Saturday, November 6, 2010

What I did

I received a horrible email because of a comment I left on someone elses blog about something I did.  It upset me and made me feel like crap.  It made me sad because it put down something I really care about.  I had planned to never share this on my blog because I know so many people are against it, probably especially the people drawn to the subject of my blog.  Maybe you will think I am a horrible person too. 

The emailer stated that what I did should be considered abuse and abandonment.  That what I did was unholy and disgusting.  It went on an on that way.  I had to stop reading it because it just made me sad and angry.  I can handle that people disagree with what I did, but there is no reason to call me names and put me down for it.  There is no reason to try to make me feel horrible about myself.  I already loathe myself.  They don't need to work so hard at making me feel worse.  Personal attacks through email are just wrong and cowardly.  Debate with me if you wish, but don't call me names and judge me without even knowing me.  I have removed my email address from my profile for that very reason.

Here is what I did.  Maybe you will think I'm a horrible person too.  I don't care.  I love what I did.  I love what I created.  Once upon a time, I met a friend at the dog park.  Our dogs became best friends.  Eventually we were friends outside of the dog park too.  About two years later, I consider them great friends.  I loved them.  I don't love people.  I don't attach to people, so this was not normal for me.  

I knew how much they wanted a child.  I could see the sadness behind her eyes.  I could see the longing whenever there was a baby nearby or even one just mentioned.  I recognized that longing.  I understand what it feels like to want a family more than anything.  They tried over and over again but failed.  Why is it that horrible people can have a million kids, but good people who will make amazing parents can't have one?  It really seems to happen this way and I don't understand.  My own mother gave birth to six children.

We were standing in line to watch a vintage movie and for some reason the subject of infertility came up.  We talked about her eggs and why they were not healthy enough to produce a child.  Right then and there, standing in line to see Lawrence of Arabia in Santa Monica, I offered my eggs to this woman.  "Well, you can have mine," I said.  The woman in front of us in line looked back at us.  I wonder what she was thinking.  To be honest I didn't think about it.  I just blurted it out.  I had no idea what was involved.  I didn't think about it.  I didn't have to.  I knew she would make a wonderful mother--the kind of mother I longed for my entire life.  I knew he would make an amazing father.  I just knew this was the right thing.  They made me think about it for a few months before we decided if it was right for me.  I had to have counseling and medical testing.  It was a huge ordeal, where I could have backed out at any moment.  

Two years ago this month I gave my friends my eggs so they could have a baby.  I injected myself with hormones three times a day for eleven days.  My ovaries got so large with over 40 eggs that I had to hold my stomach if I was standing up.  My friend drove me to the clinic on the day I was to have the egg retrieval.  I got out of my clothes and into a hospital gown, had an iv put in my arm and then the next thing I knew I was in a different room and it was over.  No, it was just beginning.

They fertilized my eggs and a few days later they implanted three little blastocysts into my friend.  It's hard to believe that something so tiny grows into a human being.  From there it was a waiting game.  I was at work when I got a call from my friend.  She was crying and I assumed it didn't take.  "Campbell it worked.  We did it.  I'm pregnant."  I didn't know what to say, but I felt good that those tears where happy tears.  I'm not going to say this story is a "happily ever after" story because it's not...well it mostly is, but the road to get here was not.  The road was extremely painful for everyone involved.  I do blame myself for the pain my egg donation caused.  It makes me cry when I think about how much pain was involved, but no one could have predicted what happened, not even fertility doctors.

I'm not going to share the whole story here because I want to protect their privacy.  What I will say is they now have a beautiful, healthy, and bright baby boy that looks exactly like me and I love that.  He looks like his dad too, but he's so cute, that I don't mind taking all the credit.  I love him.  I love them.  I love that they have him.  I love that all that love came from a tiny piece of me.  How can so much love come from such an unlovable person?

This emailer said that they should have adopted from foster care if they wanted a baby so badly and that I am a horrible person because I should know better.  I should know better because I know what it's like to languish in foster care.  I wonder if this person knows what it's like too or if they just want to make me feel bad?  I have to admit that I felt this way in the beginning too, but do you know how scary it is to adopt from foster care in California?  Do you know how often adoptive foster parents lose the children they love?  It happens quite often.  Too often.  Adopting from foster care is hard and heartbreaking.  My friends watched their friend nearly lose a child she had since the day she was born.  They just could't bear the thought of going through that.  I couldn't either. 

Maybe the emailer was right and I was being selfish by donating my eggs.  Maybe my motives weren't purely altruistic.  Maybe I felt that doing this for them would be a way for me to force myself into a family.  A way for me to forever be connected to someone else.  A way for me to belong to someone.  

The emailer called me selfish and money hungry and said that what I did was equivalent to selling or throwing my kids in the trash.  I did not ask for or receive any money for my eggs.  I couldn't take money for something like that.  I couldn't donate my eggs to strangers.  I could only help my friends have a baby.

My egg donation came at a high price.  I am now infertile.  I have a hormone disorder, and I went a little nuts for a while because of the hormones.  Maybe that will make some of you feel better.  Maybe you feel that I got what I deserved.  Would I do it all over again knowing the risks and everything else that happened?  I have no idea.  Actually, yes I do.  If that little boy that exists today would exist again, I would do it a million times over.  He is the best thing I have ever done with my life.  They are the happiest family I have ever seen.  I truly mean that and I am not exaggerating.  I have never seen someone so happy to be a parent before.  I really haven't.  He is the happiest baby I have ever met, literally.  He's always smiling, laughing, and flirting with people.  He may be a little bit spoiled, but I like it that way.

I did not abandon my child.  I will forever be in his life.  I will forever be his aunt and egg donor.  I get to spoil him and buy him things his parents don't want him to have.  I get to watch him grow up.  I get to love him.  He knows who I am and he will know where he came from.  This child is the most loved child I have ever met.  He has SOOOO many people that love him.  It's a bit ridiculous really.  This kid is almost a celebrity.  No, he IS a celebrity.

I don't look at him and think that he is my child.  Well, in the beginning I did.  In the beginning I felt like I gave away my ability to have genetic children.  I felt like I gave away my chance at a family.  I don't feel that way anymore.  I don't look at him as my child.  He's not.  He is my DNA.  YES.  He will always be a part of my life.  He will always be a part of me, and he will know his story.  Family is not about genetics.  Family is about love.  Family is about growing together.  Family is about commitment and navigating through life together.  Family has nothing to do with DNA.  DNA is just how people are produced.  DNA does not produce families.  DNA produces people.  People make families.  Love makes families.

If what I did makes me a horrible person, than I'm fine with that.  I'm okay with other people looking down on me for it.  I'm okay with people thinking I'm a hypocrite.  Life is hypocritical.  Life is painful.  Life is sad and scary.  Life is nothing without family and this unlovable former foster child gave someone a family.  If you don't like it--too bad.