I've posted in the last couple of months about going through Ian's things and starting to move stuff onto new homes that can go to new homes, or tossing stuff that can't be moved on.
That's because there was one thing I couldn't discard after he died...
Our seven frozen embryos, left from our IVF cycles to have John. As part of the IVF process, under local laws, we'd given each other rights to make all decisions regarding those embryos, which included rights to use them, in the event of the incapacity or death of the other.
The knowledge they were there kept me sane during Ian's illness and in the aftermath of his death. I also knew I had a couple of choices. Discard them either immediately or when I was legally required to, which felt too much like tipping Ian down the drain. Or attempt a pregnancy, knowing based on the technology used to freeze them was slightly older, and the odds of success therefore much lower. If I got a single confirmed pregnancy, I'd be damned lucky. We'd already had plans to attempt using them later in the year he died. Based on our pre-existing plans, the decision to attempt was easy for me, and was one I'd made even before Ian died.
After the required counselling, getting my health on track, and my head in the right space, over the course of 2014 I had three attempts at achieving pregnancy with those seven embryos.
The first two attempts in the first few months of the year were unsuccessful, and resulted in the loss of four embryos in the thaw process, and two unsuccessful transfer attempts.
I sat on that final embryo for 8 months, convincing myself that with such a poor track record with the other six, it was most likely to be just John and I. And I'd come to peace with that prospect. Towards the end of the year, knowing that single embryo was there had become a burden, no longer the positive thing to hold onto. So I geared up for the final attempt, timed so I'd know if it hadn't worked by New Years, and I knew where I stood going into 2015.
Well, wouldn't you know it.
I got a successful thaw - they nearly had to pick me up off the floor of the clinic with that bit of news.
And a pregnancy. That's stuck.
Ian and I's second child is due in August, a little over three years after he passed away.
I'm still a little gobsmacked. And now need the space where much of Ian's stuff was, to fit a baby and all the paraphernalia that goes with them.
John, in typical 4 year old fashion, just wants pizza.
I appreciate that this will be confronting news to some, if not many in our community. Some will disagree with bringing a child into the world so long after their father's death. Others will wish they had the opportunity. Others wishing they had, or will have, the same success.
Because of the pregnancy and the fact I know it will raise grief responses I'll need space to process, I'm making room here, too. From next week, I'll be writing on alternate Tuesdays, sharing with a recent widower, Mike Welker.
As a pre-curser to his first post next week, Mike would like to introduced himself:
Three months after my discharge from the Marine Corps at 22 years old, I met my wife, Megan, on December 10th, 2002. The very next day, I was drawn like a moth to a flame into dealing with a long term, terminal illness. Megan had Cystic Fibrosis, and after 8 years of declining health, she received a double lung transplant, and a new lease on life. Our daughter Shelby was born in 2007.
In early 2014, those recycled lungs, which had brought our little family three years of uncomplicated health and happiness, finally began to give out. She died from chronic organ transplant rejection on November 19th, 2014 while I held her hand and let her go.
I'm a single father and widower at 34 years old, and no one has published a manual for it. I don't fit the mold, because there is no mold. I "deal with it" through morbid humor, inappropriateness, anger, and the general vulgarity of the 22 year old me, as if I never grew up, but temper it with focus on raising a tenacious, smart, and strong woman in Shelby. I try to live as if Megan is still here with us, giving me that sarcastic stare because yet again, I don't know what the hell I'm doing.