Friday, August 31, 2007

The perfect man

At first, you think: there is no other man for me. He's perfect! Tall/short, brown-eyed/blue-eyed, musical/athletic, smart (they all have to be smart, don't they?), the ethnic background I want, etc. He kind of reminds me of my high-school boyfriend. He is the one!

And then time passes. You get pregnant, and you imagine what your children will look like, and then you miscarry, and you think, was he the one, or was it me? And so you try another guy, and the more you pore over his profile, you think: this one's even better! He's shorter/taller, has better hair, better family health history, whatever. He's gotten other women pregnant, too. Yes!

But then he seems not to be the one, or more specifically: the two of you fail to produce anything of note, other than several costly cycles of disappointment. And so you move on. And you find another guy, and you think: he sounds like such a nice guy! But he doesn't have any pregnancies. That's okay -- I'll try him! Maybe I'll get lucky! And you're excited about
him, until the doctor doing the IUI gives you the sperm count from the lab, and it sucks, and two weeks later think, this guy is not the one!

So you go back to the first guy, miscarriage man. Maybe that was a one-time thing! You never combined that guy with fertility drugs! And the cycle when you have lost all patience and hope, and you decide, this is it, after this I'm taking a few months off from this crap and then I'm going to IVF, you wake up one morning, wonder where your period is, pee on a stick and get two pink lines.

And you think: I am so lucky, this guy is the one for me! It works! And you imagine what your children will look like, and your beta numbers are great, and all is well until you have an ultrasound and your partner looks at the screen and says, it looks like there are two in there, and the doctor says, yes, well, it was identical twins, and now it looks like what was two will soon be zero.

And you miscarry, and you somehow, incredibly, do not fall apart, and you take time off, and eventually you get ready to try again. And you find out that miscarriage man does have a higher spontaneous abortion rate than other donors you've tried, even though it's still within normal range. Forget him, you say, trying to pin the trisomy 12 diagnosis on him. And you try a new guy--seems funny! smart! whatever!--for an IUI that you fear will be unsuccessful as soon as the nurse practitioner holding a syringe full of sperm gives you the disappointing sperm count.

Weeks later, your not-pregnant self prepares to deliver an unknown man's seed to the IVF clinic. Which guy to use? Crappy sperm count? Miscarriage man? Guy who might have some kind of birth defect in his genes somewhere? Another guy altogether? And you panic, thinking, what if I can't find all of my vital qualities in one of these donors? What if the person I pick lacks these things I've held so dear? You worry: what if, after spending so long not getting what I want, I still can't get what I want?

And you pore over profiles, and look at other sperm banks at this late date, thinking, maybe if I shop around I'll find the right guy, and you think, maybe X quality or Y quality isn't that important, or maybe I should reconsider. And you think of your friends, whose beautiful 3-year-old was the result of changing donors at the last minute, and of the woman at the sperm bank who said, "no matter who you pick, you're going to get the right kid." And you close your eyes, and pick someone, and drive a nitrogen tank full of frozen sperm through San Francisco, and you hope and pray mightily that she'll be right.

3 comments:

The Town Criers said...

Wow--that was so incredibly powerful. And moving and mind-opening. An amazing feat. I'm so glad you wrote so I could find your blog today.

Michelle said...

The donor I ended up using on the cycle that worked didn't have a lot of the characteristics that, in the beginning, were so important to me. He wasn't artsy, didn't have a job where he was helping save the world, and was not exactly the original body type I'd wanted. But all the "perfect" guys (by my definition) had NO reported pregnancies, and after 15+ vials of their sperm I was out of money and time to keep trying them. I ended up picking an auto mechanic with LOTS of reported pregnancies and he worked! After enough time passes, the things that matter to us change, I think. I am completely sure we will all get the baby we want, no matter which vial the other half of their chromosomes came out of.

Good luck sweetie. I'm thinking of you so much.

The Road Less Travelled said...

How eloquently put. I'm on to guy #3. I first choose brains, then looks, now I just want some to work.