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.