Category Archives: Donor Eggstravaganza

November 2 – Conception

I’m dialing this in via my smart phone, so I beg of you tolerance for any wonky editing or grammatical errors sure to come.

November has never been my favorite month. I guess when it comes to not so great things that could happen, I have a one in twelve shot of it happening in November. Take for example my first miscarriage at 16 weeks. And possible my second and fourth…honestly I lost track and I try not to archive-dive unless absolutely necessary.

But today also marks the day Aitch was conceived six years ago. Before anyone prudish gets too squicked out what would be normally considered TMI, I wasn’t even present during conception and was actually 100 miles away. No Shades of Gray action going on here.

If you don’t have time to read the post itself, don’t bother; however read the comments to see if you recognize yourself.

In a Blink

A wild hair was sprouted and I decided to import all my posts from my previous blogs. I was tired of logging into one wordpress account to find something and then logging into this one to do the follow up. The downside of this is that during an import/export process from years ago, several posts were duplicated and it’s just not worth it to try to go through them and make it right. Also, I realized after the fact that my categories are all over the place. If wordpress had a way to re-categorize by bulk, I’d do it, but right now I’m either going to just leave it alone and have about 30 categories in place or just move everything into “uncategorized”.

Five years ago I was bemoaning the fact I was on a donor egg/gamete list and recovering from another miscarriage. Today, I am planning on taking down my daughter’s birthday decorations that I put up on Saturday to celebrate her turning four years old.

SUBJECT MATTER

For the first time since ZGirl was born last July, I suggested to Mr. DD that we should talk to XBoy about the donor.

Because XBoy is 7 years older, I really feel that it’s important not to wait until ZGirl is two or three before approaching the subject with him. I fear that he may look at the first couple of years with ZGirl with something akin to deception if we wait that long. Maybe in not such a definitive manner, but later when he’s reached teen and adult age, he may use it as an excuse or a way of lashing out.

I also know that his exposure to peers in school will introduce him to the concept of sex before I’m ready to deal with it myself, and I just think it would be more prudent for him to know that sex is more than dirty talk between a group of boys and a way of teasing girls (I didn’t tell you how XBoy came home the other day from school and asked me what “gay” meant. Of course I tried to explain it means happy, but he knew that the way the kids were using it, it was derogatory and clearly they were not calling him “happy”.).

Mr. DD doesn’t think telling XBoy about ZGirl’s conception is a good idea. He worries that XBoy will run his mouth about it to both friends and family. While I don’t care so much about his friends, since who’s going to give much thought to a 6 or 7 year old trying to repeat something another 7 year old told them, especially about “eggs” and “embryos” and “donor gametes”? However, I am concerned about this information becoming family table fodder.

I believe that as long as we don’t make a big deal, (It’s a secret! Don’t tell anyone!!), or that the information is a topic of contraband, and that we keep it very, very simple, XBoy should walk away from the discussion as if we had just told him that we were going to repaint the living room.

For me, that means keeping the birds and bees out of the conversation as much as possible. Instead I thought I would just use the approach that women have eggs that can become babies but sometimes those eggs are bad. In those rare cases, couples can sometimes use the eggs of other women to make babies…and that’s what we did in ZGirl’s case. Is that a too simplistic way of broaching the subject of donor eggs for the first time with a 7 year old? Of course we would welcome the questions as they are asked. I just feel, and maybe I’m wrong about it, that this is something that should be trickled in for assimilation and not dumped.

Other questions for you: Do you think I should wait until ZGirl hears it first? Do you think Mr. DD might be on to something as to XBoy spilling the beans prematurely to family (BTW, I’ve intentionally started planning this to coincide with the summer break)? Am I providing a disservice to my son and taking the chickenshit way out by not talking about intercourse and ovaries and gonads and penises and vaginas and sperm (oh, my!)?

POKEY

Recently I have found myself thinking a lot about Pokey.

Pokey was embryo number four out of four that we got through our donor egg cycle which ended up on ice, all by his lonesome. He was also a little late dividing and I suspect he is not of Best of Show quality and more than likely a bit of a mouth-breather.

