In Vitro Fertilization, My Hero

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It’s a chilly March morning in 2005 as I wait for you to become mine. Overland Park Regional’s exam room is so cold that my teeth won’t stop chattering and the hair on my arms stands straight up, a forest of fuzz. Shivering in only a scratchy short-sleeved hospital gown and a pair of socks with sticky bottoms, I wait. Goosebumps race down my bare legs, which ache from being in the stirrups. There’s a stupid poster of a beach scene on the ceiling that I’m supposed to focus on, but who can relax at a time like this? I could officially be pregnant in a matter of minutes.

Your daddy and Gigi are sitting near me. I can’t stop crying because I’m terrified you won’t stick, that my uterus will be an inhospitable environment, that you’ll fall out once I stand up in an hour, or when I pee. Gigi tries to distract me by joking that she’ll be able to tell everyone she was in the room when you were conceived. Which wouldn’t be true anyway, since you were conceived five days ago in a sterile lab, without even your parents  present, let alone grandparents. Only doctors in labcoats, working mostly in silence with their microscopes and gloved hands.

Waiting for you in the exam room. Spring 2005.

 Today marks the culmination of our second round of in vitro fertilization, years of fertility treatments, and this small room suddenly feels like it’s closing in on me.

This is a photo of me as Dr. B carefully loads you, my little embryos (or extended blastocysts if we’re being technical) up into a long, skinny catheter. She gave me Valium, but sharing a room with you, my potential baby/babies, means no relaxationI am immune to the drugs. I think:  You are tangible. You are right there. You are on the verge of becoming our dream fully realized. Yet you might not survive. And there’s absolutely nothing we can do because we have no control over any of it. Please, please, let me be your Mommy. I know I can be good at that. I was born to be your mommy. Nothing else matters to me. Please choose me. Pick me. Love me. Stay.

Dr. B comes in, snaps on the tv screen and points to the swimming circles, “These look really, really good. I’m thinking twins.” My tears triple, running in rivers down my smiling cheeks. I’m scared to hope, and I almost wish she wouldn’t have said it because I start to mutter it over and over in my head. Twins. Twins. Twins. Me. Twins.

Abby & Izzy, five-day-old embryos

It is time. Dr. B. exits the exam room into the adjacent lab and returns with the fully loaded catheter. She walks slowly, a hush falls over the room. Her assistant, Brandi, turns the bright light on illuminating my lady parts. Cold speculum goes in and I hear and feel the familiar cranks. Dr. B. asks me to remain perfectly still as she slides the catheter through my cervix.

There is nothing but silence. And then the sounds of my jagged breaths as I will myself not to cry with the magnitude of this moment. I feel a slight cramping and then it’s over. Dr. B removes the catheter as slowly as she inserted it. “We have to look at it under the microscope to make sure both embryos made it out into your uterus,” she explains. “Sometimes one gets stuck and clings, so before we let you get comfortable, we have to check real quick.”

Thirty seconds later she’s back with a big grin and takes the speculum out. “We’re good. Why don’t you rest here for about an hour, and then you can go home and take it easy for the next two days,” she says, handing me a warm blanket. Hubs hops up and quickly spreads it out over me and finally the tears fall freely.

I am scared to dream, but it’s almost like I feel you already, latching on inside of me. My womb, my heart, my soul are full of you. Though you are the size of the head of a pin, I know.

You are there.

You are mine. Finally.

This post was written in response to a link by The Red Dress Club:
For this week, we want you to imagine that after you have died and your daughter/son will be given the gift of seeing a single five-minute period of your life through your eyes, feeling and experiencing those moments as you did when they occurred. What five minutes would you have him/her see? Tell us about them in the finest detail. Let’s have a maximum word count of 700 words for this post.
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  • Miss Sadie

    Wow. That is amazing. Told like only a hopeful mother could.

    Well done!

    • Anonymous

      Thank you, sweetness!

