I've always been a late bloomer, and didn't really consider getting married until I was in my mid-30's. After kissing more than a few toads (and a snake or two, for that matter), I found my prince and married him at the ripe ol' age of 39. We both wanted a family and knew we weren't going to waste any time in that department. Little did I know there would be a snag. Enter the world of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) and the land of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF).
As a newlywed couple, we were faced with a daunting situation. (The statistics, for a girl my age, just aren't very optimistic.) And Jim (God bless that man!) certainly stepped up to the challenge of supporting me through, easily, the hardest thing I have gone through thus far. And so began the process of administering shots, egg retrieval surgeries, and a long emotional rollercoaster ride.
Long story short: Our first IVF cycle resulted in a pregnancy, but sadly, I miscarried early on. Our second cycle produced even fewer embryos - only two. But, happily I got pregnant again. I'll never forget the first time we heard the heartbeat. I think I was in shock. We were both crying and my doctor and nurse (heroes in my book) gave us big congratulatory smiles and hugs. The doc then asked, "So where do you two want to deliver?" And I remember thinking, "Deliver? Deliver what...a pizza?" It was just such awesome news I couldn't digest it right away. One of the two embryos below is our soon to be born daughter. I'm just amazed and humbled and so incredibly grateful.
I don't even have words to describe how happy, fortunate, and grateful I feel. We were lucky. So lucky. Many couples go through these treatments and don't end up with a baby of their own. Of course, there are many alternative ways to have a family and, believe me, I don't think any one way is "better" than another. This is a lifelong dream come true for us though and it truly feels like a miracle.
Some of the highlights of the infertility journey are:
- Over 100 injections (in the thigh, stomach, and hip)
- A fully stocked liquor cabinet that was quickly depleted by one stressed out husband
- An extreme mix of faith and fear, high hopes and shattered dreams
- Multiple runs to Costco for Kleenex for one emotionally distraught girl
- Countless prayers and conversations with God (also some begging and pleading on my part)
Well, tonight was the night for the big Kahuna shot. An inch and a half needle! Poor Jim-a-loo...he is not a medical kind of person. He prepares the shot while I'm in the other room. (He told me later that's when he started getting nauseous.) The time has come. I walk into the medical room, aka kitchen, and say, "Put that shot behind your back...I don't want to see it!" He gets the ice pack and slaps it on my butt. "Longer...longer," I plead. Several minutes later, he plunges the needle in my rump, surprised at how easily the needle slides in. I'm doing okay. I can handle this, I think. I am a bad-ass-woman-hear-me-roar-type trying to protect the home and survival of my future specks. Until...I feel his hand leave the shot and now, (huh?), he's sitting on the kitchen chair.
"Jim, are you done?"
"No, baby." (long pause) "Just give me a second."
"What are you doing?," I say in a panicked voice, sweat beginning to bead on my forehead and upper lip.
"Is the shot dangling out of my ass?!!!" "What are you doing?!!!"
"Just hang on,", he says. "I'm about half-way done."
Oh, my God! This is starting to hurt. I moan. Now, I feel the thick medicine dispersing through my body. I think I am going to be sick. I hunch over the kitchen counter, with my weight on the non-shot leg, now sweating profusely. He pulls the needle out. I slump into the chair and immediately put my head between my knees. Jim staggers into the hallway and collapses onto the floor. He is drenched in sweat. I join him on the floor, stepping out of my fallen pants and collapse next to him. We did it.
And now here we are... just seven days from Baby A's due date. Thank you all so much for checking into my blog now and then, and for all the sweet comments you've left. (Many times I will delay reading your comments because I want to savor them like little jewels.) I'm very appreciative of our creative community - what a nice and fun and supportive group of people! This will probably be the last time I post until the bebe arrives. Wish me luck. Hope to be back soon!