Updated: Jun 6, 2020
I had always only ever thought that finding someone to carry my child would be the key to unlocking the Dad Dream and that as soon as I had that connection with someone, then all else would fall into place. But the truth is that there are so many variables to consider, non-negotiables that crop up, for both parties, that there are really just an unending amount of stars to chart a journey by. Navigating the course of a GTK where you feel as though you are suppressing parts of myself, even blindly ignoring some red flags, is the beginning of a voyage fraught with risk. But this is the purpose of the GTK. It is never a dead cert. It does not always work out.
I had always been advised that when something felt wrong it was essential to listen to those feelings especially in SUK. Surrogates have to place their family first, and so do IPs, even if it’s a future family waiting to make their arrival. Each person is the best advocate for those they love. Each person is doing the right thing by their family. And it is within the crucible of a GTK where all those needs and wants mix. As a metaphor for the fragility of IVF itself, a GTK works all too well. The GTK is the SUK petri dish of hope. This is where the idea of a true team is created. Can a spark turn into an explosion? Fertilisation either occurs here or it doesn't. If fertilisation occurs, can the team maintain its shape despite all the divisions? Will you create something out of the GTK? Will you be strong enough together to survive the days ahead?
Do both halves of the team come together perfectly or are there gaps where the centre should be? How large or tiny those gaps? Define for me the risk of things falling through. Show me the point where needs and wants get lost. Does what you need fit into what I want? Are we allowed to need? Or only to want?
I remember the last day at her house, although at the time I did not know it would be the last. Her son was playing on the carpet and I pushed a toy closer to him which had different shaped holes. The idea was he would try to push certain shapes through those holes, but there was only one special hole for each shape. He picked up a square and tried to fit it through a triangle. It wouldn’t go. He tried several times, turning it this way and that. But it just wouldn’t go. A square into a triangle would never fit, and I offered a look of forced confusion, allowing him kindly to make the mistake. I smiled and gently moved his hand to the square hole. The square fell through. As a curious child he was certainly no fool for trying. You had to try if you didn’t know. You had to fail to succeed.
Then he picked up a hexagon and I moved the toy around so that the hexagon hole was facing him. I thought that now at least a little help was ok after he had tried so hard with the square. He moved the hexagon towards the hole, eyes wide with interest, but he had it angled slightly askew and it wouldn’t go through. I slightly adjusted his grip and told him to try again. It still wouldn’t fit. I moved closer, trying now with hand over hand to fit the shape through by his side. But something was wrong. It wouldn’t push through to the other side. How could this be? A hexagon should go into a hexagon hole! Were we at the wrong angle? Was there friction against the sides? Was the toy not sitting right? Was the hexagon imperceptibly sloped back to front? Was the angle of push misaligned?
What looked easy was apparently not!
We persevered together, helping adjust all those parameters that mattered, until he finally shoved the shape through! Smiles and relief. We did it.
Later driving home I suddenly understood. Sometimes with reassurance and perseverance things that aren’t working, can work. Sometimes you just need to adjust your angle, to alter your position, to work together and to keep on keeping on. That is, if you have a hexagon and a hexagon hole.
But if you are a triangle and they have a square… or they are the triangle and you have the square...well …
I think this was our team. I know this was us. The details are not important. Only the preservation of feelings and dignity for both when I knew I should end it.
After it was over, I was able to privately let it all out: the fear of waiting, of never finding the right time, of going back out there, of starting my search again. Would I be blacklisted because the team had failed? Would people assume something dark and horrid had happened? Would people latch onto ideas of chaos, of trouble in paradise? Had we jinxed it by announcing it too soon? How did we look now, smiling and happy together on our announcement Facebook post? Had this now engendered an uncomfortable sense of Schadenfreude towards our situation? Would people consider us a failure? Did I consider myself a failure? I only know that ending it was an unspeakably difficult decision.
In the last 5 weeks I had gone from no surrogate, no team, no eggs – to -
‘the call’, GTK, egg donor 12 egg collection– to –
losing 11 eggs down to 1 embryo(Flo) - to -
no team, not even on the IP list.
Some of these were my choices, others not.
I listened to a piece about surrogacy on the radio the other day. I was so completely unprepared for how it would affect me, because it spoke of when things fall apart, a truth that in many ways I had been living for several weeks. I was surrounded by images of things ‘working out’ of ‘successful’ teams, of happy births, and beautiful scans of these tiny souls waiting to fall into loving arms. I was at once filled with joy at these stories, and yet incredibly afraid, almost in terror that this now wouldn’t happen for me again, that I had taken my only chance of making the Dad Dream a reality and turned my back on what could have been. I understood also from that radio piece that team success was not just about having a child. And yet how I wanted a child. How dearly I wanted a child.
Our time together was short but I don’t regret any of it. I know she did not want the team to end, but I also know she would not want the time we spent with each other to be wasted. That brief time together has helped crystallise what it is I want out of this, what’s important to me, and that it's okay to ask for that, to stand firm to the best laid plans for my children. I will forever be grateful to her for even considering that we could do this together, so proud of the time we spent together, of how we tried to craft the Dream to make it fit for both of us.
It’s time to get my groove on again. My diary entries have become rather sullen as of late. IVF apocalypse. Team endings. Unwanted goodbyes. I couldn’t help the desolation I felt lacing my posts with a darkly reflective streak. It was never my intention to narrate a dark dream, but you take lemons and make lemonade. And I can't think unless I write.
I’m going to bounce back from this. I want to write posts again about Brazil nuts and roller coasters with my niece and nephews. I want more pictures of cats and shrimp and corals and meeting up with friends and helping mum plant hanging baskets. I want positive thoughts paving way for positive results. I need to write more. Or less. I need to stop treating everything as some giant novel. I need to open up. I need to tone it down. I need a laugh. I need some loving. I need to put more effort into loving myself than I do into liking posts. I need to disconnect so that I can connect again.
I will visualise big fat positives (BFPs) in my future… no matter how they might come about, from which direction, or from whom.
On Friday, my profile is live again, and the search for the Dad Dream resumes...