A Letter From Our Egg Donor. 7.27.17

This needs little introduction. This is one of the most amazing things that has ever happened to me. This process has been awful, but the woman that we so luckily, fatefully, and stressfully chose to be our egg donor, is amazing.

Below is a letter that we received from our fertility clinic. They do not encourage egg donors to reach out to their egg counterparts, but they will allow it if it happens. We feel so lucky to have received this letter. Honestly, it makes me feel so much more secure in my choice because this is something I would do. The description of herself that the donor provides sounds more and more like me, and I feel good knowing that these genes are helping to create my child. Read it! You won’t regret it. And share it, it’s beautiful.

“To the New Family,

Maybe writing you a letter is not typical of this experience, but then, I’ve never been one to follow the norm. J I want you to know that I am SO excited that I get to be a small part of your lives for this one moment. Although I think of both of you all the time, I have found that through this process I feel the most connection with the future (or maybe already!) mom. So, it is to you that I write now, grateful that you trusted me to give you this incredible gift. I promise I did everything in my power to make sure these little baby eggs were as perfect as they could possibly be for you, and I know you can’t wait to see the fruit of that effort turn into your perfect little baby girl or boy!

In just a few days now you are going to be a mother, and I will have the lifelong honor of knowing that I was able to be a part of making that happen for you. That thought has been on my mind ever since I first received the phone call telling me that somewhere out there a couple had chosen me to help them fulfill their dream of becoming parents. In some ways, I still can’t fully believe that I get to do this, that I get to be the reason you are able to be a mom!

Years ago, I had friends who found difficulty in conceiving a child together. As I read her words in her blog, seeing the struggle of her heart as she so desperately wanted to be able to bring a child into her world, my own world was changed. At the time, I had no idea that one day life would bring me to the other side of her struggle, but when I think about this entire process I picture her struggle when I think of you. Though you likely have not taken every step she did and you are a very different person, I know in my heart that you, like her, are meant to be a mother. This child is meant to be yours. I don’t believe in fate, but I do believe that this small piece of me was always meant to be a piece of you. Next week I won’t be losing anything, but finally giving you what was rightfully yours.

When I think of the future this beautiful baby will have with your family, I can only feel that he is so lucky to have parents who wanted him so much. To know what you did, what you sacrificed, how hard you prayed for her, will only be the tip of the iceberg in realizing just how much she is loved. If there is just one thing I would tell him, one thing I want her to know, it’s that you, his mother, could never love him more and that no other person on this earth besides you will ever love her the same. To have you in his life means that he already has the best gift the world could possibly bring to her. That little baby is so blessed.

I know that you have my entire medical history. You’ve seen pictures of me as a small child. You know the color of my hair and eyes and skin. Maybe any more information about who I am doesn’t really matter, but I do want to share just a little bit of me with you. I am a bookworm. I love to read and I love to learn. I excel in science and English, but find little interest in math or history, though I still always manage to get that all-important A! J I adore music and I listen to everything from classic rock to electronic to folksy acoustic music. I like to stay active. I run and hike and twist myself into knots during yoga classes. I love to laugh and find so much happiness and joy in the simple things in my life. Most importantly, I cherish the people I love and would do anything for them.

I wish for you and your new family a lifetime of laughter, of cuddles and kisses and happiness. I know you look forward to so many firsts for this sweet baby that you’re going to have soon, and I know that you will cherish every one of those moments more because of what you’ve been through to bring your child into the world. I hope you know that whenever you cross my mind, I will think of each of you with so much love and excitement for the future that you have together. Your family is such a beautiful one and I am eternally grateful to be able to help you make these moments a reality.

With so much love,


I’m in tears again.



How to Suck Less at Being Fertile. 6.23.17

WHEW. Hey June, bye June! Where has the month gone? Half of the year has flown by and I feel like I can personally attribute most of that to infertility. My brain, my life, my decisions have just revolved around a calendar of periods, drugs, donors, dates. Trying to travel, work, go to weddings, all while trying to just MAKE A BABY. 2017 will be one for the books.

