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11/06/2003

Plan B: Make someone else do the thinking

I normally do pretty well during the two-week wait after any event intended to induce pregnancy, from the low-tech option of doing it like Amazon tree frogs on up to the high-tech maneuvers of IVF. Or I have so far, because I've always known what plan B was.

Ah, but this time is different.

Here are our options, as I see them, if my two embryos have killed each other in a bitter uterine gang war:

  • Another cycle of IVF at a top-tier clinic
  • A few cycles of stimulated IUIs
  • Adoption
  • Donor eggs
  • Bellowing "Stop the insanity!" and giving up on the idea of having a family

It all looks so good, I don't even know where to begin!

On the way to the hospital to have the embryos transferred, Paul and I had a long talk. You have never seen a man turn so pale so fast as when I said to him, "Living without children is not an option for me." To be fair, it's not the kind of discussion you ever imagine you'll have when you're first planning a life together. In principle, we'd agreed that we wanted children, but we'd never before confronted the possibility that we might not be able to have the kind with his peasanty-looking nose and my ineffable charm.

He has the usual reservations about adoption — How could I be sure I'd love the kid unconditionally? — but recognizes, from his experience with his own family, that shared blood is no guarantee of love to begin with. He worries that he'll look at an adopted child and always think, I wish we'd had one of our own. What he doesn't know is whether that's a show-stopper, or whether it would assume the same level of importance as the wish that we'd had a kid with, say, red hair or a flair for music.

These things are, alas, unknowable. The one argument I could make — and it's not really an argument — is that we often find our stance on theoretical issues changing once we confront the reality of a thing. Once the theoretical becomes the actual, the specific, the concrete, our thinking changes to embrace it.

I finally put it to him like this: I do not share his discomfort with any of the options. At this point, the goal (a squirmy, pissed-off toddler refusing to put on her shoes) is more important to me than how we finally get there. Therefore, he gets to pick. He needs to consider our options, decide which makes him the closest to comfortable, and choose how our family will come about.

Poor guy is still catatonic from the shock. I have stood him in the corner and have been using him as a coat rack.

So while I remain entirely agitated over the absence of a contingency plan, I am trying to lie low and let Paul do some thinking. Behind the scenes I am, of course, busily wishing, plotting, and scheming...

...and trying very hard to make these forlorn little embryos feel at home.

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