"Birth Mom". Am I or am I not?

Photo by  Wes Hicks  on  Unsplash

Photo by Wes Hicks on Unsplash

Birth mom. Am I or am I not. I was talking with my hubby the other night as I was trying to write the bio for this book. I was trying to express the idea that while my son was actually adopted, I actually grew and birthed him. Did that make me a surrogate? Birth mom? Adopted mom? It revealed to me that this term “birth mom” had developed it’s own definition in my circumstance separate from the traditional meaning.

But let me back up a bit and explain how it is I came into this wonderfully mind-boggling anomaly of motherhood. “When little girls are formed in the womb, they are made with all the eggs they will ever have, gazillions”, says my fertility doctor, “but it seems as though you just didn’t get the usual allotment”. Now, while it is true I tend to fall on the pessimistic side (I prefer to call it pragmatic), I knew this was bad. At that moment I pretty much resigned myself to the fact that my childhood dreams of having babies was over. It probably has something to do with being a nurse in emergency settings for over two decades or maybe it was all those “Forensic Files” episodes I watched all through my 20’s, I expected the worst…yet always held out hope for the best. Either way here I was possibly facing the most disappointing, devastating, distressing, disturbing and disastrous dilemma of my life.

So fast forward (over 4 agonizing years) through step 1, step 2, step 3, step 4, hundreds of shots, hot flashes, three miscarriages, eye-popping, jaw-dropping fertility bills, highs, lows, lows, lows and more lows and here I am almost 42 years old and 7 months pregnant with my second child!

No, the miraculous spontaneous traditional pregnancy didn’t happen for me despite the many hopeful stories friends had promised. And believe me, I really tried to “just relax”, “forget about it” & “move on”. I would’ve drank wine but can’t stand it (another story) and I would’ve loved to go on a vacation to Hawaii but we were well beyond broke thanks to the fertility treatments. Truth is we could’ve bought a nice house with the funds we went through, well, at least a house in maybe my native states of Texas or Oklahoma.

Steps 1-3 definitely showed that I was the culprit. I was unusually low on eggs at 35 and they appeared to be past expiration as it were but it was at step 4 that we figured out that using my hubby’s….we will call it “dna”, was not working either. Even with an A+ on his “report” card and a plethora of young, fresh, bouncy donor eggs, nothing was happening! My husband was a self-proclaimed “egg assassin”.

What is next, motherless life? Continue to travel the world? Enrich my life in other non-maternal ways? I couldn’t let it end there, being a mother was numero uno on my “bucket list”, it was a non-negotiable topic. While adoption was the next obvious, logical option, it just didn’t feel right to me. I wanted the visceral, fleshy, “bodily connection” experience (see “Locked-Up” post for more on that “experience”). If I am being honest, traditional adoption scared me. I probably watched to many Lifetime movies or heard too many stories of adoptions gone bad. I personally was very fearful of the unknown that lurked down that path. I wanted a connection, that for me, came from growing, perfusing, nourishing and birthing another human. I have to hand it to my adoptive parent counterparts, that route is extremely courageous and unbelievably selfless, but nevertheless was simply not within my personal capacity at the time.

So, our doctor told us about embryo adoption. You’re not JUST using donated sperm. You’re not JUST using fresh, young, bouncy donated eggs. You are using BOTH, but taken one, well probably a few, steps further. Donated sperm enters donated egg and viola! a cellular human begins. Now, not to get to technical….there are many factors surrounding all of that business, but yeah…a human is created and quickly placed into a frosty slumber (AKA cryopreserved). As much research and online self teaching as I did I feel like I have my honorary diploma in Reproductive Endocrinology! An this is where my true motherhood “journey” began with a beautiful frosty little embryo waiting for it’s “day in the sun”.


Sheri Sturniolo