Sometimes your decisions are not yours to make ….

So last night Kennith asked me what was wrong.

He noticed I just was not “there” – and he wanted me to explain to him why I was feeling a bit down/low/removed.

I answered that I really do not know, but I might have lied.

It was not a hard lie, it was more of an untruth, as I had not allowed myself the time and space to really think about why I was feeling to “just not there.”

About two weeks ago Kennith and I had a conversation.  We really need to stop having conversations in the kitchen.  They just never go well.  When ever we have a conversation with a fluorescent light above our heads, it normally ends in my crying or me being really angry.

Kitchen = not great places if someone starts with “we need to talk…”

Without dragging it out, as only I can do, the short of it is that Kennith wants me to stop with any ideas/further motion that surround surrogacy/adoption/fourth child or anything that can be related to these issues – in a nutshell – as some would say.

I stood there and took congnisense of what he was saying and really nothing he said could be argued against with logic.

However that did not make me feel any better.

I immediately started to feel like an insolent six year old who was being told off by her father and being warned that behavior in this regard would not be further tolerated.

Kennith however was very calm – some may say calculated – and stated his facts cleanly and without emotion – some may say coldly.  His case was crystal clear “there is no benefit to us as a family unit, and the risks are too large” so cease and desist.  Okay, he did not actually say cease and desist, but you get the gist.

I was immediately angry/disappointed/crushed/emotionally bereft – in equal and immeasurable quantities – that what I wanted to do was being controlled/stopped by someone else when I felt totally different.  (listen we can labour the point of the family unit and how we are all one and all the crap later ….)

I realized that there was no point in making a further case for any of these issues, as Kennith had already made up his mind.  His were logical reasons while mine were purely emotional.

He had not made up his mind in a rash moment of anger, or because the day had been a bad one.  He had given it thought, and weighed the issues up and decided that he wanted to tell me how he felt – and decided that the kitchen was a good place and the timing was just right.

Unfortunately it was a bit (well very actually) too crushing for me and I was unable to respond in an effective or emotionally mature manner.

When I feel “attacked” or “under threat” I immediately start to “baton down my hatches,” so to speak – and retreat into myself.  I chose to say as little as possible, because I felt I was screaming inside and that never translates well in adult conversation.

I know that nothing will be gained by swearing and screaming and fighting against the decision.

I know that nothing will be gained by drafting a funky presentation using Photoshop and PowerPoint to dazzle him.

I know there is nothing to be gained by falling on the floor and begging and pleading whilst I hold on to his pant’s leg and cry in a loud whining voice.

There is nothing to be gained.

There is nothing to be gained no matter what I do.

There is nothing to be gained so I feel ineffective, useless and just a little bit (very) crushed.

There is nothing to be gained so I feel resentful and angry and hurt.

I realise that my reaction is probably not the most mature.

I realise that my reaction will only further alienate Kennith.

I realise that there is nothing to be gained from feeling like I do, and by not just getting over it.  But there is nothing to be gained.

I realise all of this, but I still feel like ..

I am just not ready to hear the no, when in actual fact it is resounding, I am not ready to give up, but I must or I will drive myself to distraction, and hate Kennith for it.  I am angry that I do not get to make this decision by myself (insert angry six year old girl stamping her foot here).  I am angry, I am hurt, I am disappointed, I am angry, I am so very very angry, I am so very very hurt…

Will I recover?  Of course, don’t we all recover eventually given enough time.

How long do I need?  Not sure, really not sure today, but tomorrow or next week is another day, but I am just one of those that do not bounce back quickly ….

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Nothing to do but have a little bitch ….

You know when you just have a “I feel really shite and I should have just stayed home” day. I was fine physically, but for some reason I felt like I was on the verge of having a total break with reality sort of day, you know the kind?

Please tell me you do, so I do not feel like a total freak of nature.

I do realize that I am way past sounding like the crazy cat lady – but I am not sure how far past.  My friend suggested it was possibly all the hype pre-wedding and then the stuff after.  And add my stuff now. She felt I was just a little emotionally-strained and well, she did not want to say sensitive and emotional, but I knew where she was going.

