I’m halfway through Keep Lauren Happy Month (aka #KLaHM — although I am officially on a Twitter hiatus for the near future) and so far so good.
What am I saying? So far, so very good!
I’ve been quite good at setting work boundaries and making time to do nice things for myself. I’ve found by having a treat or something to look forward to every week has made the time go by quickly and, more importantly, smoothly. I’ve been seeing my acupuncturist once a week, because I love her and she’s cheap, and I always feel a lot less stressed afterwards. I’ve had a couple of Mayan abdominal massages, which improves blood flow to the uterus.
I even had a bajos, a vaginal steam bath…! It’s supposed to be very good for cleansing your reproductive system. Lucky me, I got to try it for free because the appointment after my first abdominal massage was cancelled, and I was told I could have it instead. It was like sitting over a large cup of tea and having your bits steamed…
I made an appointment to have my hair highlighted because I figured I might not be able to again until the end of the year — did you catch that? I’m thinking like I’m going to be pregnant! When the hell did I suddenly get all hopeful??
Anyway, on Wednesday afternoon I was sitting with my hair in foils when I got an email from C, our egg donor nurse, who informed me that Nellie had approximately 40 follicles. Forty! And they all measured 10mm or less. I excitedly tweeted this to ask how many eggs we might expect from 40 follicles measuring at 10mm or less. The general consensus is we can expect anywhere from 18 to 40 eggs. Of course, not all will be mature, then not all will fertilise, etc. but this is a great number to start with! Nellie went back to the clinic today (she’s been on stims for a week now) and the update is that she is doing well, has more than 40 follicles, and her top 10 measure 6-12mm. Unlike most women who do DEIVF, I never did regular IVF so don’t have a sense of what this means, but I’m told it’s good that there is such variation in size of follicles. I don’t know why, so if someone cares to explain, please feel free :)
Driving home Wednesday evening, I was thinking about Nellie and why we hadn’t heard from her. I realised that I was at peace with however she responds, even if that is not to respond for now, if ever. We have 40 follicles! Surely one of them will be the little person we will know as our child. And then it hit me: at least one of those follicles contains half the potential of my baby. I almost burst into tears.
Later that evening, DH and I were marvelling at 40 follicles when an email arrived in my inbox. I yawned as I reached for my iPhone but when I saw the subject line, I sat bolt upright: Re: Hello from your IPs :)
[DH]!! I hollered. We’ve heard back from [Nellie]!
I was so happy as I waited for the email to load, as I could preview the first line of her email: Soooo great to hear from you guys!
I began reading the email and realised it was a long email, about 1,500 words. When we were done, DH and I were in tears. Up until now, everything we’ve known about Nellie has been via someone else — the egg donor coordinator’s opinion of her, the nurse’s assessment, her online donor profile. But here she was, expressing herself freely and directly to us. She totally opened up to us and shared some very personal things. She seemed curious and interested in us, and thinks we will be amazing parents. She even said we wound like the kind of people she would hang out with, and, yes, she would love to meet us. It’s almost 48 hours later, and I am still dazed, emotional, delighted, surprised, and overwhelmed by her response to us. She is everything we had hoped, and more. She is kind, funny, empathic, smart, open, curious, courageous, determined, generous, and interesting. I am gushing, because I am so filled with admiration for this young woman who is helping us make our dreams come true.
Having a miscarriage after conceiving so quickly and easily, to being told not even six months ago that I have diminished ovarian reserve, then finding out I have a wonky chromosome, to then making the decision to proceed with donor eggs has been one hell of a journey. It hasn’t been easy, and yet everything has fallen into place so quickly and easily.
The moment in London when my sister announced she’d like to be an egg donor and I turned my eyes skyward and said I get it, universe. This means I need an egg donor… was when I stopped struggling and allowed myself to be carried downstream on the donor egg raft. Looking back, it’s almost like destiny or fate — except that I believe too much in free will to fully embrace that notion — has been working quietly behind the scenes.
From the day we made the decision to proceed with DEIVF to the day we were matched with Nellie was less than a week. During that week, I must have looked at more than 50 profiles, feeling like a pervy old man as I did so. At one point I became very despondent. I showed my MIL all the bright-faced young women who I rejected. Too short, too short, don’t like her looks, she can’t spell, she’s mega into sports, too short, fuck her — she won’t donate to a same-sex couple, too short, she’s not proven… I was looking for a connection and wasn’t finding one. MIL and I talked about what I wanted. I’m giving up so much, so I want someone not just like me, but better than me. I want striking good looks, not necessarily beautiful or pretty. I want someone intelligent, original, thoughtful, funny, artistic, and, above all, proven. I cried as MIL hugged me and encouraged me to keep looking. Then I saw a new profile photo, added only minutes before — WHO IS THAT!? It was like a thump across my chest. I saw Nellie’s photo and knew I’d found our donor. The more I read, the more excited I became, the more at peace I became.
And peace is what I need right now, because one year ago today my sweet little Bean died in utero.
The way I feel right now, I don’t give a shit that it’s not my eggs. I should be so damn lucky to bear this woman’s genetic offspring and get to call them my own biological child/ren. What a privilege! As I said to my dad, I feel like this is a fairy tale — except that it’s happening for us, not someone else.
Getting a long email from her seems like the placing the final edge piece in a beautiful jigsaw puzzle. I don’t know what the finished puzzle looks like, but I have an outline and all I have to do is fill in the picture with the pile of jigsaw pieces, most of which are lying at my fingertips.