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Entry Seven, August 18, 1997

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An inside story on being an Egg Donor Recipient" (or "I'm on my way to surgery! Wish me luck!")

I wanted to let you all know that I'm leaving soon for the hospital to have my surgery! I was thrilled to find out that my donor has responded really well to the fertility drugs, and things are looking very good. We are on the home stretch! (Remember that I had mentioned earlier that things would soon start moving in fast forward? They are!)

I will have to wait until next time to tell you about how I moved from grief, to joy over this egg donor ZIFT opportunity. We'll have plenty of time as we wait for my pregnancy test. Right now, I want to tell you about this Egg Donor Process, and my upcoming surgery!

As I mentioned in my second entry, I've been giving myself daily Lupron shots to shut my ovaries down. I am also taking oral estrogens to build a uterine lining in sync with my donor's ovarian development. Most of the physical aspect of being an Egg Donor Recipient has to do with the drugs. I've been working through some miserable side effects for the last six weeks, but it is worth it to have this chance to have a child.

My donor has been taking fertility drugs, since the goal is to harvest about a dozen or so good eggs. Her drugs are followed by a egg retrieval surgery. So she is probably experiencing a little discomfort herself. Hopefully it is worth it for her as well, to be able to give this gift to her anonymous recipient. I described the rest of the process in my second entry, how gametes are taken care of by the andrology lab, and how extra embryos are cryopreserved.

We have been in regular touch with the clinic, to see how the donor is doing. The date of the surgery has changed from phone call to phone call. When one is on fertility drugs (either as a patient or as a donor) it is only a guessing game as to when the lead ovarian follicle will be that optimal size. One waits from day to day for the words "we are giving you the shot NOW and you are going to surgery in 30 hours!!!" But in this case, it isn't my news, it's our news: the donor's, my husband's, and mine.

My ZIFT surgery will be a laparoscopy, where my Reproductive Endocrinologist takes the three best embryos, and places them into my one good fallopian tube. It entails general anesthesia, but I can return home that same day.

The biggest part of this last six weeks has been the emotional aspect. The side effects of the drugs are not pleasant, but they pale compared to the emotional side to this process. I am so thrilled to have this chance! I am so apprehensive that it will not work out! I have an anticipatory grief that this last chance may not work out for us. I am worried about another allergic reaction, similar to the one I told you about. I so desperately want a child. But the uncertainty is heavy, huge, looming. It has been hard to concentrate at times. It feels like my heart is hanging in the balance with this procedure, and my thoughts and feelings keep returning to it. I am so happy! I am so scared. And I know that it is absolutely normal to have this tornado of emotions, in a process like this. Have you ever read anything by Rainier Maria Rilke? One of my favorite quotes is ". . . Live everything! Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer." That pretty much sums up my strategy for handling the emotions that accompany this process. It sums up how I have dealt with my infertility issues, and my losses too.

Here's hoping that as I "live everything, and live along some distant day into the answer" that children will be part of that picture! I'll be writing you as soon as I can, after I get back from my surgery. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

August 21- Update from Kay

Well, tomorrow is the big day! My surgery is at 8:15 am Friday morning. I am really excited and a little bit nervous. I am rushing around trying to get ready at this point.

My donor had seven mature, high-quality eggs retrieved. Things look good, but we won't know until tomorrow if fertilization has occurred. The surgery is outpatient. I will be awake when I go home and will be groggy for part of the day, due to bouncing back from the general anesthesia. I have to lay around for the two days following surgery, and then need to take it easy for the next 10 days. So I will have a couch-potato weekend! I've got a nice stack of books and videos all ready. I will write you with an update as soon as I am able to.

My husband is feeling very cautious about this. For his part, he says that he has difficulty emotionally committing to this, after our two pregnancy losses. I can certainly understand that. He is very happy about this opportunity, but is not ready to commit himself emotionally. He is also kind of worried about me, going to surgery, and all. So, he is okay with it, but not jumping up and down. I figure that he has time to emotionally commit to this after things work out well!

Wish me luck!!
Kay Grames

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