Quite possibly.

This entire weekend, I just felt flat, and removed from everything.

I think part of it is the rather somber conversation Kennith and I had on Friday night.

In one conversation I realized that this may well spell the end of my surrogacy/possibly fourth child/adoption and any plans that require the purchase of maternity wear and booties.

I realized I am sounding a bit unhinged.

I woke up this morning at 03h40 so by the time I got to work I was totally destroyed.  I am one of those people who needs eight hours sleep, else does not function and starts to experience a bit of a strain.

At office – feeling all sad and flat – I am in an open plan office, and I face my entire team while I work.  So I figured I will just have a quiet little cry there at my monitor and carry on working … you know, as you do.  Sad, but productive.

Fortunately every time someone looked at me and they start to frown at the state of my face – I just said “insomnia” and they nodded sagely, and then give me a little look of sympathy.

Of course that did not explain the raccoon-mascara rings on my face, but bless my colleagues for just ignoring me and getting on with their day.

On the stranger side, Kennith had a s.e.x. dream, that included me and chutney … listen I don’t even make this stuff up … the Mrs Balls’ variety.  He even texted me today asking if he should stop and pick up some chutney … and they say I am having a break with reality <sigh>!

The week that burnt ….

What a week hey?  It sincerely felt like the longest four days in history, I limped through this one.

I do take things to heart – any thing really.  Even the most insignificant thing becomes quite an issue that causes me to reel, be hurt or feel like I have sustained an injury.

My emotional reaction often far outweighs how I should react to something.  I often keep my reactions to myself, and react in a private way where only Kennith gets to see upset I am by something.  Because I am slow to heal, it often take several days or weeks for me to bounce back from an injury – it is just the way I am.

For all the callous bitch impression I put out there, I am actually a bit of a soft jelly on the inside.

I do feel I try to put up a front/mask/façade of indifference or a tough exterior, but with all things of this nature, underneath this rather pathetically thin layer, I am a weeping hurt and very sensitive individual – but don’t tell anyone, trade secret and all.

I was left reeling this week from the IP (intended parents) turndown.

I do wish to point out that I totally understand their point of view, and they were nothing but honest, personable and upfront from the get-go. I just tend to start imagining us all living together and knitting socks as soon as the “Hello, how are you?” is over.

I was totally crushed on Thursday and Friday – I was not lying on a heap on the floor sobbing, but I felt like my wind had been ripped out of my sails. I just felt flat and well, just flat and had to still get through my busy work day, juggle work and attempt to maintain some sort of normality at home.

On Friday Kennith had spoken to his friend at work about me acting as a surrogate – it was a chat between friends.  E had spoken to Kennith about the problems him and his wife experienced and the potential problems they may face carrying a second child to term.

Two issues that E raised were:-

  1. What were the benefits to our family of me proceeding with surrogacy?  Did Kennith realize that for our family unit there was only negatives for us as a family – there were really no ups.
  2. Did Kennith realize he faced the real possibility of raising these kids alone should things not go to plan?

Nothing that E raised was new information, or something I had not thought about.

But when Kennith posed these in the rather harsh lights of our kitchen – it suddenly felt stark and naked and well, not so good.

Kennith wanted me to understand that though he did not want to be the “handbrake” to this – he wanted me to “see” the high risk and decide for myself that it was time to opt out for the sake of our family.

I am not naive, I am not ill-informed, I am not ignorant – I do realize these key points, I was sort of glossing over them.

How can I argue either of them?

I can’t – they are justified and real points.

My only argument is that for me this is an emotive issue, which is difficult to reason out in the world of logic and pie charts.

Children are not logical.

If we all remained logical, we would not opt to go through pregnancies, a birth, the broken sleep, the stress on a relationship, the high cost of a baby, child and the related schooling.  If we remained logical, we would opt to remain childless and book a yearly holiday to somewhere exotic where they speak foreign.

But the fact that so many of us pursue children and golf, often at huge costs to our relationships, psyche and bank balances, shows that many of our decisions are not led by logic alone.

