‘I would seriously donate my eggs to you…for reals.’ Was this really happening?

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“My best friend donated her eggs to me! Never would I have ever thought of using an egg donor, let alone a known donor. Most people use anonymous egg donors because it is pretty hard emotionally to be a known egg donor (I mean I can only imagine). When my doctor suggested I get a donor, I was pretty skeptical about the idea. I put myself in my future child’s mind and couldn’t stand the thought of not knowing who the other half of me was biologically. This doesn’t mean I don’t have high respect and appreciation for the anonymous egg donors…heaven knows they are all angels. I looked through many profiles and just didn’t feel like I could pick one. When Tia offered her eggs, I was nervous to say yes, but so overjoyed because not only did I love the idea that a future child would know his/her donor, but also because I absolutely admire and love Tia so dearly. She is so beautiful and her soul even more so. She is a great example of service and compassion.

Courtesy Chelsea Judd

A few years ago, I decided I wanted dance back in my life. As an adult, it sounded silly, but I felt like I had nothing else to turn to. Dance was always my thing growing up, and even though I wasn’t the best, it was something I practiced a lot and found moments of success in. I eventually found a hip-hop class that looked fun at a studio called ‘The Vault.’ A contact was on the website with the name Tia. I called the number and heard a little raspy voice say, ‘Hello this is Tia!’

I soon found myself at the doors of the studio. There was a girl in front of the kids and she must be Tia I assumed. She looked very well put together and professional. In the corner of the studio sat this large hand, which kind of freaked me out, and a girl fixing up props. She had bright colored skinny jeans on, combat boots, and the craziest hair. I found myself just staring at her thinking, ‘Who is this chick?’

Courtesy Chelsea Judd

I ended up dancing on Kalamity that upcoming year, 2013. I was astonished by everything, especially Tia. She taught me so much that year, and I watched her lead a team while pregnant with her third child, Maze. She had her good days and bad days. I admired her from a distance, and never really saw myself being a close friend with her. I saw her as this confident, fierce, talented and pretty dancer and myself as this insecure, mediocre kind of dancer. I kept thinking Tia would have to slow down with her dancing since she was getting further and further along in her pregnancy, but she didn’t even let it affect her when she was at the studio.

In March of the next year, my husband Steve and I went to Utah Fertility to look at the IVF process. We had been trying to get a baby for 6 years without any success. In our 8th year of marriage we decided it would be worth trying IVF since Steve’s insurance would cover a part of it the first time. Going into IVF in April was exciting and also nerve-wracking. I learned how to inject myself and was amped up on hormones. The Kycie show ended up falling right on my last day of being active. My ovaries were enlarged, and I was ready for egg retrieval a few days after the show. Egg retrieval was a bit discouraging, as the doctor only retrieved 5 eggs. Three ended up fertilizing, but they were of the poorest quality and started falling apart before we even transferred them. I remember Dr. Foulk saying, ‘Well, let’s go ahead and put them in…but I would say there’s only a 20% chance maybe. We could always get an egg donor.’ After hearing that, Steve and I left the clinic disheartened. The drive home was long, and we didn’t feel like the procedure was promising. After 2 weeks I went in for a blood test to see if I was pregnant. Johanna called me, and I could tell from the tone in her voice before she even said much that the results weren’t positive.

I bawled my eyes out for a few days. I tried to be tough but felt so broken. People wanted to help, but I felt like there was nothing they could do. I kept telling people that it was fine, because we would ‘Just adopt.’ Once we started researching adoption, I became even more discouraged. There was so much that had to be done to even start the process and the cost was double (about $30,000) that of IVF. Steve told me, ‘If we never have any children and it’s just us, it’s okay. As long as I have you it doesn’t matter.’

I vividly remember telling the Kalamity circle my dilemma, and Irene shouted out, ‘Why don’t you just use Tia’s eggs and you could have a cute brown baby!’ Everyone laughed, and it was kind of like a joke. I guess this got Tia thinking about it though, because next thing you know I’m eating lunch with Tia and she’s saying, ‘I would seriously donate my eggs to you…for reals.’ Was this really happening? I hadn’t really considered an egg donor as an option because it seemed too weird initially. I told her I would consult with the hubby. I carefully presented the idea to Stephen and was delighted to hear him be open to the idea and think of it as an option. Utah Fertility was excited to hear I wanted to try again with an egg donor. They showed their in-house egg donor list of donors, but I just didn’t feel like a stranger was a good idea. Shouldn’t this child have a right to know his/her own roots? Tia seemed like the best option since I knew her and knew if the child wanted to know his/her egg donor, it would be possible. Tia’s husband agreed too, and our journey began!

