Posts Tagged ‘egg donation’

Egg donation: my eggs become someone else’s child.

July 2, 2010

I wrote a post last week that briefly mentioned that the woman I donated eggs to would be keen to expand her family using more of my eggs. The comments on that entry (go read ’em!) made me think that this was worth writing more about.

The question that just popped into my mind was, ‘When do they go from being my eggs to her children?’ For me, that happened pretty much instantly.

The first comment was asking me if I ever felt odd about this. She said she wouldn’t want to donate her eggs, as it would be the same as carrying a baby to term and giving it up for adoption. And you know? Of course I sometimes feel odd about it. I started feeling odd right about the time that my children were born, and I suddenly wondered about that third baby out there (in the city just south of me).

Did it look like Snort and/or Coconut? Did it look like me? Would it like writing? Scary movies?

So, yes, I feel that way sometimes. On one occasion I did say to TMD I felt like I’d given a child up for adoption. I have all those feelings, and in a way would love to meet the family I helped to create. I think it would make it easier.

But you know what? Every time I talked to my clinic about this lady, I just felt good. Like a deep, bubbling joy.

I knew I would donate eggs when we went to a presentation at our clinic. I looked at the statistics for conception of babies done by IUI versus IVF and was terrified. I wanted a baby so much it was like my heart was big and fragile and wounded and longing. It was all I could think about, talk about. Having a child has been my deepest longing for years.

And I thought about how badly I wanted one, and then about the women who would need egg donation. If they were straight, they probably tried ‘the natural way’ for a goodish amount of time. Probably had IUI. Probably had IVF multiple times.  Waited possible years for a donor egg. Month after month of disappointment, of bleeding, of their dreams becoming more wanted – and more unlikely. Those women are fucking heroes in my book.

So I gave half my eggs to a stranger. In return, my IVF treatment was paid for (egg sharing means I give half my eggs, and recipient couples pay for their IVF and a donor’s IVF).

I got Snort and Coconut, these exact perfect wonders, because I shared my eggs with someone who wanted a baby. My children would not be here at this second if that other baby had not had a chance of existing, if that other family was longing for a baby and remained without one. I had my eggs collected one sunny, if chilly, morning – and from those couple of uncomfortable hours came three shining souls into the world.

I say  it’s worth it.

I will probably continue having mixed feelings, but perhaps my truest feelings happen when I hear from that other woman. She sent us a simple card, a card of deep and powerful gratitude (anonymously, it’s all anonymous to protect everyone). She sent messages through the clinic to me. And when my eggs were harvested and in great condition? When the nurse called to congratulate me and say how happy the other woman was, too? My eyes filled with tears for both of us.

I don’t know who she is. I don’t know if she is single or married, gay or straight, young or old. But whoever she is, she went through a lot to get her child. I hope she is parenting that child well, but I choose to believe she is because of the tremendous effort and commitment it takes to have a baby when you are infertile. I would like to meet her and her child when that baby turns 18; I sincerely hope it happens.

On the flip side, we also used donor sperm to conceive Snort and Coconut. Using someone else’s genetic materials makes those children no less fiercely mine. I am grateful to the man who shared his sperm with us. I don’t know who he is, either, but without him, again, our children would not be here.

It all feels quite karma-ish, you know. I give eggs away, and I get two children. I give eggs away because I needed to accept sperm from someone else. I give eggs away because we needed the money for our IVF treatment.

I would consider donating eggs straight out to this family if we chose to not have IVF again for us. This is a surprise to me, because I do still have all the pain and confusion and wondering and hoping for that other child. That child that feels a little bit like he or she is a piece of me, but when I look at our own children I see – when that baby comes into your life  (by embryo, sperm, or egg donation, by adoption, however) that baby belongs to itself. And to your family.

I am happy I do not have several little embryos on ice somewhere, because that would also make me feel nervous and a bit guilty. Instead of being forever frozen and possibly nothing more than potential, should we choose not to have a third or fourth child – those eggs went to someone who wanted a baby and had one.

It makes me feel good. Plain, old fashioned, ordinary good.

Having children has changed my life forever. That my body nurtured two little beings to a full term pregnancy and real kids resulted? Amazing. That somewhere not too far away another woman’s belly was swelling at the same time as mine and I had helped her? Humbling.

I would do it again.

