I've always been a big believer in thank you notes -- not the ones you email or text, but the ones that include handwriting and postage. Now that I just had a baby, I estimate I owe close to 200 of them. I'm hoping to have them all done before my kid starts preschool.
I need to start with my "girls" who threw me, not just one, but three baby showers. Then to all of the friends and family who bought gifts for the baby (the nursery is better stocked than most Babies-R-Us). There are also the dozens of viewers who watch me on the KTLA Morning News, who have never met me personally, but felt connected enough to knit baby blankets and mail them directly to the TV station. And then there is my team of fertility doctors and my OBGYN who really delivered when the time was right.
But there is one person I need to thank most of all, because, without her, none of this would be possible. The problem is I don't really know her. I don't have her address or email or phone number. All I have are a few pages that describe her and her medical history. I'm talking about my egg donor. The 20-something, young woman who, for whatever reason, donated her eggs so a 40-something career girl could finally get pregnant.
If you've been following my blog, then you know I spent four years trying to conceive and had begun to feel as if it was all just a fertility exercise in futility. Then I decided I would go for one last Hail Mary. One last shot that would involve using someone else's eggs. This was never part of my original plan. But plans change.
What had remained the same was my desire to have a baby. And I wanted the whole experience: the at-home pregnancy test that shows positive; the phone calls to friends and family letting them in on the "big secret" and telling them not to tell anyone (when in reality, I was telling everybody); the ultrasounds where you watch a little image on a screen go from looking like a blob to a baby; the heartbeat; the maternity clothes; the baby bump; the first flutter you feel inside of you; the kick that wakes you up at night; the panic when you are wheeled into labor and delivery; the indescribable joy when they lay your baby next to you for the first time.
And I had it all. Every experience now reeling through my memory in vivid Technicolor and Dolby surround sound -- all because some stranger decided one day that she would donate her eggs. I wonder if she realizes the impact her decision has had on my life. Does she have any idea the joy I feel? It's more than just an emotion. It's in the air I now breathe, the tears I shed and the smile every time I look at my son (which is quite often, because I can't quit staring at him.)
It's not lost on me that I am actually old enough to be my egg donor's mother (she is 22 and I just turned 46.) When I was her age, I thought I would have all the time in the world to do everything I wanted -- which included having both a career and a kid. And yet, here I am -- older and wiser -- and yet, feeling forever indebted to a young woman who decided to give a part of herself, in a way most of us would never even dream of.
Although she was compensated, it wasn't enough to make her rich. The procedure is relatively simple, but still involved fertility doctors and drugs. And the end result -- this beautiful baby boy -- perfect in every way, is one she will never see, cuddle or kiss. That's now my job. To love him for the both of us. One day I will tell him about his egg mommy, a nice lady who helped his real mommy get pregnant. He may end up with her eye color or her dimple on his chin. Those are the little things that will make him unique -- characteristics that will remind me about the greatest gift I've ever received from a person I never knew.
So to this young woman, wherever you are, I hope your life is happy. Whatever your dreams, I wish you nothing but success. Whatever your plans, I hope they include having it all. And if you ever wonder one day what happened to those eggs you donated? Take a deep breath, look at something beautiful, let joy fill that moment and know you not only helped to create a life, but you made mine complete.