Grieving a Bio Child

As I sit here writing, my house is filled with baby items from friends and freecycle. All I need is a baby. At least now I have hope—I’m on an adoption waiting list. But what a long journey it has been…

I became a thinker and joined SMC at age 39. People encouraged me to move forward, but I was stuck. I wanted a husband, then kids—the traditional family. At 40, I met someone I hoped could be Mr. Right, who turned out to be Mr. Autonomy Issues. At 41, I broke it off. I was devastated. I went into a depression, sought counseling and was stuck—I wanted biological kids, but I also wanted a traditional family. I kept thinking.

Looking back, I see how uneducated I was about fertility for women in their 40s. Despite the many women in the news having children well into their 40s, I didn’t know these women used donor eggs—not their own. So, with my eggs growing older by the day, I continued thinking.

Finally at 42 (and 10 months), I made what I thought was the most difficult decision of my life—to try to conceive on my own. I passed fertility tests with flying colors, but after seven tries—IUIs and IVFs—I had low egg quantity/quality. I had another difficult decision to make: Should I keep trying with my eggs? I had to think about finances, my age (43 and a half) and my desire to be a mom—how would I feel if I found myself six months later, age 44, still not pregnant?

I went to the counselor and grieved and grieved. All my dreams down the drain—my desire for a husband with three biological kids. All those years of envisioning my children, who they would take after—my mom, my sister, my brother? My connection to my heritage. It was one of my darkest hours.

But my desire to be a mom pushed me forward. I weighed donor egg vs. adoption. Donor egg seemed like an easier route. I picked a donor and did my first cycle at 44. Cut to me a year and a half later—three miscarriages and an inability to carry to term due to an immune issue. The first two miscarriages were devastating. By the third, I’d selected an adoption agency and knew if the pregnancy didn’t take, I’d immediately move on.

Last July, after learning my final pregnancy wasn’t viable, but before the actual miscarriage, I contact the adoption agency. They were enthusiastic at a time I needed enthusiasm. I was exhausted—2.5 years of fertility treatments, disappointments, miscarriages, poking/prodding and money out the door—all for nothing.

I did my home study and got on the waiting list in September 2009. I’m excited about adopting. With adoption I will be a mom. With fertility treatments, it was a crapshoot. Moving to adoption was a relief—no more needles, doctor appointments, miscarriages, disappointments, hormones. I could live my life more normally while I waited, although I have moments of grief that sneak up on me.

I try not to be bitter. Everyone has her own journey. I just never thought I’d have such a long road to motherhood. I believe God has a plan for me, even if I can’t see it. I date, trying to find someone to share my life with and be a father to my children. I keep busy while I wait for my match. I’m now 46 and, although I sometimes can’t believe it, this circuitous route to motherhood is my story.

Leslie C


8 thoughts on “Grieving a Bio Child”

  1. I am so glad that I have found other people in the same boat as me. I have been thinking about being a SMC, and while sometimes it seems great and the right thing to do, other times it terrifies me. I'm sure that's normal, right? I guess I'm just tired of things not happening in right order, so I am taking my future family into my own hands. I know I want a baby, and I know everyone has fears, but as single women, our fears are multiplied.

  2. If you are undecisive you have to take a deep breath and talk about it with your closest friends. I did and now have a 7 month old daughter, I have never been so tired but I am so happy. It was a long journey, I ended up with ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome and got really sick. But I only did one round as I got so many eggs. 4th round lucky. During my pregnancy I was really embarrassed about the method/donor and told TALL stories about what happened. But now she is here and I see her smile I am proud, proud of her and proud that I had the strength to do this journey. You have one life and you need to make your dreams happen. So whether its donor sperm, donor eggs or adoption, dont' sit on the fence and wonder, just do it. Its an amazing journey and I don't regret a thing.