When it comes to left-over frozen embryos, there are three options that families face (I say “families” since it would be only logical to assume that only patients who have already had a successful transfer would have the three options):

  • Destroy
  • Transfer
  • Donate

Now for my conundrum.

At one time, back when I was an IVF newbie, I referred to my embryos as “embies” and I experienced quite a mental fuck when my first and only FET attempt was cancelled when all three of said “embies” arrested the morning of my transfer. To help myself get over that, and because I grew up just a bit, they simply are now called Embryos.

Even though I have tried to keep myself emotionally distant from any embryos we had created since then, Pokey is something special because he has a sister who I cannot, not even for a second, imagine my life without. Even Mr. DD walked a minefield by stating, “If we hadn’t gone through all the shit, we wouldn’t have ZGirl.” Refer to this post on how I feel about that kind of talk.

It’s with knowing the potential that I find myself very opposed to destroying Pokey.

Why not transfer then, you ask?

Such a simple solution except with one minor problem: Mr. DD does NOT want to go through any more treatment, even a rather uncomplicated FET. Not only that, but he does NOT want another baby; even though the likelihood we were to get pregnant with Pokey would be a one in a million shot. However, see THIS post about what happens when you put one egg in your basket and run though a forest on five-inch heels. In other words, stranger things have happened, even though they can (and did) end badly. Very badly.

As a couple who seriously considered donor embryos, I am more than willing to donate Pokey. But would any agency want to bother with a lonely embryo, and of suspect quality? I don’t have proof that Pokey is pokey. I only remember when they called with the fertilization report on Day 2 that Pokey had fertilized late and was slower in dividing, hence “Pokey”. I should have transferred all four since even with the three good-quality embryos transferred, my pregnancy never was more than a strong singleton (thank god).

I guess that’s why if I was a betting woman, I would say that Pokey doesn’t stand a chance, even in the best of wombs. Yet, knowing this, I still am not able to consider just destroying the little slacker.

I ask you, what would YOU do if you had a sub-par, single embryo on ice that no one other than you would want and your Significant Other doesn’t want to do another cycle, much less have another baby? If you say destroy it, how do you get over the sentiments attached to it when you know how beautiful and funny and endearing that baby would be because you are raising its sibling?

(Pardon the links down memory lane. That was a whole lot more painful then I expected it to be.)

AND WITH THIS, I WILL LET IT GO

I think it bears repeating, that while I will not be convinced that the donor is someone I will ever refer to as my daughter’s biological mom/mother, that does not mean that I am going to keep the fact that there IS  a donor a secret.

Some of you may interpret my strong feelings about what is “mother” or what may have been “father” (if any of our donor sperm cycles had worked) as an indication that I am in denial about the donor, and therefore may never acknowledge what she did for us.

Nothing could be further than the truth.

Every moment I look into my daughter’s crystal blue eyes, my heart swells with gratitude. Those eyes are the donor’s eyes. It’s almost as if someone wanted to make sure I never forget what a stranger did for us so they gave ZGirl her distinctly colored baby blues that obviously didn’t come from me, some one who has eyes the color of wet sand or from her father, whose green eyes are remarkable on their own. Everytime someone makes a comment about her beautiful eyes, I smile with pride. Maternal pride.

“Weren’t we lucky to have a donor with such lovely coloring?” I wish it was something I could say, but that will be my daughter’s response when she is ready.

Another thing. I’ve been asked this question ever since we first discussed donors and our decision to go anonymous, which was about two years ago: “What if something medically related happens with the child and you need to contact the donor or even possibly the donor’s children to seek help?”

Let’s say for a bone marrow transplant.

Well, we would end up well and truly screwed if the donor’s family was the only key to my daughter’s well-being. You see, no one ever asked us that question when XBoy was an only child for 6 years. Oh, well, unless you count my SIL’s MIL who said to us when XBoy was six months old, “Are you going to have any more children? You know, in case something happens to him?”

While I appreciate the concern for my daughter, it makes me wonder why is it there for a donor-conceived child but not for a non-donor conceived child.

