Weighing our options
I am beyond grateful for science and the advancements in fertility treatment. My husband and I were so fortunate in that even with my diagnosis, we had options, options that may not have been available to us even 10 years prior. We had the option of using donor eggs. We had the option of using a surrogate, and adoption was another viable option for us.
After evaluating all of our options and speaking with our physician, we made the decision to purse IVF with the help of donor eggs. And, again, I can’t stress enough how personal these decisions are. There is no right or wrong answer; there is only what is right for you and your family in that moment.
I was fortunate in that I had walked alongside my sister through her adoption journey and knew first-hand that the parent-child relationship was not dependent on genetic connection. But, if I’m being truly honest, I did want to experience the physical connectedness of carrying a child again, like I had with the children I had lost before. So, we forged ahead in this direction, cautiously, still guarded and fearful, still grieving, but hopeful and extremely grateful for this opportunity.
The process of choosing an egg donor
We used an anonymous egg donor directly through our fertility clinic. Choosing an egg donor was surreal. I don’t use this word in a negative context; quite the contrary, I have such gratitude for this anonymous woman who so graciously and selflessly gave us the greatest gift. But the weight and the importance of this decision was daunting and I initially struggled with how to evaluate the potential donors.
In truth, likely I spent too much time trying to compare donor traits with my own in a fruitless attempt to choose someone that was “like me,” but the reality is there’s only one me. So, we focused on the items that we felt were most important—specifically, health and family history of health—and when we finally chose our donor, we inherently knew this was the right person and we were at peace with our decision.
I will touch very briefly on the process because, listen, making a baby is very complex science. In its simplest form, the donor goes through the ovarian stimulation process; in parallel, my body is being prepared to mimic the phase of my cycle most optimal for implantation of a fertilized egg. Quite simply, this is most precise science I’ve ever experienced. So precise, that one shot in the wrong part of your body can force you to reset the entire cycle, which, unfortunately, my husband and I experienced first-hand. Needless to say, we never made that mistake again. My body became permanently tattooed with black Sharpie circles, serving as a target for my husband to administer my shots three times a day.
What I remember
Looking back on this time, I reflect on the hundreds of needles, the countless shots, weekly bloodwork and check-ups, the painful poking and prodding followed by brightly colored bruises, the acupuncture appointments, the cross-border challenges of two distinctly different medical systems within the US and Canada.
What I remember most though are the brief moments of surrender where I would allow my walls to come down and feel hope, only to be quickly replaced by fear, the waiting (which felt interminable), the prayers, and finally at the end, a release, a relinquishing of control, followed by a sense of solace and peace.
I knew at this point in our journey, we had done everything we possibly could to make our dream of becoming a family a reality and I was ready, whatever the outcome.
Please come back next Friday to watch the next episode, in which I talk about how I found my light again and how my pregnancy loss changed me.