Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Bye Bye Baby

bye bye baby life's a polyp

The finality of spoken words are the hardest to push past our lips, to break our silence. Once spoken, the glass is shattered leaving us only with the reality that we are now forced to accept. In our silence we may delay the inevitable until our psyche is more prepared.
In Alone Together and Supportive Lengths, I spoke about a heart wrenching struggle that I've been slowly processing and gradually accepting.

I finally have reached a level of acceptance to allow myself to publicly disclose that my husband and I have come to the decision not to attempt to have any children.

This has been an excruciating and devastating decision for me. Through this process I learned that the best choice is not always the choice you want. Those close to me know that I've dreamt about Ending the Family Cycle through IVF with a surrogate and planned for this for over 15 years. I never believed anything different would happen. I maintained an unrealistic optimistic hope and pure belief that I would have a child in this manner and it would happen. There were no ifs, ands, or buts about it...it was happening. I planned out every detail I possibly could throughout the years. I planned names, nursery themes, educational opportunities, birthday themes, godparents and legal guardians if needed, parenting styles, etc. I've had my heart set on a baby and the joys and struggles of raising a child. And now, I must say goodbye to my baby. My baby, whom I will never get to see on an ultrasound screen, hear a heartbeat, feel kicking my surrogate, or hold in my arms because this baby will never have existed within the womb or in the world. I must say goodbye to it all, to my dreams, my hopes, my plans. The baby items I've slowly collected and saved for the big day when I would welcome home my own baby, I must pass these items on to a living baby, not a dream world baby. I know all the reasons to have a child and the joys that come with a child. I absolutely cherish the times with the children in my life and the memories of children I taught and cared for throughout my educational career.

 We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. - Joseph Campbell

In spite of all the reasons to attempt to have a child, there are a lot of reasons not to as well. After extensive contemplation and discussion, I find the reasons not to outweighing the reasons to in our situation.
  1. The primary reason I sought sterilization was to be able to prevent passing FAP on to my child. I survived unimaginable experiences during my childhood and I can't bear the thought of my child going through the same experiences. To have a child is a personal decision and I hold no judgments over anyone's decisions regarding their family planning. This was my family planning decision. I didn't want to attempt having a child unless I could prevent my child from inheriting FAP. As I recently discovered as well is even with the genetic counseling and IVF, there remains a minimal chance that FAP could be inherited. Any chance is too large of a chance for me.
  2. Another reason I sought sterilization is that I personally am appalled and terrified by pregnancy and childbirth. I don't know how I came to have this view, but both honestly repulse me. I find pregnancy and childbirth unnatural and a twisted joke from the universe. Cabbage patch kids type development makes much more sense to me. I know this is a very strange view for most people to understand and I don't expect anyone to agree with me. It's just my personal view and this view works fine for me as I am also medically terrified of pregnancy and childbirth. Due to my abdominal surgeries, previous twisted intestine around organs complications, low pain tolerance, and short bowel syndrome I truly believe, without a doubt, that if I were to become pregnant I would actually die or I would be in so much pain and misery that I would wish I would die. I don't want to risk my intestine twisting around organs again or if I required a C-section and risking my intestine to be cut or nicked. I have no intention of endangering myself and risking failure of my straight pull thru.
  3. My current health, although stable, still provides for plenty of sick days where I don't feel able to move. How am I to take care of a baby when I have no energy, am running to the restroom constantly, experiencing high pain, or am unable to move very much? It isn't fair to my husband to expect him to take on the majority of caregiving for our child. I know he would but my child would deserve both parents to be involved. And with my health, I never know when the stability will end and my health will decline or when I'll die. I don't want to leave my husband to be a single parent with a young child.
  4. My husband now has his own health issues as well with diabetes. Although diabetes is a very manageable disease and we are taking every effort to manage it properly, I still worry about his future health. He is also 10 years old than me. I don't find it fair to my child to have two chronically ill parents and I don't want either one of us to become a single parent with a young child.
  5. Financially we have two options at this time. We can either use our finances to attempt to have a child; an attempt that may not work and still result in the loss of our finances. Or we can use our finances to start our life goals. We want to move to our land, build a small farm and small business. We can advance and complete these life goals at a much faster rate without first spending our finances on the attempt to have a child. With my husband being 10 years older than me, we are both ready to advance our life goals.
I began this disclosure a few months ago and since then, my husband was unexpectedly hospitalized with diabetes and my energy has been focused on his health and navigating through the terrain of diabetes, settling hospital expenses, and arranging care. I'm not sure if I've come to a full acceptance yet or I've been too consumed with other crises. A flooding of peace washed over me after a dream I had about having a baby. I dreamt I had one more attempt to try the process for a baby, a last ditch effort my psyche gave me. But even within the dream, reality seeped through and the plan failed. We couldn't accomplish both goals of a baby and our future life goals. I awoke in the morning feeling defeated with the finality of the situation. With all options exhausted, my mind was able to begin to rest and accept that we had made the correct decision for us. I am more at peace now than I was when I first started this post. I haven't been breaking into tears at the mere mention of childlessness or fertility issues. I still feel saddened when I prolong my thoughts about our decision but ultimately I am at peace and no longer debating the issue.

