Finally arrived at my favorite time of the year. 2017 has flown by!! It’s been a year today since going public about our fertility journey, so much has changed! It’s been amazing.
First, a little personal life update. I have a 6 month old! WHAT. How!? Jackson is gaining fat rolls like crazy, making noises with his mouth all day every day, trying to crawl, he loves bananas, sweet potatoes and strawberries, bath time and loves sloppy kisses.
We are moved into our new place, still unpacking the last of the boxes (moving/unpacking with an infant is way harder than I thought). Once I actually discover what sleep is and find a husband that sticks around long enough we can finish the nursery (I’m too short to put up the leaves and night light stars on the ceiling).
We have a family wedding coming up, can’t wait to bust out Jackson’s tux! I might have accidentally booked my flight while half asleep and both flights were going the same direction, oops. Thank goodness for American Airlines! They completely understood that I am in zombie mode and fixed the flight free of charge. Lots of birthdays to celebrate (because October is filled with the best birthdays). London got moved (boo) but we are going to Oregon for a week to meet up with my hubs and take family photos! I can’t wait to feel a little fall weather, hit up a winery and of course layer up with cute clothes, unless my child decides to redecorate my outfits which will land me in baggy sweats. Oregon you’ve been warned. I’m going to be starting a new workout program I’m excited to start getting active again, I really miss working out. Jared is still traveling constantly until January so most days it’s just me and the mini monster. That’s what is new with us..
I’ve gotten a lot of the same questions from curious minds and future intended parents about my donor experience, so I thought I’d post some here, if there are more that haven’t come to mind feel free to ask away!
What is the term of infertility that you suffer from?
POS/DOR Premature Ovarian Syndrome/Diminished Ovarian Reserve. Basically, my egg quality is terrible. My hormone levels are equal to a late forty something. Along with this I have a family history of premature menopause that developed into menopausal hemorrhaging my doctors believe I will be 26 years old when menopause will hit and could take away the ability of me even carrying a child if it leads that.
What was your grieving process like?
Rough. Really rough. The hardest thing I’ve ever gone through, it sucked. It will continue to suck because I always grieve the babies I’ve lost, the babies I will never have and and the inability to ever change that. (Although I’m hoping one day I can be the few that were successful to have a bio baby after our donor baby). Some days are harder than others, like when it happens to be a due date that I never made it to, seeing every Kardashian pregnancy rumor on Facebook, or just that off day that I over think possibly trying to have another baby. It happens, and if you’re going through it, I am so sorry. There are good days and bad, just keep your head up.
How did you come to terms with using a donor egg?
I haven’t fully come to terms with it. First, I had to separate the news of my body failure and having to use a donor, they are two different problems and if one is not in a good place you’ll find yourself hating the potential donor and let’s be real it’s not their fault. Losing the ability to have a genetic child will always bother me, it’s something I never expected and would never wish on anyone. However, moving to the next step (using a donor) was the realization and pure desire to have a family. For my husband to have a biological child and for me to carry a child to term. This was the only way we would get those things. So we jumped.
Did you ever find yourself not connected to your donor baby?
Never. I have always felt like he was mine. Most days he prefers me over his dad, he will cling to my neck and cry if he can’t find me. The beauty of all of this madness is I AM HIS MOTHER. I carried him, I will raise him, I get up in the middle of the night to soothe him, when he is hungry, tired or just feeling cuddly he wants me. No DNA will change our bond. There will be hard days that he might be a little fussier than normal and I might not know the answer to every problem. I definitely find myself thinking what if I can’t solve it or what if he’s upset because I’m supposed to have some biological instant problem solving mutation in my body but that’s ridiculous. Babies cry, babies have hard days. It’s not my DNA that is making it more difficult, it’s just my baby being a baby. I find at times that I am harder on myself, if there is any disconnection it is only brief moments of self doubt in my abilities, but I’ve never felt a disconnected bond as mother and son.