But I digress. We have updates! First, I’ve been trying to suck less at being fertile by going to acupuncture every week and I’ve started Chinese herbs. Or I could also refer to them as liquid-shits. Not only do they taste and smell like it, but they give them to me too! TMI? 😉

Recently, one more herb has been added, but I rotate through these as I move through my monthly cycle. They’re not great 🙂

Why am I putting all of this effort into being fertile if we’ve decided to use donor eggs? I don’t even know. But I do know that acupuncture can help me to maintain a pregnancy and reduce stress. And my life has been FULL of stress. So I’ll do it! I have to admit though, I’m not as focused on these practices as I should be. I sometimes think that my brain is forcing me to rebel on some of the rules of “how to not suck so much at being fertile” because of our next round of IVF being donor eggs. I honestly just am not committed to giving up ALL caffeine, alcohol, sweets, keeping my heart rate under 140bpm (that’s hard to do when you’re trying to race your husband on the elliptical). Does that make me a bad momma-to-be? I don’t think so. Life is all about balance.

Infertility SUCKS and if I’m going to survive it, I’m not going to try too hard to not be good at it. Are you following? 🙂

I’ve also had the pleasure of squeezing, loving, hugging, possibly-torturing my first nephew who’s here for the summer.

Sara and Felix

I don’t care how much he might drool, spit up, cry, scream…it feels too good to just hold him. He’s so alert, lively, seriously gorgeous, and has the best rolls. I need a baby.

Latest update would also be that we did a genetic screening panel on Dawson to make sure that he is compatible with our donor and that he doesn’t carry anything scary. He came back as a positive carrier for a few conditions, but really nothing to worry about. And we can use our donor!

I started my period and get to start the wonderful birth control today. I HATE YOU BC. I get acne, I get irritable, I feel fat. This is such a not fun part of infertility, another reason to rebel. But this WILL be my last go at birth control…and fertility treatment!

I heard that our donor has not started her period. So that’s good! It means that hopefully we can sync up on this cycle and do our transfer with the next cycle. That means, fewer days to a positive pregnancy test.

Oh hey, a pregnant lady just walked past my window, how’d you make that baby, lady?? This is a question that I find myself wanting to ask of strangers. I never will! But sometimes it’s nice to find out that you’re not the only one fighting this battle.

So…wanna suck less at being fertile? Try new things. Accept your circumstances. Whine when you need to. Count your blessings when you can. And rebel a little. You won’t regret it.



I thought IVF was scary. 6.7.17

I thought IVF was scary.

There are many emotions you experience when looking back on the fact that months of physical, mental, and financial effort failed you. Straight up FAILED. YOU. That’s the whole truth (and remember, YOU didn’t fail). You saved up money, you read lots and lots of information, you got lots and lots of things pushed into your vagina, and you experienced so many feelings…only to fail.

So now, as I’m looking back on the process of IVF, I’m thinking “I thought I was scared then”. I’m so scared now. The feelings of the unknowns and the what-ifs, and the sadness that IVF did not work, are all outweighed by all of the things that I’m scared of.

I’m scared of making the next decision because no matter how we look at it, it will shape our entire future. There are two things I know to be true: 1) making this decision is just a small step in the baby-making process, but 2) it will determine our future.

If we choose to proceed with IVF with my eggs, we are bringing onto ourselves another month of stress, pain, and very little chance of success.

If we choose to proceed with IVF with donor eggs, I have to let go of my genetics. I have to mourn the loss of what a Dawson + Sara baby could’ve been, and choose to explore what a 50% Dawson + 4392498% loved, nurtured, and carried by Sara baby will be (and of course, loved and nurtured by Dawson).

I’ve pored and pored and stressed and stressed and cried over this decision so many times. Dawson has given me my space and been there to support me when I’ve cried. He’s made his preference known, but in the most respectful, kind way.

After weeks of stress-induced acid reflux, a heavy heart so heavy that my chest hurts, distraction, and a few low points…I can take a step back and look at the big picture and realize “We went into this wanting to make a baby, so let’s make a baby”.

I can’t do IVF and fail again. I can’t do it again and know that doing it with my eggs could very well mean we’ll be doing it again in another year. I might look, seem, and sound strong throughout this process, but I am beaten up. I have so much respect for those women who have made it through numerous rounds of IVF.

I want a baby, I want to move on and raise a baby with the coolest husband around. I want to carry Dawson’s baby and I’m going to do just that…with donor eggs.

