I can’t believe I’m writing a letter to you. After all, you’re just blastocysts in a freezer. One little AB and three BBs. But to me, you’re so much more than that. You’re our chance to complete our family. Our chance to give our daughter the amazing gift of a sibling. Our hope.
Maybe you think I’ve forgotten about you. After all, it’s been more than two years since you were frozen and safely tucked away. Maybe you think I got my miracle baby and I’ve moved on to leave you forever frozen in time. You think I didn’t choose you.
But the truth is that you’re a part of me and I think of you all the time. In the daily whirlwind of raising a toddler, you cross my mind often. She is so precious to me, so you must be precious too. But I don’t yet know you. Are you a little boy with dark curly hair like me? Or are you a miniature version of your sister who favors her daddy? Can you possibly bring us as much joy as your sister has?
And what if you aren’t healthy? Or you grow up to resent the way you were brought into the world? Or will you break my heart if you aren’t strong enough to survive? What secrets do you hold, waiting to share with the world?
My life is ordinary in many ways. But in addition to the ordinary, I have you, question marks suspended in time. Who would have thought that our hopes and dreams for our family would be sitting in a freezer in Rockville, MD? This is real life, even if it seems like a sci-fi novel. I spend my days changing diapers, listening to the Frozen soundtrack for the 100th time, and occasionally sending positive vibes to you, wondering if we’ll meet in this life or the next.
Today is the last day at a job where I’ve served for the past five years. I’ve been blessed to work with amazingly talented people who are passionate about ending cancer. The decision to leave was not an easy one, but I’m excited for more time and new adventures with my little girl, and also the opportunity to venture out on my own with my career. As a new mom, freelancing will give me the best of both worlds: precious time with my growing daughter and continued career growth and satisfaction.
I’ve learned that life moves very fast, so I want to take pause before I turn the page to reflect on what I’m thankful for in this moment:
- My education, which prepared me to work in my field for the past 10 years, learning and earning a living
- Amazing colleagues who’ve mentored me, inspired me, and helped me grow
- Challenging work that has given me perspective and reminded me to be thankful for good health and precious time with family
- My husband, who is graciously stepping into the role of sole bread-winner and giving me the privilege of being a fully present mom
This job also gave me the flexibility to take the time I needed for fertility treatments to start our family, and for that I’m eternally grateful.
While I’ll stay connected by working with my colleagues on a freelance basis, it still feels like the end of an era. Here’s to the next chapter full of new challenges and lots of baby giggles!
Migration on the Eastern Shore
Two years, two months, 17 days. This is the amount of time it took to see a positive pregnancy test. Hundreds of negative tests, thousands of tears. Countless hours spent wondering about the future, unsure if I would ever be where I am today. Many people have been in that dark place for much longer, or dealt with much worse. And many are still there.
After everything, it is hard to believe it is real. Have I graduated from this club that no one wants to belong to? Did I sneak out the back door in the nick of time? Now that the reality of being pregnant has really sunk in, I’ve been wondering where my voice fits in. I feel so connected to the emotions of others who are going through what I went through, but does my pregnancy status only cause pain in this community?
What I’ve ultimately decided is that infertility is such a huge part of me and my life experience, and it would feel disingenuous to just leave this all behind. Blogging help me immensely during my darkest times, and the support I’ve found here is amazing. I want to continue telling my story – hopefully a happier chapter. If you find hope from my infertility journey, please continue to follow me and share your story with me. But if reading my pregnancy updates causes you pain or makes your journey more difficult, I will completely understand if you choose to no longer follow.
Sistine Chapel – The Creation of Adam
When we first started seeing an infertility specialist, I could tell my mom was having trouble wrapping her mind around me going to such lengths to have a baby when she was able to have children “naturally” after a few years of trying. When she was having trouble conceiving, people suggested she see a specialist, but she wasn’t sure if she wanted kids if it wasn’t part of God’s plan for her life. Lucky for her (AND ME!), she went on to have me and my brother naturally, my brother after four years of trying with only had one ovary left. I love my mom, respect her decisions, but acknowledge her approach certainly wouldn’t work for everyone — myself included.
