January 15, 2015

What's It All About, Anyway

We have a lot of expectations in (and of) this life.  

For many of us, those expectations include having kids and building a family.  Obviously, this has been a topic of great importance to me lately, for at least the last 20 months of trying to conceive at a minimum.  At the outset, I had some pretty basic expectations of the stages involved, and what choices or options or components there might be with each one.

This is your first glimpse into how my brain works, isn't it.  Yes, I think in flowcharts, lists, and graphics - so what ;)
That was pretty much how I thought it went for most people, for quite a while.  It was my impression growing up and through the first several months of trying.  But maybe a year ago, I began to learn that a whole lot of people - including us - have to consider a few more things.

Oh yes, for those of you who may not have had the opportunity to explore things at this level, it's just a bundle of fun.  I'd like to add that the monitoring accompanies just about all parts of this process, unless you're fortunate enough to sustain the pregnancy and graduate to abdominal ultrasounds.

But what happens when it doesn't work?

This is when the questions start that have no answers, such as what method is most likely to be successful?  Or the most painful question, why?  And one of the hardest - what does moving on mean for me?

It's within this last box that I've been living.  What do I do now?  Do I keep trying?  If so, which methods are open to me, and which can I handle?  What if I run out of options?  What if I simply can't handle this same path anymore?

And most recently we've confronted the question of what's it all about anyway?  What is it we're really after and why?  It is these answers that are setting us on our next leg of the journey.

Shawn and I are seriously looking into adoption.  But as we discussed today, it's not because we've exhausted everything else, that we think this is the "only way" to have a family.  And we don't care for it when people act like that's why we'd make this decision.  We are genuinely excited at the prospect.  Bringing someone into our family through this process is going to be a great, if trying, experience and this new aspect of how our family will unfold gets us going.  The way we see it, I have other options.  I can continue the treatments I've been doing, for instance.  But the other day I had a realization.  All along I've wondered if I "should" have kids, knowing what I could pass on, and if that's a reason at a bigger-picture level for why it isn't working.  What if the issue isn't so much - or entirely - what I could pass on but what the process might do to me?  Once you get into the heavier treatments, you put your body through a LOT.  Otherwise healthy women struggle with the chemical manipulation, physical restrictions, and side effects of the treatments on their bodies.  You have to trick your body into doing things, even into thinking it's pregnant so it won't reject the baby.  As someone with my kind of complex history, how will my body endure these experiences?  If I do manage to successfully "fake it 'till I make it", I'm almost guaranteed to have a major flare afterward, and as we all know we can't predict the lasting effects of these experiences.  What could this do to me as a mother?  And what would it do to Shawn as a father if he had to care for a new baby and me at the same time?  What if this is really about my ability to raise my children?

What's it all about, anyway?  Why do we want to have kids?  Because we want to be parents.  Once in a moment of guilt I told Shawn I feared how he might feel if I was the reason he couldn't have kids and he pointed out that he didn't marry me just to HAVE kids, he married me because he wanted to be parents with me; it was so we could RAISE kids.  For us, it's all about the family we'll have and not so much about how we have it.  

For as old as I generally feel and while it's true my body is not a typical 28 year old body, when it comes to the fertility world I am still young.  We could get five years down the line, decide we still want to try for a biological child, and have time to work with.  Adopting in no way closes any doors at all for how we'll continue to build our family.  But continuing with treatments right now no longer seems right.  We're not closing any doors - we feel that if I were to get pregnant naturally at this point it would indicate to us that my body would equipped to handle it and we'd welcome that - but we aren't going to try to force it for a while.  But it is still the right time for us to begin raising kids, so we're turning to the adoption world, and couldn't be more excited.

This is an incredibly personal decision, and I absolutely expect that you will each have your own opinions and answer for what it's all about to you.  I completely respect your decisions and know I can count on you to respect ours.

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