Hey egg mama (I’ve decided she’s the egg mama, I’m the baby mama). Thank you for your willingness to sacrifice your body, your time, and I’m sure a little of your sanity too to give me what it is I want so, so badly.

Commence “babies, babies, babies” round 2!

Baby Momma Shopping_LI

Egg mama shopping…you guys like my professional editing job of blurring personal info? 😉



I’ve Been Sadder than This. 5.10.17

My first IVF-induced panic attack came from all of the rolling thoughts in my head while saying to myself “I don’t know what I’m going to do if this doesn’t work”. And you don’t know. There’s no way to know what your reaction is going to be.

We were told on April 28th that our IVF procedure did not work. We were not pregnant. We weren’t shocked. We knew that there were only two possible outcomes…pregnant or not. It sucked more than anything else has ever sucked when we found out we were not, but I’ve been sadder.

I was sadder when the idea of cancelling or delaying our IVF round was brought up halfway through my STIM shots. Dawson was sadder when we were told that, I too, had reproductive issues. That sadness was one that consumed me on those days, crushed me a bit, and made me unable to focus on literally anything else. But on the day of the news that our $18,000, months of effort, and such precisely scientific impregnation process had failed, we felt this weird wave of calmness. A sort of “okay, it’s over”. Not over indefinitely, not our last shot, not the last time we’re going to try…but these few months of what really could’ve been some of the hardest things we’ve ever done, were over. That was it and we had our answer. And we were going on vacation.

Maybe it’s wrong of me to admit, but having the weight of the looming day of the pregnancy test off of our shoulders was huge. I was really looking forward to a drink, coffee without guilt, and working out again. Taking the two week wait off from the gym was pretty awful (and never in my life would I think I’d say that).

Dawson and I had a five hour road trip ahead of us to get to the beach for a week; it couldn’t have been better timed (and it was not intentional). We were able to speak so freely in those five hours about what we could do next. We didn’t stress, we just discussed. We have one more vial of sperm, maybe we do IVF again? Maybe we move straight to adoption? Maybe…we buy a farm and never have kids and instead have the house that everyone wants to visit! We spoil their kids, bond with their kids, and send them back home when we’re ready to be just us again. We didn’t make any final decisions, but it felt really good to talk about all of these things with my husband. I have the best husband.

I won’t forget the day that followed the pregnancy test, though. I felt a way that I can’t describe all that well and that I’ve never felt before. Throughout the whole day, I was functioning, but I cried whenever and wherever. Literally. We went to dinner at our favorite BBQ place, just the two of us, and I started crying into my smoked turkey. Why? I don’t know. No…turkey doesn’t remind me of the babies that never were. I was just overcome with a sadness. I was heartbroken. I think we’re still a little heartbroken.

I told Dawson in the moments shortly after the dreaded phone call that I felt silly. An emotion I didn’t expect. That I felt like we had just been through this HUGE THING that lead to nothing. And many people were going to find out. But of course, he assured me that this was what we had to do. Never would we have dreamed of not doing it. And I felt better.

I want babies. Lots of babies. Lots of little Dawson/Sara babies. I want them now, I want them yesterday, I want them as soon as possible. But I’m back to my normal routine, I’m going to start some new things over the next few weeks, and I’m going to head into these next months of decision-making with the best partner around.

I’ve been sadder than this.




Two week wait. 4.27.17

TWW, that dreaded acronym. It’s all too familiar to anyone who’s “TTC”…or trying to conceive. Another acronym. Oddly enough, the infertility world is FULL of acronyms. I was at a major loss when I started Googling in the beginning. TWW = two week wait. This is the time from the point of conception to when you should be testing positive for a pregnancy. For me, it’s more like an EDW, or eleven day wait. I will be heading to the doctor tomorrow for my first beta blood test to confirm if I am indeed pregnant or not. I am going in 11 days past my 3 day transfer of 2 embryos…or! 11dp3dt, 11 days past 3 day transfer 🙂 tired of acronyms yet? I kind of hate them.

I came up with some better definitions for the TWW, here we go:

-Tortured while waiting

-Two whiny weeks

-Two wasted weeks (because I can’t think of anything else)

-Terrible waiting weeks

-Terrified while waiting

-Take (me to the) Wine (bar) While Waiting…..ok, it’s a stretch but I could REALLY USE SOME WINE RIGHT NOW.

