With all the things that could go wrong in a body, it’s a real wonder that babies are born everyday. Think about the journey a sperm takes on its way to an egg. It’s survival of the fittest, a microscopic episode of Survivor. I never used to think that way. Like many women, I assumed my reproductive history would write itself in the usual have-sex-get-pregnant sort of way. When I think of the seven years I spent “preventing” pregnancy, I blush. I am just a child, I look up and realize I haven’t been driving the car at all. I don’t know the way and my feet do not reach the pedals.
I shared a bit in an earlier post about our dreams of adoption, this is something we had settled on early. We tried for over a year to conceive, then put the adoption process into motion. During that time we were also undergoing some fertility testing, mainly just to rule anything serious out. We knew it sometimes took a long time to conceive and were willing to take our time. After many tests we had a hard meeting with our doctor. “You could consider adoption,” he said. “Or in vitro fertilization. Those are your only options.” I’m not easily shaken, but sitting in his office that day with an infertility diagnosis, my heart trembled and I kicked at the pedals in panic. I thought I was driving. I stared at the photos of his twin boys on the shelf. I still remember them, they were holding surfboards.
We grieved. You may think that since we were so enthusiastic about adopting that it would hurt less, but I’m not sure. I sincerely believed at the time that I did not care who’s body the child came from, it was all the same to me. In a way I still feel that way, but at the time I grieved for the loss of the opportunity to take part in one of the greatest miracles we can experience.
Hope took many blows. When we learned of our infertility my heart raced towards devastation. It was an act of divine will and faith that pulled me up short at deep disappointment. I feared that I wouldn’t have the strength to keep devastation from consuming me if it didn’t work. I wondered if I had the courage of belief to accept both gift and theft from the same hand. I was afraid to lose on all sides, empty handed and empty hearted, afraid to experience something I didn’t understand.
When I look at my children, conceived in a petri dish less than two years apart, I have no words. I spend a lot of time just looking at them, noticing. They both look just like me, that’s what people say. To me they look like dear little strangers. I watch their faces, not wanting to miss a single expression that might tell me who they are and will become. I hang on every word and crave the sound of their voices, I am a student of the words from their mouths. I am humbled by their little lives, I will tell them in some way everyday that they are a product of hope, deeply wanted. One day we will go to Hawaii and I will take a picture of them on the beach holding surfboards.