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Samantha Tingey's Egg Donor Story

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Read Samantha's Story here:

______________________

I have always known I would struggle having children. In fact, I told my husband before we got married that it was likely to be a problem, but of course that didn't deter him! I hadn't had a regular period since I was sixteen, and despite multiple doctors telling me it was probably nothing to worry about, I knew deep down it was going to be much more of a struggle than they could know.

We started trying for a baby almost immediately after we got married in 2012. I was 25, knew I might have issues, and was ready to figure it out! We tried for a few months, and then I decided it would be good to at least talk to a doctor and get some tests done. We started with a doctor who claimed to be an expert in bio-identical hormones. Six months and several mental breakdowns from crazy hormone replacement laster, and that doctor told me there was nothing he could do, but that I would probably never have children. Looking at my blood tests and googling a few things that seemed off brought me to the conclusion that I had something called premature ovarian failure, or POF. I decided to go to another doctor and see what he thought. He told me to pray harder.
     
I couldn't believe that he had just dismissed me in that way, especially since I had the tests to prove that there was something really wrong with me! I was discouraged, I was angry, and I was at the end of my rope. I knew what the problem was, and nobody would listen to me. Nothing is more frustrating than trusting someone to know more than you, then having to educate THEM!
Around this time an old college roommate reached out to me and told me about a fertility doctor she was working with. He was at a university fertility center an hour away, but she had worked with him and really loved him. Unfortunately, that clinic was out of network, and as college students we didn't have a lot of disposable income at the time. But after all we had been through, we decided to go for it, one last time.
     
He met with me in January of 2014, two years into our fertility journey. He did one blood test. ONE. He checked me for two things-PCOS and POF. He told me it was very likely I have PCOS, as that is one of the most common problems women have that impacts fertility, and POF is very rare, so he didn't think that would be the answer. Spoiler alert: it was.
     
I got a call the next day confirming what I had known for over a year-it was POF, and my egg reserve was basically gone. The only direction they recommended we pursue was IVF with donor eggs. I sobbed on the couch after the call. I didn't know what to do. How could we do that? How could we find a willing donor? It's not exactly a picnic to harvest eggs, and I would be asking someone else to go through that for me. As I thought about it, I decided to do possibly the scariest thing I've ever done, and I asked my little sister to be our donor. I was so terrified of her answer that I TEXTED her to ask. A TEXT. And when she didn't respond that evening, I was afraid she was trying to find a way to let me down easy. It was one of the longest nights of my life! The next morning I got an answer. She would be thrilled to help us! I couldn't believe it! I have never been very close with my sister, and asking for something so huge seemed impossible. But she said nothing would make her happier than to help us expand our family. And I am forever grateful for her!
Then we were on to the next hurdle. If you're unfamiliar with infertility treatments, they are crazy expensive and very few are covered by insurance. This was the most expensive option of them all, since three people had to be involved instead of just myself and my husband. But miracle of miracles, we found out that Utah has a few credit unions that do IVF loans! We figured it out, and decided to go for it. We scheduled our IVF fresh cycle for July/August 2014. And it was a PROCESS! Donors have to go through a lot more testing to comply with the FDA. Why the government chose to get involved I don't know, but the bottom line is that you have to get the donor cleared from all disease before they can donate. My sister was all clear! They also make both the donor and the parents going through IVF go to a therapist to discuss the possible mental repercussions of having children that aren't genetically yours. But with this being all in our family we knew it was never going to be a problem. We passed each test with flying colors, and the day finally approached for the egg retrieval. We were so lucky to get 13 eggs, 6 of which fertilized and grew normally. We chose to transfer two and freeze the other four.
     
Three days later we transferred our miracle embryos into my prepared uterus, and we waited.
     
Two weeks later, we found out we were pregnant! And my HCG was off the charts! It quadrupled the next day. We were pregnant! At seven weeks we saw not one, but two perfect heartbeats on the monitor. I carried our miracles all the way to 38 weeks before being induced, and brought our sweet boy/girl twins into the world.
     
One year later we transferred two more embryos in a frozen transfer, and got one more miracle, our daughter. We had been so tremendously blessed with my sister's sacrifice! We had three beautiful children. That didn't make miscarrying our final embryos the next year any easier to bear, but we found comfort and solace in our three sweet babies. Our family is now complete, and we couldn't be happier with our miracles!
Over the course of our fertility journey, I feel I have learned a few crucial things: 1) YOU KNOW YOUR BODY. If something feels off, don't stop until you find someone who will listen to you! 2) Don't be afraid to change doctors!!! I hate that I waited so long to talk to an actual fertility doctor. I could have been so much closer to answers if I had gone to the specialist sooner. 3) Your worth and capability as a mother is not dependent on whether or not you have children! And finally, 4) If you are blessed with your own miracles, find your Mom Tribe. Nothing has been as helpful in motherhood as a group of friends going through the same things and keeping me sane! It's okay if it's not all sunshine and rainbows. Even though you fought so hard to get them here, mothering is HARD. Lean on those ladies!
    
Sometimes I feel inadequate in the infertility space because I have three kids. I "won" the fight. But it never leaves you. Every time I hear of someone going through infertility I have the urge to give them a hug and ask what I can do to help. So often we choose to stay silent, like it's some kind of private affliction that is taboo to talk about. But I LOVE sharing my story! If one person decided to take the plunge and talk to a doctor or switch doctors or find the funding to finally try for their own miracle, I feel like it's my duty to share what we went through. 
    
My silver lining was my relationship with my sister. We went from barely talking to visiting each other regularly! She is my children's favorite Aunt, and she loves them so much. I can see her in my children's faces and personalities. I love seeing them grow up and having the same tendencies as she did when she was little. It's a blessing to know my sister so much better and to love her more than I thought was possible. The people who lift you up during your trials truly are angels on earth! I am so grateful that my trials brought me closer to her.
     
I think the biggest thing I learned through all this though is how willing people are to lift you when you are struggling. There are so many people who are in the wings just waiting to be called on to help! I think one of the most amazing things we as women can offer is the desire to show love to others. Whether we get the opportunity to have children or not, we are all Mothers! We all have infinite capacity to lift, support, love, carry, and cry with each other. We are strong, and we are brave, and when we aren't enough there are other women who will always step up.
     
Facebook: Samantha Tingey

☀️ CLICK HERE TO BUY THE BEST SOCKS ON THE PLANET TO HELP WOMEN WITH INFERTILITY! A portion of every single sale will go to an incredible woman experiencing infertility. They make the BEST gifts for women experiencing infertility to remind them they are loved OR to wear to your own appointments while working hard to grow your family to remind you that you have this community of women linking arms with you. You are incredible, sister!

CLICK HERE to join our safe, private Facebook group to meet other incredible women who are walking your path. ☀️

 To read about Brianna's infertility journey, click HERE

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