Here is the awesome thing I got to post on Facebook the other day!
“Not many kids can say they were a five-day-old embryo in their first baby photo. But my kid can!! I can’t wait to become a mom, right smack dab in the middle of the holidays! (Sorry ’bout that birthday, kiddo).
I am grateful to the doctors and clinic staff who helped, and for the generosity of our egg donor. But, most of all, I am thankful for [husband], whose love for me, love of children, kindness, and let’s face it, unfathomable indulgence made this possible 💘”
IT WORKED, FINALLY! It’s still pretty hard to believe. I’ve had a couple of ultrasounds now, though, so of course, it’s also hard not to believe. I am about 8 weeks 4 days.
I did end up testing early, for the first time – I dutifully waited for the blood test the first two times I did transfers. This time, I figured “What the heck. It’s four days early, so I’m sure I’ll get a negative. Either it’ll be a true negative (and I’ll have already seen it, so I’ll have time to adjust to that at home, rather than at work), or it’ll be a false negative, and then I’ll have a happy surprise at work instead of crying in my office and then having to either suck it up and work the rest of the day, or play sick and go home.”
As I saw the dark, single control line show up in the window of the test, I thought “Ok, I got it over with, just like I planned.” But a minute later, I looked again, and thought I saw the faintest little test line, too. So my mind went totally blank, I put it down, walked away, walked back, looked at it again, walked away… about, oh, maybe 50 times in the next two hours. I looked up the rate of false positives, and every website said “You basically only get a false positive if you have some sort of tumor.” Scary idea, but hmm. Pretty sure the fact that I had embryos injected into me recently makes that less likely than an actual pregnancy.
Later, on the day of my blood test, I had to attend a Grand Rounds presentation at work. It turned out to be about all the mental health problems for which pregnant women are at increased risk. That made me feel great! How informative! ….also, admittedly, a little bit humorous. How’s that for negative serendipity?
Anyway, not much to report as far as pregnancy goes. I have the usual first trimester symptoms. I’m trying to stop being scared to talk to my husband about the pregnancy, because I have this apparently wacky idea that since he’s been through this three times before, I’ll just be annoying him with a topic that’s entirely uninteresting. Well, so what, maybe it is uninteresting! That doesn’t mean he won’t listen! I know he is excited about the names we picked (one is unusual and he thinks it sounds pretty badass. Which it does), and of course he has really good advice and insights, and the other day he randomly patted my belly and said hi to the baby. That made me feel pretty awesome, and like I’m not being annoying after all 🙂
After I saw the first ultrasound, I stopped being particularly worried about miscarriage. I saw some stats that said the risk drops to below 5% if you get a 6-week ultrasound and see/hear a heartbeat, which I did (I also saw only one baby!!! Huge relief for me and husband. Huge disappointment for all the people who wanted me to have twins). I did announce pretty early, I realize – but I was satisfied with the risk level after I saw the 8-week ultrasound and it was normal, too. Of course, anything could happen from here. I could still miscarry, or something else negative could happen. But if I did, I’d just disclose that, too. So be it.
I read an article the other day about what worries and concerns women have about their pregnancy/future kid when they used an egg donor. Can’t find that particular article anymore, but I found another one. Now that I’m a lot less worried about miscarriage, what am I supposed to be worrying about, anyway? Here are the questions, with my answers.
Will the baby look like you and/or your partner?
Who the hell knows? I assume it probably won’t look like me. The donor didn’t particularly look like me. I do really wonder what it will look like, though! I try to imagine a combo of the donor and my husband. A lot of times I see little kids and think “Hmm, maybe kinda like that kid?” I am really curious, but I figure, who isn’t?
If you have particular talents (for music or science, for example) you may be upset that these will not genetically be passed on to your child.
I kind of figure that these sorts of talents are only partially genetic, and potentially a lot more related to the environment in which the child grows up. E.g. how can you have a talent for playing the glockenspiel if your parents never bought you a glockenspiel? (…I was pretty darn competent on the glockenspiel, in case you didn’t know). I do know from a lot of my research, however, that personality and (in babies and small children) basic temperament do tend to be very genetically based. But, even if I were having my own genetic child, maybe it’d get its genes that influence temperament from my father, whose temperament is rather different than mine, just for example. Kind of like the way the child will look, I think that’ll be an interesting surprise.