I would not change one thing we did as we tried for a baby, because everything led these two loving, funny, mischievous miracles to our family. I am grateful for that.

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Not my first time being a good egg.

June 24, 2010

We’ve been away, just got home today. Lots to say – but this week was full of firsts. First time to the seaside, first trip to the zoo, first scones.

Also the first time I’ve been called by my fertility clinic to say, hey, you know the lady you anonymously donated eggs to? She wants more of your good looking, super smart eggs should you choose to do IVF again.

I tell you, my genes make good babies, yo. I mean, if her baby had been born snaggletoothed and unable to blow good raspberries, she probably wouldn’t want more eggs.

More thoughts on this later.

My vagina wants me to lay down again. *pity party*

April 9, 2009

Sitting up on the couch AND leaning back against it – two no-nos in the world of Twin Pregnancy. (Can you hear the horns announcing…Twin Pregnancy?) But you know, I don’t give a good fuck at this moment in time. Avert your eyes if you don’t want to see whining and self-pity.

But…I’m boooooooooooooored. Being at home is all fun and games assuming you are able and willing to move around. A life lived lying on your side? Totally fucked up, my friends. And I’ve got some kickin’ rib tenderness on my left side, which is made about a zillion times more uncomfy when I am lying down. So I thought, be a daredevil. Go on. Sit up, lean back, prop that laptop on your knees and experience typing from a normal position again.

It’s not quite as risque as buying a motorcycle and taking off for unknown territories, but it gave me a brief thrill for about ten minutes. Or five.

Fact is, I am clockwatching. I am waiting and waiting and waiting for TMD to get home. I’m lonely, bored, thirsty, uncomfortable, worried, etc. I am also radiantly happy and keep touching my bump. But honestly, the babies are okay company – but not quite the same as having someone with you who is living outside of your stomach. I need a hug!

I keep wondering how in god’s name I can possibly stay at home for another 18 weeks (if I deliver at 38 weeks, which is the plan) because HOLY FUCK THIS IS BORING. The upside is that all this rest means I am likely to head off bad complications from the SPD, preterm labour, etc. It also means I’m less likely to be forced onto actual never-leave-the-bed-rest. I know my job is to be a good twincubator and cook up some healthy, fat babies – but god.

I think I need something or someone to entertain me. Maybe a couch in the middle of some woods somewhere, with ambient bird sounds and leafy shadows/light dappling my body. Maybe the ability to sit up for more than 20 minutes without causing myself grievous pains and aches – and therefore being able to do some serious writing. Maybe the motivation to kickstart meditating (I’ve just bought Kabat-Zinn’s Full Catastrophe Living so maybe that will help?) and get into some sort of routine.

The thing is, I actually have a lot to do. Find a guy to make us a will. Download the legal documents to give TMD parental responsibility. Research dual citizenship stuff for the babies. Call the clinic and ask when we get the donor’s pen sketch. Ask them if the lady I donated eggs to got pregnant. Make a list of shit I need from work (my wind up sushi misses me, I am sure of it). Perhaps start filling in the paperwork to become a Superstar Therapist. Make a list of things for babies/my hospital bag. Make a list of stuff we need for the house. Call this strange local lesbian family to see if we can make friends, even though calling someone I don’t know makes me nervous.

But, crazy me, I feel like I can’t do any of that until my new orange notebook comes in the mail and I can make all sorts of crazy detailed lists in the book. Just for the satisfaction of crossing them out – but also because I feel better when I get things out of my head and onto paper. Or this blog, I guess.

Whine, whine, whine.

I spend my days flitting between tv channels. I turn my head sideways and read pregnancy forums, update twitter, mindlessly refresh my Facebook homepage, and check my email. Blog. Lather, rinse, repeat.

I am happy to be at home if it is the best thing for the babies and my body, but jesus why does it have to be so endless? Am I really capable of being home and essentially immobile for NINETEEN total weeks? Is my emotional health strong enough?

I need comfort.

So full of words, but no titles.

March 22, 2009

Another sunny day. Let me say it again: I cannot wait until maternity leave. Not because I don’t love my fabulous and amazing job, but because I want to sit on my birthing ball in the garden. I want to sleep until I wake up (currently freakishly early – like 6:30 am) and then open all the windows and hang out with Marmite.

