I have been really struggling lately to accept that our child will not have Scott’s genes. I went to the doctor the other day and answered all the family history questions that are pretty standard. Is your grandmother alive or deceased? Did they have cancer? Diabetes? etc. For each of these questions I was able to picture the person they were asking about… Did my Grandma have cancer? Yes Grandma H had Colon Cancer and I remember that time clearly. When my kids go to the doctor, instead of answering questions based on the relatives they know from Scott’s side they will have to remember the details they were told about the sperm donor that helped us to conceive them. Instead of thinking of their grandparents on that sheet of paper they will need to know facts from a moment in time in someones life they will never know.
A million small things that will make them different then the “normal”. If our child is able to learn foreign languages quickly I won’t immediately think “it just skipped a generation… my siblings were able to learn Spanish quickly “. I’ll think about if the sperm donor had those abilities and passed it down in his genes. We won’t be able to say “he has Scott’s nose” or “she has Scott’s straight blonde hair” (that I was soooo looking forward to after all my struggles with curly brown hair). The goal is to find a sperm donor that looks as much like Scott as possible, but even if they have the same nose we’ll know that it’s not Scott’s genes that made it so.
Before we found out about our infertility I took every chance I had to watch home videos and look at picture of Scott as a baby/child. I would imaging all his features mixed with mine and imaging what our babies would look like. Would they have Scott’s squinty blue eyes or my large brown ones? Would their hair be brown and curly or blonde and straight? Would they have little hair for a good portion of their first year like Scott and his siblings had or would they be born with lots of hair like me? So many questions I was looking forward to discovering with Scott for each of our children.
I listened to a sermon yesterday that spoke directly to me. The church is going through a series about finding what God designed you to do. Finding your spiritual gifts and using them to serve others. I went into the series thinking of myself but frequently found myself thinking of how it will apply to our future children. The part that spoke to me the most was a quote from Max Lucado’s book “Cure for the Common Life”
“Da Vinci painted one Mona Lisa, Beethoven created one Fifth Symphony, and God made one version of you. You’re it! You’re the only you there is. And if we don’t get you, we don’t get you. You’re the only shot we have of you. You can do something that no one else can do in a fashion no one else can do it. You are more than a coincidence of chromosomes and heredity, more than an assemblage of somebody else’s lineage. You are uniquely made…”
This spoke to me more than anything I’ve heard in a long time. No matter how we had our children they were always meant to be “more than a coincidence of chromosomes and heredity, more than an assemblage of somebody else’s lineage”. They were always going to be who God created them to be. If they are gifted in speaking a foreign language it’s because God granted them that gift. If they have great musical ability it’s because God created them with it. God already knows the children we are meant to have and the special gifts he will create each with. I can’t wait to meet them and I pray that I will be able to remember the lesson God taught me today. Whenever someone says “he has his dad’s nose” I hope I’ll remember that who my children are is more than an assemblage of genes and characteristics. They will be our children, the ones that God created just for us and that’s all that will matter.
This has been the most difficult part of the journey so far. Mourning the children that we should have. The children that will never exist. My heart longs for these children and has since I fell in love with Scott. We always knew we wanted to have many children. When we started dating we asked the question to each other and neither of us had a set number. We both wanted lots… me on the higher end… Scott on the lower end… but neither less than 3.
Our goal has never been to have nice material things in our life- we were totally on board with being poor in a smaller house with lots of kids and lots of love. Our kids would would be easy to conceive and half of each of us. We would be able to surprise our parents with the great news and shock them that we were even trying to conceive. We were going to decide how many kids were enough as we went along… We’d have a few and see if we were up for having a few more. We had all these plans and were looking forward to the surprises that lay ahead.
We now have to mourn these children and their existence that will never be. We know that whatever children we do have will be the children that are meant to be ours, but still have to mourn the loss of a dream. A profound loss of something that never existed. How do you do that?
Last night I had a dream that I was pregnant with twins. I had just gone to the doctor alone and found out that it was a boy and a girl. I woke up from the dream and the very first thing I thought was that I couldn’t believe I found out the gender of our babies without Scott there. Then it hit me. Like it does every other time I have that dream. I’m not pregnant. My stomach is flat… not round like in the dream. There are no babies.
I have this dream about once a week and always wake up the same way- so extremely happy that I am pregnant… just to realize again that I’m not. As hard as these dreams are I’m glad I have them. For a moment I get to feel pregnant. I get to feel that joy for a split second. I get to wake up next to my husband knowing (in my dream mind) that I am carrying a life inside me.
But then I’m right back into the real world where we are patiently (not really) waiting for that dream to come true. The real world sucks sometimes.
I play a game in my head alot… it’s called the “I’ll be pregnant by then” game and it’s not a whole lot of fun. This game started before Scott and I even got married. It started with “if we get pregnant the first couple months we’re married then we could have a baby before I graduate school!” We talked that through and decided that maybe that wasn’t the best idea. Even though we (me) wanted to have kids right away we(Scott) decided that the responible thing to do would be to wait a few months before we stopped preventing pregnancy. I stayed on birth control for the first 3 months of our marriage then we (both of us) decided to let God decide when our children would come. That’s when the game actually began… If I got pregnant in October then… I could tell Scott that I was pregnant by buying an extra small pumpkin to add to our adult ones… And our baby would be born in July- hopefully after I started a full time job so I would have maternity leave benefits and we would be settled in a city and, bonus, I’d be cute and pregnant for my friend Josi’s wedding.
In November the game continued and was a lot of the same… I could tell Scott with a snowman family on our deck… I would have the baby in August and have another month of full time work saved up, and maybe we’d buy a house by then!
The next month was another hard one- In December we could have told our families by getting them baby related gifts that they all opened at the same time on Christmas morning. It would be a magical morning. Then the pregnancy test came back negative.
The months continued in the same way… maybe I’d be pregnant by my College graduation and I could tell our first child that they were there with me. Maybe I’d be pregnant my first month at Cargill. Maybe I’d be pregnant by Josi’s wedding. Maybe we’ll buy our house and that’s when we’ll get pregnant. Maybe we’ll need to hurry up our kitchen remodel because i’ll finally be pregnant. Maybe God was waiting for ____ life event before he blessed us with a child. Etc. Etc. Etc.
The game never ends, and the days that I thought I would be pregnant by painfully pass again and again. I’m constantly reminded that at one point I really thought I would be pregnant by now.
One of my best friends is getting married next month. It’s a day I have been looking forward to and It’s also another end to the “I’ll be pregnant by then” game. We have our third insemination later this month. It’s still possible that I’ll win the game this time… but I’ve lost the game so much I start to think that maybe I’ll never win. Maybe I’ll never get pregnant.
I wish I could stop playing, but I don’t know that I ever will. If we finally do get pregnant, eventually we will be trying again and I’ll be playing the game again. I’m praying we win this round soon. I’ve been playing for 2 years now… it would be great to finally have a win.