My name is Sheri Sturniolo. I am a nurse, a children’s book author, infertility warrior and most importantly the mama to two sweet babies born to me through the generosity of embryo donation
I, like many young women, found myself having a grand ole time traveling the world and enjoying all that life had to offer during my 20’s. I had a plan. Travel, explore, meet the man of my dreams, have children. If that didn’t work then plan B was to have children anyways with or without the husband. I figured age 35 would be a good time to pull the emergency switch on my “biological clock.” However, I did meet Mr. Wonderful at age 30!
We did the obligatory dating time, obligatory married time and ended up TTC when I was 35!
Perfect timing right? Wrong. After one year of TTC, my blood work confirmed that “time was up” some time ago. My ovarian reserve was non-existent and my ovaries laughed a wicked laugh at the “big guns” of fertility medicine my RE threw at them.
My lovely doctor explained that basically my ovaries were “deaf”, unable to “hear” or respond to the loads of hormones sent their way. “Great, I thought, I have old lady ovaries.” She told me from day one that we could “try” with my own eggs but more than likely I would need to use donor eggs.
So, fast forward through 3 more years of fertility treatments, 4 IUIs, two donor egg IVF cycles, 3 miscarriages and we were broke and broken
We were staring at our doctor having the same conversation we had in the beginning of our journey….donor conception. There was a difference this time though. The path I’d walked…the journey I’d taken…took me somewhere I didn’t think I’d get to….a place of clarity and acceptance. Honestly, I don’t regret a single shot, procedure, vaginal suppository, TWW or devastating phone call. It truly was the journey that brought me to the joyful peace and acceptance that these little frosty babes were “Made Just For Me.” Now, with a precious, and rather dramatic, 4 year old boy and a sweet and sassy one year old girl I have no feelings of loss or regret. I feel only love and gratitude for both the donors as well as the journey, as they both changed me for the better.
This is where the birth of the You Were Made For Me series began. In the quiet moments while rocking my first born, I began thinking of the way I wanted to tell him his fantastic story. It was in these special moments that the verses for my original version of the book, You Were Made For Me, came to fruition. It was a song that came from my heart, from me to him. After reciting the verses to him by heart every night for a year, I began the journey to make his book, our book, a reality. A year later, reading it to him in it’s physical form was one of the most awesome moments for me. He looked at the book as I recited the same story I had for the last year, smiling, as the familiar words came to life on the pages.
As I began interacting on social media with other families grown through donation, I realized more and more that this book was to others, just as it was to me, a connection
A connection between a parent and a child. A connection that some parents worry they won’t have with a child not biologically theirs. It spoke to them as it did to me, saying even without a genetic link, “You Were Made For Me.” I began getting requests for different versions of the book to represent various compositions of families. I am thrilled to add 6 additional versions to the You Were Made For Me Family. It has been such an honor to collaborate with all of these different families during the creation of these books.
I’m on a mission to “tell our story” by telling our children “theirs”
Donor conception, Assisted Reproductive Technologies and IVF are not talked about enough. They are personal topics, I know. I also know I want my children, and others like them, to grow up feeling confident and proud of the way they came to be. To do that we need to increase awareness of these family building options. To increase awareness we need to share. Let’s share our stories, share our struggles & share the love that makes up our families.