You may feel guilty about “stealing” an egg from another woman.
Well, first of all, I’m going to get literal and suggest that I did not steal, but purchased, a bunch of eggs from another woman. And this won’t hurt her fertility, and either way, she chose to do this. I do wonder what it would be like for her, if she decided to have genetic children of her own, to know that she has other genetic children out there in the world (I know there’s at least one other woman who became pregnant from this donor’s eggs). But, again, I’m sure she thought that through, and made her decision accordingly.
Will I have enough energy/health for the sleepless nights in my late forties?
Well, this one just highlights the much more common situation in which a woman uses an egg donor to conceive. They could have just put a question mark after “nights,” really, because to be honest, I’m wondering whether I’ll have enough energy/health for the sleepless nights in my early thirties!
Will I be able to breastfeed?
I’m not exactly sure what this has to do with donor eggs, specifically. I’m guessing the issue is that people might think, because it’s not their egg, their body will not respond as if it’s pregnant? (FYI, it definitely does). I don’t know, this one is confusing. I know I won’t be able to breastfeed. I asked my doctor last week about a daily medication that I take for a chronic condition, and it’s ok enough for pregnancy but much less ok for breastfeeding. So I’m not going to be doing that. I know it’s generally healthiest for the baby, but in this case, it sounds like it’d do more harm than good.
Will the whole experience be as wonderful as it would have been if I had been able to conceive the baby without egg donation?
I’m actually going to say “yes,” “I don’t know” and “no” to this. “No,” it will not be as wonderful. Personally, I would much rather have been able to try every month to get pregnant rather than three times over the course of a year, to do so for free (and a lot less painfully), and to not have to experience so much disruption to my life with all the appointments and such. That would have been a lot more wonderful. “I don’t know,” because I haven’t been pregnant before and I have no comparison. “Yes,” because I feel like the baby is mine – I am carrying it around with me everywhere and doing everything I can to take care of it and keep it safe. And that’s plenty wonderful.
Will my child be healthy, strong, and happy?
Only time will tell – for anyone. I think it will be healthier than it would have been if it were my genetic child. Probably happier, too. But that’s just an assumption based on what I know of genetics. There is so much more than genetics involved in whether a child is healthy, strong, and happy.
Should I tell my child? Will knowing cause them pain and resentment?
Like many of these questions, we can’t answer the second one. There are donor-conceived children out there who resent their origins. Many of these folks have created websites that I have so far declined to read. I don’t think it would be a helpful thing for me to do. All I can do is reduce that risk as much as possible by being open, honest, and casual from the very beginning. And the risk is low. Most donor-conceived children feel grateful, fascinated, or indifferent. I’ve read advice that suggests to start telling them about it when they’re still in the womb – not because they can hear it, but for practice. And to keep telling them once in a while ever since they’re born, so it becomes something that’s always been a fact, ever since they can remember. I’ll probably get some of the many available children’s books intended for donor-conceived children soon, and read them out loud, just to see what it’s like. Besides, I don’t really have a choice but to tell my child. I’m not sure if you know this, but wrote a public blog about it. Hundreds of people know. The kid’s whole family knows. You can’t try to hide from a child what everyone around it already knows.
Let me end with some stats, for people who are interested:
- I did my home test and got a positive 6 days post 5-day transfer
- My first hCG beta was 124; two days later, 351
- Twins were a concern because of the high betas, but it turned out to be a singleton that just happens to be a couple days ahead of gestation in its growth.
- Heart rate 108 at 6 weeks 2 days, and 167 at 8 weeks 2 days.
- Due date: December 28th, 2016
- It looks like a little T. rex on the ultrasound right now. I’ve been scrutinizing my husband to see if maybe he looks more like a dinosaur than I realized.
- It really likes fruit.