Sandwiched Between Two Donors
I want to spend some time this morning talking about something that came up for me yesterday, but is also something that I spent a great deal of my pregnancy trying to process. That is, until deciding to put it on pause and pick it back up in the near future. Yesterday I received an email that felt like a nudge from the universe to press play again on that thing again, but before I do, I wanted to take some more time to process and share with you all.
Let’s start with some back story first since many of you are new around here and then we’ll dive right in. For those of you who don’t know, my twin sister and I are donor conceived babies. At sixteen years old, my mom told me that she and my dad were unable to conceive but desperately wanted a baby, so they sought extra support. They were matched with a donor from Madison, WI who was the closest match to my dad as possible and were given no other information about the donor.
Fast forward to four years ago, when my sweetie at the time bought me a 23&me DNA kit. I had always wanted to take one because up until four years ago, I had no idea what half of my genetic or ethnic makeup was. Gaining as much information about myself was my goal in doing the testing. But then it happened. One day I opened my email to a notification that I had matched with new genetic relatives. This is something that had happened regularly since joining because it turns out of have A LOT of cousins. But then I opened my account and there it was, a half sister. I had another sister?!
This sister and I made connection via messenger and found some chilling similarities in our stories. In fact, we found that her and I had met thirty-one years prior. You see, she was born (Dana) on July 27th, 1986 and we were born (Danielle & Deanna) on July 28th 1986 IN THE SAME HOSPITAL. Dana and I spent a day in the nursery together while Deanna was in the NICU. Our parents had no idea we were siblings, let alone almost triplets!
Dana and I connected and it turns out, her detective skills are on point and within a year, we had located who we are sure is our donor. I say sure, because we don’t actually know yet.
You see, just a few months before finding out that I was pregnant, the world went into lockdown due to the pandemic. I was going to reach out to who we believe to be our donor and make contact, but we decided to wait due to the state of the world (and him being a doctor) and then I found out I was pregnant and needed to press the pause button on that piece of my life.
But I could’t press pause in many ways because here I was pregnant, with a baby who I had no idea who’s sperm they came from or how I would find them. But if I didn’t find them, then Wilder would have to move through the world not knowing who parts of them were or where they came from. And I knew on some level what that was like, but the biggest difference was that Wilder was most likely not going to be born White and that piece made it feel extra important for me to do the foot work around finding out.
So here I was, six months pregnant and pressing pause on finding my own donor so that I could wade through shame in order to find my babies donor. Talk about a hormonal heart and mind trip. But I did the footwork necessary, found Wilder’s donor (remember being a father is a role you fill, not a seed you donate) and learned more about Wilder’s genetic makeup and Honduras! I’ll speak more to this when I’m ready, in a separate post.
So now, here we are and Wilder is almost thirteen months old and I receive an email saying that another family member would like to make contact on 23&me. This is a cousin and not a sibling, but they are directly linked to our donor. And here I am, presented with another opportunity to create connections not only for myself, but for Wilder.
I’ve struggled with how to start the email to our donor for years, “Hi, I’m Danny and I look as much like you as I do my mom.” or “Hi, I’m Danny and thanks for giving me life.” or “Hi, you don’t know me, but I think we’ve met before,” is one of my favorites. I know the right words will present themselves when I sit down and am open to them. But for now, my head is swimming with options.
While I was pregnant, I was trying to wade through how to contact my own donor while also contacting my child’s donor. I was sandwiched between two parts of myself and not only needed to know more about, but deserved answers. Those answers have slowly been coming, and soon hopefully, another will reveal itself. Until then, I’ve got an email to write.
Danny (and Wilder)