She's a Donor Baby!

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

It's come to my attention that actually, Edith's conception is more interesting than her birth. So pull up a chair.

As anybody knows, when you fall pregnant you become a parent. When you give birth and look after that baby even more so, and so when I lost my baby there was no going back to being not a parent. I became a parent without a child, a parent to memories. I have become quite caught up in my status as a "loss mum" that the other side of my mum identity, a single mum truly by choice, had fallen by the wayside. I was taking the single mumhood in stride rather than celebrating it.

My mother told me that a child needs a mum and a dad. Ezra had me. He was well enough, in fact, I don't think he ever noticed that his dad wasn't around. As long as his bum was clean, his tummy full and cuddles on demand he was happy.

I decided very quickly after he passed away that I would have another baby. That's who I was now. But going about that, for me, was not as straightforward as it is for most of those in relationships. Sure, there were accidental Tinder babies popping up all the time, but I couldn't go out of my way to get a tinder baby - sadly I do have some morals sometimes. Also that meant timing meeting and shagging a stranger with when I was ovulating and hoping that they didn't use protection (they rarely do but you know) or have any STDs. Risky business. I'll admit that doing it that way had crossed my mind - grief and desperation does things to a person - but the deception would have too consuming.

The Clinic route, the "normal" way, was the next option. Expensive. I was a student at university when I had Ezra, I took him to classes with me, I worked part time and survived on SMP and my student loan. Money wasn't tight by any means but I wasn't flush with it. I found out about a program called Egg Sharing. Sadly, it was too late to donate Ezra's organs and my hope of hearing his heart beating away again was crushed. I wanted to do something. I thought I could help another woman conceive, as it, he, had been the best thing I had ever done, seen, experienced, and to give that to someone else... Amazing! But it didn't work out. I did all the tests, all fine, went to counselling, and this was where it stalled. The counsellor was very judgey - she commented on my age (22) and whether I was too young blah blah. I'd also overheard her talking about me to a nurse prior to our meeting.

I was so uncomfortable with it, with all of them, that I just bailed. It took over three months of my chasing them for progression to end in nothing. 

I went online. The internet has everything. Sometimes I feel a bit weird admitting it. Sorry. It's weird and a bit icky but it was what I had to do. I went to and started looking. At first I didn't really put in any criteria. I just wanted to see what kind of people there were before I paid any subscription fees. But I caved and I paid and I sent out more messages than I could count. It was like a dating website, I messaged and messaged in order to start conversation, to get to know whoever and hopefully not end up in anything with any mad person. I realised how much I was putting myself at risk but I didn't really have any choice. Sure I could wait to meet someone, wait to see if it lasted, for them to mature enough to want kids, to try conceiving with them. How many years would that take?

So I met a few people but I settled on one in particular. Blue eyes. Dark hair. 6'5". Nice guy. He had decided to donate to people (yes, for free) after watching his friends struggle with fertility. His limit was three people/couples. Myself, a lesbian couple, and someone else. We met up for drinks and coffee a few times to discuss everything properly. We lived nearby, what if we saw each other out and about (a cursory nod of recognition), contact (none), how he'd donate (AI - at my house). Obviously I did have him take an STD test and I had a friend check the results of that and his ID, to make sure I wasn't being fleeced or anything. It was normal enough that men would change (see: lie about) their names on the website, and he said he had done so because he didn't want me to google his "quite unique" name – like I cared. I didn't want him involved and he didn't want to be. Win-win.

So. Gory details. When I knew I was going to ovulate - but using opks and tracking things - I'd text him. He'd come over the next morning before work, usually at 6:45am. I'd set out a soft cup (like a disposable moon cup) inside a plastic cup. He'd go upstairs, do his thing into the cup, and then he'd leave. I've gone over what happens next in my "fertility" blog (where I've outlined exactly what I did and what I used, etc) but I'll do it again here. 

With the softcup (that's the brand name) in the top of the cup, he did his thing in the softcup, and went home. I went upstairs, sperm has a short shelf life sadly, and got to work. I bought syringes (needleless obviously). Before he turned up I put some preseed (fertility friendly lubricant) up there, and then I filled the syringe with warm preseed, the sample, and a bit more preseed, and popped it up myself. Then the softcup, then legs up for a while. I spent a lot of time those six months of TTC looking at my legs up in the air.

Yeah, a part of me felt like it was weird, that I was handling what could be considered a part of someone else's body and I was putting it in myself. I never stopped finding it weird, really, what I was doing, but I tried my best to ignore the details. But, when it worked, I felt like I should tell more people about it because, look at that! It DOES work, and more often than I ever thought it would work. The first time it worked (August 2016) and I miscarried (I had a surgical removal on September 14th) I thought that that was it, that was my chance and it was gone because this kind of thing was SO unlikely to work. Sperm starts to die as soon as it leaves the body and hits the air (so I thought), so for it to go through all that it had to – air, cup, syringe, vagina, cervix, uterus, fallopian tube, egg – and survive and fertilise? Unheard of. Ridiculous! Clinics didn't do it this way for a reason (or so I thought).

So the successful time was just after Christmas. I had been drinking and smoking and being all-round terrible all month, and he wasn't replying to my messages – turns out he'd stayed an extra day with his parents and neglected to tell me. I was livid, but he was apologetic enough when he did reply and when he did turn up. Thankfully he did come (lol). I was convinced that it hadn't worked, I felt shitty, just angry and upset and irritated – little did I know that that was one of my pregnancy symptoms. 

I drank my way through the entire month and stopped all vices on January 1st. I imagine I'd probably not have succeeded in keeping myself clean if I hadn't got a positive pregnancy test. I waited until January 11th to do that. In my little journal at time ("mom's line a day, that I haven't written in since mid-october at least!) I'd written, on January 10th, that I couldn't wait for the next day to just bleed and get it over with and get back to trying again, so convinced I was of failure. Happy news followed anyway, but not with the excitement that ought to have been, it came with an intense fear that maybe THIS was the only other chance I'd get (I did have PCOS, too, which I don't think I've mentioned) seeing as it was SO unlikely to work anyway, to have worked TWICE was just unheard of, wasn't it?

But now, Edie's been here nearing on 9 weeks, she's almost older than her brother, and she's absolutely charming.

As always, if anyone has any questions on the specifics, hit me up.

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