The toughest thing for both Lisa and I when we first started fertility procedures was to actually live in the moments leading up to the big beta test day.
Whether it was seeing whether we had hit the mark with timed GOFI (good old fashioned intercourse) or waiting to see if the egg growing drugs were producing a high enough count of follicles to produce enough targets for my sparse volume of sperm to hit with an IUI, the seconds, minutes and hours leading up to the “are we pregnant” moments early on in the medically assisted baby making process can seem like an eternity.
That tick tock of the clock can become an anvil of stress if every second is spent trying to predict the outcome. I only know, because I thought that anvil was going to split my skull open after our first year of unsuccessful fertility attempts. The help of a therapist who had gone through infertility herself was essential to gaining perspective.
The simple truth is, our brains aren’t equipped to handle the constant flow of stress and anticipation that is inherent in doctor assisted procreation.
We forget to be grateful for what we have, even if at that moment it is not a high beta. You probably just rolled your eyes when you read that. Lisa had the same reaction: I want a friggin’ baby–what the hell am I supposed to be grateful for when my biological clock is booming like a south side low rider rolling through my brain with the bass cranked up on a Saturday nite.
My kneejerk reaction was this: why should I be grateful for this moment when I’m about to shell out $400, whack off into a cup, hand it to a stranger who is going to put the contents into a turkey baster type medical instrument and squirt it into my wife and hope the aim is good enough to hit an egg and get us pregnant?
Once we got past the irritation of being forced to wear a rubber band on our fingers to remind us of what we were grateful for, we actually learned to be present enough to realize how comfortable the chair was we were sitting in, how lucky we were to be walking outside in 65 degree weather during a Tucson, Arizona January, and the warmth of love we still felt when we held hands. The “waiting’ moments suddenly became more bearable.
God willing, you will not join the 5% of fertility population who require multiple IVFs to achieve their parenthood goals as Lisa and I did. I can guarantee you being able to be grateful for life besides infertility and relax your mind before you embark on each IVF journey will be essential to maintaining some semblance of sanity.
Lisa and I have often pondered how many lost opportunities we had to live in those quiet, couplehood moments as fully as we could have when our infertility journey first began. I am thankful we decided to open our minds to using our therapist provided “grateful tool”, because it allowed us to enjoy our couplehood WHILE we were waiting for a baby spirit to enter our lives.
Seeing a movie whenever you want, going out to breakfast for dinner at midnight, driving up to a nearby mountain range on the spur of the moment over the weekend to escape the 100 degree summer heat…all of these are moments I am glad we took the time to enjoy. Those moments refreshed our souls and lifted the weight of infertility stress from our minds just long enough that we were able to recharge and begin every climb up the mountain of hope our journey to a biological child required us to make.