I think this sums it up:

Infertility Sucks

As seen in my doctor’s office when I went to pick up some drugs yesterday. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud and take a picture. I’m not sure if the girl who was sitting directly to my right appreciated my laugh, but it was much needed.

That’s another topic, the lack of eye contact and lack of general friendliness that I run into in the waiting room of the doctor’s office. I get it. Not a ONE of us is there for any good reason (well, unless you’re back for your second beta after a positive test, that’s AWESOME), but couldn’t we at least smile at each other…? Infertility is weird.

I’ve been quite distracted today by work and volunteering, so I’m happy to see it’s almost 5pm. We’ve got a doggy obedience class tonight that will take up most of our evening, so yay for more distractions! But then I have to attempt to sleep. And wake up early for a big volunteer/networking event where I’m just going to have the nervous sweats for 3 hours because I’m heading to the doctor straight after for my test. And the nervous sweats are the worst kind of sweats, amiright?

LAWD. Here’s to getting this TWW over. Either way, we’re heading to the beach for a week on Sunday, and I couldn’t think of a better time for a vacation…



Lazy Ovaries. 4.25.17

Or in medical talk- Diminished Ovarian Reserve. That’s me now. The DOR girl. So as I suffer through the TWW (two week wait), let’s explore my problems! 🙂

I’ve never been labeled with any kind of disease. Sure, I had appendicitis in 7th grade and I thought I was super cool because my chubby belly button looked like I had had it pierced thanks to my new scars!! But I’ve never been sick, hindered, different…just chubby.

So here I sit with a new label that means my lady parts are aging faster than me. According to my doctor, I will most likely go through menopause in my 40’s. Dawson and I both had the same thought- saving money on tampons! Whoop whoop! But it’s hard to understand how this can be me.

I have always had regular periods. I have never missed one, skipped one, nothing. I distinctly remember starting my period in 6th grade and my best friend saying “maybe you popped your cherry when we were riding bikes?!”. Oh, shout out to you most knowledgeable BFF, you know who you are 😉

I remember instantly feeling like I was becoming a woman. Seriously. That day I baked brownies, read a book, became more solemn in my disposal. WTF.

So now here I am, my lady parts failing me. WHY, OVARIES? My doctor says some women are born with fewer eggs, and some just have a faster rate of losing their eggs (also know as the oocytes in the follicles in your ovaries where just one wins the ovulation race and pops out for baby making). DOR can also be caused by other diseases or damage done to the ovaries (endometriosis, tumors, autoimmune disorders)…really the things you can read about it are kind of scary. But none of these things have ever happened to me. I was on very low dose birth control for about 5 years, and off for another 5 years before getting to the IVF process. The problem with DOR is that women with this issue are typically poor responders to IVF drugs. So is it even worth it?! The stress, the money, the time….well, we decided yes.

So what can you do? Many of my friends have expressed concern of what will happen when they try to start a family in the future- “I know you and so many other friends who have struggled, how can I know if I will too?!”. A first step would be a transvaginal ultrasound during the first few days of your cycle, the doctor counts the resting or “antral” follicles within your ovaries. 8-9 is a good count that means you are most likely normal! Yay you! Another option is FSH testing, this is testing your levels of the follicle stimulating hormone. This involves blood testing. Low levels are good levels. My DOR was determined through one ultrasound and a blood test that revealed very low levels of AMH, or Anti-Müllerian Hormone. The AMH test helps to determine approximately how many eggs a woman might have left. A normal level would be 1-3.5, anything under is bad, anything over can also be bad (signs of PCOS). Mine was .7.

What perturbed me was that when my tests came back, my doctor didn’t explain that this could all be a sign of me being a poor responder to the IVF drugs. He did say that I would be on the highest protocol of the drugs (though I did 4 days on a lower dosage, and was then upped) and that we would probably not have any embryos left over to freeze after treatment. He was right! But his reassurance was that age is, above all, the number one factor for success. 27 year old eggs are going to be of better quality than 35+ year old eggs. But there’s no way to know until they are used.

