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So, I’ve been on Zoloft since IVF3 failed. It just got too hard, and I finally agreed to have help to get me through this IF shit. I’ve always been super conservative about medication, and am very wary of being altered by it. I don’t want to not feel like myself, even if my self isn’t the most chipper person on the block. But the pain was just too bad. Thinking back, I remember that after that BFN, my whole body ached – very badly and for days and days. I remember repeatedly pressing on parts of my scalp, because the tension was so intense that I guess it was even making my scalp tense up. It’s like the stress had turned my body into one big cramp and I couldn’t relax it anymore. Now, that’s just not conducive to fertility, right? Right. No chicken under that stress would be laying ANY eggs. So, enter Zoloft.
Not surprisingly, I feel much better now that I have my Zoloft as support. What I didn’t expect is that I don’t feel groggy, or drugged, or particularly altered in any way. Admittedly, my sex drive isn’t quite what it was. That does bother me a bit. The drug is changing me in that way, which I’m not thrilled about, but I figure I have to get through this somehow. It’s not forever, and it’s an ok sacrifice for now, especially if I get a baby out of it. The most dramatic change I notice is that, while I register negative emotions in my brain – I’m aware that I feel anxious, stressed, or sad (none of those emotions have gone away – which is good – that’s life) – I don’t feel that visceral, painful pang in my body as a reaction to those emotions anymore. That must be a good thing, especially as far as trying to conceive is concerned. No doubt some of that physical pain was caused by stress hormones.
Well, today I felt that pain of stress for the first time in a long time. A serious, unexpected conflict came up with my work and my upcoming cycle. Suddenly, they wanted me to travel on certain dates – of course, the dates when I’d be in the thick of stims and monitoring. No, the dates or times weren’t flexible, everyone would be counting on me, it was a BIG deal high profile event, it’d all fall through if I couldn’t do it, and why exactly was I not available? Can you imagine anything MORE stressful? (Ok, it’s IVF, there’s ALWAYS something more stressful, but it was pretty bad). Now, I’m not going to change what I’m doing or jeopardize my cycle. Fuck that. But I was put in a position where I had to tell a near stranger – some man in no position to be particularly sympathetic to me or sensitive – that I was doing IVF, “Sorry, strange and semi-belligerent man who’s never bothered to talk to me before, I can’t be where you want me to be that morning because I have to be at my doctor’s having a wand shoved up my vagina.” I was backed up against a wall. AND this is someone I’ll end up seeing later when my cycle is over – and when it might have failed. Great. (I think non-IF people aren’t really aware that IVF isn’t an instant fix – that it sometimes just doesn’t work, but I guess that’s another blog post).
Now that my next IVF cycle is ramping up I’ve been feeling a little more anxious than I had been. I’m obsessing about things a little more and having a harder time sleeping through the night sometimes. My psychiatrist told me to keep an eye on it, and said that we could increase my medication. I’m reluctant to do that, because I really want to try to taper off the Zoloft when I finally get pregnant, just to be safe. The larger the dose, the more difficult the taper will be. Maybe I’m splitting hairs. I don’t know. In the light of her recommendation, how do I look at today’s stressful event and my reaction to it? Does the fact that I got so stressed and upset – mentally and physically – mean that I should up the meds, or was it just a normal reaction to an extremely high pressure and invasive situation? I guess the question is: how much do these events really cause harm? Is the fact that I’m up typing this at 4:30 am a cause for concern? Do I need to be in a constant cocoon of zen peacefulness to get pregnant? I just don’t know.
I guess the tricky thing is figuring out what a ‘normal’ stress response is in a seriously abnormal situation. I’ve always said that I thought doing IVF was a lot like being in a science fiction movie. Ok, now they’re going to insert a long needle through my vaginal wall and harvest my eggs. Sounds like it’s straight out of “A Handmaid’s Tale,” right? It’s a pretty fucking abnormal, mind bending, crazy experience to live through, if you ask me. So, what’s a normal, healthy reaction to living in “Alien?” I just don’t know.
First of all, it’s kind of nice that when I accidentally don’t type in my whole blog title, up comes “Grit Magazine,” about farm tools, living off the land, tending to your own community of bees, etc. Frankly, I’m grateful it’s not the Grit Magazine I might have imagined…I don’t know, biker chicks mud wrestling, or something like that.
