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The Bottom Line

February 21, 2010

I bought the February Issue of “Living Without” because it had enticing recipes of Valentine’s Day goodies that were gluten and dairy free. I still continue my gluten and dairy free diet even though I’m still not trying to get pregnant with my own eggs, because it affects my overall well being. There was also an article in the magazine about a celiac disease celebrity, Heidi_Collins, who is an anchor woman with CNN (had never heard of her). I started reading the article, and I was immediately turned off by the talk of her two children and how she balances a busy career with motherhood. Blah, blah, blah, same old, same old, about a woman who easily had two children,… or so I thought. Since I was stuck on a long bus ride with nothing else to read, I went back to reading the article. It turned out it was nothing I had judged it to be.

Among her physical challenges that came with living with an undiagnosed disease, Heidi’s celiac disease had caused her to lose a pregnancy at 7 months. That enough made me pause and have compassion for her having been through that awful situation. She had one son, and then she went on to describe how she came to have her second son. She had been advised that she could not have another child, because of her complications with celiac disease. She and her husband used an egg donor AND a surrogate to have her second son. That made my brain come to a screeching halt. Though Heidi sums up what I know took years of agony, planning, and execution into a few sentences, I understood how difficult a process that must have been to first, lose your genetics, and second, have someone else carry your baby. The rest of the article didn’t matter to me, and it paled in comparison to what I had just read.

This experience taught me not to judge a woman’s family on face value. I was actually glad that Heidi talked about how she used an egg donor and a surrogate. She said, “the bottom line was, we wanted another child.” I know that if my bottom line is to have a child, I’m going to have to change my way of thinking. To read stories like this is inspirational. Heidi’s sons are seven years apart, so I can understand how long her process took. You can read the whole article about Heidi here: “Straight_Talker, CNN’s_Heidi_Collins speaks out about celiac disease”.

I also wanted to share this article in case there are any women who are dealing with infertility and have not ruled out celiac disease or any other colon or intestinal disease as a cause of their infertility. My friend Brenda’s excellent post on colon cancer screening also moved me to write about this. I am gluten and dairy intolerant, and I know this has taken a toll on my health in various ways. I do not know if it is linked to my uterine fibroids, since no one knows what causes them, but I know that I went for years not absorbing nutrients properly. I have osteopenia, which is one step before osteoporosis, a thinning of the bones. I got tested for a “baseline” at age 42, though usually women are not recommended for bone density screening until after menopause. My aunt also has osteoporosis, and is gluten intolerant like me, but she will not follow the diet because she finds it too hard to do so. She has to take shots now for her osteoporosis. I think I got some of the same genes as her. Osteoporosis has also been linked with celiac disease, which is another reason I decided to get tested early.

I suppose you are all wondering where I am at with this whole process? First, let me apologize for not following your blogs and news, happy or sad. I’m still in the grieving process, and it is still really hard for me to be immersed in the whole baby making world. For my own sanity, I have had to remove myself from all things baby, or at least reduce my stress about it as much as I can. For I know that I can never completely avoid babies and pregnant women. I do not begrudge any woman of her own happiness, but these are painful reminders for me right now, like pouring gasoline on a fire. My recent joy of watching the Olympics and feeling like this was one safe place I wouldn’t have to deal with reminders of babies was taken away with the story of the pregnant Olympian on the Canadian women’s curling team. Luckily, the story hasn’t made prime time Olympic coverage.

I’m still grieving in my own way. I know that grief is a process that can not be predicted or shortened, no matter how much I or others around me wish it to go faster. I resigned myself that this would be another four to six month process. I have thought that until the spirit moves me, I won’t be pursuing baby, in one form or another. The spirit has not moved me…until today. Something shifted in the last couple of days that culminated with, well, the spirit moving me today. I hope to share with you these experiences in another post. And while I feel that way today, I know the grief process could rebound even stronger than before in reaction to this. Many things still need to fall into place, but I’m beginning to think about it in the terms that Heidi expressed. The bottom line is that I want a child. I just don’t know how to get her here.

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. February 21, 2010 2:21 pm

    Beautiful post…I mean, your process, coming across Heidi’s story, your acceptance of your need to grieve and taking time to do that, taking care of yourself by avoiding things that will trigger you…all beautiful. And I love the way you’re thinking about the bottom line. Thinking of you as you continue grieving and sorting through your next steps.