The conundrum then is…if this round does not work, time is of the essence for me. Every month means fewer and fewer possible eggs for me produce. But ya’ll, IVF is expensive and hard…and can you really do it again knowing what happened the first go-round? I guess we will cross that bridge when we get to it.

Baby countdown chain

My “babies, babies, babies” countdown chain I made post-transfer. It’s much shorter now!! Three days to go.



Chocolate chip cookies + birthday cake. 4.13.17

Okay one is in reference to my ovaries and one is something I actually ate…GUESSES?!

Birthday Cake

YOU GOT IT! I am officially 28 years old as of yesterday. I’d tell you my birthday wishes, but then they wouldn’t come true…but I feel pretty confident that you can fill in the blank.

I have a confession to make: it was a hard birthday. Yesterday was an emotional one for me, but all of these wonderful things kept happening! My husband is amazing and keeps my spirits up, but yesterday, it was so hard to laugh. My Dad sent me beautiful flowers, my in-laws brought me flowers, my friends and family sent me gifts and cards….I still couldn’t shake the sadness. We went to dinner at an amazing Italian restaurant that’s in an old chapel. It was delicious and beautiful and I indulged in some prosecco…I mean, how much could alcohol hurt my lazy-not-egg-making-ovaries now? I digress.

I think part of the sadness stemmed from the butt shot (aka the “trigger shot” in the fertility world) that I was about to receive:

Butt Shot

Nothing like taking it in your butt on your birthday.

This was my first intramuscular shot. So my glorious Aunt (a nurse in her working days) did this for me at 8:30pm sharp. I DIDN’T FEEL A THING. The anticipation was killer, but the shot was easy. I laid down on my stomach, I do think that helped. I also iced my butt prior. I laid on a “pit pat” *said in true southern roots accent*, or a cherry pit-pack that you warm up in the microwave, I think that kept the tenderness and soreness away today. IT’S DONE. EGGS TRIGGERED. 10,000mls of hCG (Novarel, for TTC fertility peeps). Ovulate away left ovary…see you never right side, lazy, no-good ovary.

Once the shot was done, I ate some amazing cake and visited with my Mom and Stepdad. They brought beautiful gifts and I was finally in a genuinely good mood. Happiness is hard at this point in the process, but check in with the good things that happen every day, and those fleeting moments of a good mood will make it all better.

My birthday did symbolize one huge thing, last day of shots!

Shots Done

The final pile minus the butt shot and one lonely syringe still hanging out in my car from the fun Starbucks-parking-lot-shot I took last week!

Egg retrieval is tomorrow. To break it down, we’re hoping for two mature eggs. TWO. EGGS. My right ovary is a ghost town (literally no action, no one knows why) and my left ovary has two large follicles (21mm and 24mm) and 3-5 smaller resting follicles. For infertility newbs, follicles prime the eggs and pop them out during ovulation. These should reach at least 20mm before egg retrieval to produce a mature egg. The resting follicles will be aspirated for eggs, but those eggs will most likely not make it to fertilization.

For typical IVF patients, the goal is to have  your ovaries look like a chocolate chip cookie. It should be full of black spots, which are the follicles growing to pop many, many eggs. Most doctors want upwards of 20 eggs at retrieval, as they tend to fall away throughout the process. My ovary is like the half eaten, dud of a lonely chocolate chip cookie at the bottom of the container. I’m hoping that it’ll at least have the two best, biggest, healthiest chocolate chips!

So off I go to pace and attempt relaxation as we await this HUGE next step. The retrieval is happening tomorrow at 8:30am, about an hour away. I cannot eat or drink after midnight tonight. No makeup, perfume, or hair products tomorrow…I’ll be the walking infertile zombie.






Getting out of your “shit-town”. 4.10.17

Bear with me. This one’s all over the place.

This weekend, I made a trip back home for a best friend’s wedding shower. I spent time with some of my most favorite people. Silly, smart, sweet, kind, caring people. I have some awesome friends. And they have awesome husbands! We played games, celebrated our beautiful bride, I saw my old home from high school, we were spoiled with the husbands doing all of the cooking and cleaning…it was such a great trip.

