Birth mom. Am I or am I not?
My hubby and I were talking the other night as I was trying to write the bio for the children’s book I authored. I was trying to express the idea that while my son was actually adopted, I grew and birthed him. Did that make me a surrogate? Birth mom? Adopted mom?
It occurred to me that the term “birth mom” had developed it’s own definition in my circumstance. It was separate from the traditional meaning.
Let me back up a bit and explain how it is that I came into this wonderfully mind-boggling anomaly of motherhood. “When little girls are formed in the womb, they are made with all the eggs they will ever have, gazillions,” said my fertility doctor. “But it seems as though you just didn’t get the usual allotment.” While it is true I tend to fall on the pessimistic side (I prefer to call it pragmatic), I knew this was bad.
At that moment I pretty much resigned myself to the fact that my childhood dreams of having babies was over.
It probably has something to do with my being a nurse in emergency settings for over two decades or maybe it was all those “Forensic Files” episodes I watched all during my twenties. I expected the worst, yet always held out hope for the best. Either way, I was possibly facing the most disappointing, devastating, distressing, disturbing and disastrous dilemma of my life.
So fast forward (over four agonizing years) through step 1, step 2, step 3, step 4. There were hundreds of shots, hot flashes, three miscarriages, eye-popping, jaw-dropping fertility bills, highs. It was lows, lows, lows and more lows. But here I am at almost 42 years old and 7 months pregnant with my second child!
No, the miraculous spontaneous traditional pregnancy didn’t happen for me despite the many hopeful stories friends had promised.
I really tried to “just relax”, “forget about it” and “move on.” I would have drank wine but can’t stand it (another story). A vacation to Hawaii would have been great but we were well beyond broke thanks to the fertility treatments. The truth is, we could have bought a nice house with the funds we went through. Well, at least a house in one of my native states of Texas or Oklahoma.
Steps 1-3 definitely showed that I was the culprit. I was unusually low on eggs at 35 and they appeared to be past expiration. But it was step 4 where we figured out that using my hubby’s (we will call it “DNA”), was not working either. Even with an A+ on his “report” card and a plethora of young, fresh, bouncy donor eggs, nothing was happening. My husband was a self-proclaimed “egg assassin”.
What is next, a motherless life? Continue to travel the world? Enrich my life in other non-maternal ways? I couldn’t let it end there. Being a mother was numero uno on my bucket list and it was a non-negotiable topic.
Adoption was the next obvious logical option but it just didn’t feel right to me. I wanted the visceral, fleshy, “bodily connection” experience (see “Locked-Up” post for more on that “experience”). If I am being honest, traditional adoption scared me. I probably watched to many Lifetime movies or heard too many stories of adoptions gone bad. I was very fearful of the unknown that lurked down that path. The connection that, for me, came from growing, perfusing, nourishing and birthing another human was what I wanted. I admire my adoptive parent counterparts for taking a extremely courageous and unbelievably selfless route. At the time, it was simply not within my personal capacity.
So, our doctor told us about embryo adoption.
You’re not JUST using donated sperm. You’re not JUST using fresh, young, bouncy donated eggs. BOTH are being used. Donated sperm enters donated egg and viola! a cellular human begins. Not to get too technical (there are many factors surrounding all of this business), but yes, a human is created and quickly placed into a frosty slumber (AKA cryopreserved.) After all the research and online self teaching that I did, I feel like I have my honorary diploma in Reproductive Endocrinology!
And this is where my true motherhood “journey” began with a beautiful frosty little embryo waiting for it’s “day in the sun.”
Read Next: My Journey From Infertility To Motherhood
Sheri Sturniolo is a mother to two sweet babes via embryo donation, a Pediatric Registered Nurse and Indie Author if the Children’s Picture Book Series, “You Were Made For Me”. As a “older” mama who has gone through the ups, downs, ins & outs of infertility I am passionate about helping the next generation of infertility warriors process the choice of conception via third party donation as well as creating beautifully unique stories for those donor conceived children.