How does one know they are ready to have kids? One wise woman of four children once said to me “you will never be ready to have children, but you will definitely know when it’s time to be done!”. That message has stuck with me for years.
For most couples, they make a conscious decision to stop using birth control and “see what happens”, knowing it could be a month or it could be a year. Can you imagine though if you got to pick the exact time your child was conceived? For some Type As that must sound like a dream having that much control, but for Type Bs like myself, it is an awkward, anxiety provoking decision.
After more than a year of tests and ultrasounds and multiple rounds of egg retrievals, we finally were at the stage where we could implant an embryo. As excited as we were, it was at that moment that all the “we should do (blank) first” and “what if (blank)” thoughts surfaced. We need to settle in a new home! We need more money to pay for a nanny! My car is not reliable enough for a newborn! We haven’t taken that Alaskan vacation yet! Should the baby be born in the summer when we can go for walks? Or is it better in winter since we’re stuck inside anyway? And can anyone really go nine months without a glass of Moscato or a dip in the hot tub!? As silly and trivial as these thoughts were, when asked to plan our life instead of just letting it happen, the decision became overwhelming.
Three months later, after an epic hike in the Black Hills on out 5th wedding anniversary, I decided there was never going to be a right time, so it might as well be now. I waited until dinner when Ed’s belly was happily stuffed, and he was sipping his 3rd glass of cabernet (I have learned the most opportune time to ask for something!) and asked him if we could just forget all the “what ifs” and go forward with an embryo transfer. After guzzling down his drink and signaling the server for a refill, he agreed.
Anyone reading this who has gone through IVF will likely agree when I say the embryo transfer was toughest part of the entire process. Three months of progesterone shots in my achy butt, pills via mouth, pills via vagina (yes, very messy), patches all over my body…all perfectly timed throughout the day. It was like a part-time job just keeping up with the ever-changing hormone schedule. And as if life wasn’t stressful enough, the little voice in the back on my mind continually reminded me that, even after everything I did to optimize my body, the transfer might not be successful.
On the day of the transfer, the embryologist wheeled in our future baby. He was a mere speck inside a mini petri dish, and she magnified his little clump of cells onto a projector so we could see him. “Look, he has my eyes!” joked Ed, and we all laughed as the nerves in the room melted away. Seconds later, we watched on the ultrasound screen as the little guy was implanted. “You’re all done!” said Dr. Salem. “Now go home and rest.”
After two months of gentle yoga, meditation, prayer, vitamins, and organic cooking, I was blessed with the image of an embryo with a beating heart on the sonogram. With sweet sorrow, I graduated from my family at the fertility clinic and ventured onto my next life chapter, officially pregnant with our future son.