Two years ago right now, I was in a strange, in-between place. A few days earlier, my first round of IVF had resulted in the retrieval of four tiny, precious eggs. Those eggs had been fertilized and were successfully growing in a lab a mile and a half west of our apartment. I was waiting to see whether they would continue to thrive long enough to be transferred back into my body.
I haven’t really written much about my fertility experience. Looking back at it now, with two energetic, sturdy little boys playing a few feet away from me, it doesn’t have the same weight that it did when I was going through it. But before, during, and just after, I lived with a balloon of hope, fear, and anticipation in my chest and throat that was always about to explode open.
I remember the morning I got the call from the lab, telling me that the fertilized eggs were doing well. I was at a busy farmers market and I started crying on the sidewalk. I was wearing my red vest and holding a bag filled with apples and a leafy bunch of swiss chard. In true city fashion, people just kept on walking by as a wept.
On the morning of the egg transfer Scott had a meeting and so I went by myself to the appointment. When I got there, they told me that there were two eggs that were doing really well. One was slightly less good, and one had stopped growing all together.
The advice was to transfer the two most robust embryos, in the hopes that one would implant. I told the doctor (a woman I’d never met before and would never see again) that we really didn’t want to have twins (ha!) and she said that given my age (I was 39 at the time), there was a very slim chance that both would implant. Truly, the odds were against me that even one would stick around.
I watched on the monitor as she slid the delivery tool into my uterus and left two, tiny clusters of cells behind. So much hope. So much worry.
I walked around for the next ten days in a state of wonder and fear and deep curiosity. Would one of those clusters of cells stick around? Would both? Finally, a day before the fertility appointment where they’d test my blood for HCG (the hormone that appears during early pregnancy), I took a home test and the plus sign turned pink within seconds. It was the only time in my life that I’d gotten a positive result from one of those tests (though I’d self administered many with a great deal of hope).
I don’t know how long late November and early December will bring me back to the fertility treatments that brought me my boys, but at the moment, I can’t live through this time of year without remembering and feeling that balloon of desperate hope and anticipation.