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Hannah Southerland is a young mom of two little boys and a wife to one handsome man. She loves helping women in their marriages and motherhood and feels like community is the best way to make it through this crazy thing called life. She is the lover of all things coffee and chocolate. On the weekends you could find her snuggled on the couch watching “Fixer Upper,” or spending time with her family playing the very dramatic game of “Pictionary.”
What I wish I could tell her.
It has been asked many times, “If you could share a meal with someone past or present who it would be?” The answers are normally loved ones gone to soon or a favorite celebrity, but for me it would be very different.
I would want to share a meal with my egg donor recipients, and I am not talking about the backyard chicken and an egg it may sound like, what I am talking about is a little more intrusive than that.
I’ve recently started my 4th round of Egg donation for In vitro fertilization, or IVF, and it has me wishing more than ever I could talk to the women who receive the eggs. I wish I could meet her, and her family, listen to her story, and learn where her infertility ride has taken her.
I would tell her I know the road she has walked has been a tough one, and that taking this step is incredibly brave.
I would give her a huge hug and tell her that I’ve been praying and thinking about her since I received that call that told me a family is ready to move forward with an IVF cycle. I would tell her that this is not something I decided to do on a whim or some quick cash payout but that I saw the women in my own life struggling with infertility and decided to actually help. I want her to know every time I do an injection I envision a positive pregnancy test, the mark of a new journey for her. I would tell her that some days I wish so bad I could text her and ask how she is doing, how her meds are going, and just listen as she shares her hopes, fears, and frustrations.
I would tell her that the day of my retrieval I am a bundle of nerves for her and that my husband holds my hand and prays for her. I know she knows it’s my retrieval day, and I know she’s anxiously waiting to get the call to hear the number of eggs retrieved, the quality level or that I even actually showed up. I would tell her that I don’t stop thinking about her after “my part” is done, that I am with her in spirit during the dreaded “2 week wait,” and that I wish there was a way for me to find out if she is in fact now pregnant. Oh how I wish I could know!
It’s odd, really, to feel such a kinship to someone I will never meet.
I feel like her biggest cheerleader, and want this to succeed for her, and those sweet little eggs I’ve handed over.
I so wish I could be there sharing in the excitement of that positive pregnancy test, and that even though I will never meet the little life that came from this, it’s okay, I’ve gotten okay with that part of this, but I think of them often, wondering who they will grow up to be. I’d ask if her and her husband had any arguments over names, or if she always had the names picked out? I would try to settle her newly pregnant mommy fears and tell her that she is capable of being a mom and that even though she’s wanted this for so long it’s okay to feel a little overwhelmed.
But there is a chance I might have to tell her that I hate that I can’t be there to hold her hand through another valley of “not right now,” and wishing we could grieve that loss together. I would encourage her to allow that pain in and to mourn what that loss means. I would try to ease her mind and tell her that it wasn’t her fault, there was nothing she could’ve done differently and that this is the part no one wants to talk about, but to talk about it. Talk about it a lot, as much as she needs. This was a baby to her, her baby, and now it is gone, and it’s okay to be sad, angry, frustrated, confused, and heartbroken. She isn’t crazy for feeling the emotions she is.