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

Friday, August 19, 2016

So Many Goodbyes

I am not really sure how to feel right now... definitely not as upset as I was when we had the final bloodwork experience needed to release our embryos, but not super hunky-dory, either.

I am sad, to be perfectly honest. I'd say it surprises me but after the deluge with the bloodwork, I sort of expected it.

As I type this, our notarized release form to send our little embryos off from the cryobank associated with Snowflakes to the clinic where they'll hopefully be transferred to the couple in the Midwest, who will hopefully have way more success with the embryos than we ever did.

It's amazing, how many times we've had to have things notarized on this journey. Almost worth coercing a neighbor into becoming a notary on our behalf, because of all the calling to the bank to see when the notary is in which branch and making sure we're both around during banking hours, which can be surprisingly difficult to finagle. I am glad that this is the last time that we will have to explain exactly what all this stuff about embryos means, when they do due diligence and ask us what we're signing and if we understand it. We have notarized information for what to do with embryos in case we die or divorce, to transfer embryos to another clinic, to transfer embryos to Snowflake's cryobank, and I'm pretty sure there was some notarized stuff related to donor gametes along the way. I feel like we've had to take a trip to the notary at least three times just for Snowflakes alone.

And now it's done, and the embryos are no longer "our embryos" and should ship within the week to the couple they officially belong to--the lovely couple we said yes to and who inexplicably said yes to us in return, even given the risks of embryos with no successful cohorts.

It's a weird sort of goodbye. I told the contracts coordinator in my email that I felt like I should do a balloon release or something, because it feels momentous. I mean, I won't actually do that, because sea turtles will die, but it would be nice if there was some sort of ceremonial thing to do to acknowledge that these tiny potential humans that were ours are now going off to a new life, without us.

Why is it that all ceremonial things are technically littering? Balloon releases, those fire lantern things (one actually landed in our street once from a wedding or funeral or something like that...pretty little fire hazards those are!), releasing some super confused doves into an area they're not familiar with (and are they factory farmed, these doves?), butterfly releases...although I guess butterflies are the least damaging. Everyone needs more butterflies and they're pretty adaptable, right? Maybe I could somehow trap the ones that go to my garden and then let them go again. Seems unnecessary trauma, though.

I guess I just feel at a loss in this moment. Or a loss. Or 8 tiny losses, that are actually tiny hopes that maybe our decision to go through the Snowflakes Embryo Adoption program will really and truly give them the chance I never could. That's a bittersweet thought right there.

I feel like I just keep saying goodbye -- to all the 27 embryos that came before these lucky 8 that get some other uterus to hopefully survive and thrive in. To every piece of the original family building dream that I had once upon a time, where Bryce and I could have (in theory), with some technological help, conceive a baby that looked like either one of us and have a typical experience, as typical as a catheter and sperm washing would make it. My definition of "typical experience" just keeps shifting.

I really just want the experience, the ultimate experience of parenting, which is what we have to hold on to since we've let go of genetics bit by bit and pregnancy altogether. And I want this other couple to have their experience, to get pregnant with these embryos and give the embryos themselves a shot at the experience of being parented and existing as people, a victory made possible because we created these embryos out of love and hope and dreams and science.

And when that outcome happens I'll say goodbye again, to the uncertainty around why we just never could get this whole babymaking thing together, and know for sure that it was my uterus. That will be a tougher day than today, even though it will be pain and promise all wrapped up together again. Pain for me, promise for the embryos. Peace that the decision ended the way we'd hoped. I don't even want to think about the alternative outcome.

So byebye, little guys and gals...I hope you find a home in the Midwest and you stick around for that couple whose profile book I keep open in a tab so I can see their faces and personalities and remind myself that our embryos aren't going into a void, they're going to real people. Really nice people that seem to be very similar to ourselves in many regards.

Goodbye, so many goodbyes. I hope you know that somehow you are still part of the dream that we had, that we wish all the best things for you in life, and wish so badly that we could have been the ones to provide them...but know that you will have a great home with the people who hopefully will give you the chance to be. That is the hope.


22 comments:

  1. Oh Jess. My heart is breaking as I read this. This is a loss. 8 losses really. None of them tiny. My heart is heavy for you as you grieve this. I'm so sorry.

    As far as marking this, well I'm wondering if there's a way to create a memorial of sorts. Something involving your butterfly garden. Something that fits you and Bryce. I need to think more about this, but I sense the theme of flying away. Or wings.

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    1. Ok, seriously crying now. Thank you. I love the theme of flying away and wings. Gaagh... so many ups and downs on this freaking journey.

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  2. Jess, you have me both laughing and crying. This is for sure a momentous thing, and very ritual-worthy. I will now spend the rest of the day thinking about sea turtles and disoriented doves and what might be done that doesn't litter and kill.

    And I'll be thinking of the Lucky 8, created from love and hope and dreams and science by some amazing people.

