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I've been wanting to write about this essay by Holly Finn since I read it last week. Much of it describes my own experiences and emotions so accurately that reading it was like looking in the mirror.
The author and I are the same age, both started fertility treatments in the fall of 2008, have suffered through the same number of hormone injections, spent roughly the same amount of time on our backs with strangers poking around in our lady parts, and even have similar hairstyles.
Neither of us has a baby.
"When we were young, we were taught again and again that we shouldn't get pregnant. Now we can't."
We both came of age in the 80's, our generation the little sisters of the sexual revolution. I'd bet good money that, like me, she read Judy Blume's Forever at a young age and learned how to talk openly about sex and birth control and the funny names boys give to their penises. We were comfortable with our sexuality. Getting pregnant was an unfortunate side effect, but one we were prepared to prevent.
We both spent our twenties drinking wine, smoking cigarettes, having adventures and loving the wrong men. We both thought we'd have plenty of time to have children...later. We trusted that it would happen when the time was right. We took our fertility for granted.
We both have the urge to grab women like us in their late 20s and early 30s and admonish them to start procreating before it's too late. I actually did this to a co-worker once, shaking my finger at her like a crazy old hag with an ominous threat, "you don't want to end up like me!"
We're both running out of options and running out of time and so afraid of the irrevocable "never" - never having children - that we will spend vast amounts of money, time and energy to stave it off.
We both believe in soul mates. But while mine walks beside me, she is taking this journey alone.
Her bravery and determination humbles me. I stand in awe of her and the other amazing women I've met online who are doing IVF solo. I have so much admiration and respect for these warriors because I know I could not have taken even the first step down this path on my own.
I have no doubt that without the rare confluence of fate, luck, and meddling schoolteachers that brought Mr. Wren into my life nine years ago, I would be single today. Would I still be wanting a baby as much as I do now? Absolutely. Would I have the fortitude to pursue IVF as a single woman? Absolutely not.
My fertile friends look at all I've been through in the past 3 years and marvel at my strength, my ability to rebound from all the setbacks and disappointments and perservere. Yes, I'm stubborn and I act real tough, but when it comes to this, the strength they see is only half my own.
"IVF brings you to your knees and dares you to stagger to your feet again."
I cannot imagine battling infertility without Mr. Wren by my side, lending support as I stagger to my feet again and again. He is my rock. He's my hero. He wields hypodermic needles with precision and ease, holds my hand through every ultrasound, suffers the slings and arrows of my outrageous hormonally-induced tantrums and still goes to the grocery store at midnight to get a stick of butter when I desperately need to make devil's food cupcakes. At midnight.
During every IVF cycle, as the tension and anticipation skyrocket along with my hormone levels, Mr. Wren looks me in the eye and says, "remember, no matter what happens, we love each other." He has no idea how reassuring this is or how much it helps to keep me grounded. How much I love him.
It's easy, when you want something so badly, to lose sight of what you already have. I ache for Mr. Wren to be the wonderful father I know he will be, but I can't lose sight of the fact that he is and always will be a wonderful husband. And whether or not we ever have a child, he'll make sure I always have cupcakes. At any time of day.
I'm a lucky bird.