Weekends are always nice because TMD is here and we have yummy food, fun times, and togetherness. Maternity leave will be a bit different, but I’m so bloody achy that I can’t wait. My back is reaching a level of dysfunction I can’t fully describe – but know that every step I take results in a ‘clicking’ sensation there. And my hips! I had to sleep in my bumpband last night. I also sucked it up and ordered a maternity support belt (how big will my stomach get? I can’t conceive of it).

I never, ever order things that need to fit my body online because I need to try shit on! But this was 10.00 including shipping and I bought the biggest size they offered. I tried on a belt at a store yesterday that was for sizes 8-18 pre-pregnancy, and I swear to Jesus that thing wouldn’t fit around me. This new belt is in tiny size increments (12-14, 14-16, etc) so I think it’ll be more reasonable.

I keep thinking about driving tests with dread. I haven’t booked a new one. I look at all the monstrous fucking idiots in this country who have the ability to drive legally, and I feel like some giant loser because I failed the test. I think this feeling probably stems from the fact that I don’t fail at anything. Reality knows I’ve been driving for 15 years in another country where things are, to say the least, a bit different on the road. Anyway.

A friend from our camping days is coming up this afternoon. Should be very good to see her and pass on our how-to-get-knocked-up-if-you-are-a-dyke tips. I have lots of ’em. In her specific case, they revolve around recommending her to our clinic!! Those people really were the bomb…as was my super fertile body! I read blogs of fellow Sapphites trying to get pregnant with IUI, and the month-after-month devestation of getting their periods terrifies me.

Green asked if I would go back and do this for free with a friend, no crazy hormone shots, etc if I could rewind time. Absofuckinglutely not! IVF worked for us. The first month we tried to make A baby, we got TWO babies. It was less money than IUI as I donated eggs, I got to help another woman, and TMD and I have ended up with Mano and Torre. I would not change one single thing.

It’s nice to not have regrets in this area of my life.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am going to shower now. I have to try to not lean in any direction that fucks with the ligament on the right side of my womb. She is an unhappy ligament and is letting me know it. Still, my ass is very happy on the birthing ball.  You can’t please everybody at once.

I think TMD and I are going to just buy a glider online today. Any recommendations of a good one are very appreciated. We may not live in your country, but glider goodness does exist here.

Okay. Can’t seem to stop typing for some reason. I guess I just feel fulfilled and exactly where I am supposed to be today. It’s….nice. Plain old fashioned happy.

Yesterday – Day 1 of IVF treatment.

November 8, 2008

The whole thing was anti-climactic. The needle was nothing, I couldn’t even feel it going into my skin. But perhaps I’ll rewind and tell this tale a little slower, for any girlies out there about to embark on IVF.

This appointment was the one for me to start taking the injections to ‘turn off’ my natural hormones. This needs to happen so the clinic can control every step of my cycle. I was also told I would learn more about the treatment schedule.

TMD and I arrived in very good time.

We live somewhere with nationalised health service, and this clinic is different as it’s private. It’s also on themost exclusive street in the country, medically-wise. What does that mean? Chandeliers, marble staircases, and being treated like you are fucking royalty. This initially freaked me out (last spring, when we went to an information session on IUI), but I was quickly put at ease by how friendly everyone was.

TMD and I arrived in very good time and settled onto our usual couch (the big, squishy leather one next to the fancy fridges offering different types of bottled water – and a coffee/tea machine that would probably put the rest of the world to shame). I always take a non-sparkling water when I go there, whether I am thirsty or not. We are paying so much money for IVF that I figure I want to get every cents worth.

(Have you seen Friends when Ross goes to the hotel? Yeah, that’s me.)

Yesterday in the lovely giant tree thing next to ‘our’ couch, there were little stuffed monkeys wearing t shirts emblazoned with the clinic’s logo. This sounds cheap and tasteless, but it was fucking awesome. I seriously considering swiping one, then figured that karmically it probably wasn’t a good thing to attempt to steal from a clinic that was going to (fingers crossed) get me pregnant.

Give me time, though. TMD has said when we are preggo we’ll ask to buy one. My momma didn’t raise me to offer to buy things. She raised me to shove them in my purse. Oh, well.

So. The eggsharing nurse/head nurse called us in to her office.  I heard her tell another nurse we wouldn’t be in there long – which was a bit shocking. I don’t know what I expected. A three hour marathon?