  • Missy

    It was 6 years ago today that I had my embryo retrevial. Without IVF we wouldn’t have had our twins either.

    • Anonymous

      It’s awesome that you remember exact dates like that. I don’t remember mine anymore. I could go back and look, but don’t know offhand….congratulations to both of us!

  • http://bywordofmouthmusingsandmemoirs.blogspot.com/ By Word of Mouth Musings

    I remember those days.
    You describe it so well.
    And there was never a way to explain how I felt to the people around me.
    The one’s with their happy news and glowing faces.
    You did an amazing job with this meme Erin, so poignant and heartfelt – as always.

  • Varunner7

    Erin, this beautiful piece has me all teary eyed. I love all the detail and description. So rich.

  • http://www.thewriterrevived.com/ Elizabeth Flora Ross

    Oh, Erin! This is beautiful. I am crying. Your twins will love reading this someday, and seeing how much they were wanted and loved.

  • Heather O

    Amazing Erin … I am there with you as you write. So amazing. :-) *hug*

    • Anonymous

      Heather, you are my personal cheerleader. I love you. Thank you for reading!

  • http://www.mayangelstar.com Veronica

    What a miracle those two precious girls are. Your writing… beautiful.

  • http://npoj.blogspot.com Nancy C

    I’ve had friends who went through IVF, but I’ve never experienced the sheer wonder and terror and joy and hope in such a way. I believe your girls are so lucky because they know how desperately wanted they were. They were made out of hope and dreams.

  • Anonymous

    As a mom who got pregnant the conventional way I cannot imagine the fear and joy that were contained in that moment. To KNOW the moment they became yours. The day it was official.. reading your view makes me realize that it is a beautiful moment in time.Your babies are so blessed they chose you as momma..

  • Alexandra

    I know the feeling. I had to wait until I was 37 to finally have my first baby.

    I couldn’t believe it. I remember seeing the pink Plus sign on the PG test kit so clearly. And I remember how surreal everything felt.

    Finally.

    Beautiful words here, Erin.

  • http://www.theumbels.com Evonne

    I can feel your fear of hope through your words. I am so happy that those babies chose you to be their mommy.

  • Taming Insanity

    Oh, Erin. You always put me right in your heart. Love you.

    • Anonymous

      Love you, too, KLZ. I hope in my heart is a (mostly) happy place to be.

  • http://alguires.blogspot.com Elaine A.

    I can only imagine what it felt like in those few minutes to really HOPE and PRAY and even WONDER if you were actually pregnant. I’m just so glad you became the Mother you were always meant to be… :)

  • http://www.thekircorner.com Kirgal

    well as someone who did IVF just like you, and eventually have Twins , just like you I could feel every single thing with you. I wrote about IVF this week too, but them finding the boys after they told me they couldn’t. I understand why you’d want the girls to see and read this…to know how much they were wanted and why their whole lives you told them everyday how much you loved them, how much you prayed for them…this shows them…that thier lives were precious from the very very very beginning.
    Beautiful post Erin.

  • http://twitter.com/RandomBlogette Jayme

    I just can’t even imagine going through something like this. I am just so glad that you were blessed with your adorable girls! Thank you for sharing! You always make me feel like I am there with you!

  • Ally

    I was going to wait until later to read, but then I scanned the first couple of sentences and had to read it out. Once again, you grabbed me with your heartfelt writing. That is definitely a five minute period worth sharing!

    • Anonymous

      I try to be heartfelt, I really do. And I’m glad you felt it. ;-)
      xoxo

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=634111233 Dawn Genzlinger Rutt

    Beautiful Erin…

  • Cheryl

    What an odd thing, to have your babies conceived when you’re, you know, out to dinner, or doing the laundry, or whatever. I love how you captured the physical AND emotional parts of those five minutes. Well done, Erin!

    • Anonymous

      Yeah, all that really matters is that my mom was NOT there when they were conceived (my mom was Gigi in the story).

