|it's not this hard for the hens|
In fact, I'm a little (or a lot) embarrassed to admit, when the embryologist (aka our world-class babysitter) called on Saturday morning and said, "all of your embryos are looking beautiful," I actually got choked up and had tears well up.* It was minuscule glimpse into the heartwarming joy new parents must feel when strangers tell them that their baby is beautiful, no matter how bold of a lie it may be. (Although, since it was coming from our embryologist, she was likely pretty genuine in sharing her feelings about those 8 celled little beauties.)
|an 8-cell embryo (what ours looked|
like on saturday) - only 6 cells are
visible on the plane shown
As stressful as the last sixteen months have been, as unfair as life has seemed, and as uncomfortable as I have been in all facets of life - physically, emotionally, and socially - it's quite possible that we are finally starting to be able to make sense of what reason(s) this all could have happened for. I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, no matter how twisted or heartbreaking the sequence of events is. This has, without a doubt, tested that belief (and then some).
While I spent much of our first year of marriage wondering what on earth could possibly be god's (or anyone's) reason for the journey we have been on, these last couple of months (which up until mid-July were mostly free of doctors and the-worst-kind-of-ultrasounds for the first time in a year), we had a chance to gather our wits, gain some perspective, and take ourselves out of the whirlwind for a hot second and breathe (or more appropriate, perhaps, chill like villains in the eye of the storm). Whatever you want to blame it on, we both feel older and wiser, in a good way, and although it's tough to forgive the heartbreak of losing a life-to-be and having to traverse the rocky and steep climb of trying to bring a miniature Boven-Betz into the world, we have definitely gained a ton and learned so much about ourselves, our relationship, and our loved ones through this Indiana Jones-style adventure. (I don't think that is actually an accurate descriptor, but it sounded fiery and fierce, which does feel apropos.)
The light is certainly getting closer and brighter at the end of the tunnel as we try to find our way out, and figure out the reason. And, perhaps, maybe there's lots of reasons.
For one, we've learned that the toughest times makes us love each other even more than we thought possible, and our marriage as tightly bound as the best of 'em.
I've learned that I am resilient, and if I need to be, a pretty tough bitch.
I've developed a deep understanding and empathy for not just people struggling with infertility, but for anyone who battles an illness or suffers from heartbreak that is invisible to the eye. There was a whole world of people (1 in 10 women) that I was only subtly aware were going through such painful grief and loss. Not only do I have an intense respect for these fellow ladies (and their partners, friends, and family), but I have hopefully succeeded in increasing familiarity and understanding of this diagnosis, and all the grief that comes with it, with an even larger group of people.
And, at the risk of being repetitive, I've learned about how much I value kindness, love, and empathy in my friends and family - and been blown away by the capacity which which our friends and family have shared those things with us. I have a new appreciation for what it means to be a selfless, thoughtful, and caring person, and friend. As we sat surrounded by many of our friends last night (and, as weird as this may sound, actually champagne toasted the eggs - because our Denver family is that amazing), I sometimes can't believe how lucky we are to have such awesome people in our lives. While I have always had an enormous amount of gratitude for the few close friends I have kept in my life, going through the past year and half and having our friends and family stick so close - even through new and uncomfortable experiences, lots of welcome questions, and often many gross/weird answers (they have to do what to you?) - has taught me a whole new (and even more meaningful and mature) understanding of what I have to be thankful for.
If I can come out on the other side of this a more empathetic, forgiving, open, grateful, and loving person, that's certainly a meaningful reason. I'll take it. It still doesn't make the whole thing make sense or seem less unfair, but it's something.
*For context, I also just started sobbing uncontrollably during Mulan, rudely interrupting my bang-up sing-a-long to I'll Make a Man Out of You, at a moment I have never felt inclined to get emotional about in my previous 10 to 15 viewings of the movie. Thanks hormones. Thanks.