This time of year my thoughts are always drawn to the dark and chilly night I stood in our kitchen with vials and syringes laid out in front of me on the counter. I remember trying to calm myself down, (while hubs – terrified of needles paced around, avoiding eye contact with me and the medical implements) as the hope and the dread battled it out in my chest.
It was Valentine’s Day. The day we started injections for our first IVF cycle. We’d already been trying for a very long time and for me anyway, this felt like the only hope. My only hope of becoming a mom. Due to age and timing, the likelihood of being accepted for international adoption was almost nil and the process for private domestic adoption seemed even more daunting.
So there we were. At the time, what I felt I was laying on the line seemed huge. The time, the money, the injections – and for what? There were no guarantees. And yet…and yet…there I was, standing in my underpants in my kitchen, jabbing myself in my belly. That day, the hope won. And the day after that. And the day after that.
If anyone tells you IVF is gonna be an easy ride to a baby, they are crazy. It’s a tough slog. But for me, it was one that was oh so worth it. It’s amazing how short that time feels now and how loooonnnnggg it felt while I was doing it (each time I was doing it.) We were very, very lucky to be successful our first attempt and now have our beautiful boy. Subsequent attempts to grow our family didn’t go as well and after 2 more cycles, both miscarriages, we agreed to try one more ‘last ditch attempt’ and from that we brought home our ‘against all odds’ baby.
It’s been almost 2 years now since our last trip through the fertility treatment ringer – just enough time to be able to look at the experience through a slightly longer lens. Back then, I was so angry that other people had it so easy…that women around me seemed to be getting pregnant simply by gazing into their partners’ eyes…that I had to go to hell and back – why me??? And they were. And I did. And it really was hard.
But then it wasn’t. And in the end, I got what they had. Sure my pockets were lighter and my belly was bruised and my feelings would never be the same. But my baby was just as cute (or cuter) the first time. And just as cute (after she put a little meat on) the second time. And I love them.
I have learned that while becoming a parent was hard, being a parent is harder. The sleeplessness and the worry and the absolute lack of alone time unless you offer to go grocery shopping then sit in your car in the parking lot are hard.
I’ve also learned that, in parenting, like in the fight to have a baby, there are also no guarantees. Some kids don’t sleep…ever and some don’t eat anything but toast, and some are soooooo whiinnnnneeeyyy. And some have special needs and some talk in a high pitched voice ALL THE TIME and some are too reckless and some are too shy and some grow up and don’t call enough and some grow up and won’t leave the house and, and, and.
I have learned that all the things that make it hard are as much a part of being a mom as the parts that are so EASY – the baby snuggles and the goodnight kisses and the sweet tender moments and the proud moments and the silence after bedtime and the beaming light of the little face that runs to greet you at the door.
Some things worth having don’t come easily. It’s true. Even then, standing in that kitchen, I knew that was the case. What I didn’t know – and, in the thick of it would never have believed – was the day would come when the things worth having would matter so very much more than the getting them ever did.