So, AF FINALLY showed up last Friday. It was cd 42. She does take her own sweet time. She was probably off tormenting someone else who really didn’t want her around. No manners at all, that friggin’ Flo. Anyway, I was antsy and uneasy all week. Partly, I’m sure because of PMS – which is extra fun with super long cycles, and partly just because I was impatient and nervous for it all to begin. Because now IVF4 has officially started. Admittedly, the beginning is a little anticlimactic as it ramps up. I’m just taking Metformin and BCPs for a few weeks. Emotionally, things have definitely changed, though. I’m a stew of a whole slew of emotions these days – hopefulness, sadness, impatience, worry, anxiety. At least I’ve gotten better at recognizing the rising tide of emotions, so I’m working harder to take care of myself.
Mostly, I’m hopeful about this cycle. I keep listing off the things that have changed and that I desperately hope will be making a difference this time. I know I may have listed these before, but it makes me feel better to see them. Hell, I might write them with every post, who’s to say?
1. Embryos in a new lab environment
2. Metformin will hopefully improve the ovarian environment for the egglets
3. On Zoloft, so controlling the effects of stress and anxiety on my body
4. Taking vitamin D
5. Getting an endometrial biopsy, which anecdotally improves pregnancy rates with IVF. “Tilling the soil,” I guess.
6. New cohorts of eggs can act completely differently – MAYBE we’ll just get better ones this time around.
So, we’ll see. I also play a mind trick about my past cycles. It goes like this: they didn’t use Menopur for the first cycle (big mistake), so that one doesn’t even count. That takes it down to only 2 cycles failed. The Antagonist cycle was a super bad match for me, so that takes it down to only ONE legitimate cycle failed – and we had a few good looking embryos for that cycle. I do this to try to take away the meaning and power of the FOURTH IVF CYCLE – that somehow there’s necessarily less hope now because we’ve tried a few times before. What if they fucked up before? Surely, that fucked up cycle is a “gimme.” I know this may seem convoluted, but it works for me on some level.
In my effort to gradually “get my feet wet” about the possible egg donor thing, I started to browse some donor agency databases. This is kind of my strategy to take the pressure off this cycle working a TINY bit. I was surprised by how I responded to seeing their pictures. I thought I would be upset by having another woman’s face in my mind – someone who was taking my place with my child and my husband. The factor I hadn’t considered is how YOUNG these women are. The one I ended up especially liking is only 21 – young enough to almost be my OWN daughter. She looks grounded and self-confident – the way I’d want my daughter to be. Anyway, it’s a comfort to know that looking through these photos is not quite what I thought it’d be. Then I wonder, what if my child doesn’t get any of my artistic leanings? What if I get a child who’s not at all interested in art projects??? No art projects!!?? I know people might say that even my biological child could end up that way, but I’m skeptical. Baby steps…
I’m so impatient that I joke with J about stealing other people’s kids. Is that funny or creepy? When we see a family with a toddler and baby I say that they don’t get two, and that we get to take one of them. When we saw a bunch of families picnicking together, I eyed the group of toddlers like a hungry wolf eyes baby chicks. One of the moms said a friendly “hello” to me, no doubt trying to disarm me and thus foil my plan. She could probably tell I had my eye on the 2-year-old with the lopsided ponytails. Ah, only fellow IF-ers can really get the humor of this, I suppose.
These are things I appreciate today:
1. The flowers I planted on my porch.
2. The rainbows that fill my house – and that I have a husband sweet enough to buy me a bunch of crystals for Christmas, so he could put them in the windows to fill our house with rainbows.
3. That it’s finally fucking sunny and not gray and drizzly outside.
4. That I’m healthy and strong and feel pretty good in my body.
I can do this.
My husband (let’s call him J) and I have been taking walks together in the evenings lately. A few days ago, on one of our walks, we saw a pair of cardinals – a male and female together. The boy cardinal was singing its heart out and we wondered if they had a nest nearby. I asked J why male birds keep singing after they already have babies. Without a pause he said, “Because they’re proud.” That moment has really stuck with me. I’m pretty sure if I weren’t bolstered by my friend Zoloft I would have burst into tears right then. It was just such an immediate response. I’ve seen that J notices and comments on little kids and babies more often than he used to. Clearly, he wants to be a father so badly, and he’ll be an amazing one.