  • http://hoperoth.com/blog Hope

    I’m not going to cry at work…
    I’m not going to cry at work…
    I’m not going to cry at work…

    • Anonymous

      I love that this moved you so much! thank you!

  • http://twitter.com/amandaaustin Amanda

    This is a really beautiful post. Those girls are lucky to have a Momma like you.

  • http://arms-wide-open.squarespace.com arms wide open

    aw! I have shivers! What a beautiful story of hope and anticipation!

  • http://www.spermiestyle.com/ Pamela Gold

    The lengths we go through to become mothers. This is a beautiful story your children will be proud to read!

  • MiMi

    Absolutely amazing.

  • http://twitter.com/dutchbeingme Julie

    This is so amazing. Beautiful, poignent and well written. I was captivated from the moment I started reading.

    • Anonymous

      Makes me happy that you liked it, Julie!

  • Caitlin’s Concepts

    So beautiful. I love the line “My womb, my heart, my soul are full of you.” and the poignant mental pleading for the embryo(s) to stay. Very touching. Bravo!!

    • Anonymous

      Thank you & so grateful you stopped by!

  • http://twitter.com/birdonthestreet birdonthestreet

    Look, you. My hormones can’t take this stuff–totally crying in my driveway as I read this on my phone.

    • Anonymous

      thanks for reading, Katy. Love to you, Charlie, and those sweet babes.

  • http://twitter.com/icarriedawtrmln JG

    There’s nothing further I can add based on the comments, other than the fact that I could have written this post. With of course my kid inserted and yours taken out.

    • Anonymous

      If I’d had your kid inserted? Boy, there’d be a lawsuit going on! ;-)

  • MyLittleMiracles

    OMG I am now freezing and crying!
    How scary and exciting all in one! So amazing!!

  • http://www.shadesofblueandgreen.com/ Ash

    Modern medicine has provided too many miracles in my life to not want to hit my knees in thanks every time I hear of another lucky soul – a prayer of thanks for you and your two sweet latchers :-)

    Excellent job!! Honest. Brilliant writing babe. I was totally there with you. But not in a gross way, I promise.

  • Mad Woman behind the Blob

    Crying at work.
    This was beautiful Erin. And you didn’t miss a detail.
    And wasn’t it amazing just how fast it happens? Though it feels like an eternity.
    So well done!

  • http://twitter.com/juliecgardner Julie Gardner

    I had no idea. No idea. But anyone reading this will believe she was there. Beautifully done.

    • Anonymous

      thank you SO very much! ;-)

  • http://twitter.com/tsonoda Terri Sonoda

    That was lovely Erin!

    • Anonymous

      Thank you, Terri dahlink! I hope you enjoyed it!

  • http://misadventuresofmrsb.blogspot.com Mrs. Jen B

    This is heartbreakingly beautiful. Thank you for sharing something so personal with us. I am so glad those babies chose you.

    • Anonymous

      I’m glad they chose me too, even though somedays I’m sure they wish they hadn’t.
      (snort)

  • Anne

    I felt it. All of it. Gorgeous writing on a such a personal moment.

    • Anonymous

      ;-) many thanks!

  • Anonymous

    i think i just need to have a supply of kleenex nearby when i read your posts. seriously. what child wouldn’t want to hear that amazing story!! what precious little blessings they are. great post. love love LOVE.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks, sweets! I’m thrilled you enjoyed reading it, but sorry you needed the Kleenex. It was a happy post—so I hope they were happy tears! ;-)

      • Anonymous

        i should just have a box of kleenex made into a backpack. i could wear it to
        church, too, since i bawl like a baby there. my kidneys are located just
        behind my eyeballs. don’t stand too close. you may get wet. ;)
        love the new blog.

  • http://goodgirlgoneredneck.blogspot.com Andrea B.