Finally, my MOTHER FATHER post must have pricked a nerve since it become an email topic that eventually made its way to Lindsay, who is a donor conceived child and has her own blog, Confessions of a Cryo Kid. Lindsay also left a comment and after her second sentence I felt my hackles rise and was preparing a reply. But then I realized I didn’t have to. She told me what no one else has been able to because no one else who has weighed in on donor children has been a donor child themselves. So to the person who emailed my post? Thank you. Really.

With that, I plan on putting this topic on the back burner once again and bringing back to boil topics like the death of breasteeding, where to find the cheapest diapers on earth, and some great new cosmetic finds.

MOTHER FATHER

Whenever I hear or read something that infuriates me, it is a true test of my patience not to go off half-cocked. Doing so normally gets me into trouble and I end up eating shoe leather.

On the other hand, once I’ve cooled off or had time to research, I get bogged down by my rational side trying to convince me to be fair. To present both sides. To not offend. Unfortunately, it then loses all meaning.

This will be one of those posts that will either piss you off or it will not. I won’t apologize if it does. I will add that none of your comments on the poll, which are now also published, were taken any other way but with sincere openess.

Does becoming a sperm donor or egg donor make one a “mother” or “father”? I guess it depends on who you ask.

Me?

No.

As I thought about this over and over again, I realized that the ONLY people NOT referring to the donors as Mother and Father were the donors themselves. So why is every one else?

If I thought about the literal sense of donation, then Fathers would be made with every one night stand. Mothers would be made every time there was unprotected sex during ovulation.

That doesn’t count, you say, because there was no intent?

OK, so for any couple who has gone through IVF, IUI or even procreative sex, they became Mothers and Fathers even if there was no conception, right?

Now I’m just being argumentative, you say?

Yes, I am, because our society has become so uptight in our pursuit of being politically correct even when it logically makes no sense to do so. What’s wrong with the donor being called a Donor?

What bug flew up my butt and inspired the poll (final results were 74.59% said no, donors do not become mothers/fathers while 24.59% said they did, which at one point was as high as 33%, and there were 51 votes)?

This comment to a thread I subscribed to. I won’t link the thread because the response really had nothing to do with the topic:

I was conceived through an anonymous sperm ‘donation’ (no money exchanged) back in the mid 1960’s through a private doctor practice. I learned of my conception origins at 18 but didn’t feel entitled to acknowledge the confusion this created for me until I had children of my own.

It was only until I saw how much my children were a part of, not only my husband and me, but our collective (bio/genetic) families. This was no long just a personal loss, this was much bigger than me. I searched for my biological father (my parents donor) after the birth of our second child and learned that because I was not of his marriage that I and my children (his grandchildren) could never be acknowledged, recognized or embraced by him – our extended bio/genetic family (grandparents/half siblings/aunts/uncles/cousins etc) or know or be a part of our family ancestry/history.

I see many reasons why donor (especially vendor) gametes/traditional surrogacy is wrong, not for religious reasons but for human dignity reasons. Knowing a name is not the same as being loved and embraced. These methods of conception are not the same as adoption, although they share many issues in common. Adoption (which has many ethical issues of its own), as an institution, is very pro-child. Adoption does not intentionally separate a person from their bio/genetic mother/father/family. It recognizes this separation as a tragedy. BUT donor/vendor/traditional surrogacy intentionally creates a child that will not be loved nurtured, unconditionally embraced or supported by one or both of their bio/genetic parents and extended family. This puts adults wants for a child (pre-conception), before the needs of a child (post- conception).

Of course people conceived through donor/vendor/surrogacy need to be accepted, loved, supported (THAT MUCH MORE SO) by the Catholic/faith community. But these methods of conception — when a child/person is intentionally created in a way that PROHIBITS them (and their future children) from being acknowledged, embraced, loved and nurtured in a fully inclusive way by ALL the people they come from and belong to — do not.

Verbatim and in its entirety.