In closing I did indicate to Kennith that one of two things were going to happen now.

One, I few days/weeks/months would pass and there would be nothing that happened on the surrogacy front.  I would realize that maybe this was never going to work and I would start to think that maybe the risks far outweighed the benefits, and walk away from this plan …. maybe.

Second option, an IP would make contact with me, and I would get all excited, and start to salivate and well things would lead to things.

So that is where we are …. or well, that is where I am today.  Catch me later, things are known to change ….

Take a pill and have a lie down day …..

So I really have had a bit of a week which just felt like crap frankly.

It started on a very high note when there was a potential IP interested in my potential child-carrying uterus.  I got very excited and was already imaging myself in stirrups and knocked up – insert Kennith’s rather disconcerted look here.

Unfortunately the decision did not go as hoped, and I am feeling very disappointment and just a little on the devastated side.

I know we can all wax lyrically about “how it is not so bad” and really you just need to  “relax and look on the bright side..” but I don’t roll with clichés and platitudes. I prefer to lie in the pit of hurt and to lick my open festering wounds, rather than to look on the sunny side of the street or imagine the cup half full.

I know that there is always the possibility that I will be matched with another IP, and they will like my uterus.  And then following lots of hugs and spooning, we will all skip off into the sunset of gestational-surrogacy happy in our various roles.

The problem is that right now I feel that like the ugly unpopular third cousin who does not get asked to dance at the local “dik–sko.”  While all the other chicks are kicking it old school on the dance floor, with their blue eye shadow and shoulder pads.

What must I do to get this show on the road?  Clearly something that I am not doing yet.

I’m considering an A2 cardboard sign “Uterus available, only used three times”  – just trying to decide on the font.  It needs to show desperation, willingness, but not neediness …… difficult to select a font like that.

To add to my rather caustic mood.  I have this huge printing job come through like a storm yesterday.  It needs to go to print this morning or the world will end (someone’s world is always ending here in my neck of the woods…)

The one thing – the one fekn thing – I asked someone to do for me yeterday, they did not do.  I spoke to them, they understood – it was actually their responsibility and I sent them an email to confirm what they must do – I may have also used bullet points to stress the sequence of events and where they came into play.

Shocker, they followed the bullet points up until the point WHERE THEY ACTUALLY had to do something.

The result was it knocked the customer pass out on the proof by several hours.  Which meant that “kippie die k***” -otherwise known as me – was sitting here until late last night playing sort-out-this-job.

I had to get proofs amended and artwork changed, and remain until final sign off was done – fortunately it was a lovely publication, and the clients were very pleasant.

There I was trying to just get through this, while my heart was bleeding from IP rejection – and then Kennith phones and goes: ‘Guess who just took her first steps?”

Not only did I have a super-crapper-liscious day, but I got to miss my daughter’s first steps.

O.u.t.s.t.a.n.d.i.n.g  d.a.y!

<apologise for the overuse of the word fek’n … it somehow makes me feel better when I use it …>

Of surrogacy and disappointments ….

I feel quite despondent that the path I am attempting to take is being blocked.

I heard from one of the agencies that I contacted regarding surrogacy.

The Cape Town Ethics Committee met earlier this week and discussed my case, and my application to act as a surrogate was turned down.

The reason they supplied was they considered that the risk will be too large to me for me to undertake for a third party.

I accept their reasoning, and no doubt this comes from years of experience.

However that does not stop me being very disappointed that my pursuing surrogacy in Cape Town through an agency will no longer be possible.  I assume the ethics committee includes doctors,  social workers and agencies that work in Cape Town

The agency I contacted in Johannesburg, does not seem to fall under the Ethics Committee’s jurisdiction (I make this stuff up, as I have no real idea of how it works).

They  have agreed to take on my profile, but will then leave the decision to IP to consider the risks, and if a set of IP or a single IP decides to pursue this with me, then it will be subject to an extensive physical to confirm that there is not underlying reason why not to pursue a 4th pregnancy.

Of course I am gutted and disappointed that this is where we are on this road.

