Ninety-eight percent of mothers become mothers the old fashioned way: loving partner, maybe a bottle of wine, removal of clothing. The only nod to the locale of this very intimate start is maybe brought up when family learns that their child's unusual name (London, Sydney) is a nod to the city in which conception happened.
As an atypical mother, I forget this. I often sigh and say "Oh, we conceived in Portland. We stayed at the Inn at Northup; I didn't leave the bed for days." Then whoever my audience is, they cringe and blush, as if to say "Ewww, TMI lady. TMI."
I had no fallopian tubes and I was 43. So I relied on the ultimate kindness of a 'stranger,' who donated her eggs and we went to the IVF clinic in Portland, who stirred 'em in a petri dish... and then we waited. An agonizing five days, each day the number of viable embryos being cut in half. It was a nail-biter.
Wanna see my conception pic?
Yeesh! Stop thinking naked thoughts. Remember, there's a small clan of about 2% of us gals who turn to IVF when the rumpy bumpy has failed.
There they are, my babies in their first photo. --->
I've also got a few great pre-conception pictures in my purse.
There's four months of injections. Months!! I had thought you'd do some injections, grab the eggs, throw 'em in the uterus, and voila! Why no. First, we did a 'dress rehearsal' cycle to make sure that all of the hormones would make my body do what it needed to do.
Although I have four of these spreadsheets, this one is the most exciting. You'll see on 2/20 is the day the babies were installed. The doctor advised laying on my back for a full 24 hours after embryo transfer / install, to be certain to not even sit up more than 30 degrees. Being an overachiever, I stayed in bed for three full days, at the darling Inn @ Northup. James waited on me hand and foot. When we drove home that Sunday, we were greeted by the poodles. Charlie, ever the jumper, came bounding up, sniffed me deeply and never jumped on me again.
And then, right there, on 2/29, Leap Day, the nurse called to say that I was likely pregnant and that it was likely there were twins, as my HCG number, at 233, was quite high for having been pregnant for one week. "We'll re-do the bloodwork on Monday, that'll help us see if it is twins."
Yeppir, on Monday 3/3, the nurse called to say that I was solidly pregnant and my HCG, which should have just doubled from 233 to 400somthing, clocked in at 780. "That's almost proof positive that you are pregnant with twins. Come back in two weeks for an ultrasound, and we'll know for sure then."
We continued with injections and received a new med spreadsheet. Two weeks later, the first ultrasound showed two embryos with very strong heartbeats. "Best not to tell anyone, just yet. There's a 50% chance you will lose one of these embryos." Ha! Not bloody likely. They had strong heartbeats. I drove home and called my parents.
And then, from that point forward, my path to motherhood became more "normal" ... the woes of ugly maternity clothes, giant feet, fallen arches, the trickiness of finding a doula, refusing to find out their gender (best thing ever!) and the complexities of pregnancy math (which is still weirdly convoluted even though we know the precise hour the girls were installed).
But from the moment of "I need babies in my life" to the babies actually arriving? Not so "normal." Fantastic. And exciting. And a nail-biter. And, oh!, the endless blessings of the egg donor. I have her photo on my computer desktop, so I say a quiet thank you to her nearly every day.
Sometimes, life seems unnecessarily cruel and random and unkind.
And then, other times ... other times, the kindness and the pure serendipity of people who step into our lives ... it's just breath taking.
Happy mother's day, everyone.