Saturday, April 21, 2007


Sean and I share a passion for planning: on the drive back to school yesterday we planned meals, housing and activities for my parents' visit to our new apartment in June. We like to start with a big brainstormed list of almost infinite possibilities and then winnow it down to the ideal plan: we did this for the Feast of the 7 Fishes we hope to host someday, and also with names for hypotheticalfuturebaby. We've got it down to one and half possibilities for boys and three possibilities for girls, with one clear front runner if none of our siblings claim it first (their future babies being less hypothetical than ours.)
. . . . . . . . . .
I was about 13, in the car with my mom, planning out loud the names of my future children and oblivious to her growing agitation. "You may not want to be naming your babies," she said, finally unable to stand it anymore. "You probably can't have children of your own."
As I calmed down from my initial shock and tears, she explained her worries--concerns that seemed obvious when she named them, but hadn't occurred to me yet. Most of it connected back to two surgeries I had when I was 4 years old: one to remove a football-sized ganglioneuroma from my abdomen, the other to remove my left kidney. In addition to the scar tissue, surgical staples and some worry over the one kidney, Mom's biggest concern was the remnant tumor: the 5% of the tumor that they couldn't remove because it is wrapped around my aorta. How would this bunch of cells--that started misbehaving when I was a fetus--react if my body was exposed to those kind of hormones again?
As much as this conversation with my mom upset me (so ... much ... angsty ... journaling ... ) I appreciated (still do) the way it made me seriously consider the possibility that I may not, biologically, have children. It gave me lots of low-pressure time to think about other options and made "OK-with-adoption" a dating criterion. A result my mom did not intend is that I've felt guilty about wanting to try to have a biological child: that it is selfish and irresponsible for me to want this.
As Sean reported, Maternal Fetal Medicine has given us the go ahead to try whenever we're ready. Based on a recommendation from the Doc, we're going to check in with an oncologist too, just to be a little more sure about that tumor. I'm going to work with my doctor here to get my migraine meds and symptoms stabilized: no triptans during the pregnancy! With all these pieces in place, plans may still depend on how my fertility has been affected by endometriosis, and a host of other factors we can't even predict right now. I feel good, though: excited, not guilty. I want to keep planning, talking and writing it out.

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