I don’t classify myself as religious (I grew up going to church but don’t go much anymore) but I do believe in God and would say I am spiritual. I’m also highly educated and surround myself with smart, open-minded people who make our society better every day through science and their own curiosity and hard work. Sometimes I find myself clinging desperately to the notion that there is some greater plan for me, and if I just believe that God is in control, everything will work out. Other days, I firmly put my trust in science and am satisfied knowing that I’ve taken the necessary steps to create the family that my husband and I so much desire.
After driving myself crazy trying to understand our infertility from these different perspectives, I realized that I don’t have to choose one or the other. I can choose to believe in the power of science and the comfort of faith — they aren’t mutually exclusive. I can look into the eyes of a child and see God’s work, and also see the splendor of science — tiny cells that grow into a miracle. I believe my faith guides my decisions and God never gives me more than I can handle. I believe that science and medical intervention are part of the path to grow my family. And I believe that my faith in God and my trust in science will only deepen from this experience.
As a fellow blogger recently pointed out, it is refreshing to be a part of a community where everyone respects each other’s beliefs. Thank you to everyone who has prayed, shared medical advice, or sent best wishes, positive vibes, and kind words to help us along on our journey!
To my IVF babies:
Your path into this world hasn’t been easy or traditional, but that makes you even more precious and special to me. It may seem that most people are more fortunate because they don’t have to wait as long or go through as much heartbreak to meet their loved ones. But maybe we are the lucky ones, because our eyes are completely open. We aren’t wondering if the time is right, or how you’ll fit into our lives. We are so ready to welcome you and know you’ll complete us.
You aren’t a happy accident or a crazy whim. You aren’t a “I guess we’re ready” or an “everyone else is doing it” decision. Your dad and I are choosing you, over and over again, until you are here with us. You are our love and commitment and dreams made manifest. With clear minds and hearts, we’re choosing to bring you into this beautiful, crazy world. Soon I hope we’ll be blessed with the opportunity to actively place you into my body, knowing that we are ready for our lives to change for the better. We’re choosing you.
Welcome October, month of turning leaves, chilly nights, and hopefully the conception of our baby/babies! I’ve been waiting patiently for you.
October is the fallen leaf,
but it is also a wider horizon more clearly seen.
It is the distant hills once more in sight,
and the enduring constellations above them once again.
Beautiful Moonflower in bloom
A huge thank you to Electric Mystery, Our Greatest Desire, and While We Wait for nominating me for the One Lovely Blog Award! I’m pretty new to blogging and didn’t even know blog awards were a thing, so I’m very flattered to receive one! One of the best rewards of blogging about infertility is to connecting with others who understand and feeling so much support from a community of strong, amazing women. Thank you to these three amazing, strong and brave bloggers who share their infertility journeys so openly. Make sure you check out their blogs!
The criteria for accepting a One Lovely Blog Award are:
List the rules.
Thank your nominator.
List seven facts about yourself.
Nominate 15 other bloggers and let them know you did.
Display the award logo and follow your nominator.
Seven Random Facts About Me
1. I’ve been to 5 of the 7 continents. South America and Antarctica are next on the list!
2. I’m obsessed with genealogy. I can trace my dad’s side of the family back to the American Revolution.
3. When I was five I got a zipper (attached to a sleeping bag) stuck between my two front teeth and had to have it surgically removed by my dentist!
4. The craziest thing I’ve done is skydiving in New Zealand. I loved it but wouldn’t do it again.
5. People always ask me about my ethnicity. I’ve gotten Lebanese, Hawaiian, Eskimo, Spanish, Mexican, Brazilian, and mixed asian and/or African-American. I’m actually boring old German and Irish with a killer tan! I suspect some Native American ancestry, but have yet to prove it.
6. I work in communications and love to write and edit. I’ve been called the grammar police before and I take it as a compliment!
7. I married my college sweetheart and feel so blessed to have him in my life for the past 12 years.
Nominate 15 Other Lovely Bloggers
Here are 15 other inspiring blogs about infertility that are absolutely deserving of a follow. Please don’t feel any obligation to accept the award — I know many of you have already been nominated. Just know that you inspire me and help me on this difficult road every day. Thank you!
Infertility, Why Me?
Sea of Infertility
Solving the Four Years of Infertility Mystery
The Hopeful Worrywart
Waiting for Baby Bird
Hoping Hope Floats
A Calm Persistence
Baby Are You Coming?
