Tuesday, August 24, 2004

next steps

Still no word from Dr. Hope. I have to keep reminding myself that I am not his only patient and that he was probably busy with back-to-back appointments yesterday, had other people's lab reports to read, and is taking his time to carefully read all of my questions so that he can provide me with the most thorough answers he can.

That makes me less anxious for all of three minutes until I remember that my husband and I are leaving tomorrow morning for a wedding in the States and won't be back until Sunday. No e-mail access while we're gone. I cleaned out my inbox yesterday to make room for Dr. Hope's message, but worry that by the time he responds it will be full again with spam. I really, really hope he writes today.

Last night at dinner, my husband said "I'm really glad we're going to use donor sperm instead of adoption. That way, we'll have a little you." And while I was happy for the sentiment, I worry that we're getting too comfortable with the idea of using donor sperm. "And a little stranger," I shot back. I mean, I know we need to be comfortable with that option, but I don't want to completely abandon the hope of using my husband's sperm. That is, if there are any to be found.

When I first blogged about the possibility that we might have to use donor sperm, someone sent me an e-mail and mentioned that sometimes the surgeon won't look as hard for sperm if they know you have donor sperm as a back-up. And while that makes perfect sense (in a way), it also scares me. Based on nothing but intuition, I'm pretty sure that my husband will be in that category of men who have all of 12 sperm hanging out in his testicles. And if they're hiding up there, I want to be assured that the surgeon will do everything in his power to find all twelve of them. And I'm not sure how you negotiate having the donor sperm as a back-up without your doctors knowing. Wait until they tell you "Sorry, we couldn't find anything." and then whip the vial out of your pocket and say "Well, can you use this then?". Do hospital gowns even have pockets?

Today my project is to look for more donors. My husband wants me to find as many as possible that fit our requirements and then together we'll narrow it down to two or three and order their full information packets. The task is daunting. When my husband asked me last night if I'd found any new donors since the ballroom dancer, I had admitted that when I first started looking, it was sort of fun- like reading personal ads in the paper. But then, when it dawned on me what I was actually doing, choosing a biological father for our future children, I freaked out. Suddenly the scenario changed from skimming the personal ads for entertainment to actually looking for a husband. And so I haven't been back since.

But today, I'll brave those waters once again- and this time will certainly be less flip about who/what I find there. I'm nervous, though. There's something about doing this over the internet that makes it seem less real. And the fact that we're working with our doctor long-distance adds to that. While I know its unrealistic, there's still a small part of me that hopes that I'll get pregnant without medical intervention. That my husband's tests were all a mistake, that this is all a bad dream. It's part of the reason that I'm so anxious to hear from Dr. Hope. While I never forget that we're infertile (believe me, it haunts me almost every minute of every day), we're still in the earliest stages of our journey and that can make it seem less concrete.

Envy is certainly not the right word, because of course I don't wish this on anyone, but I feel something about those women who have started their birth control pills, their injections, their husbands' sperm retrieval surgeries. I know that at one time they were in a place similar to the one I am in now, where there were a million unanswered questions and the path to motherhood was not at all clearly paved. And I know that they still have questions about whether or not this cycle will be the one, if the pregnancy will be viable, if they are any closer to being a mother now than they were a year ago, a month ago, last week. I know that they too, are anxious and nervous and hopeful and excited all at the same time. I know that no matter where you are in the journey, there are things to be scared about. And yet, I want to be there. Call it impatience (because, really that's what it boils down to), but I want to be a little bit further down that path. I want to take the next step whatever that might be.

So I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I'll hear from Dr. Hope before we leave tomorrow morning. Or that, at the very least, his e-mail will be waiting for me when I get home on Sunday. And from there, I hope that we'll have some answers, that we'll be able to schedule our next appointment and get things moving along.


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