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.



Bloating, bad sex, and the glamour of fertility treatments

We had yet another IUI yesterday – and for anyone keeping track, that’s the 3rd IUI since we stopped doing multiple cycles of IVF…which was only after doing multiple cycles of IUI. I’m Benjamin Buttoning my fertility treatments apparently. Soon I’ll just be tracking my temperature and charting cervical mucus like an innocent 26-year-old. Anyway, the IUI, as always, left me bloated, and tender, and unable to walk without feeling stabbing gas-like pains in my abdomen. And what I truly, truly love about the IUI process is that they then tell you to go home and have sex that night or the following morning. Riiiiiiight. Because that’s exactly what you want to do when your body feels like a medical experiment gone wrong.

And of course, despite doing this fertility song and dance a million times, this time we just flat out forgot to have sex. My husband went out to watch basketball last night, and I fell asleep before he got home, and this morning right as I was about to get in the shower I thought, shit, that’s right.

“We forgot to have sex,” I told him, standing in the bedroom doorway wearing nothing but a towel and thick layer of bitterness mixed with general apathy while he still lay in bed.

“We should do it now,” he replied.

“No fucking way,” I laughed, given that our son was eating breakfast at the dining room table, and we live in a NYC apartment, which means the dining room table is a stone’s throw from everything, and I was already short on time.

“We have to!” he insisted.

“Its not like its even going to MATTER,” I replied irritably.

“We have to give it everything we’ve got and keep the hope alive!” he replied, springing out of bed.

“And where exactly do you even think this is even going to happen?” I asked.

“The bathroom! We’ll lock the door.”

Long story short, after bickering about the stupidity of this suggestion, I finally said, “Fuck it, whatever,” and we locked ourselves in our tiny bathroom. Kneeling on the cold, hard, tile floor with towels underneath our knees, we had quite possibly the least romantic, most perfunctory, definitely most uncomfortable, and fastest sex possible while our son sat innocently eating his greek yogurt and granola mere feet away.

That, my friends, is the glamour and glory of infertility.

Afterwards—and by afterwards I mean, like, two minutes later, if that—I sat naked on the toilet with my legs up on the wall and just cried. Because what the fuck am I doing anymore? And when will this stupidity end? And is this really the life I want? Having bad sex in locked bathrooms post-painful-ovulation for what will undoubtedly be absolutely no reason?

Also, my good luck wishbone necklace broke this weekend, and I am pissed. I bought it 9 months into this current journey (which was a million years ago at this point) to replace the one I had worn when trying to conceive my son, which I had started wearing again to hopefully conceive a second child. The first one was gold plated brass, and ended up looking rather worn, and had also broken, and so I bought a real 14k gold one this time, because the fertility treatments were clearly going to take us longer the second time around, and I felt like I needed something solid that could withstand the endless fertility march of time.

And now it’s fucking broken?!? Are you kidding me? What does that even mean, Universe? Must you rob me of even my delusional good luck charms???

Seeking one good egg

It’s always nice to get your post-IUI period on the same day that your neighbor asks you to watch their baby, so that you and your husband and your soon-to-be-four-year old (who incidentally has invented 3 imaginary babies for himself, as well as an imaginary brother and sister, and who sweetly and innocently asks you from time to time “when are we going to have a baby, Mommy?”) briefly experience what your life could be if your eggs weren’t such shit.

When we got the baby up, my son was so doting – hugging and kissing him, wanting me to hold both of them, and then wrapping his arms around all of us with such unbridled joy. He wanted to feed the baby, carefully and diligently holding the little veggie fruit pouch and pushing the food into the baby’s mouth. He wanted to hug him, and do things for him, and show him toys. And then we all sat around the table together, the four of us, eating dinner, watching the baby eat, laughing as he made a mess in his high chair. My husband turned to me, sad eyed, and said “This is one for your blog.”

It’s heartbreaking to not have control over leading the life you most desperately want to lead. I constantly remind myself of how lucky we are. I don’t take having the one child that we do have for granted because I know how hard we struggled for him. And yet…my heart wants what it wants. Sometimes I feel greedy to want more when I know people who are struggling for their first child. Sometimes I think my life would be so much easier if I would give up on my goals (having another child, publishing a book). I could just go to work, and come home, and live life, and chill.

Except that’s just not who I am. I could chill for, like, a day. And then I’d need a project and something to strive for.

Needless to say, we are on our second post-IVF IUI cycle (did that make any sense?). In fact I am sitting in the doctor’s office (as an aside, no AC up in this place? Not even a window unit? In NYC?? What the…?) waiting for blood work as I type this. Likely it will happen this weekend. Am I just throwing cash down the toilet at this point? I don’t know. Maybe. We’re just listening to our doctor’s advice. It’s all we can do.

I just need one good egg, that’s what my doctor says, that’s what I keep telling myself. Is it in there? My doctor thinks so. Will I find it? I pray that I do, I don’t know if I will.

In the mean time I’m doing the Whole 30 elimination diet this month (currently day 9!) to clean out my system and have control over something. No sugar, alcohol, dairy, peanut butter, or grains while in the midst of fertility treatments? Am I insane?? Actually, I’m hoping it helps, though that’s not even the point to be honest. I have finally reached a place where I want to do good things for me and not just my fertility. That feels like growth.

That said, I still want that one goddamn good egg.

Google Searches of the Infertile and Desperate

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