I had a blast interviewing my mom for Mother’s Day. So much so that I thought I’d wait a while and interview someone else — my first choice being my embryo recipient. She is, as previously mentioned, a rockstar, and got back to me with answers to my questions superfast.
I liked them so much, I decided I don’t want to wait to share it.
A mini-update on our embryo donation process: because the match happened very quickly, our recipients are raising the last of the money to pay the cost of the procedure (they’re covering it all completely out of pocket; their insurance coverage won’t pay for any iVF related procedures, whether their embryos or mine). So we’re in a holding pattern right now, but hoping we can get this party started this summer and get her knocked up by autumn. That’s the goal.
I asked her some tough questions about being an embryo recipient, meeting us, and her fears going into this situation. She was candid and real and… well, I’ll just let you read it. I want to retain some of their privacy, so I will just call them L (her) and J (him).
Ladies and gentlemen, meet the future mother of my genetic children. (I can’t decide if saying that is hilarious or creepy.)
When you met Nathan, and later when you met me, what was exactly as you expected, and what wasn’t as you expected?
Meeting Nathan: I was so nervous meeting Nathan. I was convinced he’d report back to you with some unfortunate revelation, and you’d call the whole thing off. What was exactly like I expected? He’s funny. Effortlessly so. Not try hard or slap stick. He’s just a funny dude. Easy to talk to. What wasn’t what I expected? HIM NOT CALLING ME BY THE RIGHT NAME!!!! Of course I still can laugh about this, but as it happened, it made me realize how different you and him are about all this. It’s not that he doesn’t care. He’s just less attached to it all. And that’s ok.
You: I was not nervous to meet you. Well I guess I was a little bit up until the moment when I tried to cancel on you because J couldn’t make it to Iowa with me for the trip, and I didn’t want to show up without him. Being there without him made me nervous. But as soon as you let me know you were disappointed I was canceling, I realized you were just as excited to meet me in person as I was to meet you. And I realized how silly I was being for feeling nervous. Everything with you was exactly as I expected. You were just Lydia. Easy to talk to and to connect with. Just how it is when we text and email. Thanks for not catfishing* me.
(I’m adding Peanut and Squeak and giving my reaction to them too.) They’re perfect. You know that. I know that. Being able to study their precious little faces and getting to witness their cute, budding personalities. I’m crying as I write this. Gahhhh. Not many people are fortunate enough to see a blueprint of what their baby may be like someday. Meeting your children was such a gift. Thank you for allowing me that.
What kind of reactions have you gotten from people when they find out you are adopting embryos?
Our friends and family have been overwhelmingly supportive of us adopting embryos. There’s been very little negativity surrounding it. I think a lot of people are just as in awe of the amazingness of modern day medicine as we are. I think the largest positive reaction has been the fundraiser our friends are putting on for us. As you know (and maybe your readers know too?), our match happened fast. Like, 5 days fast. We had some money saved up, but still had a little more to go before reaching our goal. Plus it’s ended up costing a little bit more than we expected (quit feeling guilty about that, Lyds!) because we are doing the transfer at your clinic where Peanut and Squeak were transferred. We are humbled by the outpouring of support. From the good thoughts, happy vibes and prayers to the donations being given to us, it’s all just so unbelievably kind.
I’ve had a couple friends ask me how we are going to tell our child(ren) someday of their creation, and if we’ve considered the potential backlash from that. I wouldn’t necessarily call that negative feedback, but rather authentic and frank curiosity. Some might say that it’s none of their business, but we don’t mind the questions. There’s zero shame in what we are doing, and we know full well what we are getting ourselves into. Challenge accepted. I just try to assure those curious that J and I are equipping ourselves with the knowledge and wherewithal to tell our child(ren) about their unique story in ways that they can understand and at age appropriate times. For them, it will be their normal. We want to honor their story enough that they know they are special, but not so much that they feel any different or alienated from any other child around them. We hope to strike a healthy balance and are confident we’ll be able to do so.
And I think us having an open relationship with your family is only going to be more beneficial for all parties involved. We wouldn’t have it any other way. A healthy, respectful relationship with you is so important for us, and any children that result from our adopted embryos.
What’s keeping you up at night about this whole process, if anything?
I honestly know that the money part is going to work out. I do worry about the transfer not working. Or the embryos not surviving the thaw. It’s a reality. It might not work. But then I train my mind to remember that regardless of this outcome, we will walk away such better people in the end. I would not have known you or Nathan. Or Peanut or Squeak. Or witnessed the great love displayed to us by those around us. This might not work. And if it doesn’t? I know J and I will be OK. Rinse and repeat.
What characteristics of mine and/or Nathan’s do you hope your future baby has?
Your humor. Your height. Your hearts.
Those are my top three. There’s a reason why we matched with you so easily. You both have such wonderful qualities. If we end up having to do this again with another couple, I am just not sure how we’d be able to hit it out of the ballpark like we’ve done with you. So that’s why this just has to work, OK?
Conversely, any characteristics of mine/Nathan’s that you hope they don’t have? (And I promise not to be offended, honestly, unless you say I’m fugly.)
You know I’ve stated before that I am so desperate for a child that I’d even take The Goonies character Sloth’s DNA….but thankfully I don’t have to. And thankfully you don’t have any qualities that I don’t like. Seriously. Hand on a stack of Mormon Bibles. Honest.
What qualities of yours and your husband’s do you want your children to have? (Whether genetic or not… what would you give them if you could do anything?)
I always dreamed of a little boy with J’s huge smile. He has the best smile. A little boy who loves baseball as much as his dad. With the ability to throw a wicked curveball. With his left hand, which will come from his mom. That ship has sailed for the smile obviously, and I am really OK with that now. We both are.
That was the dream of a couple who thought they’d get knocked up in their marriage bed and not in a sterile doctor’s office in Iowa with another couple’s embryos. Now my hope is for a confident and kind child, both things J and I can easily instill in our children regardless of a genetic connection.
A guy I knew in high school told me once, years out of school, that he remembered me for being a nice person. I definitely wasn’t always a nice person so it kind of surprised me a bit. I always thought of myself as far too snarky and sassy for my own good. Nice didn’t really seem up there with ways to describe me. Hearing him say that I singled him out and made sure he knew he was always welcome at our lunch table…well that made me feel pretty good.
I hope my child is like their mom in that regard. Their dad is nice too. He comes by that honestly, as both his parents are the kindest people, and they taught him well. I also hope they have their daddy’s thick skin. He’s a hard man to rattle (trust me, I’ve tried!), and I hope our kid is too. A trait that will come in handy when the score is tied at the bottom of the 9th, bases loaded, two outs, and he’s up for bat. Or when she’s Commander in Chief, giving a speech from a podium at the White House.
Thanks to L for being such a willing participant in my interviewing. (Now do you see why I love her?)
If you are interested in donating a wee bit toward their cause, contact me or leave a comment below and I’ll email you a link to their youcaring.com fundraising page.
*I totally had to ask Nathan what catfishing was. I am not smurt.