Thursday, October 25, 2007

On making the choice to go with a donor

When I started this blog we’d already made the choice to go with a donor, had found our donor in fact and were waiting to cycle. We were at peace with our path. BUT getting to that point was not easy. I mean we didn’t just wake up and say lets do this. We didn’t just embrace donor egg. We didn’t just say hey, what a great idea. In fact it would be more accurate to say that I felt like saying f$%#! off to our doctor when he mentioned that I was a great candidate for this option after try number 3. My husband who loves tough odds said if we just persevere we’ll be fine. I was pretty sure too. After all I couldn’t be one of those people who’d have to resort to that now could I?! Besides I was just 37 had great responses, great fertilization results and we knew from our previous miscarriages that carrying a baby wasn’t the issue. Patience was what we needed. Patience we had.

But it kept not working.

After the 5th try our doctor mentioned it again. We said oh we’d like to keep trying. He said fine. This time I cried when I got off the phone with Doctor XY. I couldn’t be the one that had to go THAT route is basically what I thought. Again we reasoned it was a matter of perseverance that even with a less that 5% chance there was still a chance. And then the EPHIPHANY: I went to see my acupuncturist and he, looking like Buddha with soft lighting behind him, said it doesn’t matter how you have a child (natural, donor, adoption) the right soul will find you. And that gave me pause. It made (it makes) sense to me. For the first time I really thought, hmm…I could do that.

But we didn’t.

After the 6th try and another donor suggestion from doctor XY my husband and I had a long talk and I had a long (several day) cry. Our chances were less than 1% of conceiving with my eggs. We decided to go in and meet the head of the DE program who we naturally hated because we had not fully accepted needing to be there in the first place. We were still scheduled to try again with IVF/PGD, we just said to ourselves this is how we cover all our bases. This way we have a back up plan and we need to do this now because it can take 6mnths to a year to find a match.

Shortly after we sent in our application the fabulous nurse we’d worked with over the past year called and said she had the perfect donor for us. She said I just want you to know she’s here for you. She sent us her information (as much as we were allowed to see in an anonymous donor situation) and in fact, we liked what we saw. We actually never looked at anyone else. Maybe it’s strange but I’ve never had any doubts, and neither did my husband, that she was the right donor for us. I guess that is because at this point the idea of the soul and the letting go of the mini me had taken over and it did not seem so important that the details of the donor (length of fingers, size of eyes, type of hair, etc. things that had originally seemed of the utmost importance) mattered so much.

But we wanted to try again.

After the 7th try well…devastation. naturally. Again. This time we talked openly with our doc about a donor…he strongly urged us to do it while also supporting us if we wanted to try again with my eggs although he was clear that it would be random luck to get pregnant with my eggs. He also said that even the fertilized egg that past the PGD test might still not be ok because they can’t test for everything. In other words the odds were, given our past history, that there would be something wrong with it. We’d gone from a 20% chance of success when we started to actually not having a percentage chance at all. This was what got us. We’d gone beyond percentages. Well that and the opinion of two other doctors.

So then…

We started to feel lucky that we had another option for us to experience pregnancy/birth. And then I started this blog because I felt alone, and scared and I found all these other blogs and wonderful women and well that’s the short version of the beginning of our story.

Hopefully this post wasn’t too long.

Friday, October 19, 2007

letting go

Kami has a very interesting post at Are We There Yet – discussing her feelings about being a donor recipient. Certainly for me coming to terms with this has not been fluid…I’ve mourned the genetic loss and occasionally still do even as my own history of never knowing my biological father and being adopted by my non genetic dad makes me realize how unnecessary genetic continuity is in creating a family. I get angry or resentful of people who seem so cavalier about pregnancy – this time I want a girl, or the just we wanted to have a baby and two months later voila, preggers…or even the we want more children…all the things the “fertile world” says. I resent the way they take their fertility for granted even as I understand that it’s totally normal to do. Why should you ever think it could be a problem? But it can be, it is. And then I think that this experience, the losses, the trying, the pain and sadness that my husband and I have gone through, that has made us appreciate this precious growing life in a way I don’t know we would have been able to do had we not gone through all that we have.

Finally I really believe as I posted on kami’s site:
To me it seems natural to mourn or be angry at the genetic loss while understanding that genetic code is only one part of what makes us who we are. it’s important to make peace with conceiving through DE. For me it’s an ongoing process (part of which I deal with by telling people about it). That said I know in my heart when our little one is born (hoping that all continues to go well) the fact that we used DE wont make one bit of difference.

Thankfully love is not based on genetic code.

On our little one front: more movement. i had a moment of panic the other day when i thought when was the last time i felt anything...instantly morbid thoughts flooded my is so easy to get pulled into those dark thoughts...the trauma of infertility has a long reach.

Friday, October 12, 2007

And on the spreading the news front:

I’ve now told my two closest friends. they had interesting reactions.
Friend one said: I sensed there was something you weren’t saying but I was scared to ask because I thought it would be something bad because of your previous history. She was so relieved and happy for us. It was nice to hear.
Friend two said: That’s amazing. I didn’t know about that and it gives me hope (she’s single in her late 30’s and wants children) and it seems like a nice option besides adoption.

We decided to tell people now because I just had my 20 week scan and everything is GREAT!!!! I really felt like I was being dishonest before. After all, as I’ve said before we are proud of our SUPER HIGH TECH WUNDER CHILD and grateful that we had this option. The main reason we weren’t saying anything or the two main ones were:
1. fear that the pregnancy would not be viable
2. we’d gotten used to not talking about anything related to fertility – it’s just been so painful.

So now we’re just spreading the news of how we conceived. It feels, for me, like a BIG HUGE BURDEN has been lifted. What a relief.

Oh and the best for the last: I started feeling the little one kick and move last week. I was lying in bed reading and felt these two little movements. I almost cried. I never thought I’d feel that, or get to this point. They are very soft pushes on the inside of my lower belly. Like if someone was to gently poke you in the abdomen with their finger. Now I’m feeling them everyday. Maybe now, at 21 weeks i'm finally starting to relax, just a tiny bit and accept that things just may continue to be ok and normal as far as pregnancy goes. It's a strange feeling, not used to it at all.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Wow…time moves fast. I didn’t realize how long it had been since my last post. Got buried under a work tsunami.

So, as promised, here are some books that my husband and I read as we thought about telling or not telling:

1. Telling and Talking about Donor Conception with 0-7 year olds. A guide for parents. This is put out by the donor conception network a non profit group based in England. It’s very slim with useful information AND quotes from parents discussing telling, not telling and other related experiences like enrolling children in school. It’s very straightforward. We liked that there were so many examples from actual parents for very common situations.
2. Flight of the Stork What Children thnk (and When) about Sex and Family Building by Anne C. Bernstein. This is not about if or when you should tell but, as the title says how to speak to a child in an age appropriate way. Since we don’t have much experience speaking to kids this was interesting.
3. Having your Baby Through Egg Donation By Ellen Sarasohn Glazer. This one is mostly for those thinking about egg donation although there are a few pages about Parenthood and suggestions on whom you might want to tell. I’d say not necessary if you’ve already taken the decision to go the donor route.
4. Experiences of Donor Conception. Parents, Offspring and Donors through the Years. Caroline Lorbach. Another book we really liked and found useful probably for the same reasons we liked the Telling and Talking book – although this has many more pages – we like the quotes and interviews from people who have gone through the experiences. There is also a section of essays by donor conceived adults none of whom knew from birth about their special conception. It’s interesting though, what I found really helpful, again, is what the parents of donor children had to say about their own choices and experiences.

If there’s a book or site about donor conception that you like please let me know.