Nothing to report, as on the two week wait. I need to arrange a blood test with the clinic for 9 November, and they assume you will have tested before then. I read about women itching to test as soon as they can, but at the moment I’m happy to wait. I haven’t bought a pregnancy test yet. Mind you, it’s only been five days, so I may be climbing the walls by the weekend. I don’t think so though. I imagine you can get misleading results by testing too early, particularly with all these artificial hormones floating around your system, and it would be horrible to get a false positive – for me, a lot worse than waiting for the two weeks to be up. I say that now…
The day after the IUI my legs were like jelly for half the day but in general I feel absolutely nothing physically. I am completely exhausted and going to bed early but I think this is just a combination of the few weeks of taking drugs (I’m now on the progesterone gel, twice a day) and the last crazy two months at work, which has now eased off slightly. (In case you can’t tell,) I’m damping down any expectations and working on the basis that this first attempt won’t have worked.
Doing some homework
While I’m waiting to test, I’ve been doing a little reading on donor insemination and single motherhood by choice. I’ve mentioned before that the UK Donor Conception Network has some great resources, including leaflets on how to tell the children about their origins and storybooks that explain the process of donor insemination.
There is just so much to think about in Emily’s letter to would-be solo mums.
Interesting that Emily says on the counselling session: “My own fears of being judged led me to see it as a hurdle rather than an opportunity”. I found the session very pleasant and useful but I wish I’d known going into it that it was a chance for me to raise any questions I had about donor insemination rather than a case of them vetting me to make sure I wasn’t a nutcase.
Talk to people
On the actual treatment, Emily says: “Many of us felt at times that we were being pressured to do something we weren’t too sure about. This is when support can help you come to a decision that’s right for you.” I couldn’t agree more with this. I was, and still am, uncomfortable with the idea of medicated cycles. After consulting with the ladies on the singles donor conception board I occasionally contribute to, I relaxed a little about this and decided just to go with the flow. I’ve surprised myself by submitting to drugs and treatment that I often don’t understand, as I trust the clinic to come up with the best outcome. And if my three IUIs with this donor don’t work, I might go it alone a couple of times anyway.
But not too many!
“Bear in mind that someone who sees themselves as a close friend may feel hurt when they find out afterwards that you didn’t tell them something so important: although having a child has changed my relationships with all my friends, some friendships have been lost, which I deeply regret.” I do worry about this. There are close friends whom I haven’t told, other than my vague mentions over the years that this is something I would consider as plan Z. I do hope they aren’t hurt if I have a positive result. I don’t want the stress of friends asking constantly whether there is any news, so I’m doing this for the right reasons, and hopefully they will understand. Strangely, I’ve found it easier to tell people who are further removed from me, as we are not in constant contact.
Positive role models
Emily also mentions that she joined a group of women in the same situation. This is my plan too – I know of other women from the singles board who have become pregnant. I think it’s so important for these children to know other kids with similar origins. Having said that, it’s also important for them to know lots of families with two parents and to see healthy, happy parental relationships at work. Whether or not a happy, lasting relationship happens for me, this is what I would ultimately hope for for any child of mine: to have a happy relationship with a loving and supportive partner. I can already see a balancing act in making sure your child is content and confident as the offspring of an SMC and not wanting them to see an SMC family as the default family unit.
The biggest thing that comes across to me from Emily’s letter is: be prepared. Prepared for people’s reactions, positive or otherwise; for people’s questions; and, most importantly, your child’s questions and needs. This really struck me: “… if you have not talked about the issues for many years there is a danger that you may not be familiar with the language – both to do with DI and sex and reproduction – that you may need to use to help your child understand what they are being told. This unfamiliarity or awkwardness might give your child the message that being a DI child is something to be ashamed of, even if you don’t actually say this.”
Emily explains that “…many of us have found that it’s other children who ask more questions in the early days. You need to work out exactly what you think ‘dad’ means, and whether a sperm donor fits the bill: does your child have no father, or an unknown father?” I struggle a lot with this question. Answering the “Tommy asked me why I don’t have a Daddy like him” question for the first time must be really difficult if you’re not prepared (and even if you are). And I don’t know yet how I would describe the donor – do we call him “Donor” and how much of the lovely, delicious extended profile information on his hobbies, personality and family should I reveal? Maybe complete disclosure from day one is the best, as that way it will be information the child has always had. But as I’ve said before, I have a huge fear of building up this Daddy figure that really doesn’t exist. In some ways, I need to prepare for this but in others it will depend on the child, I imagine.
Lots to think about.
Finally, this has cheered me: “I know many children of donor conception, and I can’t think of a better group of kids for my son to meet up with every month, and feel he belongs to.”