There seems to be a feeling among people who are going through infertility that everybody else got the last miracle. I can’t begin to count the number of times I have had “success story”conversations with friends and acquaintances. They go something that like this, “Did you hear? Rebecca who is 93 and in menopause? Yes, the Rebecca whose husband has no sperm…..Well, she conceived all by herself last month after completing seven IVF attempts.”
The conversation always ends with someone saying “Oh great, she got the last miracle”. It sometimes seems that instead of feeling good for the other guy, we count their good fortune as an indicator of doom for ourselves. If it happened to them, it can’t possibly happen to me.
I have pretended that I am above such base feelings. But I, too, have felt that sinking feeling that the other guy won that round. I remember when I was trying to conceive my second son…I felt that since I had already been successful in my attempts to conceive Tyler through IVF…that I was somehow competing with my own good fortune.
Sometimes it felt to me as though I had the ultimate chutzpah… “Hey God! Remember me? Miracle 30,278 on October 18, 1988? Yeah,that’s me. Well, can I have another one?”
My husband said to me…during that time…that we were like the woman who is working by the ocean with her son and a great wave sweeps her son away. She pleads with God, telling Him that she is a good woman who has always done her best, prayed and done good works. How could God do this to her? After much pleading, a great wave sweeps back and deposits her son back in front of her. The woman looks up at the sky and grumbles “He had a hat.”
When I did my second IVF attempt to try and have a second child… I was torn between knowing deep in my heart that it could really work, and knowing deep in my heart that it could never happen again. I had forgotten how difficult the entire process was; how badly the drugs could make you feel, the intensity of emotions, and how frightening it could feel to climb onto an operating table of your own feel will.
After all, this was “voluntary.” When, the pregnancy results came back negative, I was both surprised and not surprised at all. But I just knew I had to continue if I was going to give this a fair shake.
I was very lucky to have been able to produce enough eggs to create embryos for an additional cryopreservation cycle.
I must admit that it was the knowledge of this additional chance at getting pregnant that kept me sane. I would not have to go through the entire process again. This time there would be no injections and drug induced mood swings. I came in for four or five blood tests and scans to monitor my natural cycle, and when my body showed it was ready to ovulate naturally, the embryos were put inside me.
I remember thinking that this could not possibly work. First of all, there was not enough suffering involved. It was simply too easy.
If you have gone through an IVF attempt, you can understand what I mean. The only thing that was the same, was the waiting time.
The waiting was filled with exactly the same anxiety, fantasies (both positive and negative), and premature grieving.
I spent the day of the pregnancy test working busily on an upcoming Fertility Symposium. Back in those days…I was a volunteer…and a full time grade school teacher.
I took the day off from teaching because I was frightened of killing some poor unsuspecting kindergartner. When the call came, bearing a positive pregnancy test, the only thought that kept going through my head, was I had thought I had used up all my miracles.
I guess God had not been counting. At the time, I wasn’t sure if I should share my good news with my infertility comrades…because it is often hard to hear of another’s success…
I could almost hear the “Oh great, she got the last miracle” line. But…I remember at the time…when I shared my experiences with my infertility buddies…that I did so that knowing it can happen, if not the first time maybe the next, and maybe…if I shared…it might give someone else hope.
I really believe my success in family building was not an indicator of someone else’s failure, but of their possible future resolution.
I also believe that everybody has their own personal journey, their own medical profiles and personal beliefs that will guide their own miracle of resolution.
Miracles can come in many packages, we just have to be ready to open them. My miracle belonged to me, and in no way replaces yours. I too can be a slow learner – but God has shown me that there are no last miracles.