Do I accept it is the end of the road for me with regards to wanting to act as a surrogate for someone?  No.

Do I think that the chance are very slight that an IP will select my profile?  Yes.

Do I understand the that chances of me being a surrogate are slim to pretty much nil?  Yes, I think the odds are stacked against me now.

Am I really disappointed?  Yes, unfortunately more than I can explain in a sensible and logical manner.

I really do not do well with platitudes or cliches of “it’s for the best” or “I am sure there is a reason” or something along those lines.

I do feel the over riding urge to scream into the storm and swear at the thunder.

As I type this post I look down at my two children (one is watching a movie downstairs) and I think of how lucky I am I get to have them, and have them as part of my life.

I am gutted that I can’t help someone else just have a third of what I have … however a huge part of me hopes that the agency in Johannesburg will align me with an IP and the process will still go on.

For now it is a case of taking a deep breath and waiting ….

Some days I should just keep my mouth shut …

I have mentioned the fact that I have been thinking about surrogacy for some time and some of the background to that.

I discussed it with Kennith.  In reality he would prefer it if I did not pursue it. However he accepts that if the need/want in me is so strong  (I realise I sound like the short balding guy from Star Wars), he will support me.  However he wants to be sure that I proceed with caution and as little risk to me as possible.

Kennith feels I will fail the psychological analysis.  Sadly I agree with him.  That is probably where I will tick all the wrong blocks, and be overwhelmed with all the what if’s and starting blabbing on uncontrollably and crying and they will write “unsatisfactory” on their form.

I contacted some agencies.  I have been turned down due to the fact that I have had three c-sections, which puts me into a high/higher risk according to their “tick a block” list (sorry to sound a bit bitter, I’m also not feeling very well and struggling with insomnia, so I am not such a happy camper today).

Someone I met through a forum contacted me and said that she was dealing with a set of intended parents who were Johannesburg based.  They had a Cape Town based egg donor and would I be interested in speaking to them about the possibility of acting as a surrogate.

I was meant to meet with a couple this Friday, as they were going to be in Cape Town. It was really just a meet and greet, and to see what their expectations were and whether it aligned with what mine were – and maybe whether we potentially could see us working together.

I was really excited that finally there was some “progress” and someone wanted to talk about my uterus.  Go little uterus!!

Unfortunately they have not confirmed the appointment.  So I take it to mean that either they have cooled to me, or cooled to the idea, or there is possibly something else happening which they have not made me aware of.  I am quite disappointed actually.

Yesterday a private social worker contacted me – she was referred to me by a contact through my blog, who had acted as a surrogate before.

I spoke to the social worker and she was really great.  We had a lengthy discussion and I explained that I appear to be an “untouchable” based on my three c-sections – I wanted to blurt that out right at the start, so she knew what she was dealing with before she got too excited.

I also explained that I had gone to my OBGYN on Tuesday and he had confirmed that there was no pre-existing condition to exclude me from embarking on a 4th or even a 5th pregnancy.  He is a very cautious (and very experienced) OBGYN, so counseled me at length on the potential risks that I may face and we discussed the idea of surrogacy at length.

Strangely his comments were “Why do it?  You have nothing to prove.  It is not like you are doing it for a friend/sister/cousin – it would be for a stranger. Why would you want to do it?”

I really can’t argue with him – I do not know what my motivation is, so it is difficult to quantify or qualify it to someone else, let alone myself.  I just want to – and really that is it in a nutshell.

Maybe it is the simple act of charity.  Maybe it is the liberal ingestion of too much wine.

What if I get to do this, and for me it does not seem that huge in comparison to what other people have to endure to have a baby.

I am not naive enough to not comprehend that there are inherent risks.   I think I am fairly well read and well informed even for a novice.  I am not saying any pregnancy is easy.  Any pregnancy or procedure does carry a certain measure of risk – I do get that, I know stuff about this and do comprehend the risks.

Sure I prefer not to think of myself as dead, or with a ruptured uterus, but I understand that this is a possible outcome – which cannot be ascertained at the outset (as with any pregnancy).

