Letting Go – A Wish and a Miracle
Life is crazy! Sometimes it throws in a twist so ironic that you can’t help but laugh, shake your head, and hold on for the ride.
My husband and I have struggled with infertility for more than 8 years. It was a roller coaster of doctors, injections, surgeries, emotional meltdowns, and years of hoping, praying, and waiting with no result. After trying everything, plus one failed attempt at IVF, we tried IVF a second time at the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine. It worked! After six years of trying to have a baby, I gave birth to our son Hayden in October of 2013.
He is now a happy, healthy two-year-old and I am now just a regular, happy, neurotic mother of a two-year-old. There is something about infertility that makes you think that if your wish for a baby ever does come true that you will be so grateful and none of the normal motherhood woes will ever enter your mind. That is not the case…at least not for me. Motherhood can be hard. It is a blessing and a gift, but even though you wanted it so badly there are moments after you get it that you wonder what you were thinking. It is also interesting that after all the struggle and emotional turmoil of infertility, once you have that baby a lot of those memories and feelings of despair just disappear.
When Hayden was about a year-and-a-half we still had one embryo left at CCRM and decided we were ready to try for a second child. My husband, Tim, and I have always wanted two children, so we decided to go through IVF in Denver again. Everything went smoothly, including my mother flying in from Canada to help with Hayden while I was on bedrest, and in March we found out we were pregnant. I was incredibly nervous and anxious about the pregnancy and would analyze and agonize over every test and number. Things seemed to be going along well, until they weren’t. We had an ultrasound appointment when I was 10+ weeks along and they couldn’t find a heartbeat. No more baby, no more pregnancy, no more second child.
It was devastating. We decided to take the summer to think about things. Were we prepared to start the IVF process all over again from the very beginning? Could we handle it emotionally, physically, financially? As the summer went on I talked about it and saw a counselor about it. I thought about how blessed our lives were with a happy marriage, a happy, healthy son, and a career that I loved and was eager to find more time to focus on. Life was good. We were good. On a weekend trip to San Francisco to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary (our first trip away from Hayden) we decided we were done trying. We would be happy and grateful for what we had and now we could move on to the next chapter of life.
Days after we got home we were preparing to have some friends over for dinner. Hayden was refusing to nap and after I tried to put him down for the 4th time, I slumped to the floor outside his room exhausted. I was so tired I could barely move…was this what it was like to be 38 with a two-year-old? If so, I was screwed! My mind flashed to earlier that morning when I had sneezed and got a shooting pain in my abdomen. I was late too; I was supposed to start my cycle on our last day in San Francisco, but it had only been a few months since the miscarriage, so it could be off…right?
I called Tim who was at the grocery store. “How would you feel about buying a couple pregnancy tests?” I asked, along with the beer and wine he was buying for our dinner party. He got the test, and 20 minutes before our guests arrived, I found out that after 8 years of infertility with only 1 remaining fallopian tube and 4 days after officially deciding we would not be having any more children, I was pregnant.
I am still pregnant and due to have a baby girl in late May. How can this be? Why now? What crazy timing? It took me a little while to wrap my head around it. After months of convincing myself that one child was good, maybe even better, we could get on with life, we could travel more easily, I could focus on my artwork again, I was sleeping again! I am now excited we got pregnant, still a little nervous, but excited. Our wish for one child came true and now a miracle is giving us what we’ve always wanted, two children. Somehow we will figure it all out, there will be challenges I know, but it seems it was meant to be.
Dealing with infertility is so difficult, and I feel deeply for all those who are going through it. There is so much pressure to think positively, to not stress about it so much, to let it go, which is absolutely impossible to do in the midst of it. But there must be something to letting it go, to truly finding peace with whatever happens, and finding happiness in what you have. Shortly after finding out I was pregnant we were watching the 1996 movie Swingers and I was struck by the scene where the main character Mike is getting advice from his friend Rob about how he has to actually forget about his ex-girlfriend before she will want him back:
Mike: Okay, so what if I don’t want to give up on her?
Rob: You don’t call.
Mike: But you said I don’t call if I wanted to give up on her.
Mike: So I don’t call either way?
Mike: So what’s the difference?
Rob: There is no difference right now. See, Mike, the only difference between giving up and not giving up is if you take her back when she wants to come back. But you can’t do anything to make her want to come back. In fact, you can only do stuff to make her not want to come back.
Mike: So the only difference is if I forget about her or just pretend to forget about her?
Mike: Well that sucks.
Rob: Yeah, it sucks.
Mike: So it’s just like a retroactive decision, then? I mean I could, like, forget about her and then when she comes back make like I just pretended to forget about her?
Rob: Right. Although probably more likely the opposite.
Mike: What do you mean?
Rob: I mean at first you’re going to pretend to forget about her, you’ll not call her, I don’t know, whatever… but then eventually, you really will forget about her.
Mike: Well what if she comes back first?
Rob: Mmmm… see, that’s the thing, is somehow they know not to come back until you really forget.
Mike: There’s the rub.
Rob: There’s the rub.
And of course, once Mike finds another girl he really likes who’s also interested in him, his ex-girlfriend calls. This is not the first story you’ve heard about this, so there really must be something about letting go, about truly being at peace with not getting what you thought you wanted that then tells the universe to give it to you? These are the things that make you smile, shake your head, and hold on for the ride. It can take a long time to get there, but once you decide to let go you can find peace with any result.