With secondary infertility, and after miscarriages and multiple treatments, *Lauren become pregnant with a donor egg
I never really wanted to have kids – I told myself if was because I was career driven, didn’t come from a conventional a family (my mum died when I was seven and I was brought up by my older sister). In hindsight I think I instinctively knew that the partners I kept choosing in life were not great Daddy candidates. When, after a rather torrid divorce, I met my current partner everything changed. Suddenly I had more than enough love coming my way – I didn’t feel I had to earn it, it was just being poured on me in buckets and that’s when I realised I had enough to share.
My partner came from a family of four kids so he just assumed everyone had kids as a matter of course – the more the merrier! So we took the plunge. After one miscarriage and a few complications I fell pregnant naturally and gave birth to a tiny little girl (2.27kg) at 38 weeks. That was four years ago and I was 39.
I gave myself a year and then began the baby- making process again. There was no reason to think I would have any trouble, after all, I’d done it rather successfully before. How wrong I was.
After four months I started the usual things like Clomid and the like. When that didn’t work I went to the Cape Fertility Clinic to the ever-gentle, ever-wonderful, Dr Heylen. And so began the most soul- wrenching, relationship-testing, self-loathing journey of my life. I tried hormones – both tablet and injections, I tried artificial insemination – again and again.
I spent every waking moment obsessing over whether I was or wasn’t pregnant. I couldn’t go to the loo without checking for blood spots, my life revolved around times and dates and fervent desperate hope. Mentally, emotionally and physically the hormones and the fundamental need to have another child literally ruled my world.
And if anyone else told me to ‘just relax and let it happen’, or that I should be happy with my beautiful baby girl and just be grateful for what I had, I might have been forced to murder.
I thought about the donor egg route from time to time but kept dismissing it – it seemed too weird, too impersonal…it would mean admitting I couldn’t do it myself. Intellectually I knew it wasn’t my fault, emotionally I felt like a failure.
I surfed the net, I looked at all the different donor sites – here and overseas. The Nurture site spoke TO me, it was personal and funny and kind and it made my cry and laugh and feel that all hope was not lost. I mailed Kim, the fairy godmother, that very day.
I got the lists and over the next week or two I went through them. It was all very odd, like shopping for a child. Eventually I narrowed the list down and then went home and showed my partner the options. We got down to three or four choices and then I froze. All the fears came back…what if this child was not as fabulous as the one I have and I ended up loving it less? What happened if it had bad skin, was ugly, or worse, wasn’t very bright? All this I imagined I would blame on the donor mother and then somehow I wouldn’t love the child as much as my own bright, healthy, pretty little girl. I know that it all sounds so shallow but those are the thoughts and fears that plagued me.
One evening I had more than a few glasses of wine with girlfriend – a mother of two kids in their 20s. She related how different they were, how one had terrible skin and the other’s was flawless. One was a straight-A student while the other excelled at sports but didn’t have an academic bone in his body. They were both her children – born naturally from the same parents and yet they were different…it could happen in the best of families!
That was when and I how I decided to just go ahead and do it. Kim helped me with my selection. I cried the whole way through – in those days I cried most of the time, even at work which was pretty uncool. It wasn’t just when I was sad, it was when I was happy or in fact emotional in any way.
So began the donor process. Endless injections, endless tablets, endless emotional seesawing… it was hard on everyone – my man, my daughter, my friends, my staff, my colleagues – no one escaped.
I had one egg that didn’t take, and two miscarriages with the donor eggs – the latter were impossibly devastating and I almost gave up. But then I kept imagining the eggs floating about somewhere in the ether and that didn’t seem right. That and the fact that I have the world’s most supportive, patient, tolerant man.
And then it worked. As I write this I am almost 18 weeks pregnant. I don’t want to know the gender so I can’t tell you. Do I still fear that perhaps I won’t love it enough, that I will secretly blame the donor mum if my child is less than brilliant? Yes of course I do, but I somehow know that it will all be all right on the night…I’ll let you know in a few months.