She launched right in to describing this first medication, and patted a goody bag that was mine to take home. Yes, I’m now the proud owner of this medication, a shitload of needles/syringes, alcohol wipes, and my own mini SHARPS container. I love that fucking container, man. I want to use it as a desk trash can or something. (Perhaps this links in with how awesome I thought the stuffed monkeys were? Who can tell.)

She then said we would be doing the first injection in the office. She prepared it, talking us through every step of the way. Pushing the needle into the bottle, pulling back to fill the syringe, then pushing some meds back in until the plunger was exactly at the 50 line. (50 what, I don’t know. MLs?) Taking the needle out of the bottle, flicking it very hard to get rid of air, then very gently pushing forward until a drop of fluid came out the end.

She also talked about not worrying too much about very small bubbles, as this was being injected into fatty tissue so there were no terrible health risks involved. She also said something about the needle using ‘positive pressure’ – fuck only knew what that was about, as I was so focused on knowing I was about to shove a needle in my stomach.

When I was little, I was terrified of shots. My mother is a nurse. Once, when I refused to have my tetanus vaccine at age 12, I woke up in the middle of the night to find that my arm was tied with a rubber thing, my mother standing over me with a needle. Fuck a duck, man, no kid wants to wake up that way.

When I went to camp/university for the first time, I had to have about 100 immunisations and things, and since that point I’ve not minded needles. Couple that with about 432532 people treating me after my breast reduction, and you’ll find I have no shame about anything, even dildo-cam ultrasounds when I am bleeding.

But while I’m okay with needles, I’m not okay with actually looking at them. Gross-o,  man.

The nurse asked who should do it – myself or TMD. I think we both knew I needed to, otherwise I would build some big emotional block and never be able to do it again. The nurse offered to literally hold my hand, and I was like, ‘Uh, no. I can quite readily inflict this agony on myself.’

She talked me through every step. The first one was just pinching some of my stomach, just to the side of my belly button. Easy enough. Then I had to put the needle against my skin. Again, simple. Then I had to push it in all the way until the needle wasn’t visible any more. These needles are maybe just over a centimetre long? I’m not sure. I was semi-blind at this point.

The nurse reminded me I needed to look! She also mentioned that leaning back would make it easier.

So…I just pushed the needle into my skin like it was something I did every day. The first words I said once it was in were, ‘Oh! That was nothing.  I didn’t even feel it!’

I then had to depress the plunger and push the meds in (like putting a tampon in, except radically different). I could not push that fucking thing down. It was like pushing a brick wall with your finger and expecting it to move. The nurse said it was be easier if I used my thumb, but I felt committed to my finger. I literally had to use every ounce of strength in my pointer finger to do it. It felt a bit odd going in (did it, or am I making that up?), but again fine. Like some sort of moron, I then said, ‘What do I do now? Take it out?’

Because the only other option is leaving that needle connected to my stomach, and you know that’s a good look. The nurse encouraged me to whip it out faster.

Again, I was saying the same thing over and over about not having felt anything.

She then said my first scan would be on the 20th and offered to book it in now if I wanted the first slot. As I opened up my mouth to reply, that’s when I felt it. It. IT.

‘Uh, it feels funny.  It’s …stinging.  When does it stop stinging?’

The answer, my friends, was a good couple of hours later. It was not a bad pain, but rather a more tender sort of thing – and unexpected. It felt like I’d been stung by a wasp – but not the immediate pain, the sort of lingering stinging in the area afterwards. Nothing bad, though I was hyperaware of it.

Anyway, she offered us the scan on the 19th instead, but that’s the day we have to take Mom back to the airport and that’s just too much. This scan will be to make sure my endometrial layer is completely gone and I’m an IVF blank canvas. I will be learning how to use the next lot of medication, going through and double-checking all the paperwork, etc.

The nurse also booked in EVERY SINGLE SCAN. I got everything at 8:15 or 8:30, so it shouldn’t affect work at all. If anything, I’ll be in early. *touch wood* It’s a weight off my mind to know it’s all set. She also said, ‘Hmm, we can book you in for the last scan on the 1 December, though we can always cancel that.’