Waiting for the Bump
Our Journey With the Lost Stork
The Almost Mom
The Barren Librarian
Beautiful wildflower in bloom
A few days before Christmas last year, I got a call from my brother in the middle of the night. I’m thankful every day that I woke up and answered. He told me that he didn’t trust himself and that he was going to pack some things and check himself into the hospital. I talked to him until he made it to the psychiatric ward, and then called my parents to make a plan. What followed were some very rough months for our family, trying to understand how he got to that point, and how to help him. My brother has dealt with depression for quite some time, but this was a new low — what I hope was rock bottom.
I think about my brother and that phone call every day. When suicide is in the news like it has been recently with Robin Williams’ death, people come out of the woodwork with their opinions. I understand suicide is a charged topic, and everything from religion, to family values, to personal experience helps to shape your feelings. While I don’t kid myself that I’m offering anything new to the conversation, I just want to stand up and be counted on the side of compassion. I don’t think I’ll ever fully understand my brother’s depression, but I know that he is a good person and deserves love and happiness. He is intelligent, loyal, hilarious, creative, spontaneous, full of life, and has so much to offer this world. From the outside, you would never guess he struggles with depression. He deserves to live in a world where mental illness is understood for what it is — an illness — not a personal weakness or shortcoming.
Finding out how alone and desperate my brother was feeling made me realize that you never know what someone else is going through. My family is very close, but he was able to hide these feelings from all of us until it was almost too late. He is feeling better now, thanks to therapy, medicine, support from family and friends, and lifestyle changes, but I know that there is always a risk of him falling back into that dark place.
Instead of seeing people call Robin Williams selfish and blame his suicide on addiction, my wish is for people to have compassion and realize that someone you love may also be in a dark place and feeling like they don’t have any options. Instead of broadcasting your hatred and judgement, offer up your love and support. Your compassion goes a lot further than your hate.
I saw this blog post shared on Facebook a while back and really enjoyed reading it: Are You Lonely, Mama? It is very easy when you’re infertile to envision this secret, exclusive club that all new moms belong to where they all instantly make friends with each other and spend their days watching their adorable babies grow up. It never really occurred to me that it could be lonely at times. Hard, yes. But lonely, no. I’ve had way too much time to build up parenting in my mind and I’ve really put it on a pedestal. So thank you to the author for bravely sharing that it isn’t always bliss.
But I would urge you to try to see things from my point of view, lonely mamas. When I scroll through Facebook, all I see are babies and happy parents. I see my friends with new lives and priorities, leaving me behind. Every morning, I walk past the middle bedroom in our house — a tiny little room between our bedroom and the guest bedroom. When we moved in two years ago, we started calling it the nursery. I decorated it in my mind. I pictured bringing our sweet baby home to this safe place. Now we call it the spare bedroom and we keep door closed because those thoughts and plans are too painful. Friends have stopped asking when we’re going to have kids. Some friends have stopped reaching out at all.
After more than two years of trying to get pregnant, my husband and I are in infertility limbo. I never imagined we’d be here. The mental and physical toll has been completely exhausting. We’re heartbroken, but we’re surviving. I’m lonely, too — for something I’ve never had. As we head into our first IVF cycle, I hope that someday we look back on this as a season that made us stronger and prepared us to be amazing parents. Like the author, I’m trying not to let this loneliness steal this season from me.
It is very easy from my perspective to feel frustration, jealously, and even anger toward new mamas. I have friends who dealt with infertility before we started trying to have a baby, and I remember thinking they were insane. Every Facebook birth announcement or happy family out to dinner made them rage. But now I know. Infertility is a dark place, and you can only understand once you’re living there. I try to keep those feelings at bay, but I would be lying if I said they never consume me.
So I say to you lonely mamas — I get it. Being a mom is the hardest job. It can be isolating. At times, you miss your old life. Continue to share your feelings about motherhood — the loneliness and the joy. But I hope at the end of the day, you find comfort knowing that you’ve been given the best gift in the world. And you’re so very blessed to be given the opportunity to be a mama.
I didn’t know what to expect when I started blogging about infertility. I assumed there was a community of women like me, and I was hoping to find an outlet express my sadness, frustration, and hope to people who understood what I was going through. Many people in my “real life” are supportive, but there is still a breakdown because they can’t completely understand my pain. I just wanted to give a shout out to everyone who takes the time to read about my journey and post such supportive, kind comments. While I don’t know you in “real life,” your support means so much to me and has saved me in some really dark moments. Thank you, thank you, thank you!