If infertility has taught me anything, it’s that I am not in control. Of anything. Ever. And just when I start to think I am in control, I get knocked back to down to size.
This is one of those stories.
My husband and I had been talking about maybe, sort of, possibly, looking into trying for a second baby. Our embryo storage bill was looming in the next few months, serving as a big, expensive reminder that our future babies were there, just waiting for us.
“I’m just not ready,” I kept thinking.
“But it’s time,” a voice in my head kept responding.
I argued endlessly with that voice. This is crazy! Our son is a madman. He’s tearing our house (and our spirits) to pieces with his ever-increasing toddlerness. Financially, we’re just barely getting by. How would we even afford the transfer itself, let alone the costs of an actual pregnancy and a baby?
But somewhere deep inside, that voice kept chiming in: “it’s time.”
So after a month or so of fighting it, I gave in, and we started the Frozen Embryo Transfer process. It’s pretty simple: a couple weeks of estrogen pills to prime your lining, a sonogram to make sure it’s all ready to go, a few days of progesterone to trick your body into thinking it’s doing this on its own (sucker), and it’s go time! They just shoot that frosty little embaby up in your uterus, and hope it nuzzles in tight.
After a couple weeks of taking my estrogen pills faithfully, I went in for the lining check and… it wasn’t ready. It just needs more time, they said. So I did a few more days of estrogen, and in the meantime, came down with a nasty respiratory infection and bronchitis. At the next sonogram, my lining still wasn’t great, and combined with the bronchitis, my doctor decided to call it—the combination of the two factors was enough for her to not want to risk it.
In that moment, I felt relief. I was so sick, the mere thought of a needy newborn being placed in my body was overwhelming, let alone my underlying feelings of not really being ready.
But again, that annoying voice piped up. Only this time, it was more urgent: “you’re running out of time.”
I pushed it away. “I’m only 30 for God’s sake, I’m not running out of anything!”
But it persisted. I couldn’t shake the feeling of needing to speed this whole thing up. After a few days, I requested to be put on a pill to induce my period so we could start again as soon as possible.
The next cycle, we tried again with a different protocol—estrogen patches, instead of pills. This time, everything looked great from the get-go, and three weeks later, we were transferring one beautiful little hatching embryo.
To be perfectly honest, I was riddled with anxiety over both possible outcomes.
What if it doesn’t work? I’ve had tons of failed pregnancy attempts, but never a failed embryo transfer. I’ve seen this embryo. Seen it grow in just the span of a few hours, from the time they defrosted it to the time they popped it in the ol’ oven. What would losing that feel like?
But what if it does work? Can I actually handle being pregnant, and caring for a one-and-a-half year old who never sits still, and working? Daunting, to say the least.
10 days later, it was test day. The blood work came back: POSITIVE!
But, ever the pessimist, I refused to accept that it could possibly work that easily. I wouldn’t get excited or really believe it until the second blood draw, 48 hours later, confirmed the numbers were increasing how they should be.
So, two days later, sitting at my desk at work, I got the call from the nurse: “Congratulations, everything looks perfect. You’re really pregnant!”
Holy cow! It really worked. That was so easy. Maybe God is cutting me some slack for all the time and pain and suffering that went into getting pregnant the first time. Why was I feeling so rushed? That took no time at all! I must’ve been totally imagining that crazy voice.
But if you think that’s where this story ends, you’re wrong.
I breathed a big sigh of relief, and went on with my work day, trying my best to act normal.
Until about an hour later, when I saw an email pop into my inbox… from my boss. The BIG boss.
“Can you meet me at HR?”
Everyone knows there’s only one reason for an email like that, and this was no exception. I was being laid off. Effective immediately.
I couldn’t even process all the emotions going through my mind, but I was doing a pretty good job of holding it together. I didn’t cry (much) when my boss and mentor of 8 years told me there was no longer a place for me at the company that had been my second home. I didn’t cry when my friends at the office (who were clueless to the situation) yelled, “see ya tomorrow!” as I hurried out the door. I didn’t cry on the 45 minute train ride home while recounting it all to my husband, who was out of town at the time.
But then I got to my car in the parking lot at the train station, and saw it. A literal chink in the armor I’d built to protect myself: a giant crack in my windshield.
That was it. I couldn’t hold it in anymore. I melted into the hood of my car in a puddle of tears, and wailed. I think I may have even shouted out loud, “WHAT IS HAPPENING!!!”
A moment later, I became acutely aware of the 20-30 unsuspecting strangers also getting in their cars, and quickly fumbled inside and called my husband.
Through my sobs, I choked out, “I just never saw this coming.”
“But God did,” he said calmly.
I didn’t understand what he meant. Of course God knew; I got that this was His plan for me, but I couldn’t grasp WHY. Why would He want a pregnant woman to be unemployed? Why would He build me up just to break me down?
But, always my rock, my husband explained for me. “We keep saying this pregnancy was so easy, too good to be true. This is why. If it hadn’t been easy, if it hadn’t worked this time, we wouldn’t have been able to try again.”
And it all clicked. The voice. The timing. Everything.
See, there’s no way we could have afforded an embryo transfer without my income, and even if I found a new job quickly, I wouldn’t have wanted to voluntarily get pregnant in the first year with a new company.
And so, I took a deep breath. (And then let my newfound pregnancy hormones take over, cried a few more buckets of tears, and wallowed for a few days.)
But now? Two months later, I’m 12 weeks pregnant with this growing little peanut baby, and I got to spend the majority of my first trimester—which was filled with all-day morning sickness, exhaustion, insomnia, and overall brain-fog—at HOME, instead of in an office and on public transportation. I just started a brand new job, at an awesome, female-led company, and I know I’ve landed where I’m supposed to be in this moment.
Hindsight is 20/20, as always, but I’m yet again reminded how perfect God’s plan is, and to just. let. go.
(Easier said than done. 😉)