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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Thoughts on being a DE Mom: before the pregnancy

First of all it is wonderful to write that word: Mom.

After all the pain of failed IVF attempts....

I have thought about writing this post for a very long time. Since before the kids were born. I have never put my thoughts down on paper (or, rather, on screen) because I have always thought that I would be able to sum it up in a few neat, well-constructed paragraphs. As I think about this, and as the kids grow, I realize that my perceptions change. My feelings about having kids via DE change. Not dramatically---they just seem to drift slightly to the left or two the right. Like walking on sand. With every step you take you are still going in the same direction, but each footfall doesn't land squarely on the sand and stay there. You feel the sand slide from under your feet and you lurch ever-so-slightly as you regain your solid footing. This is more of a journey than a destination.

DE in the beginning....

We entered the world of DE after my third attempt at IVF. Notice the word attempt. At the end of 2007 my third try at IVF was canceled due to a poor response. The letter from my doctor to sum up the last cycle was full of phrases that included "poor response to stimulation" "most aggressive protocols tried" and "donor oocytes suggested." Not that I was too surprised by the letter's contents. I had been in the IVF forums long enough to see the writing on the wall.

After the final canceled retrieval, I started investigating DE. After the doctor suggested it, I readily agreed consider it. My husband needed more convincing. We spoke to a counselor at the clinic, we read the suggested readings, we talked, we prayed. To be honest, I just couldn't take another disappointment. I wanted something with a solid chance of working. DE gave me that chance, but at a price. The cost was my own genetic connection to my potential children.

For me, the choice itself wasn't hard. What was hard were the consequences of that choice: knowing that I wouldn't have any genetic connection to my kids.

The initial decision-making days were fraught with philosophical questions about should we tell the children? If so, when? How? What kind of donor are we looking that is more like me in my physical traits? In my personality?

My husband and I thought a lot about how we felt when we were teenagers. About how we felt about our sense of self. We decided that we wanted to be as open about this with our potential kids as we could. It is hard enough to make your way in this world without adding layers of complications on it. We decided that we would like to choose someone who shared some of my physical characteristics and personality traits, but that in the end those weren't the most important issues. We had other somewhat intangible desires for an egg donor. We were looking for a woman over 25 (so that she has a better chance of understanding the consequences of her actions), preferably already a mother (again so that she can appreciate what she was doing) and -here was the long shot- someone who would be willing to meet the kids when they turned 18.

We didn't want to hide anything from them. We wanted it to be as shameless as possible. So in the beginning, it was focused on the kids. What they would need to feel emotionally secure with
our choices. I don't want to make myself out as completely altruistic. I mourned the loss of the genetic connection with my kids. I sobbed in the shower so that no one would hear me. My heart was heavy. But it was also filled with hope.....

In the next few days I hope to have up my thoughts on DE during and just after the delivery of the boys. And then finally to where we are now, 20 months into being a mom.


Willow said...

I'm 11 weeks pregnant via DE, so it's really exciting for me to read your thoughts on this whole experience! I'll be eagerly awaiting the next installment :)

St Elsewhere said...

I have read bloggers (including you) who experienced motherhood through Donor Eggs.

I completely understand your aspect of loss of genetic connection.

Thanks for sharing about this.

ks said...

I know this loss... DE is a wonderful option for us however with it, comes a lot of searching on how to raise our children to feel complete. I look forward to hearing more!
All my best!

Sue said...

I look forward to hearing more.

Hope said...

Wow! Thank you so much for sharing this. The long term implications of donor gamates has been on my mind a lot lately. I don't know why, it's just been "up" on my radar, and I really appreciate learning more about it from someone who has been through the process. Thanks for sharing so openly. I'm looking forward to future updates!

ICLW #32

Michelle D said...

Thanks for sharing. I can relate to a lot of what you said. It is nice to know someone has been there and felt the same ways I (and DH) felt. Look forward to hearing more :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks soooo much for writing about this. I have the same exact goals related to choosing a donor. I'm so relieved and happy to see that someone else out there cares about these issues. I can't wait to read more.

Damita said...

Good luck :) Thank you for sharing

Augusta said...

Brenda, I wanted to come by and say a huge THANK YOU to you. You have been so supportive in your comments on my blog, and I have been too distracted to reciprocate. I apologize for that, and wanted to let you know how much I have been appreciating your words of support. I hope I get to write about being a DE mom someday soon. I will come back to this post and add in my two cents.
Thanks again.

foxy said...

Don't you love it when you go to comment on a post and see that one of your other dear blogger friends has commented before you. Augusta is one of my favorite bloggy gals.

This is a great post series. I am so glad that you are writing it.

Here is a question that you can maybe address in an upcoming post: As you grieved this loss of your genetic connection was there anything that you husband did or didn't do to comfort you and make the sense of loss any easier? I feel at a loss sometimes about how to support my husband.