Thursday, April 29, 2010

It Takes a Village to Make a Baby

It's a rude awakening to realize that you will not be creating your baby the old-fashioned way. When you look at your child, you will not remember the romantic situations that preceded his/her conception -- no candlelit dinner, no exotic vacation setting, not even the mundane sex on a school-night. In your case, you will remember the countless shots you took to your abdomen, the daily visits to the clinic for monitoring, the poking, the prodding by more doctors and nurses you can count on both hands, the cold surgical rooms, the anxiety.

The sterile environment of your clinic will become your second home: you'll sign in, wait in a sad room sitting on neutral furniture from the 90s with many other women -- all more anxious than the next -- and hope they call your name soon so you can get out of there. You'll go into the blood draw room, where you'll be lined up but hidden ever so slightly by hospital curtains. You'll try to be pleasant with everyone, because after all these nurses are often times your lifeline; they will call you, give you directions and sometimes they'll break the bad news. Then you'll be ushered into the ultrasound room, where you'll take off everything from the waist down. You've done this so many times, you've lost all prudishness. Staring at the paint-by-numbers art hanging on the walls, you'll patiently wait for your doctor (or ultrasound technician) to knock on the door. You'll wonder how things look in there and what's next. Finally, she/he will walk in and ask you how you are and get to work before you get a chance to answer. You'll robotically say you're fine, but wish you could answer that question honestly: I'm depressed, lost, isolated. Infertility sucks... You'll get your update on your follicle count and quickly get dressed. But not so fast, because you have to stop by the billing office to make sure to pay your co-pay, because after all, this is the business of making babies.

Oh, and let's not forget the best part: you and your partner won't ever be in the same room when your baby is actually being conceived. You had your eggs retrieved in an operation room while your partner ejaculated to an undesirable porn magazine. Romantic, isn't it? And while you're home, wondering what's going on, an embryologist will make the introductions: "Egg, meet sperm!"

So baby-making didn't quite turn out like you'd imagined, huh? You probably won't be able to share any of this with your future child(ren). But the one thing you will have that others won't is a picture of your baby/babies when they were only embryos and that's priceless. You will get attached to that picture they'll hand you at your embryo transfer. In fact, I remember DH drawing arrows with a name for each embryo. If that cycle works, you'll keep that picture forever. If it doesn't, you'll shove it in a folder, along with the rest of them, where Little Anna, Jack and Laura will be nothing more than another scar on your heart.

I wonder what I will say when my child asks me about where he came from. I don't think I have an answer to that just yet, but I will be able to show him a black and white image of himself, and tell him that he was loved when he was only made-up of 8 cells.

P.S. I heard about this children's book called "I can't wait to meet you" by Claudia Bates. Finally a book to help us tell our story. I'll review it on a separate entry.


marilyn said...

okay- tearing up a bit. I guess this is what my future holds for me. This is it. This makes me very sad. i know it will be okay- it has to. I have started a blog and I would love to add that book to my list. You write from the heart..I am tearing up..:(

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