Saturday, August 15, 2009

Bellies

I haven't visited our local doggy playgroup (ie dog park) for some time now as Amber had conjunctivitis, which is highly contagious, so we had to keep her away from her friends. hen we went to India and on our return, Amber had picked up kennel cough, so again, no visits to playgroup.

We finally get there and lo and behold, two of the doggie mums have fat bellies! Great for them, ouch for me. The labradoodle's mummy, who has a 10 month old, was 19 weeks and looking very round and healthy. The Rhodesian ridgeback's mummy was also sporting a baby belly. I did the congratulations thing, and was told RR's mummy (who is my age, ie of advanced maternal age) had been through multiple rounds of IVF for many years, nothing had worked, they had quit and resigned themselves to a child-free life. The voila! They fell pregnant naturally. Truly a miracle baby on the way.

the chances of a woman over age 42 getting pregnant naturally are as low as 5 per cent. IVF raises that chance to something quite unremarkable, like 12 per cent. you see, I know all these figure having immersed myself in stats, stats and more stats when cycling myself. So yes, a joyous occasion and one of those tales we all hear from well-meaning, but clueless friends and family that lead to comments such as "I know someone who tried for years and then just fell pregnant by themselves ... just relax, it will happen for you too". well, no, it happens to only 5/100 women over age 42 naturally. And RR's mummy - a person in my doggy play group - was one of those 5 women. What are the chances of that?

I truly was happy, and really thrilled for RR's mummy in particular ... I love a good miracle story, when it happens in my circle, proving the miracle story to be not just an urban legend or well meant platitude. I went home amazed at how far I had emotionally come on this journey. "I am fine, that didn't hurt! there was no jealousy, of feelings of life being crappily unfair ... my turn is coming".

Then bingo, yesterday 28 weeks rolled around, as did the tears ... where the heck did that come from? Delayed jealousy? Nope. Delayed feelings of persecution by the God I am not sure I believe in? Nope. Feelings of being ripped off that I cannot carry, oh yes! As i watched the lovely mummies rub their burgeoning tummies, it hit home that I would never experience that. And what is "that" exactly? Feeling my baby move within me. Giving comfort to our baby from mummy's loving hands. Marveling at baby's every kick and turn. Sharing the joy of our baby with my husband. Complaining about being tired, or feeling sick, or needing to eat strange combinations of food at 2am. And finally welcoming our blessed miracle into the world at the moment he or she arrives. Therein lay the grief. 

I was again reminded what a strange way surrogacy is to have our babies. And I know I am not alone wishing I could do what these Indian women, half a world away, can do. When one lives in a world of forums and blogs and emails that are primarily surrogacy in India-related, this strange and unnatural process becomes normal. But when we leave that world and realise how it is for fertile couples, it really hits home that what we are doing is so out of the norm, that we cannot join the local "mummy club". We cannot say, "We're trying too" to the excitement and exclamations of good luck, with out having to reveal our long-winded, frustrating and difficult journey that lies ahead of us. The only belly rubbing I will personally ever do is running my fat and wishing it wasn't there.

Today I am focussing on gratitude. While surrogacy may be a scary and expensive and frustrating and alienating experience, we are all so damned fortunate we have this option. Wind back even ten years, and a life of childlessness would be out only option. 


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