Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Answers...Part II

Doesn't the post title sound ominous? Or else so final? Ha. I wish I had the real 'answers.'

So I skipped Transplant's question about donor eggs when I went out of order, so that's where I'll start today.
Question #1: Why not donor eggs?

Ahhh, so tricky to answer this. DEs is something we certainly considered. Mr. LC didn't have a problem with donor gametes of either kind, as donor sperm has been suggested as well as donor eggs. I could never get my mind around it. I think it's a great choice for a lot of people, and obviously--this being my blog--these are just my opinions on this, silly as they may be, uninformed as they may be, etc. etc.

Some of it boils down to some very simple (and again, probably somewhat misguided) thoughts about: if we can't both be related to the child, then neither of us will be. I have this idea about the future and people making comments about a child of donor origin resembling one of us--and me cringing because I know they're wrong. I know that sounds shallow. And I know you get used to those comments, and learn how to deal with them, etc. But this is probably why the adoption we're most open to is international--I have this idea that if it's just 'out there' from the beginning it will be easier. Easier on who? I guess me. But this is a very complicated and emotional process, the whole giving up a genetic connection. I could never imagine the talks I would have with a child conceived from donor gametes, so I probably explored the idea only very superficially, got scared, and then moved on from those ideas.

And the other big 'if' with donor--it doesn't always work. Initially I was lured in by the seemingly magic cure-all of donor eggs. But I have seen too many failures--sometimes multiple--with donor eggs to know that it is not a magic bullet. Honestly I just couldn't put myself out there for that possibility of failure, not to mention the massive expense.

QUESTION #2:'re too funny. I recently started using Finesse shampoo. I don't know why, it was probably on sale.
Chocolate or vanilla? Most definitely chocolate. I'm not opposed to vanilla, but usually only if it has chocolate incorporated in it too.
What song makes me cry? Many songs make me cry. Too many songs make me cry. The other day at work someone was listening to the radio and "Unforgettable" with Nat King Cole and Natalie Cole came on and I immediately teared up because that was the song we danced to at our wedding. Old school gospel songs being sung with my Dad...really old church hymns where I can totally 'hear' my Mamaw's off-key tenor voice singing along... Mr. LC's song "Chalice" (not a kids song) when the lyrics say: "Bare feet burn, and empty bellies churn. It's hand to mouth, not enough to go 'round." I don't think there's enough room in this post to list all the songs that make me cry.

What do I want to be when I grow up? Still growing up I guess, so who knows!

Mrs. Hope asks for a meal plan for a week.
I'll just give you last week's for simplicity sake:
Monday: 'fake chicken' enchilada casserole, black beans, and Basmati rice with avocado slices on the side. Don't knock the fake chicken products until you try them.
Tuesday: egg white omelets with red and green bell peppers, red onions, organic cheese, salsa, avocado slices (must have been on sale!), with soy sausage on the side (again, don't knock it until you try it). We love breakfast for dinner.
Wednesday: little individual pizzas made on garlic naan, with red peppers, green peppers, pesto, red onions, fresh tomatoes and a small amount of organic cheese.
Thursday: leftovers from Monday
Friday: sweet potatoes with black beans, salsa, and MORE avocado slices.

Honestly, that was a pretty basic week. We eat a lot of black beans, a lot of bell peppers, and not enough other vegetables. We also make a lot of paninis, polenta, vegetarian chili and soups, veggie burgers, edamamme salad, spaghetti squash spaghetti (delish!), butternut squash enchiladas (delish!)...

Jezzafuji, so many thoughtful questions. Here goes...

Overall, I'd say my Mom is holding up fairly well given all she's been through. She buried her father two weeks before my Dad--her husband of 43 years--had his massive stroke. She is adjusting to her new life and sometimes I get so caught up in my Dad's health I forget about my Mom's. I need to work on that.

As far as our treatments--she knew about them all except our last chance IVF. I did that cycle two months after my Dad's stroke and kept it a secret. Some days I am not sure how I managed that... My mom's heart broke in ways that I obviously cannot imagine every time our hearts broke through infertility. I had not even told her we were TTC for the whole first year, the theory being that it would be such a great surprise when we finally got to tell her good news. When I decided to have a laparoscopy I felt it was only fair to let her in. I will never forget her response when I told her we'd been trying and failing for over a year: "But all those months I could have been consoling you!" She cried a lot of tears.