I do feel sorry for this person as she found out what I think is too late in life that she was donor conceived, but third-party conception has a rather slow learning curve. No one knows the impact of what we tell or don’t tell our children until that moment, and usually it’s too late. In another 20 years, will the trend to tell your child as soon as they are toddling that there was a donor or they were adopted or were bore by a surrogate, come back and bite us on the ass? In some form or another, yes. That child will probably resent “feeling” different then other children. Then again, some children never have an issue. It really is a matter of perspective on life and temperament.

Also, I find myself asking, hypothetically, what right did this person have in asking to be embraced by her donor and his extended family? His donation was not intended to increase his genetic lineage so it seems a rather large leap to assume that 30 years later, he would welcome with open arms that possibility by a stranger. Not only would I never expect ZGirl’s genetic donor to ever acknowledge her if the two were ever to learn of each other’s identity, I also would never demand ZGirl to acknowledge the donor’s family as her own. The donor’s children are not my daughter’s half-sisters or half-brothers. These are terms modern society puts out there to both welcome, and yet exclude, children in a mixed marriage. They are titles to make sure that the Consanguine Family never rises again, and rightfully so.

It was this statement that pushed me over the edge, “Adoption does not intentionally separate a person from their bio/genetic mother/father/family. It recognizes this separation as a tragedy. BUT donor/vendor/traditional surrogacy intentionally creates a child that will not be loved nurtured, unconditionally embraced or supported by one or both of their bio/genetic parents and extended family.”

Adoption is the most intentional form of separation  out there! While I understand her intent in the statement, there is no such thing as an “accidental adoption” unless it’s a swapping of newborns in the hospital.

And to state that donor and surrogacy intentionally creates a child that will not be loved, nurtured or unconditionally embraced or supported by the genetic parents and the extended family??!! Fuck her. And fuck her “non-bio” family for screwing her over by making her feel as if the only unconditional love she could get was from her genetic father and his family since it seems apparent that they did not provide it themselves..

I am not so arrogant to believe that my anger about the quote is directed purely at this stranger. I am angry that it made me question the choices we made. The choices we will eventually make with our own children. How dare I allow some one else’s shitty experience cloud the utter joy I have when my daughter reaches for me, smiles at me, laughs at me. Her mother. Her ONLY  mother.

A QUESTION THAT DOESN’T NEED ANSWERING

Last night, ZGirl and I were taking a bath. We both have been struck by colds and a vapor bath provided some relief. I called for Mr. DD who held up ZGirl’s fluffy, warm towel for me as I lifted her slippery body out of the water into his arms. As he coo’ed and talked to her in the quiet of the master bath, I told him that I noticed I had started spotting today. The first sign of a cycle trying to return since I got pregnant a year ago.

Mr. DD mulled over the information for a brief second or two and then asked, “We’re not having any more kids, right? What do you want to do about birth control?”

We’re not having any more kids, right?

The words hung in the humid air while a lump built in my throat. I’m 41. My eggs are shit. His sperm is shit. I tried to blow off the words with the snarky response, “Like we  have to worry about birth control – Ha!” to which he replied, “That’s not an answer,” and walked out of the bathroom door with ZGirl curled up in his arms.

We’re not having any more kids, right?

I stretched out in the tub, the water quickly cooling, the bubbles surrounding me quietly clicking as they popped. I thought I was well-prepared for this moment, accepting that after years of ART and miscarriages, having another baby would never be an option to put on the family table to discuss. But still…

We’re not having any more kids, right?

I opened the drain to the tub and heard the water gurgle away. I watched my knees form islands of skin and bone as the water level dropped. I felt my skin cool and tighten with goosebumps as air hit the newly exposed areas of my shoulders and back. All too soon, the tub was empty and I stood up to reach for my robe hanging on the wall. In that moment I caught the reflection of my body in the mirror, and I saw the ravages of pregnancies and time staring back at me.

We’re not having any more kids, right?

I thought again of the one remaining embryo on ice, Pokey. It would probably never survive a thaw and I had no idea why they even froze it, except maybe out of pity. Four eggs retrieved, four eggs fertilized, three transfered…may as well freeze the fourth. The clinic’s symbolic attempt at hope in case none of the first three took.

We’re not having any more kids, right?

No, it’s not “right”. It just is.

