So, directed Embryo Donation…what do you think about that? It’s an opportunity that appears to be in my cards, yet no psychic ever mentioned it. Seriously, NEVER did I think this could be part of my story.
(If you are scratching your head, please read Part I).
That December day when my friend told me her friends were interested in donating embryos to us, it feels like a far off dream now. Maybe because she was phoning to tell me at 6:00AM, or maybe it was because it was Christmas and my icing sugar intake was through the roof. Either way, I remember hanging up and thinking “huh!”…but in the back of my mind the infertile cynic also thought “as if!”
Some would have jumped for joy or anxiously waited for the clinic to open that day to call…but I know it took me several days to call the clinic to see if they would even allow me to jump the line with a directed donation. I had read the Embryo Donation (ED) Program packet thoroughly, and in 5 pages there was one short sentence saying it was possible….but I didn’t believe it. There had to be more small print or a “but” clause I had missed, right? The call with the coordinator was pleasant, the only “but” was that the donating couple needed to make their intentions known and also make the first move by calling her. *Sigh*…Yet another thing out of our control.
As Christmas interrupted regular work weeks and clinic staff took their holidays, I let it go. The New Year came and my hopefulness was in place, but it remained solely directed at adoption. I was eager to follow up with the agency and see when our home study could start. By the second week of January the first home study appointment was in place, and I thought…well, I guess I should also check in with the clinic….so, I called.
The ED Program is run differently than the IVF or IUI programs. For this small exclusive club, there is only one nurse who coordinates items. I was relieved I wasn’t calling just a general voicemail box that had you praying anyone would call you back in a timely manner. This program had a person…and when I spoke with her…she was happy to hear from me and was a most comforting voice. She informed me that things were moving along as she had received the donating couples paperwork. Next steps were for us to meet with the psychologist, do a home study (yes, one for this too), get our highly infectious disease blood tests done, and for lucky ole me…I would likely need another sonohystogram. Oh yeah, and of course we would need to pay the ED Program registration fee ($$$).
Just a few hoops… but, even with a doctors appointment and a psychologist appointment in the books for March, nothing was real. There was still time for the couple to say, “yeah, we changed our minds.” So, our life went on and our energy stayed focused on the adoption home study. Luckily, the clinic is happy for us to use the same home study the agency is doing (finally, one small break on the pocketbook).
Skip ahead to last week…March 1st….our big date with the clinic rolled around. Even sitting in the waiting room I was still a skeptic. Even when we sat down with the psychologist, I was honest and I told her, we didn’t believe any of this was true. She nodded her head and in her most professional voice explained that all that made sense as we were protecting ourselves from getting on that ugly hope/despair rollercoaster too early in the game. She also said, it was time to start believing it to be true.
The next two hours were a whirlwind…what we thought was a quick meet and greet with the psychologist and a short appointment with the doctor turned into a full morning. Mid-meeting with the psychologist…she said, “you do know you are meeting the donating couple today, right?” (WTF? Ooops!…It appears our dear nurse coordinator had forgot to tell us that nugget of news…). In an instant, with this small detail in place, the feelings of a routine trip to the clinic was replaced with the nerves of a first date but on a whole new level.
When we all finally ended up in the little office together it was surreal and nerve-wracking. Here we were with this “magical” couple that we had only known of through a friend. We knew each others first names and the general bits and pieces the friend had shared with each of us, but that was it. As the counselor mediated, she suggested we work to build a relationship over the next few months. As we stared each other down, we discussed what this could potentially look like down the road…maybe the donating couple would be an aunt and uncle…maybe their twin daughters would be “special cousins”. Either way, it was encouraged for us to be open with the child on who this donating family was and the role they had played in the child’s life.
So, in that small room, as we all nervously shared a bit more…an unspoken promise was made. If this treatment worked, they would be forever a part of our lives.