Every journey has its set backs, and this journey we are on has proven no different. Not only were we struggling to find our perfect donor, but as it turned out, my ultrasounds were showing things the doctor could not identify. She thought I may have what they call a heart-shaped uterus or a bicornuate uterus. Which is a septum of fibrous tissue that grows down the middle of your uterus and would make it difficult to sustain a pregnancy. However she would not be able to accurately determine this without exploratory surgery.
On March 20, 2014 I had a laparosocpy and hysteroscopy. I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) http://www.webmd.com/women/pcos-directory and Stage 4 Endometriosis http://www.webmd.com/women/endometriosis/endometriosis-topic-overview. The surgery went well and the doctor was able to remove most of the endometriosis and cysts and was confident we would be able to continue to get pregnant. She was always positive and encouraging. She said I've probably suffered from this for many many years. It was very frustrating to me. Any of my previous doctors could have figured this out if they had only asked the right questions or offered the proper tests. I guess it just took finding a doctor who cared enough. I loved that bossy little lady.
We were hoping to have our donor selected and approved and start all the legal work prior to our trip to Hawaii in July; this way we could get started with our cycle soon after we returned. However our search for a donor continued to be disappointing.
Meanwhile, in late April/early May I started my mock cycle, which is an artificial cycle of hormonal stimulation with no transfer at the end. It's purpose is to see how the body reacts to the medications and allows the doctors to make any adjustments necessary prior to the real thing. The main drug taken in this instance is Lupron. It is administered via injection into the belly. Let me tell you, this stuff is no joke. Lupron is used to suppress ovulation. So basically it puts you into false state of menopause. The side effects are awful. I experienced extreme hot flashes at all times during the day and night, moodiness, irritability, headaches. It made it nearly impossible for any kind of intimacy, which made me feel guilty and irritable all over again. It was a struggle to go to work everyday and be pleasant. We passed up many invitations for parties and dinners and other social events due to the fact that I never knew how I was going to feel and I didn't want people to think I was a big ole beatch! It was easier to just hide under my covers. However, it was all part of the process and we were told to expect all of the above. Luckily for me, hubby was extremely supportive and sensitive to my every need and mood. ...We want this so bad we'll do whatever it takes!
As I maneuvered through the ups and downs of my emotions, we continued to search the sites for the perfect match. I was so hung up on finding someone who looked like me. There was no one. It was beginning to sink in that I was going have a baby that looked nothing like me. I began to really grieve the fact that I was not going to have a genetic link to my own child. I mean I would carry the child in my womb, and all my own DNA would flow through my body and the baby as the pregnancy progressed. I understood that. But would it have my smile? Would it have my eyes or nose? Would it be nurturing like me, or have my sense of humor? Probably not. Was it enough that it will look like hubby and have his characteristics. After all, he has proven to make a beautiful baby. We had so much to look forward to and hubby was so excited. Yet, I was still so sad. I began to have big doubts if we were doing the right thing. I laid awake at night with tears streaming down my face, hoping hubby would not notice. I felt so guilty that I was taking the joy out of this process for him.
At one of my routine ultrasound appointments we met with a nurse practitioner we had not seen before. She asked us how we were doing in the selection process and I just broke down in tears. She was so sweet and calm. The best advise she gave me that day was "you are not replacing yourself. Quit worrying about finding someone that looks just like you. You don't even know what your own genes are going to produce. There is no guarantee, even with your own egg, that your child will look anything like you. Stop trying to replace yourself and start looking for someone who meets your very basic requirements."
I felt so relieved after that visit. We still had not found anyone yet, but I felt a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.
My mock cycle had ended and we decided to just take a break. And boy did we need one! We were getting ready for our big trip to Hawaii for my parents 50th Wedding Anniversary, which we've been planning for a year and a half, and planned to start up looking again when we returned.
p.s. Kauai was amazing. There were 24 of us total, family and friends. It was the trip of a lifetime. It was just the break we needed to regroup, refocus and count our blessings (all 24 of them)!