Victoria Nino is mom to the beautiful Florence, in her own words, ‘a magical, miracle child’, conceived with the help of an egg donor after an eight-year struggle. She’s also the author of the ebook Why I’m Glad My Eggs Didn’t Work, and founder of the blog Expecting Anything and Infertility Unfiltered, a support group and sisterhood of women infused with “unconditional support, empowering information and positivity”.
While Victoria’s own path to parenthood was challenging — how she channelled that into helping others experiencing similar journeys is inspiring. It has been a pleasure getting to know Victoria and we believe she has incredible insight to share with those considering egg donation, but also for those dealing with the trauma of infertility. Read on to learn more about Victoria and how she’s helping so many navigate grief, happiness and everything in between.
Victoria Nino and her “magical, miracle child”
1. After keeping your infertility secret for years, you came out with your story in 2015. Can you tell us more about your journey to the beautiful family you have today?
I learned at the age of 33 that I had stage 3 endometriosis and that it had eaten away at my eggs leaving me with the diagnosis “premature ovarian failure – POF”. I have been through too many cycles to count, IUI and IVF stimulation to try to make my shitty eggs work. I actually only made it to one retrieval with my own eggs, 2 eggs was the most I ever got in one cycle, but I needed to try to make them work. I needed to know if there was a chance. Both eggs were retrieved and one of them was black in color. That day, I learned that I officially had rotten eggs. My doctor brought up the idea of donor eggs and that being my best chance at conceiving, so that’s what we did. After a lot of grieving, researching, and pain, we chose a donor, signed legal documents and moved forward with her IVF protocol. Unfortunately, my donor ended up being more like me than I thought, and also ended up losing a lot of her eggs the day before her retrieval. We had to cancel and move on. This was the darkest part of our journey for me, because I felt like we finally had our golden ticket. After a year break, and a change in doctors and a new donor, we finally got our magical, miracle child. Florence was born on our nine year wedding anniversary, the perfect love story. And I know now, it was ALWAYS meant to be her. Had I gotten pregnant years ago, the easy way, with my own eggs, it wouldn’t be her. And without her, I wouldn’t be me. I used to ask myself – Why me? But, now I know why. She is why.
A much-awaited moment!
2. As we often hear from people who create amazing products or companies out of a personal passion – would you consider Infertility Unfiltered your other baby?
Yes, 100%. Infertility Unfiltered was born out of a special place in my heart. I struggled with infertility for 8 years and at least half of that time, I cried behind closed doors. I wanted to create a safe place for women struggling to share their feelings openly and not be judged. We cry together and we laugh together. We learn from each other and grow together. Lifelong friendships are made here. I have a very strong connection to every single woman that joins and make it my mission to help carry them to the other side of infertility. I am not at all a therapist, I’m just an infertile woman who wants to pass on the love I was shown and help other women rise up.
3. How was the experience of taking that leap to create your brand – encompassing both informative content and a supportive community?
The act of being to help others has been my greatest piece of healing on my own journey. These women are helping me just as much as I am helping them. It’s a beautiful thing.
4. A few quick ones!
– Why were you glad your eggs didn’t work?
No one plans to have a child via donor eggs. It’s not a path we choose, it’s a path that chooses us. I wrote my book “Why I’m Glad My Eggs Didn’t Work” because I wanted other women to know that it is possible to have an even more beautiful life than you imagined, via someone else’s eggs, AND an even stronger bond with your child. The moment my daughter was in my arms, I knew it was worth the fight. I knew that I was chosen for this path to get to her. I had no idea I could love anything or anyone this much. With one look into her beautiful eyes, she reached all the way into my soul and took my breath away. It was like I was looking at my exact reflection. Many people, even my husband, have said she has my eyes. He might be right! They say that eyes are windows to the soul that’s inside of them, and since she was made inside of me, she actually could have my eyes, because she shares my soul. And that is way more meaningful than any ole DNA.
– What is the question the most frequently asked by your followers?
“Will I love my child like it’s my own?” and my answer is always – loving your child will be the easiest thing you have ever done AND your child will be your own. THREE people made my daughter, and we all had an important role, but I am mama – the one and only. DNA is important, but there is sooo much more that contributes to who we become. I have a very unique biological connection to my daughter. We shared a blood stream, how could I not? The donor gave me an egg – “a cell” – but I did all the work to turn that cell into a human. My placenta was her pillow. My womb is the first place she ever lived. I gave her my inner energy. For 10 whole months I nurtured her from the inside and now on the outside.
– What was the biggest surprise about motherhood after infertility?
That infertility doesn’t just go away after you become a mom. Pregnancy doesn’t cure infertility. Neither do children. It’s hard to imagine this being true until it happens, because we focus so hard on getting pregnant and start to believe that when it happens all the ugliness goes away. Infertility is trauma and with any type of trauma you will have triggers that bring it back up. It’s important to let the grief come, feel it and process it, try not to bury it. Infertility is a part of me, and I have learned to walk alongside it. I have good days and bad, but over time, it does get easier.
Victoria Nino with her beautiful family
5. And finally, what advice would you give to intended parents on GoStork – who are just beginning their family building journey?
DNA is not required to love someone to the highest power. Think about how in love you are with your partner, the person you chose to spend the rest of your life with. You don’t share DNA, yet you have met your soul match. Our children always find their way to us, they find the souls they need. They make their way to the ones they belong to. 🙂
What a powerful message. Victoria, thank you – we’re honored to have you share your story with us. Intended parents, make sure to follow @expectinganything and @infertilityunfiltered for support as well as a deeply honest take on infertility.