WORDS CANNOT EXPRESS

I’m terrible with faces. You know, not being able to recognize someone once I’ve been introduced to them? I feel that blank stare coming out of my own face as if it’s a cheap plastic mask when someone comes up to me and says, “Hey! How have you been doing? How old is that baby now?” Hopefully I cover my tracks fairly well and let them mark it up to sleepless nights and not to the fact that I’m totally inadequate when it comes to facial recognition.

I think about that quite a bit now since I’ve had ZGirl, much like I did when XBoy was a baby. To me, babies really do all look alike, with their mostly bald, bocce ball heads. With XBoy, I would inspect him during diaper changes and try to memorize freckles and birthmarks, just in case someone stole him out of my Target cart.

ZGirl doesn’t have any freckles or birthmarks, so I’ve been trying to find something – remarkable – about her face during my studies. What I find myself saying is “my god, she’s beautiful…” and I wonder why I don’t feel vain when I say it. In fact, I feel something quite differently and it took a while for me to put my finger on that feeling. It was envy mixed with jealousy.

There’s no vanity there because it’s not like I’m saying, “I’m beautiful, so of course, ZGirl is beautiful,” because she’s not my genetic offspring. The jealousy stems from something primitive inside of me, something that irrationally puts my husband with a strange woman who together had a baby and I am reaping the benefits of that union. There was nothing that could have prepared me for such a strange feeling.

I compare photographs of ZGirl to XBoy and certainly one can see some similarities, which she may or may not grow out of. I mean, c’mon. Chubby cheeks and button noses are pretty standard features on babies and those are just a couple of the things I notice when comparing the two.

I’ve been trying to put into words these complex emotions, but it’s truly been impossible to do more than state what is obvious to me. I can’t even confirm that this envy/jealousy is actually a negative feeling. Maybe it’s because that while I feel the little green monster sitting on my shoulder, I have such a feeling of adoration and appreciation that it mutes it rather effectively.

During my pregnancy, I hardly gave our donor a thought. I’m not sure if it was because I tried to keep myself emotionally calloused, just in case something happened during the pregnancy, or if it was that without the physical manifestation of that union of the donor and my husband, I didn’t understand the full impact of what has now come to be: ZGirl. But now? I look into ZGirl’s still very blue eyes and wonder: does the donor have blue eyes? Do her children have blue eyes? Does the other recipient’s baby look like ZGirl? How many children does the donor have? Is it possible that one day our paths could randomly cross and she would look at ZGirl and recognize her own child(ren)?

Everyone tells us how beautiful ZGirl is; how perfect she is. Of course I agree out of maternal pride, but I also agree because somehow it acknowledges how beautiful and perfect the donor is, and always will be, to us. So I continue to stare at her, to memorize, and marvel…

ZGirl, 14 weeks
ZGirl, 14 weeks

NEBRASKA IS NOT KNOWN TO HAVE A GOOD SUPPLY OF “MALE ESCORTS”

Another October, another fundraiser.

This year I finally stopped trying to convince my husband to be my date. He doesn’t enjoy it and having him resentfully attend would certainly be the turd in the punch bowl as far as I’m concerned. Overall it’s a win/win situation since I don’t have to worry about finding a babysitter at the last minute (because that’s when we always try to find one) and he gave me his blessings in the form of The Checkbook, plus he got to stay home and watch Iron Man with XBoy and cuddle with ZGirl.

I have to admit that I think he got the better end of the deal.

XBoy was worried that I would be all by myself and offered to be my date instead. When I told him he had to be 21 before he could go, he asked if I got to sit with my friends. His concern for his old mom was very sweet.

It was nice to get dolled up and rub elbows but by 9:00 p.m. I was dangerously bored andengorged. They hadn’t even started the oral auction by the time I left even though dessert had long since been served and cleared. Giving people extra time to drink free booze does not necessarily drive up the auction totals. Instead people get annoyed with the delays and leave rather than fork out $1,000 for a autographed highschool football. But hell, what do I know? I paid over a $100 for a rather tacky looking birdhouse that kind of resembles the old church and another $100 for a dozen decorated sugar cookies each month for a year (and let me tell you the first dozen have been delish!) through the silent auctions.