It came at the best time. Friday, I had a doctor’s appointment to check the progress of my ovaries after a week on all of my drugs. It sucked. I left in tears, exhausted, crying so hard that I couldn’t catch my breath. My ovaries are slow and lazy and only one was showing much progress in growing follicles (the things that pop your eggs). My nurse was kind but realistic in saying “this isn’t ideal”. I heard her words slowly as she said “…this might be a time to talk about cancelling your cycle or possibly delaying”….”maybe we had a bad start…it was a bad month to start”. WHAT. I just spent all of my money and you want to cancel? I just did 7 days of 4 shots, I’ve had a headache non-stop, I’m losing all of my focus, I’m grumpy…and you want to cancel?! I was in disbelief. I think Dawson was too.

God bless my in-laws. I work for them, and I don’t think I could survive this process in any other world. My old job (retail) would’ve made this an impossible task. I came to work after the appointment and brought my mother-in-law to tears with my shock and my own tears. “I’ve never seen you cry!” she said, it was awful. A major downfall of IVF and letting those around you know what’s going on. I hate that this process means bringing sadness onto those around us when we’re sad. But the support of those closest to us is what’s helping us day to day.

I spent an hour at work then went home to meet Dawson. We cuddled up in bed and I snoozed before he went back to work. I woke up to a call from the fertility clinic…”we want to continue”. Dawson and I both agreed that this was best. “This is most likely the only way you’ll get pregnant, and with your Diminished Ovarian Reserve, the chances of having more than one or two eggs is slim…so this might be the best chance”. It only takes one.

So we were back on. I continued my shots, had my trip away, and started to feel better thinking “we just have to do it”. I’ve found that telling myself I have one day to be sad actually helps. 24 hours to feel despair and think “why us?!” then back to feeling hopeful and like I want to take on the world. Mind games can help.

I went back to the doctor today and got some decent news….but no miracles like I was hoping for. My two good follicles on one side are growing at the appropriate rate, 16mm and 17mm; they should be 20mm for retrieval day. My right ovary has a couple of follicles around 10mm, but nothing really happening. My uterus however…is a superstar! Growing well, good patterns; hopefully this means a pregnancy will stick.

But what do you do when you know that everything could change any day? It could all come to a screeching halt. How do you go day to day not knowing what emotion to feel? Here’s what I did:


I laid in the yard for two hours, soaking up the sun, trying to relax, and listening to “S-Town”, the podcast. “S-town” is what the subject of the podcast calls his hometown, aka “shit-town”. THIS WAS THE BEST IDEA. I tried to do a 30 minute meditation as well, but I literally started to fall asleep. S-Town (seriously, check out this podcast…if you haven’t already listened to “Serial”, hit that one up too. And “Anna Faris is Unqualified” is hilariously wonderful as well) pulled me into someone else’s reality. I wish I could do this every day. Find something to take your mind off of your own “shit-town” and float away.


Staring at the mountains and the bright blue sky doesn’t hurt either.

I go back to the doctor tomorrow morning for another progress check. If my two fighting follicles are still growing, it might be time to trigger (aka the dreaded “butt shot”). A trigger tomorrow would mean a retrieval on Thursday. A trigger Wednesday would mean a retrieval on Friday. It’s getting so close. There’s a full moon tomorrow, my birthday is Wednesday, Easter is right around the corner.

This week is so pivotal. Come on follicles…come on eggs…let’s get out of shit-town!! Maybe the Easter bunny can help??





April, always. 4.3.17.

April has always been so significant for us.

First and foremost…I was born in April! I think 4/12 is such a happy date. I love birthdays, it’s my birthday, but it just looks good! 4 and 12…4+12…4/12…4.12…such a pretty date! April means spring weather. Showers, green grass, flowers blooming, the cherry trees and Bradford pear trees…I’m instantly happier in April.

We got married April 26, 2013. We bought our first house in April of 2015. And now, we’re making a baby in April of 2017. None of these things were initially planned that way. They just happened. Everything came together perfectly to make April a happy, happy month.House 1

This was when we first laid eyes on our soon to be first home. I said it then that April was my favorite month and that it seems to get better every year…how that’s still true!

House 2

Our sweet front porch after we moved in. Where our dogs let the whole neighborhood know that DON’T WORRY EVERYONE, WE’VE GOT THIS PLACE UNDER CONTROL!

I am so hopeful that this April brings more great news. I won’t hate April if it doesn’t happen. But April will always be significant…



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