got my fingers crossed for you.

I'll be reading and very interested in how the process goes, since we may be right behind you. Sounds like you've decided to share the fact that you're using a donor with family and close friends, too. I'm happy that it won't be a secret.

Congrats on moving forward!

Barely Sane said...

Thank you for commenting on my blog. The support we've recieved has been invaluable thru this whole process.

Wishing you success with the DIUI. However your miracle happens, you'll be in love. And I have no doubt that both you & DH will be wonderful parents.

MAX said...

Thank you for displaying the banner and best wishes for the road ahead.

Vee said...

I know it is a very difficult decision to make. It was for us too, but it is the right one.

All the best on your donor journey.

DI_Dad said...

Gil - I encourage your husband to join the DI Dads Yahoo group as they are many men on there who are just at the same stages as you are or just past that cusp. He may find the group enlightening as many of the issues he is facing, that you both are facing, have been addressed time and again.

And as I said anytime you guys have questions just let us or me know.

- Eric

Gil said...

Eric, I gave hubby another "poke" today about joining the group. I'm wondering... do you know of any similar groups for DI Moms? I'd be interested myself in gleaning some tidbits from them. Thanks so much.