Thursday, March 5, 2009

Family of Choice — Love Trumps Blood

I know I’m not the only one with a screwy family. Many are way worse than mine, but still, it can be difficult. Which is why “family of choice” becomes so important.

I’ve mentioned one of my oldest friends (we met the first day of high school, in homeroom) who, after having her son in October, when the NICU nurse asked who I was, said I was her sister. And meant it.

Angrycanrn and I are building an extended family type of relationship for our children. Her faith in my parenting abilities means the world to me. Boy, does she want to see me knocked up! She truly feels like a long lost sister. If she needed me, I would drop everything and fly up to be there for her and her children.

One of the things I’m finding painful about the failure of this cycle is the irrational feeling that I’ve let her down. I know that’s crazy. I just wound up on the wrong side of the odds this time. I kind of felt the same way after my cycle with my own eggs and Donor Daddy’s sperm. Calling him to tell him I wasn’t pregnant was so hard. He’s family, too.

A few weeks ago I was on the phone with my friend Tessa. (Not her real name, but a short version of her user name from the IVF message boards where we met.) Tessa is an American married to a Dutch man and living in the Netherlands. Let’s just say the way the Dutch handle IVF is negligent. They barely did any testing or monitoring. They basically just said, “This is the dose we give women your age.” I think she was nearly 40 when she started her cycle. She wound up with severe OHSS. She really should have been hospitalized, but given the treatment she’d already received, maybe it’s better she wasn’t. She got much better medical advice from the women on the message boards than from her doctors. Her baby girl is truly a miracle.

But I’m rambling, back to the topic at hand. Tessa first became pregnant as an unmarried 19 year old. Her family disowned her and completely rejected the daughter she had then. She was a young, frightened girl, with a complicated pregnancy, and then a preemie with lots of issues. But she managed. Her family NEVER rose to the occasion. She met her husband when in her late 30s and moved (along with her grown daughter) to Europe to be with him. We met in person when I was there on vacation last Spring. We felt an immediate kinship. Back to the phone call of a few weeks ago. Tessa asked me if I would consider being their daughter’s guardian if anything were to happen to both her and her husband. (Her husband’s family members are too old to take on a child.) Again, what incredible faith in my (unproven) mothering abilities. They are both healthy, and I don’t anticipate needing to take her, but of course I would. I love little Claire. I would raise her as if she were my own. All the while telling her stories of her kooky, big hearted mom.

I feel at a loss for what to say to wrap this up, but I’ll try. As hard as the failure of this cycle is, I am still so lucky. My heart is full with all this love. I’m a single woman with a rockin’ family of choice! Not to mention a whole bunch of internet friends who have been there for me every step of the way. Hang on everyone. The ride’s not over!

Delicious Claire napping in the hat Aunt Dora bought for her from the UTERUS Brigade's Etsy shop. Hand knitted by Rachel at Henry Street.


Anonymous said...

Ahhh darling. Thanks for the kind words. I certainly DO want to see you pregnant.

I don't feel like you let me down at all, but the reverse. That my embryos let you down.

Maybe we would be better starting with a brand new fresh donor egg/ sperm cycle. The fresh success rates are so much better than frozen.....?

Think about it. In the meantime, seven more little possible lives awaiting you.

Lots of love,


Dora said...

See how lucky I am!

Nikki said...

You sure would make an awesome mom! And Claire is such a cutie! Awwwww - I want to smother her with hugs and kisses!!!

Bella said...

You WILL be an awesome mom and you will be that awesome mom very soon!

I'm so sorry about this cycle. I had so much hope it was going to work, but I know you'll be successful soon. In the meantime, you have all my love & support.((HUGS))

battynurse said...

I'm with you. Chosen family can be so wonderful. Especially if your own family gives new meaning to the term disfunctional.

Pepper said...

Your family is wonderful. Such an amazing offer from angrycanrn! My heart warms just to read it.

And OMG, but Claire is adorable!

Anonymous said...

So glad you have such great family - the real one you have gathered around you, not the genetic components. I have faith that you will be a mommie soon - it's written on your heart.

Anonymous said...

Doll you are proof that you don’t have to give birth to be a Mother, I think all that faith I have in you along with others agree. You are already a great Mom, that is why I choose you (or in my opinion I feel fate choose you) to be the God parent of Claire.
I have a strong belief that life is not random and no I am not a Christen, but I believe in something bigger than my head can wrap around. I think Claire was fate, my husband and my lovely teenager was meant to be. Who else would put up with the teenager and my husband? (Snickers with sarcasm)
When life lets us down people can blame the world and be angry or blame ourselves and be sad. You choose the later but I think that is normal. What we know in our heads does not always match what we feel in our hearts. It takes a bit of time for the head and heart to compromise and move forward and by the way you do that very well move forward that is. In fact you are down right inspirational.
One day all of this pain you suffer will be worth it. I strongly feel your journey has a purpose why else would so many people be touched by you? Heck I am all the way in Europe and you touched me! I consider you my long lost friend… like where you have been I was looking for you.
I was telling my teenager yesterday about you and she said Mom I got great eggs! I can give her some of mine. I thought that was so sweet. Something she does not do often these days is being sweet lol.
It seems you just have the affect on people what a lovely gift.
Thanks for the lovely words about Claire and thanks you to your visitors on your site for the compliments on her. Everyone loves her in that little hat!
I am always at your side, big hugs and kisses from Claire to you.

Dora said...

Crying!!! Smooches to all of you!

Kristin said...

I am so glad you have this family of choice. You are an awesome lady and you deserve it.

Anonymous said...

Friends are the family we choose for ourselves. And I choose you. :)

Beautiful Mess said...

I'm crying here! You have such a big heart and your friends/family are lucky to have you in their lives. As are you lucky to have them in yours.

decemberbaby said...

You're right, this journey is far from over. I want to see you pregnant, too.

Anonymous said...

Thinking of you today, hope you are in a good place. hugs.

Anonymous said...

Beaming the love your way. This journey is still unwinding...