    Beautifully said/written. As always. Thanks for sharing.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for READING, Andrea. You don’t ever have to thank me for sharing….I kinda love to share. Or overshare, as the case may be!

      • http://goodgirlgoneredneck.blogspot.com Andrea B.

        Any time. Let’s just call it even. ;) p.s. I was going to email you back but totally blanked on which email is your current one. Can you send it to me so I know for sure? ;0_]

  • http://inthesesmallmoments.com Nichole

    What a beautifully-written post, Erin.
    We had a series of unsuccessful IUIs before we unexpectedly got pregnant on an off month.
    I remember that feeling, that longing, the desperation.

    Your daughters are blessed to have this written account of just how much they were wanted and needed.
    Lovely.

    • Anonymous

      Natalie (I mean NICHOLE–sorry again!),

      I am so sorry you had fertility issues, too, but am grateful they were resolved, especially unexpectedly!

      Infertility sucks. It seems to happen to so many women these days. I am grateful I’m past that, but I have a good friend from college who’s dealing with it now and I’m sad for her…

  • Elena @NaynaDub

    This is such a beautiful post! I struggled with fertility – I never had to do IVF but I know & remember that want for a child. My sister went through IVF and fortunately was successful just like you! Fertility can be such a difficult thing that you’d never expect to go through in life. I’m sure your twins will love reading this post someday!

    • Anonymous

      I definitely never expected to struggle with it…but I think in a lot of ways it changed me, made me stronger. And I look forward to the day when the girls will be able to read this & really get it.

  • http://twitter.com/theMrsCruthis Leah Cruthis

    What a beautiful piece!

    • Anonymous

      I so appreciate your kind comment! Thank you for visiting!

  • Stephanie

    Tears! I know how badly you wanted those twin terrorists and to read about this small but so momentous occasion in your life was great. I really feel like even though we were getting to know each other before I am able to get to know you so much better here. You are so much more honest, forthright and open. It’s really awesome to be a part of your ‘awakening’.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks, Steph. I have been thinking about my recent writing as a kind of awakening. Not always easy, but I must do it. Forge on. GO through it. Write.

  • http://twelvedaysold.blogspot.com Katie Bray

    This was really beautiful.

    • Anonymous

      thank you! ;-)

  • Mamaface

    Oh that feeling of wanting that baby, or babies, to latch on. Your mind willing your body to listen and obey. Beautifully written as always.

    • Anonymous

      Oh Mary….wish we could make our bodies listen to our demands and obey. That it was that easy. Speaking of, how are you feeling since the meds change??? You’ve been on my mind. Sending you big hugs.

  • http://theworkinghousewife.wordpress.com/ d, the undomestic housewife

    This made me cry.. So beautifully written.. So happy you have your two beautiful little girls. :)

    • Anonymous

      I am happy we have them too. Most days, anyway. ;-)

  • http://Amyoscar.com Amy

    Oh, honey. How beautiful… wait, I need a tissue, brb. Okay, #HonkingSound, that was priceless. Wow. I don’t know if you know that before my son was born, I was doing IVF. The day I went into the doctor’s office to get my first pergonal injection, they did one last pregnancy test. After three years of believing I was pregnant every month – only to be disappointed, I’d completely lost touch with my body’s signals. I will never forget the look on my doctor’s face as he told me, “Well, you’ll have to go home. You’re pregnant.” Thanks for reminding me of that incredible time in my life – by sharing yours.

    • Anonymous

      Oh sweet Amy! I had no idea!
      I am relieved that you never had to go through this (the actual IVF), but sad that you struggled so much & for so long to get pregnant. That is no fun, and it’s too bad so many women can relate.

      Thank you for our chat. You have no idea how much better I feel. And armed with some good things to share with hubs, too.
      Love you.

  • Katie

    Good grief! what are you people doing to me today? I am a sobbing mess at all these beautifully chosen moments and wonderful writing!