To help me obtain a sense of closure and to welcome in positivity for our future, my husband and I partook in a smudging ceremony. Traditionally, my Cherokee ancestors went to water for cleansing. However, we didn't have access to water and decided to participate in a smudging in order to regain balance and harmony within my spirit. I invited the talented and heart touching K. Talley Photography to help us capture this moment in our lives so that I may have mementos.

We began by lighting a fire and giving our thoughts to the universe. I lit cedar and sage and let the flame quell itself leaving only billows of smoke. With this I cleansed myself with the smoke before proceeding to cleanse my husband. I repeated this with a mixture of sage and sweet grass. The scent of the plants filled the air and swirled about before quickly being swept away by the wind. Once cleansed, we laid the smudging sticks within the fire pit to mingle with the smoke from the previously lit fire. We meditated on our loss and what the future held for just the two of us together. I was overwhelmed with a sense of relief and loss leaving me in a melancholy state.

I clung to the scent of the cedar, sage, and sweet grass for the remainder of the day. With each breath, I felt wrapped in a blanket of comfort from the scents. We treated ourselves to dinner and spent a quiet evening together as my mind reeled around the events of the day. It was coming to a close. I was filled with a hushed anxiety, it will soon be all over and my mind will rest in the finality. This is my last step, to disclose. To shed the façade of maintaining the intent for a child. To bear witness to my soul and our future.

To view the full gallery please visit K Talley Photography


  1. Thinking of you both, what a difficult decision.

    1. I made the same decision when I was young. I have Crohn's and I was diagnosed when I was around 20. But I had symptoms since I was 14. Our family doctor hadn't recognized the symptoms as it wasn't as widely known about as it is today. My mom has had RA since I was a small child and was almost bedridden when I was 12. I knew what it was like to grow up with a sick mom, I felt so alone. And then I got sick. I just couldn't bear to put a child of my own through having a sick mom (my disease was never able to be brought under control and was very severe until at 39 I almost died from it, ended up with rectal Cancer and they removed my entire colon giving me an ileostomy) and I couldn't bear the idea of possibly passing either of these diseases To my child. I commend you for being so courageous ❤️. I feel your pain, I can say that now, I am 47 and while the pain is still there, it does get easier.

    2. Thank you for sharing your story with me. You and your mother have gone through so much, I hope you both are having better days now. That's encouraging to hear that it will get easier. :)

  2. I find you to be a most courageous young lady striving to live a full and productive life in spite of a debilitating situation, facing your life with wisdom, humor and great spirit. It has been such an honor to love and cherish you.

    1. I can't tell you how much your kindness means to me! I am so overwhelmed by it, thank you.