I forgot about the phone call, almost. Amidst caring for my twins with stuffy noses begging for my attention, reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear one more time, and running out of Boogie Wipes I had pushed the memory so far back it was almost lost. A post by one of my favorite bloggers about her battle with infertility popped up on my newsfeed and it took me back. As I tried to catch my breath while both babies drifted off to sleep, I thought about the call.
I had just stuffed my mouth with a handful of M&Ms. It would have to help me survive the next few hours with my students before lunch. I could already hear them shuffling in the hallway. I had all of three minutes or so to spare. I could have let them back in the classroom early, but I wanted to cherish those three minutes. I glanced at my phone to see my husband was calling. I answered just as the call went to voicemail. He never called unless it was urgent. I panicked as I hurried to call him back. I felt my blood pressure rising. I could no longer hear the students clamoring in the hallway.
“They got my results back. I have nothing.”
“What do you mean nothing? The counts aren’t enough? We can…”
“No, I mean they found zero. Nothing.”
“Maybe they need another sample. Are you sure they…”
He had to go back to work and I had to wrangle 22 seven- and eight-year-olds. I gave my students drop-everything-and-read time as I tried to ignore the knot in my stomach. I consulted Dr. Google. There was a surgery they could do. It meant IVF. It meant high costs and low odds. It meant more waiting.
The IVF Waiting Game
The wait for our miracles morphed into three years and hundreds of needles, monitoring appointments, a surgery, procedures, negative pregnancy tests, and finally one positive test. We spent what seems like years in waiting and exam rooms, staring at the posters of perfectly posed newborns decorating the walls, trying our best to make jokes and enjoy the time together. Waiting also involved helping other couples with struggling marriages, last minute trips to try new restaurants, days spent lounging in bed snuggling, a trip to San Diego, late nights at the drive-in, cooking classes, and many small moments of hope and joy in between.
The Waiting is Never Really Over
When our twins were born, I thought the waiting was finally over. In a lot of ways it’s just begun. It’s a new kind of waiting. There are times it feels like all I do is wait. In the first few weeks I waited for my milk to come in, for our daughter to be over colic, to shower for longer than two minutes. Now, I wait with anticipation for all the firsts…the first tooth, the first steps, their first time trying new foods, the day they will finally hold their own bottles and sleep through the night. We wait with a combination of fear and relief for our daughter’s cleft palate surgery…for less stressful feedings, for the day she will drink from a sippy cup or straw along with her twin brother.
Waiting IS Life
One of my mentors and best friends gave me some of the best advice about waiting while I was pregnant. I was entering my 3rd trimester. Everything hurt. I had not slept well for weeks. I had cankles like anchors around my feet. Those babies needed to hurry up. I wanted them to grow strong and healthy, but I was more than ready to meet them. My friend laughed when I rattled off a list of reasons I needed to give birth immediately. She told me waiting is a part of life. It is life. “As soon as those babies are out of diapers, you’ll wait for them to potty train. Then they begin school. Before you know it they’re teenagers with an attitude. Enjoy these last few weeks.”
When others gave the whole “enjoy it before it’s over” bit, I hated it. Coming from her I knew she was right. I will never be perfect at waiting, but I can work on embracing it.
There’s Beauty in Waiting
As I wait for my son to hurry and finish his bedtime bottle, I hold him close. I know there will be a day when our nightly routine comes to an end. As much as I dread waiting for him to fall asleep most nights, I know I will miss this time with him someday. When both babies fuss for my attention, I awkwardly bunch them together in my lap. I tell them “nice hands” when they begin to tug at each other’s hair. I know someday they will be too tall and too big to both fit in my lap.
Most days I am still not great at waiting. I’m impatient and frustrated and just plain tired, but I’m beginning to see the beauty in waiting well. This weekend I almost missed an opportunity as I waited for my husband to finish changing our son. I stood outside the mall restrooms with our daughter, bouncing and teasing her, hoping and praying I could prevent a meltdown. As I grabbed a burp cloth to wipe her face, I noticed her eyes fixed on something. I looked over to see a grandfather holding his teary eyed little granddaughter. Then I witnessed the tears stop as my daughter smiled and cooed at her. Sadly, there are many times I would have ignored the situation or tried to hurry on my way. This time I took my daughter’s lead and helped her wave “hi”. The little girl’s pout turned into a smile. I wonder how many of these small, sweet moments I’ve missed simply because I couldn’t wait.
Latest posts by Melissa Titus (see all)
- Still Waiting… (Part 3 of 3 in the “A Day in the Life of an IVF Patient’ series) - May 19, 2017
- A Day in the Life of an IVF Patient Part 2: Transfer Day and the TWW - December 31, 2016
- A Day in the Life of an IVF Patient - November 17, 2016