Below are a couple of pictures of me Mr. DD snapped before I left. Why, yes, I am enjoying a piece of pizza before heading out for a fundraiser where supper will be served, but you never know how food at those things will be (for the record, chix cordon bleu is just wrong: ham stuffed inside a chicken?? It’s just not natural!).

 

Speaking of dates, October 19, 2007 was the date used as my LMP – even though it wasn’t – once I found out I was pregnant after our donor cycle. Not once did I ever imagine that in a year I would purchase a onesie that said, “My First Halloween” on it, especially considering the heartbreak October 2006 would bring. And today, last October feels like a lifetime ago.

THANK YOU & BAD NIGHT!

Thank You!

Mr. DD called me and said a package had been delivered to the house to “Baby Murdock”. It took him a while to figure out who the hell that was since we don’t actually refer to Murdock as Murdock in real life. It’s just usually an equal usage of “he” or “she”.

The package was from Summer at Worrier/Warrior who is just now teetering into her second trimester through donor egg, and I couldn’t be more pleased with her progress. Thank you, Summer, so much for the sterilizer. I learned the first time that cleaning bottles with brushes and dishwashers was a real pain in the ass.

Also, my friend Mel from Minnesota deserves a public thank you as well for loaning me her playmat, boppy and jumper-thingy. In just six short years jumpers have evolved from the door jam hangers to saucer-like contraptions that require nothing more than three square feet of space. Genius!

I would also like to thank Shanna at Shinny Laboo for the gender-neutral newborn items she sent me a few weeks ago. When the box showed up, its size belied how many tiny things can actually be stuffed inside and it seemed I’d never reach the bottom!

That concludes the “Thank You” portion of this post. Now onto the “Bad Night”:

Bad Night(s)

It seems as if I’ve been stuck in a nightmarish loop of “just three more weeks” for the past six. Groundhog Day for the Pregnant Woman, perhaps? And that’s just three more weeks before my c-section. It’s actually four until my due date. It didn’t help that while out and about doing an errand last night, an acquaintance I hadn’t seen for some time asked if we were having twins.

I must be delusional as I thought most of my hugeness was originating out of my ankles. Want proof?

I have sharpei legs!! AAAiiieeeeeee!

Sleeping is still a much dreaded ordeal. I’ve become such a hormonal and whiny, crabby mess that when I wake by the fourth time each night, usually at 3:00 a.m., I’m literally in tears from the pain in my wrists and exhaustion. I never thought I would be such a blubbering mess at this point. At the same time, I wonder where I get the energy to answer the question, “How are you feeling?” with “Great!” when obviously, I’m not.

The Other Stuff

I did finally get someone scheduled to clean the  house. They will come for the first time July 11th. I went to that website to get my gift certificate for the service only to find that the GC is no longer available. You snooze, you lose.

Obviously nothing new to see here, move along. More interesting is the new reality show, The Baby Borrowers. I don’t know what is more insane: teenagers hoping to show they are ready to start a family now; or couples handing over their baby to clueless teenagers (of which there are one or two girls I’d love to slap across the face with a poop-filled diaper, especially the one who got so frustrated trying to feed the baby she ground out, “Fine, you can starve!” I’m looking at you, Alicea.).

If you’re not into picking up ONE. MORE. REALITY. SHOW! then I would also like to recommend that you stop and see Jessie over at Life As I Knew It Has Changed, who had a D&C as a follow-up to a biopsy that came back as pre-cancerous. A little stroking never did anyone harm, and she especially likes it…you dirty, dirty girl, you.

no. 644 – Pimping the Etsy

Right before the Holiday season, I acquired my very own etsy account so I can do some Christmas shopping. I completely underachieved and only purchased one item, this blockprint on red paper for my bicycling-crazed sister. While my Mom was a little freaked out by it, my sister LOVED it. She’s weird (and cool) that way.

