Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Today is the anniversary of the day that changed my life -- the day that three tiny embryos were thawed and the two that survived were transferred to my uterus. One of those embryos became my son, who is sleeping down the hall as I write this. He is dressed in a baby blue footed pajamas, he is lying on his back -- deep in sleep -- with his little chubby arms up over his head as if he has surrendered to sleep. He is making tiny little sleeping noises as he breathes in and out. He is the most beautiful, wonderful, magical little person I've ever met.
It is almost unfathomable to think that a small group of cells that were frozen for three months grew into this precious baby. It is nothing short of a miracle and I am reminded daily as I marvel at Andrew at just how close we came to never knowing him, to never being parents, to never living this life that we have now.
My memories of that day are now colored by the happy outcome. Still, I remember feeling less optimistic than in the past. I felt -- resigned. I was pretty sure we'd come to the end of the road as far as our infertility was concerned. We'd gambled three times on IVF and came up empty handed each time. The frozen embryo transfer was sort of like a formality. We had to give those three embryos a chance before we could decide to move on to embryo donation or adoption or, gasp, living child free. On the day of the transfer, I remember watching the ultrasound screen. In all my previous IVFs I had willed my body to welcome those tiny embryos, I would think "hello, my babies, I hope you'll stay. I love you very much." But during my FET, I didn't think these thoughts. I just thought about all the times I'd been there before and how I hoped I'd never be there again.
The most poignant memory of that day is when my husband quietly sang to me as we waited in our curtained room. "Here we go again on our own, going down the only road we've ever known." It struck me as insanely funny at the time. But, Greg was right. Heartbreak was all we'd known at that point. Now, we have such joy. There is joy in the middle of the night when Andrew wakes and I can hear him stirring in the next room. There is joy early in the morning before the sun is up and we lie in bed listening to Andrew "talking" his happy morning jabber. There is in taking care of his needs, joy in knowing that he is happy and healthy, joy in seeing him learn new things and unbelievable joy when he fixes his eyes on my face and smiles.
But, of course, I couldn't have dared imagine all this one year ago.
I was hopeful. Hope springs eternal for infertiles, it seems. Why else would we continue to put ourselves through such horrible procedures and treatments? Even so, I did not have the kind of hope I'd had during my third IVF, when it seemed everything was going right.
Little did I know that one year later, I would be a mother and my heart would forever be changed. Believe it or not, I now cry more easily than I did during those heartbreaking years of TTC. The difference is that now, most the time the tears are joyful. I cry when I listen to the radio. I cry when I think of how Andrew came to be. Sometimes, just looking at my baby's sweet face is enough to bring on the waterworks. I am just so swept away by this child. It's like falling in love -- only better. Even some of Andrew's books make me cry. Yesterday, I finally made it through "On The Night You Were Born" without crying. I still can't read "God Gave Us You." I told Greg that would have to be the book he reads to Andrew since Mommy is such a crybaby.
This is a birthday of sorts. It's sort of difficult to classify this day now that I think about it. It's not the anniversary of the day Andrew was conceived -- that was back in January. It's not the anniversary of the day I became pregnant, because as we all know, pregnancy doesn't begin immediately after transfer. Still, it is the anniversary of the day that changed my life -- the day that started this journey. I am so grateful -- eternally grateful -- for the precious gift that is my son.