Not surprisingly, this trying to get pregnant process has been unspeakably difficult for me, and J has had to be incredibly strong and supportive. We’ve had some very tough times together – times when I hated him so violently that I thought we maybe couldn’t stay together. Times when I felt incredibly alone in my pain. We had some huge fights when we first started IVF, because he dealt with the stress and worry SO differently from me. By nature, he’s very careful not to give full rein to emotions that aren’t useful in the moment and that don’t serve a practical purpose. He (through immense self will, I guess) usually doesn’t worry about something unless it’s timely or useful to worry about it. I’m the opposite. He’d get angry at me when I got too upset, partly because the intensity of my emotion stressed him out. You can imagine how that’d spiral into a pretty ugly situation…now imagine it with extra progesterone thrown in the mix. It wasn’t pretty. He’s come a LONG way. Instead of telling me to not feel a certain way, J’s become very adept at just comforting me when I need comfort. He’s learned to say, “I can understand that ___ must have been stressful/upsetting/made you sad” whereas before he used to try to argue me out of my feelings. J’s ability to adapt and give me the support that I need – in ways that aren’t intuitively natural for him – is a testament to what an amazing man and husband he is. I’m sure the Zoloft has been very helpful with this, too. Before, I was consumed by immense amounts of anger at my situation. J was the only person around to be caught in the crossfires of my rage at the ridiculously unjust universe. My emotions were huge, powerful, and overwhelming, and no doubt my poor husband was exhausted by them.
There hasn’t been a lot of room to discuss how all the IF struggles have been affecting him. I’m the one going through the procedures. There’s something wrong with MY body, not his (he’s got A+ bionic sperm, apparently, while my eggs are seriously suspect). He’s had to be strong, supportive, pragmatic, and accepting of whatever outcome is thrown our way, partly because he needs to provide some balance to my grief. No doubt, partly because it IS my body that’s not cooperating, he’s reluctant to talk about how hard it is on him; he doesn’t want to make me feel bad.
Lately, he’s been telling me he’s feeling anxious. I know he’s unhappy and struggling. I know the IF has affected our lives in huge ways for a very long time now. He doesn’t love his job, but can’t really look for another one, because if we move out of the state we’d lose the rare gift of IVF insurance coverage. After 3 years, we still really haven’t made any lasting friends in our new town. It’s really hard to connect with other people when your life is consumed by IVF treatments – and who exactly do you fit with? It seems pretty apparent that you can’t make friends here if you don’t have either a dog or a kid. It doesn’t help to lower the emotional stakes of fertility treatments that having a baby seems like the key – not only to our happiness as a couple and a family – but to our being able to have a social life. Somehow, infertile couples don’t seem to band together the same way couples-with-babies do. We can’t plan trips to visit our friends or to get away, because it’s hard to predict when I’m going to be cycling. We’re just waiting for it to be over. We’re trying to take pleasure in whatever we can in the meantime, but it ain’t always easy.
It just occurred to me that he might partly be getting more anxious now because we have IVF4 starting soon. There may be other factors, but the impending cycle might be contributing to it. He doesn’t say that, and he always seems very nonchalant about the IVF, but I wonder…Emotionally, the last cycle was particularly bad for me. With that cycle, I had to come to terms with the fact that we had persistent fertilization problems even when we tweaked our protocol. I realized I was in a new, less promising category of IF women. We weren’t just your average case; my eggs really might not work. I was in a VERY dark place when we got our fertilization report up until the Beta. I can imagine that he might be afraid that this cycle will end the same way, and that he’ll have to find the strength to deal with a despairing and inconsolable wife again – and as time goes on, that might be harder for him to do. Anticipating having to cope with and comfort your hysterically crying wife might make a guy a little anxious. Ya think?
I’ve been worried about J, and wishing I could do something to make him feel better. I suggest therapy, exercise, meditation, etc. Ultimately, all that’s up to him. It just hit me, though, that the best thing I can do is to try my damnedest to be as strong and happy and hopeful as I possibly can be. I need to take care of myself emotionally and use all the means of self-support I know, not only for me, but for him. Gradually, maybe I can show him that it CAN be different this time, even if this cycle doesn’t work. I’m not going to pretend I’m fine when I’m not, but maybe my emotions don’t have to consume our lives this time. If we don’t get our baby this time, maybe we can be sad and disappointed together…and then get ready to try again.
