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When you see your reproductive endocrinologist after months and months and she gives you a big hug

Donor eggs, here we come

It’s actually happening. This past Wednesday at 5pm we got the call from Cornell that they had a match for us! Its a frozen batch of eggs, and they said the donor is a very good match for us, both physically and in terms of the qualities we were looking for.

We started the process in late June so we’ve had a lot of time to sit with this decision, and I really feel good about it and ready. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I did a lot of grieving over the past 5+ months, and a lot of processing with my therapist. And I started seeing a fertility coach (who is AMAZING) to help me get back to myself. And taking time away from trying for a baby helped so much. We not only stopped all treatments, we stopped trying on our own. I realized I couldn’t just sort of try, like “hey lets just have unprotected sex anyway, and if something happens great” because that still left me wondering what if and tracking every moment of my cycle,¬†which was torture. I needed to completely take it out of the equation so that I wasn’t thinking about it at all. In fact I didn’t even know where I was in my cycle, which was so liberating! All of that combined really helped me to refill the well, so to speak, and get to a place that when that call came I felt ready.

Of course, that said as soon as I got home and read the profile they had sent to us my heart sank. Because on some level I think I was hoping to see myself on paper, or at least a carbon copy of myself. And the donor obviously wasn’t. But once I sat with that understanding, and then re-read the profile a few times, and described her to other people (which helped me process the information) and started Googling her profession and her hobbies to learn more about them, she started to feel real to me in a very good, specific way, and I started to feel really good about the match and realized that she’s actually a very good fit and has all of the qualities we were looking for.

And then we saw her childhood photos on Thursday at Cornell’s office (no adult photos, since their program is anonymous, and you can only view the photos in the office) and that’s when it really clicked for me. Seeing her as a kid I felt so warm towards her. I almost felt like we were looking at photos of a child we are going to adopt. I just kept thinking, yes, I would take this little girl.

Not that it isn’t overwhelming at times and a bit dizzying. Tonight I had a moment when I was on the elliptical at the gym where I suddenly thought, “wait, are we really doing this? Isn’t this bizarre?” I really don’t think our human brains are built to fully process such a modern choice.

But thank god for such a choice. And we are really doing this. I want to be doing this.

And in some strange way this new journey, which we never could have foreseen, makes me feel more open to the universe. As you get older you can feel like things are set – you’ve gone to college, you’ve travelled, moved to new cities, gotten married, had a kid (in my case, which man were we lucky on that) – and this unexpected left turn is in some weird way exciting. We never could have guessed this would happen, and I sort of like knowing that life can still surprise you in such amazing ways. Just to think that this whole time this other person was out there living their life, and now here its going to intersect with ours in the most meaningful of ways, is amazing and inspiring.

So here we are. I go in for bloodwork and a saline sonogram this weekend, and start birth control. And then I start Lupron shots on literally the last day of the year. I feel ready for this next stage.

Is it time to move on?

Lately I’ve been contemplating donor eggs. And by contemplating I mean that we’ve begun the donor egg process. We were on vacation in June and had just learned our 3rd IUI had failed – well, technically it was our 10th IUI since we did 7 IUIs before moving to IVF…and then back to IUI – and I decided it was time to start looking into next steps. And once we learned that the donor egg program had a 6+ month wait at Cornell, it made sense to begin the process of getting ourselves on the list.

So we did all the consultations, and my husband has given blood for genetic testing, and now we have to fill out our form and give photos of me as a child and me now. Needless to say I’m finding all of it emotional and overwhelming. Some days I’m numb and disconnected from myself, some days I’m unbelievably tired, other days I’m depressed and want to do nothing but eat junk food, watch Netflix, and sleep.

Today is day 1 of my cycle and we agreed to do one more IUI so that we could consciously say, okay, this is our last time. I don’t expect it to work, and part of me doesn’t really want to spend any more money on treatments that fail time after time. But I’m willing to try one last time.

Our doctor continues to say she thinks we have a chance getting pregnant with my eggs based on my age, AMH and FSH, and she wants to continue IUIs through the end of the year. But there’s only so much more I can take of this infertility hamster wheel – and only so much money we’re both willing to spend on treatments that keep failing. Nearly 3 years into things I’m feeling like failure after failure has the potential to erode something within me, and I want to preserve the person I am. Maybe there’s one good egg in there, but I’m not sure I’m willing to go on and on forever just to find it. We’ve already given this way more time than either of us wanted, and we aren’t getting any younger. Maybe it would be better to accept I can’t have any more kids with my own eggs, grieve that loss, and then get on with the process of having a baby.