Journey To Motherhood: In Vitro Fertilization


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.

On the day of our adoption home study we got a call from the fertility clinic.  Would we please come in for our follow up appointment already?  We had been putting it off for a while, we knew we couldn’t afford a $15,000 IVF treatment and were already strapped into the adoption coaster.  Still, we went in that same day and sat across from Dr. F. once again.  Those surfboards glistened. I think it was Hawaii.  Unwilling to repeat the tears that day, I was resolved to be emotionally disengaged.  “Research Study,” he said.  That’s nice.  “You qualify.”  Wait. “One round of IVF.  No cost to you.”  There were tears.

The next two months were a sea of hormonal tides, soaring hopes, and depths of fear.  They gave me a calendar. Like, a full calendar with all the dates filled in for me. And a nurse called me everyday. Everyday.  We were BFF’s, her name was Abigail and she was from South Africa.  I got so familiar with the clinic waiting room that I could tell who was a first timer and who was there, like me, for their morning blood tests.  I never read when I was there, I savored those days.  My eyes roamed the faces and I memorized their expressions.  There were sometimes tears, much worry,  some desperation.  And hope.  That light, in some a blazing fire, in others just the embers.

In my heart an ultimate fighting ring was erected.  Arch rivals, Hope and Fear, took turns knocking each other out.  I was in awe of the circumstances I was in, I felt deeply the rare gift of possibility.  Hope would blaze when I imagined what it would be like to grow a person inside of me.  I no longer took that privilege for granted, this basic human rite took on a holy glow.  I vowed that if this thing worked, I would always remember the lengths it took to bring this child into the world and would repay in years of gratitude.

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.


  1. Beautiful article, Christin. Here I am researching In Vitro Fertilization for my sister in law who is about to take the same path and I am very touched by this article. I even took the time forwarding this article to her. God bless you and your family.

  2. Christin, there should be a warning label on your blogs, as this one brought tears to my eyes (again). It made me want to just scoop you up and hug you for having the courage to persevere and bring those precious babies into all of our lives.

  3. Readng this story was like experiencing it all over again. God’s miracle that was presented to you by a fertility doctor that you thought was random but was instead God’s hand in your life. More than that though was reading your heart within this miracle. God is reading it too !

  4. This is beautiful Christin and truly moving. I’ve heard the story before but it never ceases to produce a sense of awe in me. What an amazing blessing your children are!


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