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Donor Egg Love

by Dena Fischer

After we found out I couldn’t conceive or carry a baby, there was a long time where we just didn’t deal with it. We kind of shoved all that bad news into a closet and stood with our backs against the door, keeping it in, not wanting to look at it or think about it. Brad, my husband, had gently broached the idea of surrogacy, but I wasn’t ready to go there. I needed time to lick my wounds and wrap myself around the idea that it just wasn’t going to happen in my body. None of it.

So it was stuffed into the metaphorical closet, but every once in a while something happened that forced me to take a peek.

Friends had left us their car while traveling with their two-year old daughter. It was a big SUV and we decided to use the opportunity to haul away some unwanted stuff. We pulled their car seat out and spent the weekend happily cleaning out our garage. When my friend called to confirm that we’d pick them up at the airport in their car, she said “You didn’t take the car seat out, did you?” I confessed that we had and she had kind of a mini-mother freak out. “You did? YOU DID???” Higher pitched now: “You have to take it somewhere to have it installed. You can’t just put it in yourself, you know.”

What the hell did I know? There were few times I was bitter during our struggle with infertility (never one to skip a baby shower or not want to hold a newborn) but I was pissed about this. Not only was I incapable of having a baby, now she was making me feel like I’d be an idiotic and horrible mother if I COULD have one.

I told Brad we needed to get the car seat installed. My friend was freaking out and what if we didn’t and we got in an accident and their kid died because we put the car seat in ourselves? What then? I started calling around to find a certified installer. No easy task on a holiday weekend. After incessant dialing and practically pleading, I found one of those stores that sells everything for babies that has a guy that comes in one day a week. We were in luck. We only had to cross a bridge and drive half an hour. But it would be done and my friend’s baby would live to see another car ride.

Well, that one guy, that one day a week on a holiday weekend had quite a lineup of glowing expectant parents. We, the barren ones, had to patiently wait our turn and watch the happy couples oohing and aahing over the bumpers and burp clothes and binkies we would never need.

We were apart. We were different. I was different. I would always be different. I wasn’t teeming with life like those lusciously round shoppers. I imagined they could all see right inside to my worthless little pruney ovaries. I imagined the mournful stares; the pitying glances. We were THOSE people. Those people who, and this said in a whisper, “couldn’t have kids.”

Eventually it all got taken care of – car seat legally and professionally installed, we picked them up and I assured her her daughter would be safe and sound. They left and I cried for a long time.

That was more than six years ago. And oh, how my heart has changed. Monday my twins, born through the valiant team effort of a donor and a surrogate, will start kindergarten. And when I hold their hands and walk them into school, I’m their mother. Just like every other mother.

There’s no difference between me and the millions of other teary eyed moms sending their babies off into the world.


Dena Fischer is a literary agent with Manus & Associates Literary Agency, Inc. and a freelance writer. In addition to working and raising her children, she is actively involved in education in her community and is a founding member of The Potrero Residents Education Fund whose mission is to improve public education in her San Francisco neighborhood of Potrero Hill. She lives with her husband of 15 years, Brad Rothenberg, and their twin boys Henry & Sam.

The Car Seat Freak Out.

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