Recently I started shopping for a checkbook cover. Yes, I still write checks. The sun goes behind the clouds, flowers die, and the poppers and lockers all freeze in unison when I whip out my checkbook. I don’t care and most merchandisers around here don’t mind, either, figuring it’s better than me offering a dozen eggs, a slaughtered calf or pickled pigs feet in exchange for their services. This is rural Nebraska, after all.

But because I refuse to be of the norm, my checkbooks are of the top-stub type. Carbon checks are a royal pain in the ass because by the time you get to the 49th check, the carbons below have been all but obliterated. However, the problem I have with top-stub checks is finding a checkbook cover for them since they are too big for the cute ones found in department stores. The last cover I bought was from ebay: a horribly dull, black, “leather” cover that has become so abused that the “leather” is fraying around the edges and the black has cracked to brown. Yucky.

I checked ebay once again, sadly resigned to have to buy yet another dull cover, when I thought about looking on etsy. I found some perfectly gorgeous covers…for the standard checkbook. Taking a chance, I contacted Lori, shop owner of Thirty One 13 Designs about my dilemma.

She replied immediately and was positive she could create something up for me. Once I sent the dimensions and fabric preference, she whipped one up, just for little ol’ me.

Il_fullxfull And here it is. Isn’t it adorable?! So even though I’m holding up the line of 50 people at Target, they can all be swooning over my checkbook cover.

no. 643 – Donor Decision

I’ve been asked on separate occasions, whether by bloggers who are just finding out that they, too, have donor egg recommended to them; or by those just curious about donor egg, how we came to our decision to move forward.

While I have moments of second-guessing and even grief about donor egg, they are brief and nothing like the mental anguish I had when a cycle failed or when I miscarried. The chance of having another child, regardless of the means, was like a shiny object in the grass glittering with possibilities and promises.

When I read about other bloggers who struggle with donor egg, or even those who are frank enough to say donor assisted technology is absolutely NOT for them, each time I feel the doubt and worry wash over me anew. What if I made a rash decision? Did I give this enough thought or did I move forward out of desperation?

I say “I” because I’ve never talked about these wavering moments with Mr. DD. When the option was placed on the table and he gave his tentative blessing, I ran with it knowing how difficult it had been up to that time for him to take the leap of faith into the first IVF and then failing that, donor sperm. It took months for him to accept that a second child wasn’t going to come to us like the first.

While I know it will be important for Murdock to know about his/her conception, as well as for XBoy to understand, being able to have it all figured out now just doesn’t seem as relevant as it did at the beginning. There are just so many other things that I believe are more important than raising a child who understands the finer points of assisted reproductive technology.

I also strongly believe, whether you agree or not, that the egg that became Murdock came from the genetic donor, not the biological donor. I can’t say we would have chosen a known donor over anonymous if that had been an option. It’s an act of defeatism to try to imagine it. How many times do we already beat ourselves up with the “what ifs?” (what if we had tried to have children sooner; what if we hadn’t waited 3 years after the first one; what if that pregnancy wouldn’t have ended…)?

There’s no way that I’ll ever be able to push out of my mind that Murdock is the result of a stranger’s act, whether it was purely altruistic or if she was in desperate financial need. It only matters that she did and I’m sure I will silently thank her, and even curse her, a million times over during the time I have with Murdock on this earth.

Our donor may give Murdock some physical characteristics that are visibly different than both Mr. DD and me, but it will be Mr. DD, XBoy and I that will give him/her what’s immediately essential: love, strength, importance, and family. And those intangible items are what helped me decide that the one factual idea of donor egg was really the simplest hurdle to overcome.

no. 578 – Cabbage Leaves or Stork?

During our NT scan on Friday, somehow the topic of telling Murdock of his/her beginnings came up. With nary a break, the tech said, “There’s no need to tell him anything except that he was a product of IVF. If you tell him about being from an anonymous donor egg, he will question everything about him from the past and will question everything you ever tell him in the future. It would ruin his life.”

So many things about her statement rattled me.

  • That she even thought she had the right to voice her opinion about something so deeply personal to an expectant couple, much less patients of the clinic, blew my mind.

