I had spent a career caring for pregnant persons and delivering babies. Why couldn’t it happen for me?
I must admit that even after we chose to pursue conception via egg donation, I was
silently grieving the loss of my genetic contribution to a child. I did feel like a failed—like my body failed me. I was also angry and even a little resentful that I was forced to go to such lengths to become a mom. I had spent a career caring for pregnant persons and delivering babies. Why couldn’t it happen for me?
Once the decision was made, we sought out an egg donor clinic and started looking through the egg donor registry. I must admit, the process of looking through profiles for someone to “replace” me was too much.
After all that my body and mind had been through, I simply couldn’t contribute to that part of the process. So I sat down with my husband and picked the top 5 criteria that was important to both of us in an egg donor, and he started the search. After a few weeks, he came to me with three candidates. And our first choice was available!
Things moved pretty quickly after that. The egg donor clinic facilitated things on her end, and
my fertility clinic facilitated things on my end. Because we chose our donor for a fresh donor egg cycle, all of the eggs and embryos she produced after taking medications to stimulate her ovaries belonged to my husband and I.
Ultimately, 5 embryos were produced from our donor’s eggs and my husband’s sperm. The next step was transferring them into my uterus. The decision was made by my fertility specialist to transfer 2 embryos, but in the U.S. single embryo transfer is recommended due to the increased risks of pregnancy with a multiple gestation.
We transferred 2 embryos due to my age (I was 42 at the time), prior pregnancy loss and prior failed embryo transfer. That transfer failed, and it nearly broke me. I had put so much hope into using donor eggs, and even though I had experienced other failures, I had not
allowed myself to even consider that a donor egg cycle would fail.
I truly wanted to experience pregnancy myself. After years of caring for my pregnant patients, I wanted to know what pregnancy was like for myself
This was the lowest point for both my husband and I during our entire journey. We even considered just stopping everything.
After a few months, and a trip to Peru for New Year’s 2016, we decided to try one more time. Yes, we could have pursued adoption or a gestational carrier, but I was not ready to give up on my body.
I truly wanted to experience pregnancy myself. After years of caring for my pregnant patients, I wanted to know what pregnancy was like for myself. So, we transferred two more embryos and became pregnant with boy/girl twins!
I won’t go into the details, but I became a statistic for a high-risk twin pregnancy in person of advancing age.
After a very difficult pregnancy and two months of hospitalization, I delivered Remy Vaughn and Sydney Renée at 31 weeks’ gestation via emergent Cesarean delivery. Remy
was in the NICU for 5 weeks and Sydney 6 weeks, but they are now 5 years-old and thriving.
As an aside, even though I did a transfer of two embryos and conceived twins, I fully support the practice of single embryo transfer due to the complications of my pregnancy and nearly losing
them multiple times. Maybe I will tell that story at a later time.
Tiny, but mine
So here I am—a mother to 5 year-old twins at age 48. They are mine in every sense of the word, even though we do not share DNA, and the moment I held their tiny bodies in the NICU we bonded.
I am so grateful for the advances in science that allowed me to become a mom, and I am especially grateful to the young woman who played her part through the selfless act of donating her eggs.