Follow me on the crazy, hopeful, discouraging, funny, and ultimately successful (one way or another) path to parenthood while facing infertility.

Monday, January 4, 2016

#Microblog Mondays: Marketing Ourselves, Twice

Over the holiday break, we plowed through our embryo adoption paperwork. It is not quite the same amount of paperwork that we had to fill out as prospective adoptive parents, but still a hefty pile.

One of the things that we had to do, other than swear that we don't do drugs or share needles or get paid for sex via drugs or money (I just want to send them a copy of our freaking homestudy through our adoption agency), is create a family profile.

What?

I thought one of the things about this process was that we were going to be able to look through OTHER people's profiles, the prospective adoptive parents of our partially genetic embryos...not that we would have to yet again put ourselves out there.

It appears that through Snowflakes, the profile matching is a mutual business, with adoptive families AND placing families providing a letter and pictures for the other half of the equation to review. It's a mutual choosing.

Which isn't so terribly different in a general way from our infant adoption process -- we put ourselves out there with our profile book and information...and then we receive whatever information is available or made available to us. Our expectant mother chooses us, and then we get the chance to choose her in return. If you think about it in those terms.

Except we don't get a profile book in that case, we don't (to my knowledge) get pictures or a letter of sorts to us as to why the choice to place was made. It is of course an incredibly different process, with a nearly-to-fully-formed infant in the mix, not the tiniest of potential lives frozen in a cryotank, so it makes sense that that burden would not be put on an expectant mother/birth mother.

We are a little surprised to be in the position of being chosen yet again, though, of having to provide pictures and a story of our life and our infertility journey and our current attempts to have a family. Of putting ourselves out there again so that someone may adopt what we had created out of love but were unable to turn from potential to actual. I would have loved to just sent a copy of our profile book, but unfortunately the audience is different and so while I could shamelessly copy text from the profile book about ourselves and our marriage, the rest was from scratch.

Instead of, "look at our life and imagine your baby in it," it was more "look at our genetics and our propensities and imagine your baby with these qualities and attributes."

The letter had to address why we were placing our embryos with Snowflakes, which was very interesting because typically families who place their embryos have had children and considered their family complete for whatever reason, and the embryos were excess and had a proven cohort. Ours are none of the above. I had to explain that we were unable to transfer our embryos and then decided that we were no longer going to even entertain this path, and we wanted to give them a chance while we simultaneously wait to adopt our baby. So sorry, no rosy family pictures of babies you can envision as yours. But also this is less mourning the children and more mourning the fact that I'll never be pregnant, that my uterus will never be anything more than an appendix-like organ, once maybe useful but now just vestigial. It's strange to think how for some this process is incredibly emotional and a bit sad, and for us it's giving these little potential lives that we created an opportunity to be, a gift that we couldn't give them. I hope it came across in the letter how grateful we are for that opportunity, both to be given it and to give it to someone else.

The pictures I chose to do in Powerpoint. You had the option of doing a mixbook or shutterfly, but I think one of those is enough. We used a lot of the pictures from our adoption shoot, but I also picked out pictures of Bryce's woodworking and my gardening and our hiking and nature escapades here and in New England. In doing so I had to look through old folders of cell phone pictures and witness the undoing of our infertility journey over and over and over again:

There's the picture of me on the transfer table, embryo pictures on my lap. There's the picture of us in the butterfly field, happy and pregnant and full of possibility. There's the picture of the pee stick that says "pregnant" even though I know I'm not, not really anymore. There's the picture of me drinking in the Secret Garden, my eyes filled with loss and pain. There's the pictures of the hot air balloon festival we attended shortly after, that was beautiful but also strangely symbolic and brought all my emotions to the surface until I just sat and sobbed in our little blanket space on the grass by a crowded parking lot. There's a strange gratuitous shot of my cleavage that I sent to my best friend, convinced that my boobs were still pregnancy-swollen a month later.

For some reason seeing those pictures in this context made me very very sad. It reminded me how cruel this process was for us. It made me not at all regret our decision to place our embryos with people who might actually have hospitable, working uteruses. But it made me so sad that that was my one shot at a possible healthy pregnancy, and it was so long ago.

It made me grateful for adoption, which has none of that physical pain, none of the pictures of my lovenox-purple belly or PIO-rashed thigh from when I did the shots 2x/day and ended up with nerve damage in my hips/thighs. Just hope that someone will pick us, pick our life and the love and nature and musicality and artistry with it.

And at the same time, that someone else will pick our genetics (and the genetic qualities we chose in our respective donors) and hopefully turn those homeless embryos into children that we had a part in creating, where we are the foreword of their origin story.

Want to read more #Microblog Mondays? Go here and enjoy!