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    1. I'm glad for both responses... I was trying to help myself not cry! :) Thank you so much. I love that, the Lucky 8. Oh man, my Friday night Mexican restaurant date is probably going to be a little teary tonight...

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  3. Oh Jess...I'm crying with you. And laughing too, because there you go with that sense of humor of yours...disoriented doves paints quite the picture!! I am so sorry, my heart just breaks for you my sweet friend. The Lucky 8...I LOVE that. I am sending you big, big hugs tonight and pray for peace of heart for you.

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    1. Thank you... it's that whole "laughter through tears is my favorite emotion" thing. Thank you for all the hugs and peace of heart. I knew it wasn't an easy decision, but the right decision, but it's the not-easy part that's hitting me today. No regrets though. Thanks for the love.

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  4. Oh, this is heartbreaking. They really do feel like little lives, or at least these seeds of possibility, and it hurts to lose them. I'm glad your taking this moment to feel this instead of just shuffling along. My hope is that this goodbye is preamble to, at long last, meeting the person who will call you Mom.

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    1. Oh...oh. Thank you so much. I hope it's the preamble too. So much to feel...just so much.

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  5. Oh tough day. The NPR article I just read made it sound like the big emotions that you are feeling are totally normal: http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/08/20/489232868/after-ivf-some-struggle-with-what-to-do-with-leftover-embryos

    I love nicknaming them the Lucky 8 and agree that hopefully letting go of the embryos will hopefully give the universe a signal to bring Future Baby very soon.

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    1. Thank you so much for the link to the article! Got me thinking. I also sent it to Snowflakes because I think their voice should be heard when people don't list them as an option! Lucky 8 is pretty much official now. I hope there's something reciprocal in letting go, but I feel like that's not always how it works. But a girl can hope it is, right? :)

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  6. Oh, Jess, such a big, heavy loss. Thinking of you and the Lucky 8. I agree with creating something in your butterfly garden for them. You could paint eight separate stones or make a mosaic stone with a tie into eight. Or you could plant something in honor of them. Or you could make a butterfly house and dedicate it to them.

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    1. Thank you so much, Jamie... it really seems more and more a loss every day, but also hopeful. I love your ideas and have discussed them with Bryce -- we're thinking something octagonal that goes in the garden, or something with 8 petals (some sort of yard art thing, tasteful of course). I feel planting something would be tricky because if it died (as things sometimes do in my garden, choked out by other things or unable to sustain themselves in the clay-y soil) I'd feel sad! Love your thoughts and ideas, thank you!

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  7. Although I know it's a heavy loss and that it is hard wrapping your mind around this part of your journey I can still read your sense of humor and joy through this post. You are an amazing selfless person and the marbles with hit the right way for you soon!

    On another note, here are some confused dove balloons that are biodegradable and won't kill sea turtle :) https://www.amazon.com/Balloons-Biodegradable-Eco-Friendly-Coral-Entertainments/dp/B0120WUJ6K/ref=sr_1_4/158-2667433-6488760?ie=UTF8&qid=1471874461&sr=8-4&keywords=biodegradable+balloons

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    1. Oh, thank you! I appreciate your thoughts and especially the nod to the marbles, because I know we don't share the same belief system. WOW! I didn't know they'd come up with safe balloons...now I might have to order them and give it a go, but I feel like I'd have to sharpie on all of them "BIODEGRADABLE! I AM NOT AN ENVIRONMENTAL ASSHOLE!" so that people would know. Which sounds a little insane, but important... :)

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  8. So hard and so beautiful. Today I pulled out my breast pump and some of my son's outgrown shoes, and struggled with the fact that I'll never need these again. I am not yet ready to give away my embryos, but know I will be someday. Still too, too painful for me.
    You are doing an amazing thing.

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    1. Thank you for your thoughts... Oh, that made me feel a heartpang. There's something in finality that is so hard.

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  9. I believe that there is no expiration date to grief. It isn't something to "get over" but something to work through and with, ultimately adding to our stories in a way that allows so much strength and growth. You are so very, very strong.

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    1. Thanks, that's my philosophy too.

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  10. Such a tough day. No grand ideas for rituals, but thinking of you and sending wishes for peace and healing during this time. Hoping you are able to find that moment or ritual that helps in working through the myriad dimensions of this journey.

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    1. Thank you...I'll take all the peace and healing I can get. :)

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  11. For our miscarriages I have ring with the birthstones of the months they were supposed to be due. Maybe a necklace with a charm of a winged creature of your choice? Or a domino with 8 dots? Or a bracelet with 8 discs?

    Embryo adoption is really amazing. Will you have any degree of contact with this couple?

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    1. We will have contact, although just letters/emails and pictures if all goes well at this point. We get them a minimum of once per year until the child/ren is/are 18, which is lovely but also surreal to contemplate.

      I love the idea of jewelry, but I wear the same necklace all the time and rarely remember bracelets. For our losses we have a clay star that an OB nurse friend made for our ectopic and a little Buddha statue for our more traditional (?) miscarriage. I guess I'll keep thinking on it! :)

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