What did the donor do exactly in the process of your family making?
My beautiful egg donor devoted herself to our journey for about 8 weeks of testing, psychologist evaluations and a whole bunch of needles! She began with a simple AMH/FSH/AFC test. If levels were good she moved on to the psych evaluation, if the doctor cleared her she would sync up her menstrual cycle to my doctors and they would have her inject medicine into her stomach for about 10 days. Those injections would stimulate her follicles, where her eggs would become mature and at the end of the 10 day stimulation she would be given a big ole dose of HCG or better known as the “Trigger shot”. Thus preparing eggs to ovulate, within 48 hours of that injection she would go through an Egg Retrieval Surgery where my Doc would use a small needle to get the mature eggs. She still has eggs for herself, her recovery would be about a week of light duty and all returns to normal, except she has a family that will forever be grateful for her selfless sacrifice, not many are willing to give up some eggs so others could have a family. If you or someone you know is interested in being an egg donor and they might have questions holler at me I’d be happy to explain the process, many clinics and agencies offer a very nice financial boost and it really is a rewarding commitment that betters so many families.
You have a donor baby, what happens if you want another baby?
When our donor did her IVF we got all the eggs they collected. (Side note: During IVF they do NOT take every egg inside your body, the hormones stimulate only a bundle of eggs. Just as if you’re ovulating only 1 is released, the hormones can release and mature 1-40 eggs at a time. But not every egg, so she can still have her own family). Any who! Our donor collected 25 eggs, and from that 4 total were healthy and growing, so we used 1 embryo (Howdy, Jackson!) and we have 3 embryos in the freezer, waiting for us to transfer them inside, if and when we want. So my children will be from the same egg donor.
Transfer process: Doctor appointments to check the uterus and cervical lining checks, until lining is 7-9mm thick, or more! Usually about 4-6 days of injections of hormones prior to transfer, acupuncture, change of diet, the transfer day: pop a Valium and boom! They will inject the little snowflake or snowflakes and about 10-14 day after they will do a beta (blood test/hcg) and 48 hours later they check if it doubles, if so woohoo, you’re officially pregnant, schedule ultrasounds and spend 9-12 weeks at the fertility specialist for appointments until they graduate you to the regular OBGYN. Injections of Progesterone continue until about 10 weeks of pregnancy.
How often do you think about having a genetic child?
All day, every day! I haven’t given up on the idea of it. When the time comes we will most likely try a couple months before moving back to the embryos.
What do you have to do to try naturally?
Major egg quality control. Hormone testing (Day 3 after menstrual cycle), possible blood thinner injections or aspirin (depending on Dr) Lots of vitamins (Ovaboost, fish oil, Coq10, etc) Prenatal vitamins (folate friendly, thanks MTHFR A1298C) Diet change (gluten free/caffeine free/organic) acupuncture sessions etc. At some point I might do ovulation test strips just to have an idea if my cycles have changed since having a baby. Lots and lots of research ahead of me to calculate exactly what my body will need but that is the list as of now. Making babies is so easy, right? I do miss the days where a 6 pack and a decent dinner would seal the deal.
Will you tell your son about being a donor baby? If so, when?
YES. A big part of us going public is that my son will fully understand how he came about in our family. We plan to tell him while he is younger, I’ve been working on a children’s book for him so he can understand how Mommy and Daddy needed help having a baby and so on and so forth.
Why share all of this information?
My goal is to help anyone going through this process and to shed some light and knowledge to those who don’t know very much about infertility. It gets confusing quick and there is so much information sometimes it can be very difficult and overwhelming to fully understand.
If you have any questions feel free to message or comment to me! I’m an open book. I can’t think of any more right now because my child is avoiding his nap by wrestling his Stitch stuffed animal and looks like the over sized Bumble Bee is giving a threatening look so I need to talk that kid out of starting a war between his toys. More blogging to come! Below are a couple of snapshots of our life 🙂