When my husband and I sat down and decided together that we were ready to have a baby, we had no idea what the process would look like. We knew full well after walking alongside several friends through their fertility journeys, that it could go a million different ways. But, cautiously optimistic at the outset; we went for it.
A handful of years and many fertility treatments later (you can read more about our story here) – we are over the moon to be on the other side of these months of strife, because I am finally pregnant, due with our little girl in January. Looking back, I realize that it wasn’t just our effort [though ours was considerable] – it took a village. I’d like to take a moment to share some of my gratitude for the village that got us here today.
To my phlebotomist: You are an actual lifesaver. I’ve been told all my life I have weird/deep/rolling/difficult veins, and any blood draw has caused me infinite stress. In the last few years, I’ve had more than fifty; but you never once made me feel like that. You made it perfectly clear you would do what you had to in order to get what we needed, which on multiple occasions included literally getting on the floor so I could hang my arm down and you could get a good draw. You never said anything trite or horrible to me. You let me cry and swear in your chair when I was tired from being in said chair every morning for weeks on end, and my veins were tired and difficult. For every hug and kind word and for making me laugh and for being a true bright spot in an otherwise unpleasant experience – thank you, thank you, thank you.
To my acupuncturist: I was never a big believer in acupuncture, but when your fertility doc tells you it’s a good idea to get on board, you get on board. I am so lucky I found you. You listened to me from our first meeting and every meeting after with empathy and care and individualized attention I did not expect. You validated every annoying side effect of every annoying medication I took – and better yet, you knew how to address it! Yes, Lupron does cause headaches! Mmhmm, progesterone does back you up! And we can work on that today. You have created a space in the Denver Tech Center where I can walk in with all kinds of things going on, and leave each time physically and emotionally refreshed. Pregnant or not, you’re stuck with me for the duration!
To my nurse: For those of you personally unfamiliar with fertility treatment, your nurse is your lifeline to the whole place (doctors, scheduling staff, you name it). And mine (the last one, anyway) was the best of the best. You let me swear, cry (noticing a theme?), vent, and yell. You listened to me, advocated for me (to my doctors, scheduling staff, you name it…), and made crap happen when it needed to. You answered my emails even when I sent LISTS of questions around midnight because I couldn’t sleep. You took my calls, answered my bazillion questions, and let me drop trou in your office to draw circles on my rear so I knew where to do shots back there. You even promised not to leave until I was pregnant, which I’m sure was only because it was what I needed to hear that day. You made all the difference to me.
To my therapist: I’m honestly not sure I would have survived the last couple of years if I hadn’t found you. You gave me a place where, every 2 weeks (or so), I could come with ALL OF IT. All my feelings, all my anger, all the sad, and bittersweet, all the hope and fear and anxiety. [And believe me when I say – it was a lot]. I am fortunate to have found a therapist who specializes in fertility and already knew about what I was going through without necessitating that I explain each and every medical detail. There were a lot of medical details, and not having to waste my time explaining that to you was huge. You validated my feelings and heard me and normalized my experience without ever making me feel crazy or ungrateful. You have never spoken a judgmental word to me, never placated me, never thrown platitudes at my genuine grief. You’re wonderful and I got to enter pregnancy in a mentally healthy space, regardless of the fear I was feeling, thanks to your help.
To my people who get it: Goodness, what a gift I have found it to be to sit across from/down the phone line/in an endless text back-and-forth with a pal who knows the struggle to conceive, the grief of infertility, the work that it can necessitate in your life! I have been so fortunate to get to walk alongside some of the bada@$$iest mamas I’ve ever met during this time, and have built friendships I know will last us a long while after. We have supported each other, cried together about another negative test, laughed about some of the ridiculous spots we have found ourselves in throughout this process. I can’t thank you enough for trusting me with your stories, your losses, your struggle; and for being trustworthy with mine in return. I will never forget how bearable you made these years.
To my people who don’t get it but showed up anyway: *Starts a slow clap, let’s it go way too long.* THANK YOU. Thank you to my steadfast and true crew of amazing human beings who sent me care packages, cards, texts, calls, celebrated my birthdays, talked about it, didn’t talk about it, asked about it, and respected when I didn’t want you to. It takes a special kind of someone to show up when it’s not something you know firsthand; thank you for your patience, and your prayer, and all of the ways in which you have SHOWED UP. Of course, every one of you has celebrated our eventual good news with the fervor and joy it deserved – but I may never get over how you showed up for the hard parts, too. You maintained hope when it was hard for me. You’re the best of the best.
And probably not lastly, but certainly most importantly:
To my husband: You have been a complete, A+, champion husband throughout this whole experience. When that one medication made me cry ALL. THE. TIME, you brought me tissues until it was over. When they switched one of my nightly shots into my deltoid (which I couldn’t reach), you showed up in the bathroom every evening to shoot me up. When the circles that the nurses drew on my behind so I could see where to stick the needles wore off, you dutifully re-drew them (and only occasionally drew pictures). You took me to appointments and were sitting by my side when I woke up from anesthesia both times. You stuck through every minute of the unromantic, the good (ha), bad and ugly of the whole process. You will forever be the one witness to every single part of the last three years – the only one who will look at our baby knowing full well all it took to bring her here. You are my hero, and I’m so glad to have you as my partner.
There’s a lot to sort through in the aftermath of these last years – but it seemed only fitting to begin with gratitude. Because it sure did take a village. And I had a great one by my side.