  2. February 21, 2010 3:20 pm

    Congratulations on movement and clarity.

    I’ve been thinking about you. I’ve wanted to bring you some comfort food, but I’m not sure that’s a good idea. So if you’d like to meet sometime for coffee/tea/lunch, just let me know. It would be good to see you again.

    Hugs, my friend.

  3. February 21, 2010 5:48 pm

    It’s good, as always, to hear from you.

    I am glad there is some ‘spirit moving’ as you put it…all I want for you, my dear sweet Phoebe, is that you are happy and have some peace. I will always be cheering you on no matter what direction you take on any of this.

  4. February 21, 2010 6:13 pm

    Great all around post. Your processing of Heidi’s story is so great to read. There really are some eye opening things out there that once we get past the “likely another happily ever after story” that we see what it took for them to get there. Thanks for sharing this one.

    You are one of those people who doesn’t just learn or research about possible issues or possible side issues. You also not only figure out if they are issues for you directly, but take every precaution/measure to take care of you in the best way possible – no matter how hard or how many sacrifices this means. I am constantly inspired by you and proud to “know” you.

    I am, of course, anxious to hear more about where you are at. You and I are on the same page with allowing grief to flow it’s course and needing to “feel” that movement/inspiration/peace before moving forward. This part really spoke to me and is just where I am at too right now.

  5. February 22, 2010 10:45 am

    I am so glad to read your blog again. It sounds like you’ve made some great choices for you as you’ve been processing your grief.

    Looking forward to hearing more…

  6. February 22, 2010 11:15 am

    Whenever I read your posts I always feel like I wish I had something to say, something, I dunno, something to say that made great sense. Something as wise as what you have already written, but, I dont. That feeling that you write about, that feeling of “I just want a child”, that is the best way I can describe that I felt when we started our trip down surrogacy lane, I just want the end goal.

    Still here, still reading.

  7. February 22, 2010 11:47 am

    This is an amazing post. I think it really puts into words the complex emotions of loss and grief and seeing our own struggles reflected in someone else’s life that far too many of us go through.

  8. geeksinrome permalink
    February 23, 2010 1:24 pm

    It’s awesome you were forced to read the rest of the article cuz you were stuck on the bus! What an amazing revelation. It’s almost destined that we come across things or they come to us at JUST the right moment when they will make an impact or sink in.

    It has come down to that. What is the bottom line? What is the essential? I don’t think anyone knows that for herself until she walks those baby steps along this unknown path. When such powerful landmarks pop up like that suggesting one way to go, it’s empowering. Answers slowly unfold.

  9. February 24, 2010 9:06 pm

    I love “the bottom line,” because it really gets to the heart of the matter. I would rather have used my eggs but they were shit. I would rather have had a husband vs. a sperm donor but that’s not where I am. And on some level I would rather have adopted vs. create donor embryos but adopting a healthy infant is super hard-to-impossible for a single woman of 41 (at the time). And I would even much rather have used donated embryos vs. create my own, which I did (like a mad scientist, ugh!). The bottom line is that I want a baby and I am willing to do what I’ve done for a baby. But I certainly have limits. I don’t talk about them because I’d rather not tempt the universe. And for other women those limits might be using donor eggs or using IVF or using any means that wasn’t completely natural conception within a loving marriage. And that’s great for them. Infertility immediately taught me to figure out the missing piece of this sentence: The bottom line is that I’m NOT willing to do [blank] to have a baby. And then I got busy doing everything else to have one.

  10. February 25, 2010 4:13 pm

    I love that you are taking care of yourself, continuing to be gluten-free/dairy-free, working out, all while you are in your period of grief.

    I know that my bottom line is that I want a child that is genetically mine. I don’ t know if I can push my bottom line out further, as the CNN Anchor was able to do. That takes more strength and conviction than I think I have.

    It’s uncanny that you say, “I just don’t know how to get her here.” HER. That resonates so deeply for me as well.

  11. March 7, 2010 9:28 am

    I was excited to see a post from you pop up in my Google Reader this morning. You are in my thoughts Every. Single. Day.

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