Dear Chicken n’ Dumplings Girl ~
I don’t exactly know where to start so I will begin with thank you. Thank you for being an egg donor. Thank you for being our egg donor.
I didn’t pick you, exactly. I gave my doctor a list with four options; you were on it and he picked you as the best match for me. I trust him completely, and at that point I was not ready to deal with you head on. At the time, I was simultaneously grateful and irritated you existed at all, but the minute I received your profile sheet; I was certain he had made the right choice for me.
Sometimes you have to let go of the controls, and letting him pick you was my first way of doing that.
There were several things I was drawn to, but the fact that you like chicken n’ dumplings was all I needed to know that day. That one tidbit of information was, in many ways, the catalyst for this entire journey. It’s amazing to me that I went on an adventure into the deepest parts of myself because of our mutual love of a particular food. What’s even more amazing, is I had no idea that was what I was doing on Day 1.
I hope you don’t mind, I’ve been calling you The Girl Who Likes Chicken n’ Dumplings since Thanksgiving Day. The day I began to let you into my heart.
Things come to us in a language we can understand. Food, and specifically chicken n’ dumplings, has always been a language I understood. So has my waistline.
Sitting here now, I know this is not about chicken n’ dumplings at all. I know your first name and your picture sits on my desktop, but I still like calling you that. It’s like an inside joke we share, yet only I am aware of it, I guess.
Today 24 eggs were retrieved from you for us. Two dozen eggs. My heart grew two sizes when I heard this news.
Tomorrow we will find out how many fertilized Wilcox embryos are growing. I can hardly sleep and yet I am incredibly calm. Calmer than I have ever been going into that building; I hope this is a good sign.
I was ambivalent about needing you at first. I knew it was the right decision, but being an only child, it was hard for me to reconcile the fact that my body had failed me; that genetically I was ending. I felt as through I had let a lot of people down by failing at one of life’s most natural tasks.
As I type this letter, those feelings seem foreign; like they never existed. Whatever that was, it left with the storm. Now I kneel at my road of promise.
I am not genetically ending, I am maternally beginning.
I’ve spent the past 60+ days shedding everything I feared about bringing you into our lives. Though you do not know it, and will probably never know it — you have been patiently sitting on my shoulder through every downward facing dog and rolling through every chaturanga. When I found out you did yoga last week, I cried tears of joy, it was an additional sign that you were the one for me. For us.
As I type this, I’m still livin’ on that prayer; hoping somehow God has seen fit to forgive me for all the yelling, the crying, the anger, the resentment. The absolute lack of faith that He had any regard for me at all. And on some days that He even existed.
One of my biggest obstacles was how to tell our children. Was I strong enough to make them feel whole, complete, perfect as they are? They may have a few different genes than Mommy, but they are 100% Mommy’s?
Today I can answer that with a resounding yes.
I know some parents make the decision to never speak of it to anyone; some even their children. This is a choice I could never make given everything I know about where we are headed with genetics and medicine. And I think secrets of any kind are a cancer on the soul.
Cancer of the soul is the worst kind of cancer; there is no treatment protocol for that.
I don’t know what donors think about as they go through this process exactly. I’ve never met one. Do you wonder what kind of parents you are giving full custody of your eggs? I suppose I would if I were in your shoes.
I think parents who make their family using fertility treatments or adoption make amazing parents. There can be no doubt that child is wanted more than anything in the world, given everything these special parents have to endure — emotionally, spiritually, financially. It’s an extra level of commitment on a road most of us do not have to travel to become parents.
If it takes as long as it has for us, there is no way you can be the same person on the other other side.
For some it takes longer. And for them my heart aches.
Should anyone ever read this who is considering egg donation, I hope you know what you’re doing. You are helping build families. You are helping to bring forth little miracles. You are performing a great mitzvah. It’s something you should take an enormous amount pride in doing.
There is very little that is “natural” about invitro fertilization, but this merging of science and the divine is nothing short of miraculous. You’re part of something miraculous. Remember that.
Tonight, I am thankful from the bottom of my heart for this journey you unknowingly sent me on for the past 60+ days. Having to face you head on has made me a better person and hopefully — one day soon — an even better mother.
I promise from the bottom of my heart — if we are able to start our family with eggs donated to us from a chicken n’ dumpling loving yogi — they will be the most loved and the most wanted little eggs you can possibly imagine. I can’t wait to meet them. I already love them beyond measure.
They will also know you, and know how grateful we are for all you have given us — as I feed them big, fluffy dumplings and teach them their first down dog.