Just today MTV's 'True Life' released an episode called, "I'm Desperate to Have a Baby".
Many people in my 'TTC Community' loved it and I read their praises on it before finally snuggling up with Walter on the couch and watching it.
There were parts that had me tearing up and remembering our struggle and there were parts that tugged on my heart and brought me to a place I had forgotten pieces of. As much as I want to say I'll NEVER forget the road I had to take to get Sullivan I know I can't say that this is 100% true. We forget. Sometimes, we even choose to forget a piece of our journey.
Seeing the familiar needles and tests, and hearing the dreaded phone calls stung. It will always and forever be the path that we took to get our child, and it will forever be a part of our history as a family (it may also be a part of our future, who knows!).
Throughout the episode we follow two women and their husbands. One going through her first round of IVF (we'll call her Lady A because I forget the names and am too lazy to look them up), and the other giving her sixth try at IVF/FET (Lady B). If you've ever seen the show before, you know the format is to bounce back and forth between the stories and show the different perspectives. Lady A responded beautifully, with 16 eggs retrieved, 8 of them fertilizing, and the embryos appearing BEAUTIFUL (as the nurses said over and over). Throughout the show she struggled with worry and so much more, as IVF often forces us to become balls of emotion and chaos. Then, the show would cut to Lady B, slowly (and so SO gracefully) preparing for her SIXTH TRY! Lady B and her husband were so desperate for a child, and in just a few moments you were begging for the best for them. Their hearts were beautiful, and so much of their journey hit home.
I believe if this show showed anything, it can show the difference adversity can make in our lives. Both of these women were sweet and kind women in all appearances, but you could definitely see the difference between them. As Lady A teared up and worried, Lady B would smile through the bruises that covered her stomach. Lady B's stomach was a heart-wrenching (and too familiar) site, but her smile radiating was more captivating. It's only an assumption, but I just have a feeling this woman has spent so much time on her knees in prayer. She carried herself with a maturity that only comes after being sent through the ringer. She rose, tattered and torn, and just kept fighting for her dream.
Lady A was beautiful, and you can tell she had such a strong and beautiful desire to be a mother. Her and her husband stumbled through the IVF process awkwardly (as we all do the first time through!) and it was like watching a sweet child learning to walk. This by no means is trying to belittle her, it's actually just so very sweet to watch the purity she had. The results of her first IVF was 8 'beautiful' embryos. She transferred two, and carried an adorable baby boy to term before being induced. She has 6 embryos still frozen, and has hopes of having two more children from them. I was thrilled to see their excitement unfold and grow. It was beautiful to see the faces of the new parents.
But- it was Lady B who had my heart and my attention. Watching her was like watching a skillful dancer. She was determined, and yet beautifully broken and hopeful. When she explained her journey, her words almost sounded like they were coming from an eerie place, yet she held her head high and forced a smile on her face. When the call came, and she learned she yet again, would not carry a child she broke and my heart broke with her. She dropped and cried out and talked to her husband about her anger. This is when the tears came, reminding me of our own first call of bad news. The nest shot was 3 months later, and she talked about how they're just "coming out of the hole" again. That line hit me deep. I know that hole all too well and I know the self-doubt, and the anger, and the emptiness that is in that hole with you. However, she wasn't still in bed. She was making salads for a friend who was coming over to discuss the possibility of her friend being a surrogate for them. The episode ended was Lady B explaining how she was 'guarded' about the situation but you could also feel the excitement of things to come. This woman had learned to be a fighter, and that's what she was doing. She was fighting for a sweet baby to call her own, and she didn't care about sympathy. She took the shots like a champ and didn't have that tone in her voice that asked for pity that I believe many TTCers have. She was radiating strength.
I know many journeys can build us and grow us or make us crumble, but I know my struggle with infertility has molded me to be someone else. It was a painful road that brought so many mixed feelings, but I feel blessed to have gone through it.
Just like a mother soon forgets the pain of childbirth once she holds her newborn, I think I've forgotten some of the hurt and the pain of trying to conceive. I can easily say 'he's worth it', but I wish I could give every mom TTC right now just a few seconds of the joy motherhood brings. If I could bottle it up and give it as a gift, even just a few seconds I believe would change the entire air around TTC. No longer would the shots sting, or the BFNs crush our entire souls. This joy and contentment would feel more like it was within reach, and the 'complete' feeling would be worth the wait. Once you've become a mom, it no longer matters how many BFNs came before, or how long you waited. You are just so blissfully content.
I hope I wear my scars like Lady B does.
No sympathy or pity needed, just a fighting spirit that made you stop in your tracks just to watch her take her next move.