I've written before about how to know when to move on to a new plan, but one thing I haven't really explored is how to deal with not being on the same page as your significant other. Luckily, Noah and I have mostly been on the same page. We wrote out a decision tree (in 2011, ugh) that gave us a basic guide as to what we thought we would do "if...then..." My body and our bank account had special veto power over that decision tree, and we were always open to adjustments. We didn't know embryo donation existed way back in the naive good ole days when we thought we were just stopping off on IF Island on our way to somewhere better, so that decision was an add on.
While we've agreed to what we were going to do next, we haven't always agreed on the when. The speed at which we move is quite different. He's a turtle, I'm a rabbit. I am always ready to jump right into the next thing and keep the train moving forward. Noah, on the other hand, likes to step back and process the situation, re-collect himself, and proceed one step at a time. Neither one of us is right or wrong, it's just a different approach. So we've had to do this dance of negotiating and compromise so that we both feel okay.
When we found our embryo match last November, I was ready to go in January but Noah wasn't. He needed more time to feel okay with letting go of his genetics, and I understood that. My eggs seem to be the problem for us, so I have had ample time to mourn the loss of my genetic contribution to the creation of our child. I try and focus on the genetic bullets my kid will get to dodge and remember that nurture is as much a part of what makes a person as nature is. And I will nurture the crap out of my kid! But Noah's sperm has always been the one good thing we had, so letting go of it was harder for both of us. This is where our bank account weighed in with the realization that donor eggs were out of budget. We had to think about what was most important, being a parent, and Noah needed more time to sit with that.
Part of what he also needed was to try naturally for several more months. Before moving on to the next step, people often need closure. I knew to move on to my sister's donated eggs after our unsuccessful IVF and several IUI's (and the years of trying with ovulation test strips). I probably wouldn't have been totally ready to move on had we not done those last few IUI's. Even though they didn't work and ended up being kind of a waste of time, they were an important part of our story that helped propel us to the next decision. No regrets.
So last November, when we found our frozen embryo, Noah suggested we give ourselves six months to heal, to save up, to try naturally. My first instinct was to scream, "SIX MORE MONTHS? ARE YOU INSANE! I CAN'T LIVE LIKE THIS FOR SIX MORE MONTHS!!" but I stopped myself. I knew that was what he needed for closure. I convinced myself I'm not going to be 50 by the time I have kids, and that closure is important. Six more months on the Island wouldn't kill me. I committed myself to my acupuncturist and various herbs and supplements, and agreed to trying for our miracle the old fashioned way for six months.
This month is the last shot. I'm trying not to put pressure on it. It is just another attempt at becoming parents. So is the embryo we have waiting for us. Either something is going to work, or it isn't, right?
The most important thing is to be able to hear and listen to yourself and your partner. It's being able to compromise and figure out what each of you need in order to move on. It's never regretting or being angry at the other person for needing to take more time, or try another procedure. There are no guarantees on IF Island. There is no script, no clear road map, and definitely no solid itinerary. We are all just winging it, best we can. Anything can possibly work along the way, or nothing might work until the very last stop on the decision tree. Being able to come together and hold hands through this journey becomes one of the most important things.