When Victoria and her husband got married in 2009, they started ‘trying/not trying’ to get pregnant. Like many couples, they didn’t stress too much about it until a few years passed with no signs of pregnancy. At 33 years old, Victoria saw a fertility specialist to investigate what may be happening in her body. This led her down a path she never expected – hence her blog, “Expecting Anything.”
Here’s Victoria’s story, why she shares her experience of meeting her baby with the help of an egg donor, and what she wants others to know about parenting after infertility.
When did you first visit a fertility specialist and what happened next?
We started seeing a fertility specialist when I was about 33 yrs old and my FSH levels were, as my doctor put it, that of a 48-year-old woman. Lovely!
My initial reason was just to ‘come out’ with my infertility publicly because I was so damn tired of everyone asking me the dreaded, ‘So, when are you going to have kids?’We first started with IUI, and did about five rounds, with the full throttle of stimulation. Looking back, we wasted a ton of time and money, especially with my levels where they were. After all the shots and meds that my body could consume, I really only got a few follicles to fully grow. We knew something was wrong; and after a laparoscopic procedure, I was finally diagnosed with endometriosis. More delightful news!
We did injections and meds for a couple more months in preparation for IVF and when I finally got 2 mature follicles, we decided to seize the day and go for it. “All you need is one,” they say! Most people would never even consider doing IVF with only two eggs, but two was the best we had ever gotten and we knew that time was ticking. They retrieved both eggs, but neither of them fertilized. One of my eggs was black in color – I officially had rotten eggs. I was left with no choice but to turn to donor eggs – so that’s what we did next.
What was your experience and process using an egg donor?
Deciding to use an egg donor was definitely a difficult decision, and one that didn’t happen overnight. I had to allow myself time to grieve my eggs and work through the emotions of what this would mean for our family. The idea of my family DNA stopping with me was something I had to process. Looking back, I think I pulled the trigger too soon. I should have given myself more time, but I so badly wanted a baby and was willing to do anything. We had originally chosen an egg donor, who ended up losing the majority of her eggs the day before her retrieval and ended up having to cancel the entire process. We’re not sure exactly what happened; but it was devastating for all parties involved, including the donor. We decided it was time for us to take a year off and focus on our marriage. I was officially at rock bottom of the deep, dark shadows of infertility. I hated everyone – especially myself.
I’m proud of what I went through to get here. Now, I get to tell my daughter how hard I tried to get to her, and how wanted she was.We decided not to step foot in another fertility clinic until we were in a better place emotionally. I was so mad at myself for all I had put my husband through. After all, I felt like I was the one to blame – I was the “infertile” one. We traveled the world for a year to take our mind off all we had gone through, and on our last trip to Thailand I met a monk who gave me a ton of clarity. It’s crazy, monks don’t even talk; but there was something about his presence that gave me what I needed. He reminded me that I was worthy of being a mother. It was the first time in our journey that I didn’t blame myself.
From that day forward, I changed my entire perspective. I started to be grateful for my infertility. We came back from Thailand, made an appointment with a new doctor and chose a new donor. I was finally ready. I was hopeful. I was happy. I was healed. And thus, our sweet baby, Florence, was conceived.
Why did you start your blog, “Expecting Anything”?
My initial reason was just to “come out” with my infertility publicly because I was so damn tired of everyone asking me the dreaded “So, when are you going to have kids?” question. I thought that if I could help just one other woman by being brave with my story, then it would be worth any humility I might experience. Since then, it has evolved immensely. I have created resources for women at all stages of the TTC process. When I was first diagnosed with infertility I had the hardest time finding any content out there that was relatable or uplifting. Everything was so damn serious or downright depressing. My blog brings humor and normalcy to infertility in a way that I think women can identify with. I keep it 100% real, 100% of the time.
What do you want others to know about using donor eggs?
I want people to know that it’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s truly a beautiful thing. Donor eggs gave me the opportunity to have a biological child, which wasn’t an option for me any other way. I think this gets confusing for some people. I get asked all the time, “What is the ethnicity of the mother you chose?” because they don’t understand how an egg donor plays a part. Well, first of all, I AM THE MOTHER. It’s fascinating to think that three people came together to make a baby. I’m kind of obsessed with the biology of it all. Molecules known as MircroRNAs that are secreted in the mother’s womb (ME) can actually change the genetic information of the child, deciding which genes get turned off or on. So, I actually did play a part in the DNA/genes of my child. There are things I notice about her that I know came from me. It’s wild. Getting to carry her in my belly was something I am so glad I got to experience. I’m proud of what I went through to get here. Now, I get to tell my daughter how hard I tried to get to her, and how wanted she was. I look forward to the day that she can understand how hard I fought for her and that I never gave up on her.
Parenting after infertility-what’s been your experience?
Honestly, amazing. I know that isn’t always the case for all women that go through this. I have this overwhelming love for my baby girl, and don’t take one second for granted. I whole-heartedly believe that infertility has made me a better person and better parent. From the moment she was placed on my chest we had an unbreakable bond and I have made a promise to be the best mom she could ever ask for. I now know that she was always meant to be mine, and that all of this fighting was for a reason. It was always supposed to be her. Infertility has made me a better, stronger version of myself. I’d do it all over again a thousand times if it meant I got to be her mother.
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