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What It's Like to Be Pregnant With a Donor Egg Baby

I was ready to write about something else for my post this week, but then I was contacted by someone who reads my blog, asking me about donor eggs and if I had any tips on how to cope with it. My reply back to her was long enough to fill this article and then some. It got me thinking. I hesitated even writing about donor eggs anymore because I'm sixteen weeks pregnant and frankly, I was hoping everyone would just forget about it. I know that makes me sound like I'm ashamed of it, but I think it comes from a place of fear. That I'll somehow remind those close to me that my baby inside me isn't genetically mine and then they'll remember that after I've pushed the baby out and start looking for physical features on her, or worse, start asking questions again. Clearly, writing an article for the public is the best solution for this.

In all seriousness, after I wrote to that person, I knew I needed to visit my donor egg cycle again. I've written plenty about it when I was in the throes of the embryo transfer, as well as before that. But how am I feeling when that donor egg became an embryo, fertilized with my husband's sperm and is now currently squirming around in my stomach as a full-blown baby? The answer: It's still complicated. One that will probably be addressed on here in the next few articles as well.

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Let me let you in on a little secret: I hardly even think about this being a donor egg baby anymore. The truth is, this is simply my baby. Her little heart is pumping my blood through her body, about twenty-five quarts a day. I've heard her heart beating inside me, even hearing her kick at the wand on my home Doppler. She's made me dry heave, and give up sleeping on my back, and call her a girl because I feel guilty calling her an "it." She's my baby all the way. If I didn't do this donor egg cycle, I wouldn't have her. I wouldn't be pregnant.

But I still catch myself thinking every so often, if she will look like me. A lump will form in my throat when I wonder if I will stare into her face in December, her body covered in goop, and not recognize me in her. Will my breath catch when we make eye contact? Will we be strangers to each other?

I love this baby. I love her so much that tears come to my eyes, and my heart physically aches to have her in my arms. I have fought for her, tooth and nail, long before she was conceived.

A few weeks ago my husband and I were watching a reality show on television and one of the contestants had a home video with his toddler daughter running around the house. Suddenly I was crying, because that little girl looked exactly like me when I was little. It was who my own little girl was supposed to look like. And now I'm crying as I write this, because it's such a betrayal to this little baby inside me and I think it's all part of the grieving process, but still, it's a complex mix of emotions.

So I have moments. I hate the loss of my genetics. I am terrified of people who will search my child's face, wondering who the donor looked like. I am torn between wishing I had kept this all a secret and wanting to show people that families come in all sorts of ways.

One thing has remained constant. I love this baby. I love her so much that tears come to my eyes, and my heart physically aches to have her in my arms. I have fought for her, tooth and nail, long before she was conceived. When I look at the big picture, when I truly look at how much love my heart can hold for her, it doesn't matter that she didn't come from my eggs. At all.

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I have no idea what I will feel come her birth. But I'd like to imagine when the time comes, and she is placed on my chest, I will only be thinking about her. Not the pain I felt when I was told I needed to use a donor. Not how different she could look from me. But how she felt moving inside me. How carefully I had taken care of her the past nine months. The fact that she was conceived in absolute love and so very wanted. So the donor cycle? It's complicated. But isn't life complicated? When we get down to it, she is mine, and I am hers.

Photo via Twenty20/Azmy

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