At this time last year, my family had just experienced two major losses - my maternal grandmother and my father-in-law. A friend had also just experienced the stillbirth of her daughter. It was a spring of heartbreak.
And though we were in mourning, we were also preparing for a huge celebration - my stepdaughter’s bat mitzvah. This event had been a year in the making, and we were so excited for her to experience this important rite of passage.
In the midst of all this was our ever present, heart wrenching, deep desire to have a baby. Two and a half years into the process, we had tried almost everything. Clomid, IUI, acupuncture, even a highly praised doctor in Manhattan. This last one made me feel rather ridiculous. Flying to New York for fertility treatments is so not me, and yet, this is what it had come to. Feeling desperate, grasping at anything that might work.
During our period of loss, life forced us to take a much needed break from the hamster wheel that is fertility treatment. Willingly taking a break is hard, because each month that passes is a month that could have been the one, or at least that’s what it feels like. But take a break we did.
When I called our doctor to say we were ready to start up again in early June, I got the unfortunate news that he’d be on vacation for a few weeks, thus eliminating two months of treatment. That’s how this stuff works. Miss a couple weeks, be off by a day or two in your cycle, it all gets thrown off course so easily. I was devastated. Mentally, I was ready to give it a go again. Having to wait wasn’t part of the plan. But…..there was one possibility. Start now. As in within the next few days. As in a few days before my stepdaughter’s bat mitzvah. Oy!
I had learned from previous rounds of treatment that pumping my body full of hormones in the midst of a large family gathering wasn’t a great idea. So the idea of starting on a new kind of medication right before such a huge event wasn’t very appealing to me. But neither was waiting. I was ready. And so after much conversation, my husband and I decided to move forward. We agreed that we would let close family know what was going on so that we wouldn’t feel so alone and so if I was a total loon, there would be people to step in for support. Letting other people in was hard at first but ultimately a huge comfort.
Fortunately, my body responded well to the medication (a good sign!), and we got through the bat mitzvah with ease and much joy. I was able to have a good laugh about sneaking off to the bathroom during the party so my best friend could administer one of my injections. And my husband and I sleepily made our way to the hospital the morning after the party for an ultrasound to check on my chemically enhanced follicles.
Through it all we tried to relax, to see this as yet another of life’s adventures. What else could we do? We’d already been through a lot. Anger, disappointment, heartbreak. And then there was the waiting. Without a doubt, the worst part. There’s nothing left to do. No more medication. No more check ins. No more anything. Just waiting and hoping that your body will do what it needs to do to make a baby.
At this point, you know how this story ends. And yet, some days I myself still can’t believe it. Still can’t believe that I actually got the call that brought me to my knees. The call that I swore would be another disappointment. But instead was the most joyful call I have ever received.
And now he is here. My little Pip (our name for him before he was born; before we knew he was a he). This is the start of his story. The story of how much he was wanted. How hard we worked to get him here. How much his father and I grew as individuals and as a couple during our years of trying. How much love and laughter is at the heart of it all, despite the pain and sadness that we experienced along the way. He is here. We are a family. My heart is full.