I asked if she meant we’d cancel because of the egg retrieval. Like it was no big thang, she nodded and said, ‘Yes, I think we’ll actually being doing your egg retrieval that day, but I can confirm that the Friday before.’ What?!?! Babyville. So if all goes according to her master plan, the first week in December is officially Make A Baby week.

She also said the woman I am donating eggs to is super excited. I said, ‘I know this is anonymous and everything, but can you tell her I’m excited for her?  I really hope this works for both of us.’ The nurse said I could tell her myself, if I wanted. She said many women write cards or letters, and the clinic can then anonymously pass them on to the other woman involved. I think we may do this. I know I would like one from her, just acknowledging what a big thing I’m helping her with. Don’t get me wrong, this woman is paying for the bulk of my treatment. It’s win-win for both of us, especially if babies result.

Trying to remember anything else significant. I think the nurse thought I was a little bit on crack, because I was asking all these questions and using medical terminology. TMD explained that I’d read everything on IVF I could find, and I said that, in fact, they should probably offer me a job at the clinic when this is all done. This clinic takes the approach of trying to take all the stress off the woman – and this is true of IUI as well. They kind of tell you what to do, etc, and don’t ‘overburden’ you with the medical stuff.

I’m the kind of person who does better when I know more, and she was adept and friendly when answering all my questions. On this med, I can still exercise (‘What a relief for you, as you love exercise so much,’ TMD said.), take my inhalers, have normal life. The only admonishment was to stay away from alcohol and to take folic acid. I said I’d been doing both those things for months, and the nurse laughed and said, ‘Excellent. You’re a boring person – the perfect candidate for a healthy treatment and pregnancy.’

I am taking folic acid mixed into a prenatal vitamin, and the nurse said that’s groovy. I also said I was tkaing Omega-3, and she didn’t seem so keen on that. She said I didn’t need to take it. Anyone out there – pregnant or trying – who knows anything about this??

She also said I needed to be retested for HIV, Hep B, Hep B Core, and Hep C as I was donating. While I can do all these free, it’s a motherfucking hassle so I just coughed up the 110.00 and had it done there. Lounging in a comfortable chair on two hundred year old carpet. Mmm.

I got into a bit of a crazy kerfuffle with the receptionist regarding fees. You see, we pay for ICSI (more later), a licensing fee, and the donor sperm. As an egg donor, I do not pay for scans, medications, IVF treatment, etc. This saves us about 5,000 per month. I KNOW. Expensive shit.

We then went to McDonald’s for a healthy dinner, all the while I kept obsessing about the stinging in the injection site. TMD said, ‘You know when you had that cyst out and the stiches hurt you for two weeks? They would have hurt a normal person for about two days. This means that of COURSE you are still stinging.’ She’s probably right.

We also went across the street to a baby store that is so expensive the choice is really whether to buy a couple of sweaters and a crib or put your child through the education system. It was…interesting.

I was weirded out by how non-weird I felt. Anti-climactic, like I say. I was also surprised to see that I was keenly looking forward to 8:30 pm tonight, when I get to give myself another shot. Not sure what’s wrong with me there, but you know.

Day 2 is today. I woke up at the crack of dawn to have an ass explosion (I’m still stressed about what happened at work – damn this situation for making me so tired and taking some of the joy out of yesterday) and never went back to bed. I feel like I’ve run a marathon – except I’ve never actually experienced that so this is a rough approximation. Completely worn out and very tearful.

TMD took Marmite to the vet and came home to make me lunch. I was miserably curled up on the couch, wishing I was asleep, and watching a tv show about home births. I had about an hour of constant crying and moaning about how tired I was. No clue if this is a side effect or not, though I suspect not.

My grand plans for today included being dropped in town for a massive writing session, but it’s all I can do to stay awake. Plus this entry is about 2,500 words, so that’s nice. It’s not part of the novel, but it could be something our future child reads with interest.

Oh – the only thing I forgot to mention is that the nurse said the intramuscular injections hurt pretty fucking bad. I think that’s just the HCG trigger shot, am I right? I’m fairly sure the next lot of injections are still tummy ones.

Ah. One more thing I forgot to mention. I asked about the sperm donor and wanted to make sure the clinic had our physical characteristics and requests on file. She took my email address and said she will ask the Sperm Department to be in touch before the scan. So we’re going to be picking out a frozen baby daddy sometime in the next week or so.

