IVF {on being the Mother of Embryos}

About two years ago, I began REGULAR, counseling sessions both with and without David present. Yes, to talk about our marriage (especially at the beginning). Yes, to process the emotional impact of leaving my career to stay at home as a mama. And, yes, most recently, to process the trauma that years of infertility + miscarriages wrought on my heart.

I remember the first infertility procedure I had done in my mid-20s when the doctor left a large metal contraption in my body. Just forgot it. And I laid there in pain … vulnerable.

I remember the months of severe nausea and dizziness caused by meds that didn’t work, but were worth the experiment. I would teach middle school classes, gripping my podium because the room was spinning, and the last thing I needed was a room full of 13-year-olds gaping at their teacher laying on the floor. I collapsed every day when I finally got home.

I remember my hips and belly so bruised from hormone injections that I couldn’t find another patch of skin to inject that wasn’t already aching.

I remember curling up on the floor of the bathroom as I lost one baby…and then another.

I remember feeling broken.

My body remember a lot of things.

And I know I’m not alone in this experience. As a birth doula, I have worked with so many mamas after their infertility journeys. My story is just one of many very, very similar ones.

But I also remember relearning that I was fierce.

I remember holding Abby’s 4-pound self.

I remember fighting to save Micah’s life during birth.

I remember re-falling in love with my husband.

I remember choosing US.

I remember choosing ME.

I remember choosing to love this one wild and precious life that I had been given. {Thank you Mary Oliver for those words.}

I remember re-learning to dance in the kitchen. Letting go of my rules to find the freedom of pizza on Friday nights and cocktails with friends. I found laughter again. I found one wild and precious life worth loving.

I discovered that I could do hard things and that I would survive.

I discovered that I love friends who remind me to dance in the kitchen, pour that cocktail, laugh deeply, and release my fear of brokenness. We are all a bit broken in our own way but that doesn’t mean we can’t laugh longer because of it.

And so it was that I read Glennon Doyle’s “Untamed” book at the beginning of quarantine this Spring, and I wept.

I can feel everything and survive. What I thought would kill me, didn’t. Every time I said to myself: I can’t take this anymore — I was wrong. The truth was that I could and did take it all — and I kept surviving. Surviving again and again made me less afraid of myself, of other people, of life. I learned that I’d never be free from pain but I could be free from the fear of pain, and that was enough. Glennon Doyle, Untamed

I started taking preparation medications last week, and this Friday {June 19th} I begin injections again for another round of IVF.

Not because I’m baby crazy.

But because my heart knows there is another baby that is supposed to be part of my family. And I’m done doubting myself. I’m done being afraid.


I see your fear, and it’s big. I also see your courage, and it’s bigger. We can do hard things. Glennon Doyle, Untamed

It feels odd, really, this time around. I don’t have a driving desire to have another baby. I fairly abhor being pregnant given how sick I often am. My track record during postpartum months is ROUGH. My newborns have never slept much or nursed well. But, maybe…just maybe…life might hold more joy than I’ve allowed for. Maybe…just maybe…”joy is not meant to be a crumb” {Mary Oliver}. Maybe…just maybe…this next babe is the healing I’ve needed. The missing dance partner as Abby and Micah twirl through the kitchen. The additional small head running wild through the neighborhood on Friday nights. Maybe. Just maybe.

I wondered if joy had as much to teach me as pain did. If so, I wanted to know. Glennon Doyle, Untamed

JGust%4gSqu3YystM8uZUgSo I don’t have much more to say other than that. I already don’t feel great physically and emotionally on the first preparation medication, and the injections haven’t even started. Tentatively, the frozen embryo transfer (FET) will take place on July 23rd, and I will be considered pregnant until proven otherwise (PUPO). This time around, I plan on living life as normally as possible each day leading up to July 23rd and then each day following. I’m bringing several bottles of wine on our glamping trip in early July. I’m cooking, cleaning, wiping butts, answering emails, scheduling appointments, stressing over Covid-related school questions for the fall, soaking in the tub, and making more sourdough than my kitchen knows what to do with. I’m laughing with my neighbors that have become like family, and I’m grateful for all the prayers that have been coming my way lately. I honestly feel a little awkward being the center of any sort of attention. But I also know that more women need the freedom to say these things. The freedom to to take a risk on joy. The freedom to imagine something more than what they have experienced in their pasts. So I’m here for that. I’ve also dubbed myself the “Mother of Embryos” because I also need a theme song ;).

In my thirties, I learned that there is a type of pain in life that I want to feel. It’s the inevitable, excruciating, necessary pain of losing beautiful things: trust, dreams, health, animals, relationships, people. This kind of pain is the price of love, the cost of living a brave, openhearted life — and I’ll pay it. There is another kind of pain that comes not from losing beautiful things but from never even trying for them. Glennon Doyle, Untamed

I’m here to try.




2 thoughts on “IVF {on being the Mother of Embryos}

Add yours

  1. ♡♡ great job momma♡♡
    We have traversed this journey ourselves. Lost 4 babes and many years of no children.
    Just had baby 3 ♡ about 10 months ago.
    Keep stepping forward momma. You are doing great

    1. Thank you so much for your support. I am so sorry for this road that you have walked, and yet I am grateful for the empathy we have built, the knowledge we now have, and the passion to encourage other women along the way.

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