My daughter, who was conceived with the help of donor eggs, just celebrated her first birthday. It’s been a year of laughter, exhaustion, tears, and lots and lots of poop. My husband and I spent six years in the throes of infertility. We endured failed intrauterine insemination (IUI) cycles, even more failed cycles of in vitro fertilization (IVF), and one donor egg cycle that resulted in a chemical pregnancy before our final cycle was successful.

Throughout my pregnancy, I struggled. Was I excited to be finally welcoming our baby into the world that we waited years for? Absolutely. But the path we took to get her was one I never thought we would take. Somewhere out there is a woman who donated her eggs so that I could be blessed with experiencing a pregnancy and the birth of my child. Here are five things I wish I could tell her.

1. You and I Don’t Look Anything Alike

I didn’t choose your profile based on the fact that you looked like me. The donor coordinators told me to chose someone based off of my own similar characteristics, but there were several factors I took into account instead. First, you were wildly successful with other couples and this was my last shot at a pregnancy of my own. Second, you were beautiful; your physical appearance was appealing to me. I was secretly hoping my baby would get your gorgeous blue eyes.

2. For a Long Time After I Became Pregnant, Your Photo Was Hard to Look at.

I got caught up in the excitement of pregnancy and forgot I had kept your photo for the longest time. When I finally did come across it, I have to admit, it made me emotional. I spent a long time being so mad that I had to use an egg donor, because I wanted my baby to share my genetics. Your picture was a reminder that she didn’t. But still, I held onto your photo. When I look at it now, which is rare, I don’t see a women who replaced my own eggs. I see someone who gave me an incredible gift - an opportunity to grow a human being inside me, something that would have been near impossible, if it weren’t for you.

3. I’ve Been Bouncing Between Wanting to Meet You and Hoping My Daughter Never Finds You

My emotions play with my head now, even a year out from giving birth. I have days when I wish I could have a relationship with you, if only to keep informed of changing medical history in order to have the most accurate information for my daughter. But then I have days where I struggle and I am glad for the anonymity. I have never wavered on my feelings about being my daughter’s mother. I have never once thought that she wasn’t completely and wholly mine. But I admit there has been times of jealousy that she shares some of your genes. I think other egg recipients can relate to these feelings and I know I’m not alone, bit I still feel guilty for these thoughts.

4. When I Look at my Daughter, I Don’t Recognize you in her, but I am Reminded Everyday of you.

I’m not very good at picking out qualities of a mother and father in a baby. When my daughter was born, I actually didn’t even think she looked like her dad, even though everyone else claimed she did. Throughout this past year, I have even received comments that she looks like me. I’m not quite convinced, but I know that I don’t see you in her at all. Perhaps my body was efficient at turning on and off certain parts of your genetic makeup. But when I do look at her, I see you, in the sense that if not for you, she wouldn’t be here. I am reminded of how hard I worked, and the lengths my husband and I went in order to create her.

5. Not I Day Goes by That I Don’t Silently Thank You for What You’ve Done for us.

You see, it’s because of you that I was up every two hours around-the-clock for the first eight weeks of my baby’s life. You were the reason I was exhausted, but so incredibly blessed. It’s because of you that I could become a mom. It’s because of you that my parents were able to experience the joy of their first grandchild. You made aunts of my two sisters, who dote on their long-awaited niece. The incredible gift you’ve given our whole family will never be forgotten - you will never be forgotten. My daughter will always know the journey we took in becoming her parents, and she will always know about the woman who gave us the ultimate gift that help bring her into the world.