  3. @ anonymous october 17:
    I so much can relate to you. I am now 39 and a half, and have been thinking about sperm donor since when I was 34…but I never had the courage to. Essentially, the main fear is "what will the people say?" My relatives, my colleagues..talking about me and saying I can understand, a woman can get desperate at 40. How sad. I fell sick with depression because of this single issue. Now I got better (it took time), but when I think about it everything comes back. I decided to look at this website to connect with other women going through this, and maybe find suggestions about how to deal with it. Thanks God for having this opportunity of connecting around the globe. Best wishes to all of you, I know how you feel 🙂

  4. I'm a new member of SMC and I too am beginning the process of ED. I can't thank you enough Leslie for bringing to my attention the immune issues. I have a doctor's appointment next week and I'm going to ask him about this. Right now, my main obstacle is money. I'm going to have to take out a loan in order to pay for the ED, SD and IVF treatments and that worries me because if I'm blessed with a child, I still need money to pay for childcare. Six months ago, I found out that my eggs were too old — apparently, really, really old. Having lost my dad several years ago, I got depressed because I will never be able to conceive a child and continue his biological line. But I went back to the doctor because ED was pitched to me as a very viable option — they even discouraged me from pursuing adoption, saying I was better off saving my money for ED. I'm late getting into this game of ED vs. adoption. I'm glad I found this group, and I wish you the best, Leslie!!!

  5. Thank you for sharing Leslie. I'm trying to get un-stuck, am 40, and in the process of picking a donor. But I keep procrastinating. And keep imagining what "people" will say. It's not what I wanted. But I don't want to turn 41 and still not have done anything. I keep going in circles – dating, not dating – moving forward, then ignoring the whole TTC thing. I've become so fearful…but I keep coming back to how sad I get when I imagine my future life without being a mom. Good luck on your adoption journey – I hope it is quick.

  6. Leslie, Thank you so much for your post. I just joined the organization and your post is exactly the type of support and advice I was hoping to find from this group. I haven't fully given up on IVF yet although I have had a number of failed cycles. However, I am starting to evaluate other options. Would you share a bit more about your original decision to use DE instead of adoption? It sounds like in hindsight you might have done things differently. Of course, at the time you didn't know that DE wouldn't work. Why did you initially lean that way?

  7. I'm glad someone else relates to this – but hate to see anyone else go through what I went through. I'm adopting domestically. My agency has told me that being single it can take a little longer to be matched, but I find that it's really a crapshoot and it very much depends on your criteria. I know one SMC who was AA who adopted her AA son within 5 mos from my agency. Another was selected at 4 mos. by a birth mom who had a Caucasian boy. Two others I know were matched at about 15 mos. I know at least one of them was being gender selective. I'm also being gender selective and they told me to be prepared to wait 12-24 mos. International was out of the question for me because it's just way too expensive. And, right now, international is not nearly as easy as it used to be for singles – many countries have closed to singles. Choosing between DE and adoption is hard – with DE at least you can carry the baby and control the environment of the baby in utero. With adoption, you don't know how truthful the birth mom is being about her healthcare, drug use, etc. That being said, if the baby is born and found to be drug addicted, you can pass on the adoption. For most women whose only problem is old eggs, DE does work. It has a 70 percent success rate. But someone has to be in the 30 percent it doesn't work for. I would recommend before you decide you be tested for any immune issues – antithyroid antibodies, and some others. There is very little they can do about these issues and if you have them you'll have miscarriages. I spent $14K on DE and had three miscarriages. That $ could have been used toward adoption – plus had I known, I would have gotten on the adoption list 2.5 years ago and likely would be a mom by now instead of spending time doing DE. Unfortunately despite having a slightly elevated TSH, I was not tested for these things.

  8. I too waited and waited for the traditional family. I wanted the husband first and then the kids. At 40 I decided to try on my own. I failed all the tests miserably and was diagnosed with DOR but ended up getting pregnant on my 4th IUI. That pregnancy sadly ended in a miscarriage. I am now on my 2nd IVF cycle waiting for Monday to see if it worked. If this is another failed cycle I will move on. I am trying to decide between adoption and donor eggs and I am leaning towards adoption but I think it would be harder being single…any advice…are you adopting domestically or internationally?

    Thank you for this post. I can totally relate.

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