Ok, so I took the job. I know. Just a few days ago I was so sure it was impossible and had resigned myself to perpetual unemployment. Then I sat down and looked at the dates carefully. The first deadline for the job isn’t until after I would know the outcome of two more IVF cycles. I realized I was planning my life around the very worst case scenario, and was so afraid to commit to a job because MAYBE I MIGHT not end up being able to travel when necessary. The bottom line is, if I need to do cycle #6 then, or if I’m pregnant with twins and can’t fly, they’re just going to have to deal. That’s life, right? Shit happens? People get sick, or get pregnant, or have unforeseen medical procedures. Why should IVF be any different? I’ll have to get someone to fill in for me if I can’t travel, that’s all, but I’m NOT postponing a cycle if it needs to happen. In the corporate world it’s illegal to refuse a job to someone because they MAY get pregnant and it might become inconvenient to the company down the line. The company has to figure out how to cope. That’s part of supporting their employees’ right to also live a life. Shouldn’t I be as protected even though I’m freelance? There are a lot of scenarios where it all will work out fine, but there I was refusing myself a job just in case I might become incapacitated ten months from now. What’s up with that?
Overall, I’m feeling pretty good these days. I had a stressful follow-up appointment with my RE (cranky know-it-all, ignorant nurse and defensive doctor), but that’s over. I’ll hardly be seeing or talking to my RE anymore (we all know how that is), and I get a new nurse once I’m cycling. I’m trying to focus on the changes that might give us a better outcome this time. A new clinic, so a different lab for my embryos to hang out in (maybe they’ll like it better there – tastier snacks, better cable channels), lower stress and anxiety levels because of the Zoloft, vitamin D (I’ve decided that’s the magic pill that’s gonna make ALL the difference…go placebo effect!), Metformin, and a much better support system. Let’s hope that all adds up to healthy, happy eggs this time around. All my fingers and toes are crossed, and I’m knocking on wood.
By now, I’ve accrued quite a collection of fertility totems. I’ve got little carved wooden bunnies, frogs, and turtles next to my bed…the statue of some goddess and her baby I picked up in Vietnam, and I seem to be creating or collecting lots of images of eggs. I know it sounds nuts, but when you’re not a particularly religious person, I guess you sometimes start to rely on superstitions. I don’t REALLY believe in them, but sometimes I can’t help myself from reaching out to touch the head of that mother statue. Maybe it’ll help…just a little.
We were working on affirmations in one of my mind-body sessions. I’d write down a persistent negative thought, and then we’d think of a positive thought I could bring up as a response whenever that negative thought popped up. Of course, my negative thought was something like “I’m never going to be able to have a baby.” The therapist recommended as a positive answer, “I have faith that the baby that is meant for us will come at the right time.” I told her that affirmation just wouldn’t work for me, because I DIDN’T have faith in that. I don’t believe that anything is “meant to be.” I don’t believe our future baby is floating around in another dimension somewhere. I don’t think there’s any plan, or anyone running the show, no fate, no nothin’. Believe me, there have been times during the pain and disappointment of the last few years that I’ve really wished I could believe in something. Random unfairness is no fun. But you can’t just dig faith up when it’s convenient. The only thing I have faith in is that my husband and I will have the fortitude to get through this. I guess that’s no small thing.
…because I could really use a huge helping of sweet, starchy comfort food right now. I’ve been a little down lately. The past several days I’ve felt like I’ll be in this limbo baby-less state forever. Other people will move on, but I’ll still be in this constant struggle to try to be hopeful and positive in the face of upsetting surprises, delays, emotional roller coasters, and setbacks. I guess I should warn you now that at the moment this post doesn’t feel the most uplifting, but maybe I’ll be able to turn it around by the end. My internal critic tells me that I don’t have cause to be so whiny – that so many women have had much larger disappointments and devastating losses. I’m more in purgatory than hell right now. I know that.
I’m just gonna get it out there, so I can move on: I can’t believe that I’ll ever get a BFP. I can’t imagine that I’ll even ever have an embryo get to blast. I can’t imagine being lucky enough to have any embryos to freeze. I’ll never have a baby shower. I’m not going to have any friends, because everyone will have babies and want to hang out with other women-with-babies. The tough thing is that this WAITING just feels like my reality, and like it’s never going to end.
