12 May 2011

The Process, Part 1

Hi. My name is Amber and I’m an egg donor.

That’s not really true. My name is Amber, but I’m not an egg donor. That makes it sound like I give eggs like I give blood. I one time gave some eggs (7 of them for those interested in details) to a wonderful couple who really, really wanted a family.

I didn’t respond to a poster I saw in a coffee house. Or call a number listed in a classified ad. I don’t even think I was technically asked.

My friend Wendy and her husband Mike were going through a difficult time in regards to having children and Wendy shared a lot of those issues with me as they were happening. I’ve been a sounding board for her for a long time (and her for me).

Mike and Wendy wanted children. A lot of loud, rambunctious children. And they were ready to be parents. (The two are not always simultaneous, you know.) They were going to be great parents – as soon as an egg donor was found. (You can read about the events leading up to this part of Wendy and Mike’s journey here.)

There were ups and downs in their journey. There were days it seemed like everything was going to work out and then it wouldn’t for whatever reason. There were also days that it seemed like things were never going to work out.

I make jokes when I’m nervous so this would be a good place to say I told Wendy she could have some of my eggs because I couldn’t handle the stress of her e-mails. But that wouldn’t be true. I was frustrated with the process, though. And one day, while we were e-mailing back and forth (and back and forth and back and forth), I just said it, ‘I’ll do it. I’ll give you my eggs.’

I’m not sure what all went through Wendy’s head right then. Or through Mike’s later when she told him. But I can tell you what went through mine (and it wasn’t ‘what the hell am I thinking?’). It was, ‘What if they don’t want me?’

Wendy and I were, are, will always be, good friends. I’m not sure why she never asked me to be an egg donor, but in that second, I was convinced there was a reason. I was too chubby. Or my hair was too red. Or I sunburned too easily. Or, and this really could have been the reason, I didn’t love Nightmare Before Christmas enough.

I shouldn’t’ve worried, though, because they did want me! (I knew then how Sally Field felt at the Oscars.) I then realized that I probably should have talked to my fiance before making the offer. Oops.

I knew some stuff about egg donation because I had written an article about it at one of the newspapers I had worked at. In fact, my coworker and I discussed pretty thoroughly at that time whether we would ever do it. My answer then? No. But that’s because the article was about the money that was to be made in egg donation and I would never do it for money. I guess I didn’t know there could be another reason.

Once the process got started, things got a little crazy. There were trips to Cincinnati for testing – lots and lots of testing, both physical and psychological, appointments with my own OB-GYN, searches for a new OB-GYN and shots. Oh, the shots.

I could go into infinite detail about the testing. The 500-question test to make sure I wasn’t crazy. The meetings with a psychiatrist – alone and with Wendy. The appointment with my OB-GYN that tested my resolve – and made me cry and made me yell at a nurse and resulted in me becoming a patient at the Fertility Center of Northwest Ohio (which will be an important thing to remember for the future).

I could go into infinite detail about the shots. About how much I hate needles. About the kit that came in the mail – full of needles and vials and pills. About giving myself my first shot in the basement of my boss’ house while I was house-sitting for him. About giving myself shots in various coworkers’ offices. About enlisting a friend to give me the inter-muscular shots because I couldn’t give them to myself. About driving to Napoleon so that friend, who lived in Sherwood, could give me these shots in a Burger King bathroom. About Wendy practicing on an orange – or was it a potato? – before she had to give me an inter-muscular shot (which happened in the bathroom at a Texas Roadhouse – these things had to be timed just so and, well, that’s where we happened to be).

During all this, I never really thought about what I was doing. It never crossed my mind that ‘Wendy and Mike are my friends’ wasn’t a good enough reason (for some people) for me to be doing this. And, truly, it’s not. I wouldn’t do this for any of you (I’m sorry, but it’s true). I honestly can’t think of another couple I would have done this for. But it doesn’t matter. Once I made the decision to help Wendy and Mike, I knew I wouldn’t ever do this again for anyone. That would be weird.

A lot of this process was weird when you think about it. And controversial. Back then, people didn’t talk much about infertility. It wasn’t the dark ages, but it feels like eons ago when I think about how much people share nowadays. Blame it on our high-tech society (blogs!), but back then, therewasn’t information for Wendy, or I, to turn to that wasn’t all medical in nature. Several of my friends had fertility issues, which definitely impacted my decision to help Wendy and Mike. In fact, I think, then, I only had two friends or family members who didn’t have problems conceiving. Or maybe they did, but they didn’t talk about them. Not many people talked about that kind of stuff 7-8 years ago.

Anyway, we’ve reached the week where I head to Cincinnati for the procedure. But that’s a story for another day.


Wendy said...

I oftentimes wonder what it would be like to do this TODAY, what with Twitter, and blogs and Facebook and everything. I wonder if we were able to talk about it online back then while we were in the midst of it if the experience would have been different? I don't know. I'm glad we're writing about it now.

Ky • twopretzels.com said...

(You two and your TEASER posts.)

Amber, what a gift.

In all honesty and in complete seriousness - I'm astounded by this act. And I love how natural it felt for you both.

That means it was just sooo meant to be.


Mickey D. said...

I mean, WOW!

You gave your friend the chance to have children! How do you even wrap your head around that? Truly, truly incredible.

And I'm sure it was a nice bonus to find out that you are not crazy!

Heather said...

This seems like ages ago (heck, we were both still working at FLS!). I love that you've decided to share this story. I thought then, I still think today, this has to be the most selfless act I've ever seen. I can't wait to read the rest of the story ...

wrestling kitties said...

I agree with Ky & Mickey D....WOW. The gift you gave is truly amazing and unique. And to make that decision so naturally just shows what a wonderful person you are.

It was meant to be that you would find each other and be in each others lives!