I've been reading and rereading what's below about a dozen times, afraid to hit "publish" because I know I've written some things that may offend one or more people who read it. But I don't want to edit anything out, because it's honestly what I'm thinking/feeling/doing. And I'm quite certain I'm not the only one thinking/feeling/doing these things. But just know that I know that you may think I'm complete and utter fucktwit, and that I'm okay with that. Or at least, I will be.
After a stay in the waiting room (this clinic has for serious four different waiting rooms, and I spent time in three of them yesterday), I met with his PA and gave her a quick overview of why I was there. Since my cycles have been so screwy, she had me go in for a scan. The ultrasound tech noted that I had a couple of small, fluid-filled cysts (as opposed to the hairy dermoid variety of days past) - they looked exactly like follies to me, so I asked her how she could tell the difference and she gave me a semi-snarky answer about her years of training. Thanks for the education, lady.
Next was Dr. Smiles, who made a joke about me wanting to turn more of his hair gray. (I didn't really get it.) We talked about doing one more cycle with my egg and Mr. Hope's sperm. (And in typing this I realized I kept saying my "egg," as in singular, because we've never gotten more than one egg out of me, no matter how hard we try.) But I also told him I was worried that my insurance gravy train would run out before I'd built my family. He asked me about a donor egg backup and I said no, but would he be open to transferring my embryo and a donor embryo at the same time?
He said yes.
Total game-changer right there. It was something Mr. Hope and I had discussed but didn't think was possible.
Dr. Smiles said, "The thing is, if you get pregnant, you won't know which embryo took." To which I replied, "Am I really going to care?" He said, "I don't think so. I think you'll be happy you're pregnant." Which is exactly what I was thinking. Well, that and that if I did get pregnant, I'd likely assume it was the donor embryo anyway just because I haven't had such luck with my own genetic material thus far.
He asked me about getting started before Thanksgiving. I asked about the average wait for embryos. None, he tells me, despite the scary paperwork that indicated otherwise. "We have a huge operation here," he explained.
It's a tony clinic, too, situated in the heart of richville. Like, there was some construction, and the GPS ended up taking me through a residential section on the way home. It was OH MY GOD, RICH PEOPLE land. I drove by mansions. Literally, mansions. The kind that look like they need their own staff just for bare-bones upkeep.
I managed to get out a few more questions before Smiles ushered me off to talk to the third-party reproduction coordinator (TPRC) about how this all works. I like Dr. Smiles, but meetings in his office tend to end rather quickly and without you even realizing it. One minute we're talking Lovenox and prednisone; the next I'm in yet another waiting room, checking work email before the TPRC shows up.
She took me to an exam room. I gave her my completed application and wrote out the $100 check while she explained how the process worked. Basically, she'd record any preferences or criteria that Mr. Hope and I had, and then she'd look to see what they had in stock. In about 48 hours, she said, she'd be forwarding me profiles to review. If we liked one, we had our match. If we didn't, she'd either look for more or we'd have to wait for new embies to come in.
This, to me, is the scariest part of using donor embryos. The fact that someone else is doing the pre-selection for us. In embryo adoptions, you can look at pictures of kids born as a result of those embryos from the same set, or kids born from a previous one. With the completely anonymous donor thing, you don't get any pictures. Not a single one. You basically go in on blind faith, hoping that the clinic will match you with embryos that will produce a child that looks at least a little like you.
I'd asked Dr. Smiles about this, and about whether or not the staff remembers what the embryos' bio parents looked like. He said, "These are our patients. We know them well." I felt a little better after that, but not as much as I would've liked.
And yes, I know that some people don't give two figs about the baby looking anything like them. I am not one of those people. (Clearly.)
The TPRC and I went over our criteria, which really, were more like preferences. Since Mr. Hope and I do want a kid that looks like it could conceivably be ours (see what I did there?), I ran down things like hair color and eye color. Then we went over some stickier stuff.
The interests part isn't so difficult, because in a lot of ways Mr. Hope and I are complementary opposites. Pretty much the only thing we'd feel clueless about is if we had a baby of the sporty spice variety. As in: we are not jocks. We wouldn't know what to do with a jock. We'd have to learn a whole new language. But as I told TPRC, "That's not, like, a deal breaker or anything." She wrote: "Athletic not required."
I told her I was more interested in education level. There's no way to say this without sounding like a complete asshole, so I won't even try: I'm way more afraid of having an unintelligent child than having an ugly and/or unfit one.
Hear me out: Mr. Hope and I are really flipping smart. And not just book smart, even though we have Mensa-level IQs and multiple degrees. More like we have an excessive amount of intellectual curiosity. We ask a lot of questions. We formulate a lot of opinions. We never stop learning. That's partially what drew us to one another to begin with. I fell in love with his mind before I fell in love with his face. (Granted, it's a really lovely face. Especially the eyes. And the lips. And all of it, really. But to me, a pretty boy without a brain is utterly useless.)
While I am confident that we'll be the kind of parents who nurture intellectual curiosity, I can't imagine that nature doesn't play a hefty role in what you've got to work with in the first place. And really, does wanting a smart kid make me that horrible a person?
So then the TPRC gave me this whole speech about how smart people can make a less-smart baby, and less-smart people can birth a genius. I told her I knew that, but if we could stack the deck in our favor, why wouldn't we try?
I didn't think to ask to see a sample profile, but the TPRC said she had way more info on each of the donating couples than I'd just given her. She seemed confident that we'd have enough to make an informed decision.
In another 36-48 hours, I should have the first round of possible matches. And, depending on the results of my blood work, Mr. Hope and I could potentially be pregnant before Christmas.
Surely you must be joking.
The one thing standing in our way of hurtling toward this mixed cycle (I don't know if that's an actual term or what, but this is what I'm calling it) is my body (shocker!). According to Dr. Smiles, I did not get my period when I bled late last week. My lining, he says, is too thick for that.
Say what now?
I won't get my blood work back until later today, because they drew it too late yesterday. But I'm hoping that will give us some answers as to where I am and what happens next.