Going to the IVF lab at 5:30 a.m. felt like a birthday party to me. My husband, on the other hand, was sleepy (caffeine deprived for weeks to help with sperm production) and, albeit excited too, more than reluctant at the task that awaited him. I was giddy at the thought that the development of our future babies was just hours away... Later in the morning we got a call that 33 eggs were retrieved from our donor and were being processed for fertilization!
I have always been in absolute awe of the fact that two people can make another person out of their love for each other. Seeing our son, Enzo, for the very first time was truly seeing love incarnate. But sitting at my desk imagining the dance of 1/3 of my husband's sperm with the young, vibrant eggs of donor 539-CUJ in a Petri dish; imagining the other 2/3 having their little tails ripped off and being forcibly injected into the eggs via ICSI (click here to learn more about ICSI), the romance of baby making is officially over for me, like a lovely Luther Vandross song on an eight-track tape.
All of these emotions, all of this reality, gave rise to something unexpected in me: jealousy. My gratefulness was suddenly shrouded by resentment. Sure, 539-CUJ was selfless in her desire to help a couple struggling with infertility due to advanced maternal age. Sure, she was one of the only potential donors we screened who stated she felt a personal obligation to do good in this world via egg donation (as opposed to egg donation for monetary reasons only). But come on, she's not all that. I could have been an egg donor at her age, had I wanted to. In fact, I bet in my early 20's I would have produced way more than the 33 eggs she did. In my 20's, I would have produced super-mega-fertile follicles, so what-ever, 539-CUJ.
I cried my eyes out. With that sadness and jealously came release. Today, all that I have been holding on to was set free; set free from the cage of my mind. Today, I was liberated from my own expectations and self-imposed, rigid ideas of what it is to be a woman and a mother. I cried and cried some more. And then I did the "we have 33 eggs to fertilize" happy dance. Thank you, thank you, 539-CUJ.