I was strangely disconnected from her during our actual IVF was too hard for me to hear about her pain when I was in so much myself. I'm glad I kept the last cycle a secret--if she had heard the joy in my voice the morning I had the positive HPT and then had it ripped away the next day she might have well suffered a stroke herself. But then there were days when I felt like I was literally coming apart myself trying to deal with our lastchance failure plus my Dad's stroke and all I really wanted was my mother, but I couldn't share everything nor make emotional demands on someone who was emotionally drained. It's so hard trying to balance it all. That's when I leaned so heavily on you guys, and you didn't let me down.

How does DH cope with the failures? The first IVF failure blew him apart in ways he never could have anticipated--we're talking a serious crisis of many things--faith in God, faith in science, etc. After that, he says he just never had any more expectations. Sure, he got somewhat excited about future cycles but never expected anything. Sad, isn't it?

He does not blog.

I think he's grateful I share things online because it encourages me to write and it has afforded me support that has been invaluable.

As far as having friends of his own for support--not really, not of the male variety. Our mutual female friends have said they're sorry, and he's been included in cards expressing such sentiment, but no one has ever put their hand on his shoulder and told them they're sorry for all he's been through. His own brother went through IVF (once, flawless cycle ending with success) and has yet to even say two words to him about our struggles (however, they're not really close). He chalks it up to males being males--ie not really sharing things of this sort, but I know he's felt isolated and alone. I'm sure he would have welcomed a mention, an acknowledgment of the suckitude--even a hug--at any time through this.

I think I put myself through this for the both of us. Never just for him, and maybe more for me. Although he was always supportive of cycling, he probably would have stopped two cycles back if he hadn't still seen his wife still in a place of quiet desperation and needing to continue to try treatments.

Favorite memory of my Dad that still makes me cry: My wedding day. I was standing at the back of the church and suddenly, it was just my Dad and I. All my bridesmaids had gone down the aisle before us, my Mom was already seated. There was no one left, just Dad and I, in the narthex of my childhood church. Time seemed to be standing still. I was literally shaking with nerves--my enormous bouquet (again, it was 1994 people) was quivering. My Dad grabbed on to my hand and squeezed it. He said "If you don't want to do this, you don't have to, even right now--it's not too late." Now--before you think that sounds strange, it wasn't. My Dad loved Mr. LC. He had no doubt Mr. LC loved me. But my Dad was just making sure, and making sure I knew that even though we were there, the money had all been spent, the church was full of people literally on their feet waiting for my arrival, that if I wasn't sure I didn't have to do it. He just wanted me to be happy. Obviously, we know how it turned out. I made my way down that aisle, to Mr. LC nearly sixteen years ago and said "I do."

The other day I called home and my Mom put my Dad on the phone. He immediately said "Hi Pumpkin!" in his regular Dad voice. It caught me so off-guard (he has been slipping so much lately and not really talking or sounding like himself) that I had to control my tears to be able to talk. Oh to be called Pumpkin by your Dad when you're a 35 year old woman....

Signing off now. Thanks for hanging in.


  1. This post made me cry - literally. I can relate to so many of the words you wrote. Especially the part about your mother. We have a lot in common. I can't wait to continue reading to learn even more. Thanks for sharing.

  2. The bit about your dad calling you pumpkin made me tear up. I nearly lost my dad to cancer three years ago and every phone call is precious now - and he still calls me the same pet name he's called me since I was a little girl and I love it when he does. He's not a man who ever says "I love you", but when he uses my pet name, that's what he's saying.

  3. Given I'm using donor embryos, I have to comment on this. It is NOT for everyone AT ALL. If this were the 1930's where orphanages were bursting with children to adopt, I would NEVER have gone the donor egg route in the first place. I would have grabbed myself a little baby/toddler girl and my blog would be about how awesome it was never to have to pump myself full of hormones or spend massive sums of money for a child that's equally not related to me.

    Given how difficult and time-consuming it is to adopt - and for a single woman of 43 - nearly impossible unless your name is Sher.yl, of course. The ONLY story I will have for my child will be the truth - that this was the only reasonable way to bring my child into the world.

    But I do struggle with the ugly perception (my own) of playing mad scientist and paying people to help me create a human being. In the very depths of my soul, I don't take that very well. And yet, here I am.

    I just know this is sooooo NOT the road for many women and I encourage them to pursue another path the can live with - especially if being pregnant isn't important to them.