    Erin, you put me there. you made me remember my cries of “but I just want to be a mommy! i know i can do it! i just need a BABY!”

    sigh…

    this was my favorite:
    My womb, my heart, my soul are full of you.

    happy sighs…

    • Anonymous

      I think that’s the highest compliment a writer can receive—to know that I put him/her there. So thank you for that.
      Big smile. Thank you!

  • Christi

    This was so powerful, I don’t even know what to say. I’m sure your daughters will one day read this and know how very painfully much they were wanted and needed.

    <3

    • Anonymous

      I cannot wait for them to be old enough to comprehend and appreciate this…but it will be an interesting journey. I can see the post now: “From test tube to pre-teen” or something. LOL

  • Staceyalgren

    I’ve had the same experience in the exact same place. Thank God for Dr. B and Brandi!

    • Anonymous

      I love that we have this in common. And Amen to that—-were it not for Dr. B and Brandi (well, Dr. Lyles, too, as he did my retrieval that time around, actually), the girls wouldn’t be here. Crazy stuff. Modern medicine astounds me. Wonder when we’ll be able to tell them this stuff?!

  • http://www.thewatson6.blogspot.com jessica

    Oh this brings back memories. You captured every moment perfectly and reminded me of ones I had forgotten. Thank you for bringing this day back for me too.

    • Anonymous

      Well, there was a lot I left out, especially with the word limit. Hee hee. But it was probably stuff that other people didn’t need to read about. ;-)

  • http://ontherocksandstraightup.com Angie

    Wow, Erin. Not much I could say that hasn’t been said.

    Beautiful. Simply beautiful.

    • Anonymous

      Thank you! ;-)

  • http://www.fromtracie.com From Tracie

    This is the most beautiful thing. I remember your ducks, and that story was so touching…but this!?! This is amazing. This had me on the edge of my seat, tears streaming down, silently cheering for you and your girls.

    You are an amazing mommy. One day your girls will be able to read this….what a blessing.

    • Anonymous

      Tracie,

      It sure will be interesting to share this story with them. I wonder how old they’ll have to be before they’ll “get it?” I’m sure I’ll have to post about it. ;-)

  • Helene1108

    Amazingly written…I’ve been there, too. Same emotions, same “hope for the best, prepare for the worst” mentality. So afraid to even say the words “please let it work THIS time” out loud.

    Your writing always has a way of captivating me. This post is no different.

    • Anonymous

      Thank you again, Helene. We definitely have a lot in common. Except that you are much better about visiting me lately than the other way around. My only excuse is another bout of depression. Seeing doc tomorrow. Sigh.

  • jil

    This is the first post I’ve read of your blog. It grabbed me…well, more than that…I’m not sure I have words for it. We’ve been trying to conceive for well over a year. I’m with Hope….not gonna cry at work….not gonna cry at work. It’s awesome that your girls will be able to read this & know how you ached to be their mom. Thanks for writing…for those of us who want to be moms too.

    • Anonymous

      JIL,

      I have PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), so I don’t ovulate. It took a while to get the diagnosis, as apparently I don’t fit the typical PCOS patient profile. Then we tried everything else first: Clomid, IUI, IUI w/ injectables, and then IVF. It’s hard, there’s no doubt about it. I hope you have a community of friends or fellow TTC’ers that you can talk to. And I am happy to listen anytime. Thank you for reading.
      HUGS!

  • Anonymous

    Oh lordy. The tears, they’re threatening again. I’m going to have to stop reading these things at work. Such a beautiful moment you captured here.

    • Anonymous

      I didn’t mean to make anyone cry! But I’m so glad you came over to read. Thank you!

  • Leighann

    Every part of this gave me goosebumps. You were born to be a mommy! I’m so glad you shared that Erin! Wonderful!

