Sorry for the wall of words. Skip over, it probably doesn't concern you.
If you want to know about the flip side of working with a lovely, kind, available know donor, then read on.
Well, I have news.
It's very complicated and confused but the core is that our lovely friend and known donor is not who he said he was.
We won't be proceeding with this any further.
Yesterday evening instead of having a productive conversation with S about how the two of them can better communicate with each other he ambushed her and told her he wouldn't donate to us anymore. This shocker was followed by an ugly tirade that blamed just about everyone in his life for making his life just 'unbearable', calling us 'soul eaters who suck the life out of him' and that he was not willing to have such 'toxic' people in his life. That this thing is just out of control taking up his every waking minute and preventing him from living his 'real' life and that it was slowly killing him.
This is the direct opposite of what he has been saying for the past 5 months.
Last insem he told us again how happy he was that it was insemination week again, that it always gave him such a happy glow. 'I hope this is always this much fun! I really love you guys!'
He blames his parents and family for not supporting him (they do, they're awesome! And really excited about this. They voiced some concerns at the start in the form of 'have you thought about what would happen if...' which he didn't like and has been angry with them ever since)
He accuses us of taking up every waking hour of his day and not allowing him to have a life away from this. ??? We require his services 3 days a month for maybe half an hour in the evening after work. He calls us once he gets home has had his dinner and a shower, and I drive over there to pick up his donation. After that he gets on with his evening. Around CD1 (once we know the previous month's attempt didn't work) I call or text him to let him know and to give him an idea of when S might next ovulate. We also try to meet up some time that week to check in with each other, see how everyone is doing and what -if anything- we want to change the following month. In total I think that adds up to about 4 hours of his time each month. We've kept the whole thing super casual and relaxed to make it as enjoyable and stress free for everyone involved. In actual fact we've all had a lot of fun, laughed a lot, had nice dinners and brunches together... sometimes he calls me, for a chat, or texts me about something... I get funny emails about things that happen at work...
I could go on, but it just gets weirder and further removed.
In all the many, very open and amazing conversations we've had over the months he's never mentioned or even hinted at any of this. There was no subtext, no undercurrent. And i was really listening.
My first impression was that he's deliberately lied to us all this time, telling us everything was fine and he was happy when in fact he was stressed and upset all along.
Having slept on it I now think what he was telling us all that time was true (and it really feels true) and over the past week he's had a kind of emotional break down related to many other things in his life.
He's a pretty intense, super-high-energy person. He throws himself into things with a passion and conviction that's amazing to witness. He almost hums with electricity. He works 40 hours a week, plays in 2 bands and rehearses with them on Tuesdays and Thursday evenings. Wednesdays he hosts a show at a local music venue. Fridays he often has gigs. Weekends he either works extra shifts or has music gigs or is otherwise busy. He also has a girlfriend (who is amazing and totally supportive of this). I think he's burned himself out with all this stuff and now has come crashing down and is looking for something to blame.
I could get past all that and say 'look, you just need some time. Take a month off, chill out, think about things and we'll talk again in April or May.'
Except that I can't shake the feeling that this is his thing. His pattern.
He was a little musical jazz genius in high school and was offered scholarships to various music schools. He went, and decided it wasn't right for him after 8 months. He described it to me as 'those music teachers were just sucking out my soul. I couldn't devote my energy to feed them'. Changed courses to go to another University, and came back to his parents place, sinking into a deep depression for 6 months, sleeping 14 hours a day, not eating, etc.
A year later he got married, after 4 months of dating. They divorced, which he described as 'she had her sucking tentacles in every aspect of my soul and I had to rebuild everything from zero. It was worth it to get that toxicity out of my life.' He then decided to go to law school, threw himself into that, was accepted to a great school in the UK and didn't go. 'what they were asking was just too much. i wanted to do this for myself, not pour my energy into filling some one else's agenda' The last 2 years he's been in another 'soul sucking, toxic' relationship (it was very ugly) which ended in August and he then approached S with his offer of donating sperm to us.
he threw himself into this with a conviction and energy that I questioned at first but then accepted as just his way of living life to the full.
When i heard him describing us as 'soul eaters' who were 'draining his life away' and that he couldn't have this 'toxic energy' in his life i nearly fell off my chair. It was like a little chain of twinkling lights came on, linking back to all the times he'd used those words to describe the bad things that had happened or been done to him. Knowing the details about this current 'toxic' event in his life, I'm thinking all those other 'soul suckers' were people like us, who got the blame when his 6 month energy rush runs out and gets sucked down the drain in a swirling vortex.
Yesterday i was pissed.
Pissed for being lied to and pissed that he ambushed S after work and told her this news in the car, at the side of the road. She was heartbroken and totally distraught and then had to drive home, trying to see through tears and tell me. You don't do shit like that to friends.
After speaking to him (I asked him to come over and speak to me in person. We talked for about 2 hours) i felt strangely calm and a lot lighter.
I feel like we've had the luckiest of escapes. It really frightens me to think that our last attempt could have worked and we'd now be trapped in this- because this would have happened anyway. This was always going to happen. His mother tried to warn me, even, but I didn't get it at the time. She brought it up a couple of times saying things like 'i hope you know what you're getting into' and 'you think you can handle all his energy'. She used words like 'volatile' and 'uncontrolled'. Damn, I need to call that lady and thank her for trying.
I couldn't describe it better myself, really. He's like one of those super bouncy rubber balls. You throw it into a room and it ricochets off the ceiling, floor, walls, lampshades- out of control, kinetic energy. He can't steer it or manage it until finally the energy runs out and he disappears into depression and panic mode, shutting down, cutting ties, breaking promises and commitments and blaming everyone within reach. He's super fun to be around, smart, loving and all-round awesome to know... until he apparently flips over to the dark side.
And the horrid thing is that the cycle is starting again already- i can see it!
He wants to 'devote 120% to my girlfriend, she deserves everything I have to give and I want to devote myself entirely to her happiness'. Uh-oh. If you have a job, 2 bands, family commitments, gigs and whatever else, you don't have 120% to give. You have maybe 5%. She's lovely and smart and amazing. And in 6 months she'll be the 'soul sucker toxifying' his life.
Now I want to call her and warn her. Maybe then they have a chance if she knows where the land mines are buried.
So, after all that, I feel overwhelming relief.
I feel grateful for my calm, mindful, straightforward wife who steers a steady course and brings so much happiness into my life.
I feel lucky that we dodged a bullet and narrowly avoided bringing this volatility and unpredictability into our marriage and into our family. I keep sighing in relief even as I type this!
Like we just sidestepped a whole bunch of crazy that would have affected us for maybe the rest of our children's lives. Phooooooooooooooaaa.....
So, there you have it.
The flipside of working with a wonderful, kind, articulate, compassionate known donor.
We knew the risks going in, we did the work, had all the conversations. We did everything we thought we could do.
And we got really, really lucky.
Not sure what's next for us.
Just take my off the list completely, nosreves. We will be back, but at this point i don't know when or how. Surprisingly this experience hasn't put me off using a known donor again, but I think S is going to feel differently about that.
I also wanted to thank you all for your kindness and encouragement. You ladies are awesome and I wish you all the luck and happiness in your pursuit of this goal!
I guess sometimes the mountain you think you're climbing turns out to be a volcano.