I remember this defining moment like it was yesterday. The doctor told me that it was almost impossible for me to conceive. She told me that it was going to be a huge uphill battle if I wanted to get pregnant. I had already tried multiple rounds of fertility treatments, IUIs, IVF, laparoscopy, acupuncture, Chinese herbs, you name it. Infertility was my life. It had consumed every piece of my being. I didn’t go on trips, I didn’t eat certain foods, I was wearing UGG boots in the summer because someone told me it would help my fertility if I kept my feet warm.
If going the IVF route, you are likely faced with this dilemma- to test your embryos or not to test? Genetic Testing (otherwise known as PGS, preimplantation genetic screening), is when one or more cells is removed from an IVF embryo to test for chromosomal normalcy.The genetically normal embryos are kept for transfer, and the abnormal embryos are discarded.
Now that I'm pregnant, people are starting to treat me like any, normal, "fertile" pregnant woman. Most would think, this is what I want - to feel normal. I don't blame them, I can see why people would think this. They might think - she's finally pregnant and past all the grieving and hard stuff, so this is the time to shower her with excitement and baby talk. But, I'm so not.
I'm infertile and proud. No one can take that away from me. Infertility is and always will be apart of me. Infertility has made me stronger. Infertility has made me better. And just because I'm pregnant doesn't mean things end here. I'm still taking two-three injections per day in the ass for another 11 weeks. I'm still choking down handfuls of large pills every night. I'm still jacked with fertility hormones. I'm still in the doctor's office being monitored and tested multiple times a week to make sure the baby is still hanging on.
I knew the day that we scheduled our first IVF transfer that I wanted to document the process. I thought - how cool would that be to have photos of the day our baby was conceived? We would have photos to show our child one day!My husband thought I was nuts, I remember him saying - 'there's no way in hell the doctor will go for that, it's just weird Victoria."
As you consider your invitations for your gender reveal party I ask that you think about others. Imagine the thoughts of a single woman at the party, who's longing to find love and is wondering if she'll even have the chance to have a baby one day. Think about the woman who carried her baby in her belly for 5 months and then miscarried. Think about those who have struggled with gender identity or has a child that is struggling. Think about someone who has tried everything humanly possible to conceive, yet ultimately infertile, like me and my husband.
Some Egg Donor agencies require that every "intended parent" (yes that's what we are called, sigh) goes through a psych evaluation prior to moving forward with the process. The questions asked are uncomfortable and boarder line offensive, in my opinion. Can you imagine if all parents had to go through this before trying to conceive? Think about that one.
It's shitty for the woman that desperately wants to be a mother, but can't. Or the single woman who wants to be a mom but feels like time is passing her by. Or the woman that lost her mother, and will be spending Mother's day at her grave site. And what about the mother that has lost a child, and will be grieving all day even if her living children are there to spend it with her?It's not all about f*cking flowers, brunches and breakfast in bed.
When we started down the route of using an egg donor, everyone made it sound like it was a shoe in. I remember our doctor saying our chances of success were around 90%. When you select an egg donor, you are basically saying, okay, lets just get pregnant already. You don't really consider that it won't work. It's, simple, you choose a young girl with a ton of healthy eggs, and then you get pregnant. It's a no brainer. Well, until you find out your Egg Donor is exactly like you.
Most people have no idea how financially stressful the fertility process can be. But the money is just a part of the pain. Yea, it hurts. But that's the least of the hurt, honestly. We WERE finally on a path to success (or so we thought). We had all the hope in the world! Our checkbook was poor but our hearts were full and rich with love! "It will all be worth it in the end" they say! And then my heart got ripped out of my f*cking chest.
We learned that there aren't any clear cut laws around using egg donors. So, even though we have a signed legal agreement, the law doesn't clearly define me as the mother. Sigh. And, the law could change at any time and trump our signed agreement. Double Sigh. Luckily, there are proven court cases to reference, and in most instances the "intended" mother won in all of those cases. Our attorney told us that since it is my "intent" to mother the child (not Meggan's) I would "likely" be considered the legal mother if she ever tried to take me to court to sue for parental rights. Isn't that f*cking awesome? But, at least, Jonathan is still the baby daddy, regardless. So, we have that.
I know what grieving feels like. That feeling of deep, deep sadness. Constant crying until you run out of tears. Anger. Emptiness. Guilt. Worry. Helplessness. Hopelessness. That pain in your gut you just can’t explain. I honestly just thought I was really f*cking sad. The kind of sadness you feel in your bones. The kind of sadness that brings unpredictable tears that you never see coming. The kind of sadness that makes it hard for you to be happy for people you love. The kind of sadness that is so deep it feels like it's a part of you. A physiological sadness, if you will.
Infertility, you have changed me. I used to be that girl who would plaster Social Media with anything good that would happen. Like, when I first got engaged, or the five different albums of our wedding, and you all remember the photos of the flowers my husband gave me every month. I didn't think about the people out there that were dying to find love and might be sad by seeing things like that. Some of those people were my dear friends. Well, I'm so incredibly sorry. I was an Asshole.