_____________

No need to continue reading, this lot is for me.

I am a bit freaked out as TMD has an interview scheduled the morning of the first scan, and I feel like I don’t want to go alone to learn about the new meds. She is going to try to shift this, otherwise I suppose I’ll be a grownup and go alone.

I am still freaking out about that fucking driving test. Def going to phone on Monday and push it back to January. I don’t want it at all, really, but TMD keeps saying that I need one to get round to appointments.

The morning of the scan, I have a VERY big first couples counselling session a work. I don’t know about the clients yet, but apparently it’s quite complex. It would be terrible to be late. I sort of wish I just  had the next two months off work.

Crap – another thing I forgot but don’t want to add to the bulk of the entry as I already realise I look crazy – I was woken up this morning from a dream that I had wiped the medication with the alcohol, cracked open a needle, and then realised it was 8:30 am rather than pm. My dream self was less worried about this overdosing close call than the fact that it would mean I was one needle and alcohol pad short. CRAZY.

One more thing. Silly me.

Nursey also said it’s very important to have a positive mental attitude. If anything, I think my own risk comes from having TOO positive an attitude. Talked to my mother on the phone last night who lost no time in pointing out what a huge disappointment this would be if it didn’t work.

Yeah.

For reals.

October 27, 2008

Kee-ripes alive. So. My pal The Nurse With The Fucked Up Name called. She rescheduled the appointment from next Monday to next Friday. In what world does that rank as ‘earlier?’ Apparently she spoke to the woman I’m donating eggs to, so this is like period math squared.

This means next Friday I officially start the injections to downregulate my cycle. The nurse wanted me to come in so that I could give myself the first injection at the clinic and she could make sure I was doing it right. Gross!! But still good, as this is likely to cut down on my freaky injection worries (you know, accidentally putting it in the wrong place, injecting air into a vein, not being able to mix medications correctly).

And in other news, my pretty fertility necklace came today. It’s on my neck and there it will stay. (And it is SO MUCH PRETTIER than it was on the website. I am down with the dainty jewellery, man.)

Okay. One hour and fifty minutes left at work. I’d better go do some. When I get home it’s time for Driving Fun with TMD. God, I just want to get my license so I never have to drive again.

Bodily shaking and baby making.

October 17, 2008

OH MY GOD. I would write this entire entry in capital letters if good grammatical sense wasn’t so deep rooted.

Just talked with the nurse. She said the woman I am donating eggs to is only five days behind me, period wise. She thinks that this means I can skip the extra month’s waiting and the birth control pill. What does this mean?

THAT I WOULD GO IN TOMORROW TO BEGIN TREATMENT. Wha

————

Okay. She called back.

My shaking body subsided with a proper crash: things are back to usual. I begin taking the pill when my period comes next week, go in to the clinic to run through everything with the nurse, and treatment begins. But there is STILL a bonus. They will begin ‘down-regulating’ me (this means switching off my normal hormones via injections) at day 14 or possibly even earlier!! Normally downregging begins on Day 17ish.

The nurse said her goal would be to have the entire treament cycle complete by the end of November/early December.

She also said that the woman who will be receiving my eggs is very, very excited. I just made the absolute switch from being unsure to feeling absolutely delighted about helping another woman conceive a child.

Part of me still feels crushed that things aren’t rolling tomorrow – and I feel upset as I’ve been calling the clinic all week as I suspected there might be a snowball’s chance in hell of sorting this out. If I was in the office alone I might cry, maybe? But on the other hand, I feel completely delighted, ecstatic, and hopeful that by the time Christmas is here I may be preggo with one or two eggos.

If the time span of 10 minutes can send me on this much of a high and low – not to mention TMD who was blasted from nowhere with a phone call saying we might begin trying tomorrow – I wonder what the rest of this journey will be like. I’m reading a good book now (the IVF one on my ‘baby books’ page – just started it this morning) and it says what a lot of things do: view IVF as a journey, not an instant fix. However, facts remain that most people have a successful pregnancy within three cycles of IVF.

Am I naive and too optimistic? I’d rather feel happy during this process than emotionally ripped apart. I think many women who end up at IVF have done just that – ended up there after months or years of trying other options. TMD and I have chosen to just fast forward through all that and START with IVF. I feel really solid about IVF. I really fucking hope it works first time, though.