16 comments:

  1. Wow. When you put it like that, there IS a lot of putting yourself out there, waiting to be picked. It reminds me of middle school all over again, except with much bigger consequences, if you will. That has to be a hard place to be in. My thoughts and prayers are with you and Bryce.

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    1. Thanks, Charlotte. It is kind of like middle school all over again, but hopefully kinder. Here you get to find people who like your life, and hopefully rejection isn't as nasty or snarky as middle school was!

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  2. It's so disheartening that you have to go through another process like this. You have an amazingly positive attitude, and I hope this goes as smoothly and quickly as possible. *hugs*

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    1. It was disappointing to find that we had to market ourselves again instead of just being the "pickers," but it's a good process. I just hope we find good parents for our embryos and an expectant/birth mother thinks the same about us. :)

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  3. What a process. I'd not have thought that you'd be doing a profile, either. How odd to revisit all that you've been through. Another chance to process and heal, clearing the way for all that is to come

    I've said this before (and may say again) that I'm grateful you're sharing this journey with us. Fascinating.

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    1. It is totally odd to revisit things through the infertility lens, and we were so bummed that we had to put together yet another (if less involved) profile. But it's done, and now we finish the medical paperwork and see where all this takes us! I'm happy to share, it's just too strange not to. :)

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  4. Another huge, emotional step. But glad that you have it pulled together and you're on your way. Maybe there will be more than one connection made this year.

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    1. I hope so! That would be fantastic to square all these pieces away in one year. And interesting to make such a webby family tree.

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  5. Wow. I mean, it makes sense to put information out there about you so people get a sense of the genetic material that they will be working with, but whoa. It's just a lot to deal with. I continue to be amazed at your positive outlook.

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    1. Thanks, I'm glad it comes across as positive. I'm hoping the profile stuff helps us to look more appealing since we don't have any pregnancies and our situation is bizarre to say the least. I worry we won't get picked. I'm hoping the pictures and letter will stack the deck a bit in our favor... but I am a bit bitter at always having to sell us as appealing.

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  6. This is a lot. It makes sense why they are doing this, but part of me is stuck with how unfair it is that you have to put yourselves out there again with adopting out your embryos. That they aren't helping you more with this process, especially given how emotionally charging it is to be on this end.

    I think you're approaching this with amazing amounts of grace and positivity. That any couple who reads your profile couldn't be drawn in with the potential of creating a family that would include you and Bryce. My thoughts are with you as you prepare for the next steps in this process.

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    1. I agree with you, there is a level of unfairness, but it's part of the process, even if it does stink to constantly be like "this is why you should choose us! Please choose us!" I hope this all works out well, on both ends! Thank you for your kind words.

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  7. Wow, this is something I wouldn't have guessed would be a part of embryo adoption. I see where the agency is coming from, but what a difficult process in so many ways and unfair that you and Bryce have to go through this. Will be thinking of both of you.

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    1. We totally didn't guess it would be, either! I was a little flabbergasted and Bryce was downright irritated. It will work out, because on paper without the letter and pictures we might actually be a hard sell what with our history with infertility and all the question marks. But, all we can hope is that the effort pays off. And it certainly helped to be able to crib from the infant adoption materials! :)

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  8. Wow, such an insightful and heavy heartfelt sharing of the process. It seems difficult to have to make another profile book, especially when you were not anticipating it. It feels like a loss of control and unfair in having to put yourselves out there again. I'm sorry.

    Back when I experienced IF with my previous spouse, we found out that he could not have children. We considered our options and they seemed to be donor sperm or adoption. I was still mourning that we could not have a child with a little something from both of us, so I was not really comfortable with donor sperm. I wanted all or nothing concerning genetic make up, a personal choice while respecting what other people choose to do. Then I thought about donor embryo. It may not be typical for an assumed healthy woman, but why not? When I asked by doctor about it, she looked at me like I was crazy. She flatly told me donor sperm was cheaper and asked why would I want to put my body through that. It was not about money. It was a matter of the heart. I thought that maybe if I followed the donor embryo route that it would be helping out several people--us, the couple who created the potential baby and the potential baby. I could have lifted out of you post my response when people asked back then, "it's giving these little potential lives that [someone] created an opportunity to be."

    I'm in a different place now. But, I believe there have got to be people out there that think along the same lines as you and would love to give your potential babies homes. And that they would be loving and caring.

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    1. Thank you for sharing your experience and mindset regarding donor embryos -- so beautiful. It is so hard to find all these ripple effects from our infertility journey, but it soothes the wound to know that maybe our misfortune could bring someone else their happy ending. I'm glad you're in a different place, and appreciate your thoughts and perspective so much!

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