I had a blow this morning that pushed me a little further down my descending spiral. I got another job offer. I know, sounds great right? It’s on the west coast, it’s for next spring, and it’d be an exciting project. I don’t see how I could possibly take it. There’s just no way to know how many cycles we’re going to have to do. At the beginning, before I was in the category of women who don’t have their 1st, 2nd, or even 3rd IVF work, I could imagine being able to take the job. Now, who knows? I could have to do my 6th cycle next April. I’d be 39, so we wouldn’t want to delay, right? The small, tenacious part of me trying hard to be positive thinks, “or you could be a month away from having your baby/babies, and you won’t want to be flying across the country”. Either way, I guess that means my current career is over – but I don’t have motherhood to take its place, just infertilityhood.
Don’t get me wrong. I have fully committed to this. That’s why it’s clear that I can’t take the job. There’s no stressful decision making, only sadness. Because I don’t have anything to fill the gap that the job would have filled. I’m making space for my baby, but that space is gapingly empty. I’m trying hard to find ways to fill it in the meantime. I’m studying for this teacher certification exam, I’m working on trying to transition from being a designer to being a teacher and artist (a transition I actually feel really good about), I’m finding opportunities to volunteer. It’s something; not quite enough, but something. Then this new job comes up, and makes it so apparent that this limbo state could be stretching out………for months…and months…It’s a little tough to not be overwhelmed by that.
At least my coping mechanisms are better than they used to be. I recognized that things were getting harder for me, and saw that I need to rachet up my support. Not surprisingly, I’ve kind of stopped meditating and have lapsed into my bad habits again. I’ve been watching stroller review videos online and browsing photos of people’s well-designed nurseries. I’ve been obsessively googling my next IVF protocol. I know I need to be doing things that nourish me more right now. Gotta step it up.
Ok, so here are the goals. I need to be meditating at least once, if not twice a day. I need to spend a little time daily stretching or doing yoga. It’d be great if I could put on music and just dance around the house a little. I need to be creating things.
There’s a project in that book, “Positivity” that might be helpful right now. You’re supposed to create a kind of portfolio – some collection of images, quotes, memories, and thoughts – focusing on a positive emotion (I was going to do “joy”). I guess the act of creating this portfolio (either an art piece, collection of scraps in a box, or a powerpoint presentation – whatever) helps you focus on things that elicit the positive emotion for you. Then, whenever you visit the finished creation, you can bring the emotion up. Maybe I’ll start that today.
I just learned to embroider, and surprisingly find it satisfying. I’m actually the kind of person to constantly get her thread tangled in intricate knots and then want to fling everything across the room while swearing like a sailor. But I’m working on my patience, and slowly becoming a little better. Yesterday I started a little sampler that has a quote from Winnie the Pooh on it: “You are braver than you believe.” I’m trying really hard to rally…
I went to a yoga retreat last week-end. I realized when I got there that it had been almost a year since I had been there last, and that this anniversary coincided with the end of my very first IVF cycle. I originally went there during that first two week wait. I was new to the whole IVF thing and thought it’d be good to have somewhere to go and something to distract me while I counted the days. I knew I wouldn’t be doing much physically, but thought it’d be nice to be somewhere pretty and to break up the two weeks somehow. What I didn’t foresee was that the cycle was going to go very badly, so at transfer we knew we had almost no chance of success. I went on the retreat, but was so sad and depressed that I came back early.
So, there I was again, about a year later, and about to embark on my fourth IVF cycle. It made me really take stock and feel oddly proud of how far I’ve come in that year. I’m stronger than I was, know better how very much I can take and adapt to, and I’m (a little) more able to give up control. I’m daring to hope a little bit that some of these changes – especially the reduction in stress and anxiety – might make the IVF a TINY bit more likely to work this time. Really, future embryo, it’s a calmer place to be, so stick around, ok?
When I started the IVF I was so freaked out by the medical-ness of the whole process. I got upset and angry whenever I saw the hospital building where my clinic was. Because I had to use medical intervention, I felt “unwell.” I was (for some reason) angry at my doctors simply because I had to go through it all. I had to hide my sharps container in a pretty bag, because it disturbed me so much to have it in my room (well, I still do that). Now, most of the time, it’s routine. When the big bag of meds gets delivered to my door, I don’t freak out. The biggest gift that this infertility has given me is a deep-seated belief that humans – and I – have an amazing ability to survive and adapt to pretty shitty situations. Not only do we get through them, but they often can end up feeling like not really a big deal after awhile. Knowing that on a deep, visceral level is a HUGE comfort. I never thought injections and ultrasounds could become routine, but I guess that’s what makes us resilient.