I also grasp that there are potentially huge psychological costs and other factors at play here that may affect me, my family and my children in ways I cannot begin to  comprehend – I hear and understand that too.

That being said, if pregnancy is (relatively) easy for me and I am able to make peace with the baby I am carrying not being mine genetically, and I am willing to go through this to give a couple something they cannot have any other way, then why would I not consider it.

Imagine the power of that play it forward?

At least let me go through the process to see if it is something I can do.  I think I am a bit puzzled at people’s reaction.  They almost have a look of revulsion on their faces that I would consider this.  They start edging away from me in a she-has-leprosy sort of manner.

Is this  not what charity is about, the showing generosity of spirit to your fellow man/woman?

If you can do something to assist someone, why should you not?  And what is more generous that giving someone something that they yearn for more than life itself?

Why must we agree to nod and go “ag shame” but then walk away, why can’t we assist if we can and we feel strongly about it?

Last  night the subject came up in book/wine club – obviously I brought it up, it is not something that comes up by accident.

I realise that maybe I skate on the thin ice where angels fear to tread.  But my thinking is that everyone in bookclub is a mom, and  must understand the fierce love they have for their child and thus be able to make the leap of who it must feel to be that someone who is desperate for a child of their own, and who has literally moved heaven and earth to try to get there.

Maybe if they comprehend that, maybe they can empathise with how desperate it must be for someone not to experience that – through no fault of their own.

Being denied that basic human right and need – the right to procreate because of a stupid roll of the stupid dice.  Having the odds stacked against them which really seems so unfair beyond any measure of my comprehension.

At the same time I am not seeking approval from others.  I welcome healthy debate and am open to the idea that someone may have an opinion that makes me go, “shewie, never thought of that.”

I nearly sh*t in my pants when one of the girls made a statement first basically saying that infertiles need to “just relax” things will happen.

Listen, I am not an infertile, but even I took offense to that.

I nearly pooped a bit in my beige knickers right there!!

Of course years of fertility treatment, injection in the arse, the abdomen, being probed and proded, miscarriages, BFN and all the tears, clearly were in vain – they should have just relaxed.  I wish someone had told them before – wow, sometimes the answer is the simple one (insert sarcastic smiley face here!)

Then there was another comment basically saying that well if it is not meant to be, there must be a reason that God does not mean it to be (insert WTF smiley face here!)

If I had not actually had bits of poo escape from my anus before that, I think some did now!

I sat looking across the room at someone who has three healthy children, who knows how that feels to have your own children.

Who for all intense purposes is a lovely, warm, caring, loving person who lives what I would assume to be a good life and cares for others in the world. But here she sits and actually thinks that if you have unfortunate ovaries, or a uterus that just is not playing along, or your partner has unlucky sperm, you should just sit back and go “Oh well, God meant this to be, so there you are!”

Then does that mean God means it to be when a 12 year old girl is gang raped in a township on her way home from school, falls pregnant and decides to go into labour in the toilet and throw the baby in the dustbin, because she is so terrified and does not know what other choices she has?

Because if God meant that to be, then I think we all need to sit down and have a little talk.

People are so quick to use this blanket phrase of “things happen for a reason” and “it is God’s will” – I am not denying that many people love a bit of cliché to get then through troubled times, but seriously!

But I digress as my adrenaline level climbs.

The bottom line is, for now I think surrogacy is huge.  If I can I would like to act as a surrogate.

I spoke to the social worker and she said she would take my case to the Ethics Committee that meet in the first week of August.  They, it appears, have the final say.

If they say no, then well that is that, and I should just happily skip off in to the sunset and say something profound.  Odds are I won’t and I will be upset, but there is not much more I can do than I have done.

If they say yes, then I would have to first go to a nominated doctor who would do an exam and make a decision as to physically whether I would be approved to be considered to be a possible surrogate.  Of course at that point I would still have to go through the interviews and psychological screening and anything could happen there.

On the other hand, the ethics committee (I actually have no idea who they are – I am just saying it like I am familiar with them) really makes the decision as to whether I am a possible/potential/maybe candidate.

So there we are, now you know!