This is the third episode in a series. If you missed Episode 1 or 2, then click here to read this story from the beginning.

Getting my diagnosis

After several weeks, we were contacted by our physician with an update. Ultimately, I was diagnosed with a condition rendering my egg quality “severely degraded,” such that the likelihood of conceiving a child with IVF using my eggs was highly improbable—not impossible, but very unlikely to produce a healthy pregnancy.  Yet, even in that moment, my immediate response was “OK, what can we do to fix my ‘abnormal’ eggs?” But, in truth, I was pleading with him to “please fix me.”

He explained to us that once a cell’s DNA is degraded, it can’t be improved medically or healed. In other words, once an egg becomes abnormal it can’t become normal again. Egg quality can’t be improved. He couldn’t fix this issue.

And what I heard was, “I can’t fix you.”

Losing my notion of self

Just pause for a moment and allow the weight of those words to sink in. In that moment, I was already so fragile, still grieving the loss of my two beautiful unborn children, still navigating the healing process every day, only to receive this information and once again be thrust into this new grieving cycle. This loss, though, had an even greater sense of finality to it. The words that I heard—“you can’t be fixed”—shattered the picture that I had, for years, very meticulously crafted in my mind of what this process, this journey of building a family, should look like.

Up until this moment, I had continued to cling to that small bit of hope that this journey, although unpredictable and tumultuous, could still redirect and take us back to the road we started on, but that wasn’t the case and my diagnosis confirmed that.

I spent days in our guest room, sobbing, unable to get out of bed, unable to face my husband, who in my eyes I had let down. He would never blame me for this, but I certainly blamed myself for taking his joy and substituting it with my burden.

Reframing what’s important

It took time—lots of time—before the tears faded and I was able to process the weight of our diagnosis; but through that process, I began reprioritizing and reassessing what was important to me and then it became so clear, something that I had intrinsically known all along—that is, families can be created in many ways. Through all of the loss, I never once questioned my desire to have a child. Certainly, I questioned why it was so difficult for me, but I never once questioned my longing to be a parent.

Ultimately, I realized that I needed to reframe what I thought my family would look like and learn to embrace and love my journey in order to fully move forward. And today, I’m so thankful for that “edit” to my story because, without it, I wouldn’t have the beautiful family that I have today. 

Please come back next Friday to watch the next episode, in which I talk about the science behind making a baby, the options I had and the choice my husband and I made, and the difficult process of choosing an egg donor.

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