July and August were all about injections and blood tests galore. I constantly was on Tia about all of her meds to make sure she didn’t forget (not that she is forgetful, but she is a busy woman). I was doing my own injections as well and together we felt unstoppable. At one-point Tia’s estrogen wouldn’t go down and she was going in for blood tests day after day for a week straight. Turned out she has a large cyst that was causing it. Finally, her levels went down to a safe place and she did her trigger shot. When the day of egg retrieval came Tia was such a good sport. She was brave, and I was sitting there thinking, ‘I still can’t believe we are actually here doing this.’ Eight eggs were retrieved that day.

Courtesy Chelsea Judd

In recovery the nurse told everyone in the room Tia wouldn’t be able to exercise for the next two weeks. I had no idea this was protocol, since my egg retrieval was followed by a transfer. I figured that I only sat for two weeks since I was trying to get pregnant before. It hadn’t occurred to me someone donating and NOT getting pregnant would need two weeks to heal. Oh boy did I feel awful. Andy was looking at me like, ‘What am I supposed to do with her?!’ No one was prepared to cover for her at dance, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to cover for her either as I would be resting too. Crap!

In the end Tia disobeyed orders and did On the Ball two days later. I was freaking out. This was probably going to be one of the hardest things for Tia—to not be too active. She survived, but healing was a struggle unfortunately. Eventually she got back to her regular self and all was well in the land of the Vault and Kalamity. Five days after Tia’s egg retrieval, the doctor transferred two of the four embryos that had fertilized. A few days after transfer, the embryologist called with good news. He said the other two eggs were good quality as well and that we could have them frozen for future use.

Two weeks later I got the news I was pregnant, and I was thrilled to tell Tia all of our hard work was worth it. At 7 weeks Johanna did an ultrasound and told me one of the two embryos had stayed around. Steve and I were going to have a baby!

I always made sure Tia was first to know everything besides my husband Steve. She was the first to know when I was pregnant, the gender, and when I was starting labor. I was guessing it was a boy just for fun…. but when I found out it was a girl I was so happy! When I thought about Tia I think I was more worried when she had all boys and I was going to have a girl with her egg, but she didn’t mind! She is the cutest boy mom I know! She is such a good mom and I look up to her all the time.

I gave an all-natural birth to our baby girl Giselle in 4 hours which was the most amazing thing I’ve ever done. She came out with all that dark hair and color and the nurses kept pointing out how beautiful she was. I always give credit to Tia. They lay her on my chest and I couldn’t believe how much I loved her. It was overwhelming!

Courtesy Chelsea Judd

Since then our family and Tia’s have grown so close. I have never been afraid of Tia overstepping, and she never has. She is the fun auntie! Gigi loves her, but she knows I’m her mommy. I know there were times when Tia wasn’t sure how close she could be, because emotionally it can be hard. She likes to see her and be with her, but she has told me that her boys are her’s and Gigi is mine.

She feels like Giselle was meant to be with me. They are cute together though, and definitely share some traits. We know for Tia it has been an emotional rollercoaster at times, but she has handled it all so well. Her heart is just so big. I love knowing her roots and where things come from. Like, for example, Giselle’s favorite drink is coconut water and Tia is always packing a coconut water too! So cute.

Courtesy Tia Stokes

Her boys all love Gigi. I hope they can all stay close. Gigi is 2 now and obsessed with babies. She loves to see Tia’s youngest baby boy. Both are balls of energy that run off little sleep. Giselle is taking a liking to dance too.

In mid-August we are transferring the frozen embryos from Tia and hoping to get a sibling for Giselle. There are 2 left and we are hoping to get at least one. It’s always nerve wracking, wondering if it will work or not. There is just so much love surrounding Giselle between my family and Tia’s family. I know if I get another baby, he/she will also be so loved by all.”

Courtesy Chelsea Judd

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Chelsea Judd of Utah. Submit your own story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here.

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