    • Anonymous

      :-)
      some days I do feel born to be a mommy. Other days, not so much. HAHAHHAHAA

  • http://twinfinity.org Sonora

    This was just beautiful. What an incredible post. I have never been through In vitro, so this was as close as I will ever get. I really could feel what you were feeling and I understand as much as I can. The second those babies exist, they are ours and we already love them and want them. I had to search all over your blog to make sure they both got here ok. I found a post about you potty training them and was so relieved. I think this post is one that they will treasure as they get older. Thank you for sharing something so personal.

    • Anonymous

      Sonora,

      No worries! THis is a brand new blog and I haven’t yet imported posts from my old place. Yes, they arrived safely, albeit a tad early, and they are now 5 years old! Thank you so much for coming by & commenting!

  • Anonymous

    Oh, Erin! What a beautiful tribute to your first moments with your daughters. So lovely! I am in tears.
    :-)
    Traci

    • Anonymous

      Thanks, Traci. It sure will be interesting to share this all with them someday! They won’t believe it!

  • http://www.thevirtualasst.com Michelle Mangen

    Erin:

    What a beautiful story and now forever written for the girls to one day read when they are older.

    Love you,

    @mmangen

    • Anonymous

      ok, I am replying to this from my blog, as it’s not in my Gmail in box yet. But still let me know you’re getting this reply….

    • Anonymous

      ok, testing this one now that it’s finally here….let me know if you get
      it!

      xoxoxoxo

  • Anonymous

    Beautifully written…trying not to cry…

  • Tulpen Elefanten

    I don’t think I’ve ever read a detailed account of the procedure.

    I’d be afraid to stand up too!

  • http://www.bellebeanchicagodog.com/ Liz

    Although I know many people who have gone through this process, I have never heard about the step by step. What an intense day! And to see them on a screen?!?! There aren’t words for that experience!

  • http://www.puttingthefunindysfunctional.com Cyndy DysFUNctional Mom

    I saw several of these posts this week, and this is my favorite. Beautiful.

  • http://aladyinfrance.com Lady Jennie

    This makes me tear up. Congratulations friend (even if it was a few years ago).

  • http://jmb1980.blogspot.com/ Just Another Momma

    awww what a beautiful post.

  • http://www.mommyofamonster.com Natalie@mommyofamonster

    I love this Erin! It brought back so many of my own memories :) And now I’m thinking maybe I should post about my experience – it didn’t go as smoothly!

  • http://anattitudeadjustment.com/ Jana

    This is so beautiful, Erin!

  • http://www.writingherlife.com Ami @ Writing: My Life

    Beautifully written, Erin. I love that you picked this as your moment. When the girls read this one day, they will truly know how much their mother loved them (whether you bought them the dress or not, to refer to another post of yours).

    And I want to thank you for introducing me to The Red Dress Club. I posted my first contribution to the meme today. :)

  • http://www.btdas.blogspot.com Anita

    Hello Erin! I’m finally getting over to your new bloggy home. Lookin’ good! I loved the post, and your daughters will, too – especially if they become mommies themselves. EnJoy your weekend.

  • http://www.rubberchickenmadness.com Kimberly

    Such a powerful post. If blogging can provide us with the motivation and time to capture these magical moments in our lives, then what a fantastic form it is! Beautiful moment…

  • http://twitter.com/adriennemay Adrienne May

    I am so glad I found this. What a wonderful story. Thank you for sharing this. Will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

    • Anonymous

      I’m so glad you found it, too! thanks for coming by!

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  • Sandra

    In Vitro Fertiliazaton is another reason I feel a connection to you, Erin. I went through it too. Way……………back……………in the 80s………..! Yes, I’m that old. After a couple of years of trying to conceive and test after test, I began the very first steps into the program. I took the meds to increase egg production and to my delight I was told that no more treatments were necessary because I was pregnant naturally. It was, what I consider, a miracle. I delivered my son 9 months later. I went on to have two more sons without any assistance. It was a lot more romantic that way. ;) What a roller-coaster ride! Congratulations on sticking with the program and on the births of your beautiful children.