But one of my cousins [I will call her Elisabeth] who I adore beyond description (and who I would love to be) will be there, very newly pregnant. And I just can't do it. I am truly thrilled for her, but this will have been the first time she's seen family since she found out last month - and I'm just not strong enough to be around it all. All the joy. If there is anyone in the world I would want to see a child come from, though, it would be she.
She is 41 also, and has been through infertility hell. Continually-postponing husband first of all, then postponing post-divorce fiancee, low FSH levels, then fibroid surgery, and then no apparent follicles anyway. Less than .08 chance of conceiving.
She and I have a very close bond, although we go through long periods without communication. Early in my diagnosis, somewhere in the 90's before mother-to-child HIV transmission ("vertical transmission") prevention was possible she had even told me that if I were to somehow get to live a life including some kind of husband or home and self-sufficiency, that she would have a baby for me, because she knew that that then-impossibility is the loss that hit me first, before all else, when I got my kind of test result, so long ago.
This year, even before I knew my romantic friend from Antwerp [I have to come up with some kind of pseudonym for him] was coming, I had emailed her that I would have a baby for her. - That my FSH levels are still normal (I had them tested ostensibly for other menstrual problems), and that my T-cells were high (for me), my viral load undetectable, and that I would be OK for nine months without my HIV meds. She knows I have some emotional problems, but she doesn't know about all the psych meds that I would have to quit, (that I know of - I can't know how out my immediate family is about that) - but I don't care how depressed I would get. That nine months would be worth living for. And as far as mania, delusions, paranoia, and psychosis go, they could lock me up.
She didn't respond to my email for a long time. Then on November 1, when my romantic friend had just left, and my period hadn't started, and I was floating on that totally irrational muffled euphoria of pregnancy possibility, she sent me an email beginning thus:
I loved your email, please don't think that just because I don't respond, I'm not completely touched and thinking about you. I respond telepathically!
I would never ask you in a million years to interrupt your protocol for 9 months, but that is the sweetest thing anyone has ever offered me. I would do the same for you. Actually, I mentioned your offer to my doctor (either you carrying a baby for me, or me using your donor egg and carrying it myself), and he laughed at me, strictly on the basis of "You silly girls you couldn't possibly grasp the complex psychological lifelong scars of such a decision!" Geez. He just doesn't know us. No one understands us. I mentioned it to Dad, too, and his befuddled silence let me know how little he thinks of me sometimes. Our poor parents .... so confused by truly creative ways of thinking.
The next time I checked my email, in my inbox November 5 (just four days later) there was listed an email from her entitled "good news," and I knew.
continued Friday, December 14