turning left

When we started this process of building a family, we said two things:

  • The first was that we wanted to avoid any unnecessary medicalization. We planned on trying for six months or so with unwashed, frozen sperm. At home. No doctors. No tests. No drugs. Just the two of us and a little help from a generous donor. It might take a bit longer, we said, but when it happens, it will have just been us.
  • The second was that we wanted to listen to what the universe told us. To be guided not just by what we wanted (exerting our will over a magical and beyond.us process), but by what seemed open and available to us (surrendering to God/the universe/the accident of existence). To be willing to hear if a particular path wasn’t our path.

J is probably going to ovulate tomorrow, and after dealing for days with several small problems (timing, mishandled paperwork, incompetence on the part of our health center, mistakes and miscommunication on our part), we’re left with three expensive vials of unwashed sperm and no place to go for insemination. We didn’t handle this news well at first. This is the last cycle that could give us a child in 2011. If J got pregnant this cycle, she’d be due in December, on Christmas Eve, four days after our second wedding anniversary. We don’t have unlimited resources. And we’re so much more ready this cycle than last.

So we went for a walk to try to get some perspective, and those promises we made ourselves two years ago came back to me in an epiphany of recollection. I think of these obstacles (the ones that spring up frustratingly between you and your perfectly laid out plans) as brick walls, and I’ve always held to the “hit a brick wall, turn left” ideology. So what’s “left” of here?

The two of us, alone, in our home. No doctor’s office. No flashbacks to all that doctor’s offices have meant to us this year. A lot less stress for J (which ain’t nothing in the conception game). A return to the long.ago.abandoned notion that trying to conceive can be fun. (Fun. It’s like a revelation.) A lower chance of success, sure, but not that significantly so. The studies I’ve read recently give each IUI try an 18% success rate, and two well-timed ICI tries a 14% success rate. We’re doing three ICIs at roughly 18 hours, 31 hours, and 40 hours after J’s Lh surge. We have excellent sperm samples (80 million per vial, with 50% post-thaw motility). We’ve done a lot of research in this department, so we know we’re good at ICIs. I know research doesn’t support this idea, but I’m not convinced that we’re not better off this way.

When we were first trying to make Emmett, we abandoned our plan for six months of ICIs pretty quickly, but that was largely because we were working with a donor with not.great numbers. Once we started down the IUI road, we just stayed with it, without ever asking ourselves if that was best. Now we find ourselves pretty far from the no.unnecessary.medicalization plan. But it doesn’t have to stay that way, so we’re taking a leap of faith. We could keep pushing against that wall, and it might yield enough for a Monday morning IUI at the clinic, but I believe in us. Where we started before all of this pain. All of this confusion. The terror and horror of loss. It was just the two of us planning a future, and trusting ourselves and each other with the weight of all that future meant.

So TTCers (and non-TTCers) out there: We could use all the encouragement you’ve got. Stories of successful ICIs. Times that you surrendered to a process that had gotten away from you. Tales of turning left, and what came your way when you did so. I have so much faith in J’s body. She is strong, and brave, and beautiful. I believe that the egg she’ll release sometime in the next 8-44 hours could contain half of the DNA of our second child: someone I would very much like to meet. And I believe that trust is just as important as science (though it’s infinitely less measurable) in this still.miraculous process of making a person. Any words of wisdom you have in such matters would be oh.so.appreciated, as all of our friendships and connections have been of late.


8 thoughts on “turning left

  1. I have no words of wisdom about TTC, though I’m in my own process of turning left in the face of a brick wall. (We Cancerians are great at that, aren’t we, R?). I will keep you both in my thoughts and prayers. I’ve got such a good feeling about this try. Love you both. Good luck!

  2. I don’t think there are any better hands for important things to be left in than yours and J’s – I believe in you both, your strength, your love, and your incredible.and.growing.familiy. Best wishes for this cycle – here’s hoping you get a new baby for Christmas this year!

  3. As another non-TTCer, let me wish blessings and encouragement on this cycle. And, as a Capricorn (Dec. 22!), I would love to welcome a fellow Capricorn/holiday child into the world.

  4. I too wish I had some great widsom here on what you are going through, but what I do know, like everyone else here, is that I have complete faith and hope in this cycle, in your love for one another (and competence in this process), and J’s body.

    There’s so much that surrounds this possibility and I think it’s easy to get caught up in all the road blocks, the pain, all the what ifs. This seems only natural. But I think if there’s a way to pause in the moment, to be completely present to all the wonder and excitment of possibilities regardless of their outcomes, then do it. Because as someone who hopes to very consciously bring another person into the world at some point, I can’t imagine anything more loving, more hopeful to be present in that moment, to create a space to dwell in possibility and openness to a baby, to each other, to the universe.

    And we’ll be here, praying and hoping, standing beside you.

    Lots of love and pride in your beautiful vulnerability.

  5. “… that trust is just as important as science (though it’s infinitely less measurable) in this still.miraculous process of making a person.” These *are* the words of wisdom, I think :)

    And thank goodness for all our less measurables! For wonder, and mystery, and the worlds of possibility such gifts allow.

    Much love and hope.


  6. K, M, M, B, C, and L: In the encouragement department, you guys totally rule. Thanks for holding our family in your (positive.loving.generous) thoughts.

  7. I have absolutely no wisdom, but if I ever gain any, I’ll be sure to pass it along. What I can send your way is courage and faith and hope. Your strength inspires me every day. Love you both so very, very much.

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