The waiting is the hardest part. The IVF wasn’t so bad this time – the pain and discomfort was worse than in the past, but the difference was that this time, everything seemed to be going our way. They retrieved 35 eggs, a shocking 25 of those were mature. Twenty-three of those fertilized and we ended up transferring two beautiful blastocysts on Day 5. We never thought we’d have a blastocyst, much less two. We were so happy and so hopeful.
But. Isn’t there always a but? My body feels like it’s gearing up for a period. Two home pregnancy tests that I kept secret from your father because he didn’t want me to take them in the first place were negative. I had hoped to see that plus sign so that I could quit with the wondering and worrying and start on the looking forward to the future.
My BETA is tomorrow morning. Your dad says we’re going to sit around and eat cake and pizza after we get the good news. But (there it is again) I’m worried that it will be another tragic ending to a cycle and it will be especially hard since this one was so promising.
The good news is that we have three little frozen embryos and who knows? Maybe they can survive the thaw and become you or a version of you. Maybe I’m worrying for nothing. Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself. Maybe tomorrow, I will have a strong BETA. Maybe the tests I took just weren’t good enough to detect the small amounts of HcG in my urine.
I worry sometimes that I have wished you away. As soon as the transfer was over and we came home, my joy turned to something other than joy. I felt very nervous. Never had we been so close to actually becoming pregnant and I started to wonder if we were ready for the life altering state of parenthood. We are old and set in our ways. We have a nice routine to our days. We do whatever we please. We sleep soundly at night, all night. Are we really ready to give all that up? There’s so much freedom in adulthood sans children.
But (again) there’s so much we’re missing. I just know it. And, so I tried to push all those doubts about our readiness and our ability to parent away. I tried to let you know that you are loved already and that you are wanted. I begged you to stick around for a while.
I pleaded with God, something I haven’t really done in the past. I used to believe that God had bigger things to worry about than what’s going on in my uterus. But this time, I told him that nothing is too small for him and that I needed his help. I begged him to make you real.
Each morning I put my hands on my belly and I prayed that you were still in there, still living and growing and becoming mine. This morning I cried out to God from our silent bedroom, in our silent house. Lord, please, please let this baby be real.
I can feel my brain beginning the shift. I have never been one of those women who could easily move on to adoption. I wanted the pregnancy. I wanted the mirrored reflection of me and Greg in a baby’s face. I wanted to give birth. Now, I’m feeling like I have to decide – do I want the pregnancy or do I want to be a mother? Do I want to keep waiting on something that may never ever happen or am I ready to move on and create a family any way that I can? What is more important to me – the pregnancy or parenthood? Maybe to someone who hasn’t been here the answer would seem obvious. So many people, when they hear about our fertility journey immediately ask, “have you considered adoption.” They are so ready to make the leap. But they all have children – children that grew in their wombs, children they pushed out into the world.
For me, the shift is slow. I don’t know if it’s right for us. Maybe we should just be thankful that we have a good life, a good love here with each other. It’s more than many people can say. Maybe I should focus on that freedom we have – a childless life that allows for travel and plenty of self indulgence.
But what about years from now? No children, no grandchildren. No big Thanksgivings or Christmases. No graduation days, no weddings --- no family. Your cousins have always brought me a lot of joy, but they are not my own. I cannot count on them to fulfill my need to nurture. And, they are so far away.
So, here I am, Rowan, nearly 33 years old, about to become a great aunt and still not yet a mother. Please, please, please be there tomorrow. Please give me the chance to love you, to teach you, to give you a happy, healthy life.