My parents are visiting this weekend. A welcome distraction from the tww. They are not only easy guests, but helpful ones, too. My mom never hesitates to do dishes or laundry, and even offered today to do our grocery shopping. She has taught me how to anticipate people’s needs before they ask for any help. My parents also were sure to teach me the value of work, even when it was difficult or unpleasant. It wasn’t until I got older that I truly saw the sacrifices they made for each other and for me.
Tonight at dinner, my parents ordered a big plate of oysters for the table while my husband and I parked the car. They didn’t realize that raw seafood was on my no-no list right now. Raw oysters are one of my favorite treats. I was disappointed and considered for a moment that nothing would happen if I had one, but then replaced that thought with the idea that it wasn’t worth the risk. I watched enviously as everyone feasted on the oysters and cocktail sauce, however I did not feel I was suffering. What I was thinking about, though, was every time I have passed something up because maybe I am pregnant. I have been trying to get pregnant now for about 75 months. (Just typing that out, I have to pause and look at it for a moment.) And the truth is that I have been actively trying “not to ruin it” since before I knew there was a problem.
Beyond the things I’ve turned down, during dinner I thought about all the plans I’ve put on hold or rearranged. Jobs I kept for too long because I thought I would get pregnant soon and then give my notice. Parties or occasions I’ve missed from IVF procedures or times I’ve had to leave early to get a shot. Last IVF, I found out my embryo transfer was going to be the same day as my godson’s baptism. I prayed so hard the night before that I wouldn’t miss this event. I knew that if that IVF didn’t work, it would be the worst thing I had ever missed, and I would never stop feeling sad about it. (And I did get to see my godson get baptized, a memory I hold dear.)
Sometimes when I’m going through a difficult part of IVF I think about my future child so that I can remember why I am doing this. Then sometimes I pray that if this all results in a child one day, I will forget all these things I did. It seems like holding onto the things I’ve done in order to help create him or her would not be good for our relationship.
Or maybe it’s just how I hold onto them that will be important. Will I hold onto the memories with bitterness and resentment when he is caught sneaking in the house after midnight? I hope not. I hope I can hold on with gratitude for the opportunity to serve someone who I haven’t even met yet.
In Christian circles we often talk about God knowing us in the womb, before we were born. I have considered this notion a lot lately. I feel like I have spent at least 75 months, if not more, trying to get acquainted with my future child. I have worked for this child. Prepared for it. Sacrificed for it. I have loved it. Now I just want to hold it.