  4. We danced to "Unforgettable" by the Cole's at our wedding too! We also plan on dancing to "Too Young" by the Cole's at our 50th wedding anniversary (another child bride here!).
    I like your outlook on adoption as well as DE cycles. We also have discussed adoption and DH and I want to do international (for several reasons but also because we don't want to deal with the awkward "she has your nose" or "he has his dad's chin" comments. Let it be obvious... you know?)
    What sucks is the "Rock and a hard place" that you're forced into with those decisions, and making a decision that leaves you happy and fulfilled. In the end, that's all that really matters!

  5. We are in the same place as you guys when it comes to DE or DS. The idea of receiving a donated embryo does intrigue me though. I hadn't given it any thought until we signed our last IVF consent forms and found out that we no longer had the option of donating our embryos to another couple should we happen to die before transfer or if we had some in storage (as if!) and had not had STD testing 6 months after the embryos were created (some new FDA guideline). OMgosh, it makes me mad that even in death, I have no control over IF! Anyway, it wouldn't be our bio baby, but we would be in agreement w/another couple that wants their embryos to have a chance, and that feels like a good thing - to me. If I'm honest w/myself, I have to admit that having had a taste of feeling what it's like to be pregnant even for a short while makes me want it again so much more.

    Your mom and dad sound like such sweet people. How incredibly loving of your dad to let you know that you mean more to him that a boatload of money spent on a wedding.

    As for you old gospel hymns, I've never quite understood why I get so teary eyed when I hear particular ones. Ba.rt Mill.ard has a version of "In the Sweet By and By" that gets to me every time.

  6. Wow, I could have written the donor eggs/sperm bit myself. I haven't talked about it in my blog, but I could not wrap my brain around it either. I felt like I'd want DH's sperm to jump out of the petri dish at the sight of another woman's egg. LOL!

    Glad you had a nice moment with your dad the other day. And how sweet that he let you know it was okay not to get married, even while people were in there waiting for you.

  7. I felt the same way about "if we can't both be related to the child, then neither of us will be." When we were first dx and R had no sperm, doctors brought up donor sperm. He was more okay with it than I was; I basically said the same thing you wrote.

    I'm impressed with how much you cook! And particularly curious about the butternut squash enchiladas, if you're ever in the mood to post a recipe (or, better yet, pictures)...

    With regard to Mr. LC, I do think it's tougher for guys to find support when dealing with infertility. Have you ever checked out a Resolve meeting? Some of them are co-ed. A couple of years into our journey, I started leading a local meeting. All of the others were led by women and pretty much only women attended, but I made R come with me because I wanted the support.

    Not his idea of a good time, but then the women started bringing their husbands. I remember one time one lady showed up with her husband, and you could tell he was embarrassed to be there. When the introductions came around to them, he explained that he had male factor and was seeing a urologist. It turned out that four of the five men there that night had male factor and most were seeing that doc, and it was just amazing to watch that guy's face as he realized he wasn't alone. If I remember correctly, I don't think Mr. LC necessarily has a male factor issue, but it's just a thought as a potential source for connecting with others who can relate.

    I'll shut up now, except to say I'm glad that your dad sounded like himself the last time you spoke with him. It's a small thing, but at the same time it's a big deal...

  8. Oh Ms LC, yor last IVF breaks my heart. It's just foo cruel. I don't have any meaningful relationship with my father so excuse me if this question is all wrong: is there any way you can celebrate your father's love in your life and the part he has played in it or is it just too painful now?xxx Elliej

  9. You have such a wonderful family. You all must be incredibly strong to have endured what you have been through.

    Thank you for your comment on my blog. I thought of you, and your answer to my question, as I typed it. It hurt my heart. I continue to have such admiration for you, and I appreciate your ongoing support.

  10. I'm so glad you got to hear that moment of normal in your dad's voice. Lovely.

    Thanks for sharing your food for a week. I feel stuck in a rut often, so I like to see what other people are eating!!

  11. I got all teared up reading this post. I think it was the wedding scene with your dad (I say "scene" because it's in my mind like a movie because you write so beautifully). My dad calls me "Cook" as in short for "Cookie" and it warms my heart to know that I'm still his little girl.

  12. This questions and answers thing is really cool. And, this post was touching in so many ways.

    I'm considering DE, but don't seem to have the same aversion that you and others have. I guess I'm clinging to the idea of being pregnant and still having my husband's DNA passed on. But, we haven't fully decided to so...lots of issues to work through. I can totally see where you're coming from.