The retreat was much better this time than the last, of course. I still got a little lonely in that “who am I going to sit with at lunch awkward junior high” kind of way, but mostly it was relaxing and beautiful. The photos on this post are from there. There was one thing I regret, though. I’m gonna state what may be obvious to most people; I’m a little slow sometimes. If some touchy-feely yoga teacher starts a “share circle” where you go around the room sharing the things you’re grappling with in life, DON’T join in if you’re an IF-er. DUH. I don’t know why I didn’t run the other way. I guess I’m a pretty open person and I assumed that I could handle it. “Hi, my name is Sally, and I have a hard time putting my blackberry down.” “Hi, my name is Mary, and I’m sad because I have to put my 8 month-old in childcare.” “Hi, my name is George and I feel ambivalent about retiring.” “Hi, my name is Patience and I’m getting ready for my FOURTH IVF.” Um…It’s very much not fun to be the person with the worst problem in a “share circle.” It’s just fabulous that I was able to offer everyone a very cathartic experience and that they could be moved by how courageous I was to share my really awful problem with them. Whatever. Then I had to run into near strangers at dinner and know they were thinking, “Oh, that’s the infertile girl”. Seriously a stupid move on my part. That just reinforced to me how much of a LIFE SAVER the IF community is. With fellow IF-ers, no one is going to be simultaneously titillated and pitying about how horrible my situation is. We’ve all been there, to a certain extent.
So, now it seems like cycle #4 is finally coming up. My clinic formally said that they’re willing to work with me (phew), and they’ve told me what protocol they recommend. At the moment I’m tentatively hopeful and a little bit excited. It’s really, very hard to believe that I might ever get pregnant, though. I know so many of us feel that way after struggling for so long. I’ve learned a lot since the last one failed, and now I have Zoloft on my side. And I have you guys. That’s gotta count for something, right?
I was telling a fellow IF-er yesterday that I’m occasionally trying to get used to the idea of using donor eggs. It’s like I’m dipping my toes in once in awhile to get acclimated to the waters gradually – when I feel safe and not particularly upset – rather than having to plunge in all at once right after yet another BFN. We have persistent fertilization problems, and I haven’t yet heard from anyone how to solve that (If anyone knows of someone who’s gotten pregnant despite that particular hurdle, please chime in, because I know it would give me and others a lot of hope). When we get a few embryos they can be of a really good quality, but none have stuck around yet. It might just be a matter of finding the right egg, but I figure I’d better start getting used to the idea just in case. Yeah, I love to be prepared.
When I first began thinking of donor eggs, the image of a cuckoo bird would pop in my head. The cuckoo is a crafty slacker parent bird who sneakily lays its egg in another bird’s nest for the other bird to feed and take care of. Then the cuckoo flies off and parties in Monaco or something. The cuckoo baby is kind of big and ungainly. It takes up almost the whole nest and is voracious. The little surrogate mother bird is pretty tiny, way smaller than the cuckoo baby. She frantically struggles to gather enough food to feed her new, surprisingly huge, ugly baby. Sometimes her own, much littler babies get pushed out of the nest by the cuckoo monster baby.
I guess this image pops into my head because I’m pretty petite myself. For some reason the thought of having a huge baby – and huge kid – makes me really uncomfortable. I know that sounds incredibly random and not very important in the scheme of things. I’d love whatever kid I had, of course. I guess it’s just a visceral illustration of that baby or child being foreign, different, not OF ME, us not “fitting”.
My reaction to the cuckoo image isn’t as strong now as it used to be. Maybe it’s the passage of time, maybe it’s the Zoloft. Who knows? I tell myself that I can find a donor who isn’t 5’11” and from solid, hulking, German stock. I can have a donor egg baby that will still “fit”, right? I still get wistful when I see parents with their children who have little copies of their adult faces, but I know that’s a superficial thing. Ultimately, I won’t be any less happy without that. I know that. I’ll still tuck a donor egg baby in at night, comfort her when she’s frightened, and teach her to appreciate the beauty in the world. Looking at her face – even if there isn’t any of me in it – will still give me incredible joy. Looking at my husband’s face does that, so it stands to reason that I’ll be filled with that same joy when I look at any child of mine. It’s the love that makes you “fit”, not the genes.