Maybe she based it on her own personal experience? I can assure she did not as she later told us (after we tried to diffuse the tension by pointing out her choice of male pronouns) that she had two boys and that there were no fertility challenges in her past.

  • Her adamant opinion only confirmed in us both that this is not something we will hide from Murdock. However, Mr. DD and I are at odds when. He said it should be while h/she is well into his/her teens. I say it should be during young adolescence.

The professionals really have nothing definitive about this (see Q&A at bottom of second link – worth reading if you use donor), but just some sensible guidelines. XBoy’s mental maturity has not warranted the beginnings of a sex talk with him, and he’s six. He knows that babies grown inside Mommies, but he’s never asked how they get in there. I’m sure it will come up when we finally tell him about Murdock, and no matter how long we dwell on the information, it will not make it any easier.

  • If there was regret over using donor egg, it is the fact that our donor was anonymous. That is just the clinic’s overall policy.

While we certainly could have made a radical change by switching clinics for a very last cycle to one that offered both open and anonymous egg donors, that option had so many downsides, one of which at the very least would have meant me taking a leave of absence from my job and moving to another city for at least three weeks, we couldn’t have fiscally or emotionally handled such a drastic change.

But you may ask, wouldn’t any sacrifice now (or then) had been worth knowing the donor to avoid future conflicts?

We believe we have sacrificed and sacrificed and maybe in the back of our heads we never believed this last cycle was going to work, so the thought of another sacrifice to an uncaring and deaf Infertility Goddess was moot.

I know that we will face some challenges in the future. One of them will not be us trying to hide the fact we may a child born via a donor from either of our children. If we wanted to keep it a secret from Murdock, we would have requested same blood types; we would have demanded similar physical features.

We can only repeat the mantra that comes from families of donor resources and that is it is the child’s story to tell. How or when we tell that child? I just know it won’t be the way the clinic’s tech “suggested”. That’s our business and our business alone.

MOTIVATIONALLY SPEAKING

I honestly did consider calling the clinic and telling them about bleeding/spotting. Isn’t it “funny” how so many of those who have experienced multiple miscarriages always seem to have early pregnancy bleeding of some kind of another?

I’ve had absolutely none. Zip. Nada.

Now that’s not saying that occasionally I don’t feel something and make a dash to the bathroom in blinding fear. I would also have to confess that during those all-too-frequent breaks, I flash myself in the mirror just to see if there are any new veins; any darkening; any “swelling”, to which there is nothing new. One of these days I will forget to lock the door.

I also considered calling my old OB on a favor and ask for a Mercy Scan. Unfortunately, I cannot get over the jinx I think surrounds that particular machine as it was the one that found that Vivienne had died and that we supposedly had an empty gestational sac with Wolf.

Now let’s say that I did get a Mercy Scan with the OB and found that Murdock did indeed crash and burn since Thursday. What then? I would have to call the clinic and tell them that out of desperation I went behind their back for a scan? I would feel foolish. Illogically so, but still.

Here’s what I must do instead.

I have to practice believing that this could work out. My counselor (who again has not called me back since the last time I had to cancel due to a conflict – and no, I won’t be going back) said that I don’t need to figure out what to do if the donor cycle doesn’t work, but how do deal with what happens if it does.

In less than four days after my scan I was out of my mind with worry. If I was to get a scan tomorrow, would that really tie me over until next Thursday? By the weekend, I would be in the same mental state. I would have 24 hour reassurance – max. That is my fate right now as someone who is pregnant (by technical terms) but has had nearly impossible success in staying pregnant.

At least this way I am practicing that positive reinforcement. If I get lucky next week and actually get to see something besides a yolk sac then it will be a couple more weeks where I will repeat this whole process again, but at some point I’m either going to have to trust in this pregnancy (or not once proving otherwise).

One last rather morbid caveat: if by the next ultrasound it is confirmed that Murdock became the last victim of a Body Gone Bad, then I’ll be able to say I made it to 8 weeks.

This will either work or it won’t. There’s no middle ground, so I’m trying really, REALLY hard to convince myself it will but I assure you, Tony Robbins isn’t going to be knocking on my door to award me any prize for Positive Thinking anytime soon.