The dog knows. It’s seven a.m. and I’m eating oatmeal that’s gone cold. It’s cold because every few seconds I hear a scream/thud/cry from one of the minions upstairs which makes me pause. It’s just a blip in the spoon-to-mouth transfer but long enough to nix the warmth. It’s also hard to eat while someone is eyeing you. She’s got the same look she had when I brought home Jody, my husband, and then Charlie, now four, and then the twins, Cora and Jonas, now two. It’s the look of betrayal. She was first in line for my affection and she’s watched as that affection slides further down the queue. I want to tell her not to worry. I want to tell her nothing is set in stone. I want to tell her in my best mom/teacher voice to wipe that look off her face.
You see, we have an appointment, Jody and I. With the reproductive endocrinologist. With God. With our frozen babies. It’s been over three years since our last visit…so long that I had to fill out new patient forms before going back to the clinic. Weird to be a new patient when we have three frozen embryos on permanent holiday in the freezer bin in the back. I suppose they are the natives and we’re the alien visitors. Hello. We come in peace. And we bring along a happy uterus we hope you will call home.
And the dog knows all this, just by looking at my face. She knows what most of our family does not. That come January, we are headed back to the clinic to “consult” with our reproductive endocrinologist about round four of our frozen embryo transfers. He’s probably going to give me the same look. After three intrauterine inseminations (IUIs), a miscarriage, in vitro fertilization (IVF) that led to hospitalized ovarian hyperstimulation (OHSS), and then transfers which gave us Charlie and then twins, we are going back. We are like Rocky IV, or V, or whatever number they’re on now…we just keep swinging until there’s nothing left to hit. Because that’s the thing. We managed to beat all the odds (the only time) and cultivated nine beautiful embryos. We’ve used four and gotten three kiddos. You do the math. You can see now why we haven’t told family. If the dog won’t approve, imagine the grandmothers.
Traipsing across the infertility desert/jungle/mountain (insert whatever metaphor you like here) comes with a series of hurdles and I don’t mean the shots or the endless appointments or the hopes rising and falling like waves. I’m talking about opinions. Everybody’s got one and everybody’s ready to share. It will all be out of love, but I’m not ready for tongue-clucking and the list of reasons why we should not try again: financial, emotional, physical. We’ve got those bases covered in the prayer department and we’re going to pray through it just like we prayed through Charlie’s cerebral palsy diagnosis and tracheotomy and wheelchair fitting and the twins constant terrorizing of us and each other. That’s all I need right now. Prayer. And for the dog to stop looking at me.
***Edited to add that we are not actually DOING a transfer in January. We are going in for a chat and to gather data and to think on it for a bit. This is a huge decision and we will moved at the necessary pace to feel good about whatever decision we make. Bring on the prayers.