Friday, September 23, 2011

The Big Reveal

I haven't written for awhile, because I've struggled with the writing of this post.  This is the post that I didn't want to write, that I was afraid to write, that I didn't know how to write.

You see, I haven't told you the whole story.

Unlike most infertility blogs, I haven't laid out my medical history, listing every step in the journey that's taken me from a bright young chick who was so assured of her fertility that she started picking out baby names the day she stopped taking the pill, to this bitter old crow who's tried every trick in the book and still has a chronically empty nest.

I've written in general terms about my own experiences, intending to reach out to all infertile women regardless of their diagnoses or treatment plans.  But also - and maybe mostly - I wanted to keep some things private.

I write here anonymously (Surprise! My name's not really Jenny and I'm not really a bird.  I know you're shocked and secretly imagined me hopping around on my laptop, hitting keys with my tiny beak and I'm so sorry to burst your bubble) but some of my readers know me outside of the internet, so I don't always feel entirely free as...a say whatever I want.

Not me.

But keeping certain facts to myself is starting to feel dishonest and that's so not the point of this blog.  It's one thing to pretend to be a bird, it's quite another to fake being candid.

So, yeah.  <deep breath> Here's the deal:  not only am I not really a bird, if I were a bird I wouldn't even be a wren.  I'd be an infertile partridge.

According to medieval mythology, the partridge takes the eggs of other birds and raises the hatchlings as her own.  Which is my roundabout and nerdy way of telling you that I am using donor eggs in my IVF attempts.

I chose a bird metaphor for this blog because years of fertility treatments made me so obsessed with eggs (How many eggs can I produce this month? Are they good eggs or bad eggs? Are they hatching yet?) I felt like I was about to sprout feathers.  And after two IUIs, and two IVFs - none of which yielded even the faintest glimmer of success - we were forced to admit that they were very bad eggs indeed.

The decision to create our baby using another woman's DNA did not come easily.  We summarily rejected the notion when Dr. S first brought it up. How we got from there to here is a story for another day.

When I told Mr Wren (also not his real name or species*) that I was considering writing about donor eggs because keeping it a secret implied there was something shameful and embarrassing about it he looked at me and said, "well, you are embarrassed, aren't you?" And that's when I flew into a rage and threatened to peck his eyes out for not understanding me AT ALL.

When I un-ruffled my feathers, I realized I needed to write this post.  Because no, I am NOT embarrassed about wanting to have a child badly enough that I will take advantage of whatever options modern science can offer to get me there.  I'm not ashamed that we live in a time when medical research gives us choices our grandparents could never have imagined.  Of course, our grandparents probably never would have HAD to imagine them, since they were obviously fertile or none of us would be here, but I digress.

I'm proud that I am strong enough to survive the failures and disappointments and rise again with new hope. I'm so grateful for the young women who give a piece of themselves to help create families when all other hope is lost. I'm scared that one day people may judge my child differently because of how he or she was conceived, but you know what? Fuck them. There will always be haters. But my child (God willing) will be brought into this world with love and will be surrounded by an abundance of it their entire life and that matters so much more than who donated their genetic code or what anybody thinks about it.

And it is NOTHING to be ashamed of.

The abundance of bird puns in this post, however, is another story and for that I humbly apologize.

*Mr Wren would like you all to know that he does not identify with the male partridge AT ALL.  Read the link if you're wondering why.


  1. Thanks for sharing this! I'm currently pregnant thanks to DE, and while we are keeping it quiet IRL because we want our daughter to be able to make her own choices when she's older about who knows the details of her conception (she'll always know), I've found it so helpful to talk about it on my blog! Glad to have another DE pal on my blogroll :)

  2. Thanks, Willow. I'll talk about this more in a future post, but I feel much same way you do about telling my hypothetical child how he/she was conceived and letting them decide what and with whom to share that info. Congratulations on your pregnancy!!

  3. Hi Jenny - I enjoyed this post. It is sometimes scary divulging very personal things on the blog, but it is cathartic and you can get alot of support if you do. Donor egg is a big step, but one I would definitely be willing to take I needed to. I would like to hear more about your journey. I love the all the bird references. I am reading a book called Life List about Phoebe Snetsinger, a woman who devoted her life to birding. Though I am not into birding, it is interesting to learn about it.

  4. Amazing post. Good luck on your journey...

  5. TurtleMama - Thanks for the support and encouragement. I was really nervous about posting this, but it was cathartic for sure! That book sounds interesting, I'll have to see if the library has it.

    Anonymous - Thank you. I greatly appreciate every kind word!!

  6. I certainly couldn't have said it any better... I've learned through this process that what I wouldn't do yesterday may be my best option tomorrow. In the end, you will have a baby who is cherished, loved, and desired WAY more than 90% of the children alive today...and that's what your baby needs to know!

  7. Perfectly written. I've learned through this process that what I said "No" to yesterday is likely going to be a "Yes" tomorrow. Your baby will be so desired, treasured, and loved...and really, what more can anyone want?

  8. This is a wonderful post, I'm so glad I found your site. My husbands nickname is actually Bird and we are on a quest to have a "Baby Bird." Silly names aside, your post is tremendously inspiring. You should never be ashamed of donor eggs and I am proud of you for speaking out.

  9. Lucy - Thank you! You are spot on - the most important thing is that a child knows they are loved and cherished and we are certainly well-equipped to do that.

    Belle - I'm so glad you found me too! I hope your "baby bird" finds its way to your nest soon.

  10. I think its completely fine not to have shared the entire story with us until you were ready to. And not to say its something to hide, but I can understand that you don't need the whole world knowing when YOU want to be the one that will eventually tell your child, not someone else.

    Best of luck to you.

  11. Thank you, Infertile Days! That is exactly why I don't want to share this news with everyone IRL, but it was getting hard to write about my IF experiences without getting into that part of it and I felt like I was hiding something. So glad I "came out" to y'all. The support is incredible.

  12. I am in the middle if a DE/IVF cycle myself and completely understand feeling like you are being dishonest or hiding something. I am new to the blogging world, but after reading yours, I am certain that I will find support here (and hopefully will be able to give support too). Thanks for sharing, and I wish you the best of luck!

  13. Anon - I'm pretty new to the blogging world, too - but the amount of support I've found here and elsewhere on the internet is astounding. Good luck to you, both in blogging and DE/IVF!

  14. Beautiful post, Jenny. Like you, it took me a long, long time to admit to others that we needed "help" because I was a "failure" in the "getting pregnant" and "keeping babies alive" areas.

    The decision to use donor eggs was a relatively easy one for us because, considering the financial risk, we wanted the best chance of success and the lowest chance of medical complications due to my "old eggs."

    There isn't even a single second that I haven't felt like these babies have always been ours - created out of love.

    Have you read anything about epigenetics? If not, Google it...interesting stuff.

  15. Hi Flygirl - yes, of COURSE a big old nerdy bird like me has read about epigenetics, especially as it relates to donor egg! It's so fascinating - I hope to write a post about it one of these days. There is no doubt that those babies are totally yours and feeling your influence already!

  16. I thank you for sharing your story with us. Good luck with the DE IVF!

  17. I’m missing everything. Generally speaking, those who have passed judgment on me have had massive skeletons in their closets. In continuing with bird metaphors, I have often felt like I had an albatross tied around my neck. This was a daring step and one I’m glad you took it. Congrat's up to 13 members, but nobody is counting. ;D