“At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.” – Lao Tzu
It's March 2019, and I'm on day 6 of my cycle. I'll be doing an IUI cycle this month, and I've just started medication. Every new cycle is filled with stress- the hoping, the hormones, the appointments, the waiting- but this cycle is especially heavy for me. That's because it's the last one for me. It's the end of the road with my own eggs. The last encore from a long concert. Roll the credits. It's done. The finality of it echoes through my heart. My search for the last good egg is coming to a close.
How did I get to this point you ask? Well, after 3 miscarriages, 3 IVF cycles, 2 IUI cycles, 4 attempted IUI cycles, and a diagnosis of chromosomal translocation in the past 2 1/2 years I'm just exhausted body, mind, and soul. Even after my diagnosis, I kept hoping that if I just tried hard enough and gave it a shot every single cycle that I'd eventually hit jackpot. That's how it was supposed to go, but it didn't. Instead, life threw me every possible roadblock, and in the past 8 months I've only had two viable cycles. Life threw me a stomach virus, a yeast infection, and a bladder infection- all at moments in my cycle key for conception. It threw me months without any follicles, and months where my hormones didn't rise at all in response to medication. Month after month obstacles rose up and I kept fighting and hoping, but now I'm weary. I'm tired of having my life on pause. I'm tired of the crying, of the losses, of the endless waiting. I'm tired of the ups and downs my body, my mind, my life, and marriage goes through each month. I feel like all these obstacles are the universe's way of shouting at me that it's time to seek my baby elsewhere. My body simply is refusing to come along for another ride on the fertility roller coaster, and I'm tired of trying to drag it along.
I'm an avid reader of fertility forums. I love the idea of a community of women lifting each other up and carrying each other through the hard times. One of the questions I often see from women is about the decision to move on to donor egg. "I know it's the best decision, but I just don't feel ready. How will I know when I should move on?" they ask. I'm sure it's different for every woman, but for me, it was my last failed cycle. Something in me broke, and I just knew. I felt at peace. I even started to feel excited! Things moved pretty quickly then. I found a clinic overseas. Connected with the clinic director. Had a Skype appointment with the doctor. Got a list of donors. Sent over all my paperwork and test results. Made appointments for additional tests they required but didn't have Picked a transfer day at the end of June. Looked at day tours for the city I would be in. Imagined my baby in my arms.
Still- there is this last IUI. I had one more cycle of medication in my house. I didn't want to waste it, and I felt like I needed this one last cycle for some final closure. Maybe my last good egg is waiting for me this cycle, but if it's not, I'm honestly ready for what's next. I want my child so deeply, and I'm ready to come for him/her now, even if I have to cross oceans to do it. I've had nine months since my last miscarriage to grieve my own eggs, to go through a healing process, to cry, to let go, and finally, to dream of the baby waiting for me. Nine months is long enough to create a baby, and it seems like it was just what I needed to grow myself into a woman who could view motherhood and family through a different lens. Nine months was what I needed to let go of what was "supposed to" happen, and embrace the beautiful reality of creating a child through egg donation.
So to all the women who are asking how they will know if they're ready for donor egg, or surrogacy, or adoption, or any other less traditional path to motherhood- I think the answer is in your heart. We feel pressured to listen to doctors. To listen to statistics. To listen to "logic". But love, and longing and the creation of new life are not logical- they are soulful, and so it only makes sense to listen to our souls. When you tune out all the other voices, and listen only to your own, you will know when you are ready. And who knows- maybe on that journey to acceptance you might bump into your last good egg, but whatever the outcome, when you listen to your heart and honor your own voice you can't go wrong.