    I wish my husband had better support too. And like yours I know he feels "isolated and alone". He does not blog or even read my blog. I can't get him to see a therapist and he's just not good about talking about the issue.

    Your memories of your dad are so precious. I'm sorry things aren't better on that front but glad you're still getting some good moments in.

  13. This made me feel so sad for Mr. LC. He's been through so much and I'm sure would like just to vent and be understood like everyone does. I can't imagine- IF is such a taboo and alienates female relationships- with is so much worse. I think all J has ever said is "That sucks, man." and that's about as much as he'll say. Men!

    I love that you eat a lot of beans and avocados and tomatoes like us! YUM! If I could only plant beans and avocados (they don't do well here), I would be set!

    Your dad breaks my heart. I still hold out hope that he's gonna get better.

  14. My oldest brother is adopted and I remember the first time someone said my little sister looked just like him. I was only about 9 years old and wanted to burst out that she couldn't possibly look like him. Everyone has to make their own decisions about what is right for them. I give you so much credit for really digging into your feelings and knowing what you can and cannot do. Your courage and strength is an inspiration.

  15. Another great one, Mrs. LC. We struggled with the DE thing too. I never "wanted" to do it, but didn't want to be the first to say it because I wanted it to be an option for my hubby if that was something he really wanted. I felt like the whole crappy egg thing was my fault anyway... He had more issues with having a child that was only genetically related to him than I did so it was great to be on the same page. Of course if DE is what he really wanted we would have had a lot more work to do, but I didn't feel right taking that option from him at the get-go. All in all I don't trust my body anyway, but that's a whole 'nother Oprah...

    I'm sorry for Mr. LC and all our hubby's who don't have that support network. I know they process this stuff differently than we do, but I still wish they had the male support they need.

    Your dad stories always tear me up. What a great thing to hear your dad's voice so clearly again.

  16. Once again your candour both fills my heart with an overriding sense of wonder, and splits it straight in two.

    It's plain that we're all the same people deep down - as so many comments attest. Like you, J was halted at her parents' front door before getting in the wedding car to make the 20 second drive to her childhood church. Her father looked her in the eye and told her she didn't have to go through with it if she didn't want to. I had known her Dad for longer than I'd known J. I'd played cricket and golf with him on countless occasions, shared thousands of beers with him and put the world to rights too often to remember. And yet, she was his little girl, and at that moment, her happiness was all that mattered.

    Like you, we struggled with the donor route - and I think although I was probably ok with it, J really didn't like the idea of our child only being one of ours. I argued that it was just one egg, or one sperm cell, compared to the billions that make up a baby, but she wouldn't be swayed, and if it hadn't have happened on our own last chance, I think we'd have followed my brother and his wife's lead and have adopted.

    Tell Mr LC that he's not on his own. Whilst you don't have to go through all the really painful, embarrassing and even demeaning procedures, it is still difficult for men, especially when it comes to talking about it, because regardless of whether it's a sperm issue or not, there's definitely a stigma amongst men if you're not able to have children naturally. J and I had the terribly unhelpful 'unexplained infertility', but still men I know would imply in their questioning that I was hiding the real issue...Tell him if he wants to vent at anyone, or get an outsider's view, he's very welcome to email me.

    I really feel for your Mum. She sounds lovely. My mother had a similar reaction when we told her about our treatment - she wasn't concerned that we'd cut her out of an important time of our lives, she was just sorry she wasn't able to be there for us. She's a devout Catholic, and immediately got her prayer group working round the clock for us, and lit every candle known to man every time she ventured near a church. I'm not religious myself, but the sentiment that encouraged her to do that was wonderful.

    It was lovely to hear that your Dad spoke clearly - and so magically - to you. I hope there are many more moments like that to savour. Perhaps record every call?

    Keep going - we're with you all the way.


  17. as you may remember - we used DS - it definitely has its challenges - but we love them no differently...our families both comment on how our son looks like Mr. M - and you know what, he does - and it does not sting as bad as I thought it would.

    Thinking of you.

  18. I have been thinking about Mr. LC since I first read this. It is so frustrating to me that men don't/can't/won't really support each other with things like this. It just isn't fair, hopefully he knows we all love him too!

    We eat A TON of beans and rice, I think I'll get fancy and jazz it up with some avocados!

  19. I love that you did these Q&A posts...and were so honest. As always, thank you for sharing and continuing to share.