When I saw the caller ID on my phone flash “Blocked” I knew it was from the clinic. Ah yes, my fertilization report, I thought. I looked at the clock: a little before 2pm. Finally!
When she said we had six embryos, I thought my phone must’ve cut out. Surely she meant to say six-teen.
“I’m sorry, say again?” I said into the phone, pressing it harder against my ear.
“You have six embryos,” she said again.
I wonder how many of these calls she’s making today. I wonder what it must be like to make those phone calls of disappointment, to hear the patient choke back a sob on the other end of the phone. I suppose it must be tempered by all the positive result phone calls they have to make, too, answered with shouts of joy or gasps of disbelief.
And now it was my burden to pass on the news to my husband.
. . .
I should be positive.
I should be hopeful.
I should feel gratitude.
I should remember that we only need one…
And yet, just this morning, I posted this on a friend’s blog:
“Abandon the word ‘should’ from your vocabulary.”
I talked to my friend Natalie who gave me the permission I needed to NOT be okay with this right now.
And so I rage. I rail. I tremble. I let this fear consume me. And then I break it down for what it is:
I am afraid that these embryos aren’t enough.
I am afraid they won’t make it to Saturday.
I am afraid this cycle will fail.
But why? Why am I afraid?
Because if my cycle fails, I feel it’s a reflection somehow on me. On everything I’ve worked for, worked through here on this blog. That I’m a failure.
I know that’s not true.
I’m afraid of money being wasted.
Money can always be gained, somehow, and in time. We might not get it all back, but we won’t starve. We won’t foreclose on our house.
And if this cycle doesn’t work, it won’t kill me.
Just wound me.
And I have been wounded many times in my life. I bleed and I ache and I cry and I moan but
I G e t B a c k U P.
. . .
I have the capacity for strength. In this moment, I choose to be weak. To be vulnerable. To be scared and frightened.
I wish my husband could come home from work early just so he can hold me. I long to be held right now.
But let me be clear: I am merely frightened. Not defeated. It’s a fine – and vital – distinction.
. . .
There are six embryos. Six of our embryos.
Any one of them could become our child, our children.
I live in a world, at a time in history where six of my potential children are growing right now, in a petri dish, in a lab just 40 minutes from my house.
How fortunate we are to be alive at this precise moment in time.
. . .
They are just cells. Just cells in a petri dish, dividing and dividing and dividing. Coming into exponential being.
. . .
We were supposed to build our first Saturday, for the start of Sukkot. It’s a little, temporary open-walled hut meant to celebrate both the fall harvest and the wandering of the Jews. For years I’ve dreamed about building my own sukkah with Larry once we finally had a house to call our own. I was really looking forward to raising the Team Zoll sukkah this year.
I suppose G-d had other plans for us, that we should build a different kind of temporary dwelling place instead. One that lasts a bit longer than the ten days of Sukkot. One that lasts for nine months instead.
. . .
. . .
I’ve stopped crying. The world feels back to its normal pace again, instead of this slow-motion near-frozen moment that the last hour has seemed. I have let the fear wash over me.
There’s a hum, a tingle, a buzzing in the pit of my stomach. It is not some delicate butterfly, but like an electric energy instead. I send it out there, 40 minutes from my house to lab where a petri dish with our six embryos resides.