Author: Elise Juergens
One year ago today, we went in for our second embryo transfer. It was a Friday the 13th and a full moon. After one failed transfer, lots of tests, a surgery, two biopsies, and months of hormonal preparation with daily pills and injections– I laid on the table as the staff swirled around me getting everything ready. Britt, my husband, was at my head. I could see the ultrasound to my left. The lights were low except for the large overhead lamps. I wore a patient gown and cap with warm blankets draped over my legs. This is not exactly the way we planned on getting pregnant. The last time we had done an embryo transfer, Britt recorded it on his phone – only to delete it later when we found out that our embryo didn’t implant. This time around, no video was taken. It was just us – breathing through it and hoping for a different outcome. Roughly two years of infertility treatment had lead us up to this point – each step another waiting game.
The embryologist came in and asked us to verify my name and birthdate so that she could confirm that the correct embryo had been thawed. Our baby had been frozen for about 9 months, waiting for a chance at life. Dr. Chappell, who’s normally chatty and the master at corny jokes, was slightly more serious. He focused as he guided the instruments for the embryo transfer. When everything was in place, our embryo was delicately placed in the pipette, suspended in fluid. Just before the transfer, we received a picture of our embryo taken through the microscope. Was it a boy or a girl? I wondered. I watched on the ultrasound image as the doctor gently pushed the embryo through the tubing and into my womb. I remember distinctly that John Mayer’s “Stop This Train” was playing in the room – a song about wishing life would slow down. He is one of my favorite artists, and this song playing was a little ironic: “Don’t for a minute change the place you’re in.”
And then it was over. The instruments came out, and the lights flicked on. Done. I was to go home and rest for 24 hours and then somehow go about my life for the next 10 days while we waited. And wait we did….every twinge, every cramp, every fleeting sensation made me wonder what was happening in my body. Britt and I went through the motions of work, home, sleep, repeat for ten days. They say that after an embryo transfer, you are “pregnant until proven otherwise” – but we had been proven otherwise once before, so I resisted the urge to pat my belly as if something was growing in there. Will the waiting ever end?
After ten days passed, I went in for bloodwork to determine whether or not I was pregnant. I didn’t cheat- no home pregnancy tests. I went home afterwards, and Britt and I tried to watch something on Netflix to pass the time until we got the results. I don’t even remember what we watched. The doctor said they would call around 1pm, but at 10am the phone rang.
The first time around the phone call was bad news. This time, I answered on speaker. On the other line was the nurse and our rock, Dr. Chappell. Immediately, I could feel that this phone call was different.
“You’re super pregnant!” Were his words.
At that moment I felt hot and cold and could barely stand up. I remember having to lean on a piece of furniture. That moment was hands down the most surreal moment of my life right there with getting married. I’m not sure how the rest of the conversation went, but at some point we hung up with them. We were pregnant. The embryo implanted, and my body had already started responding. All the waiting had brought us here, finally. Britt and I hugged and wondered how we got so blessed to make it through this process and finally be pregnant. My hands were shaking as I fumbled with my phone, attempting to update our closest friends who were the only ones who knew where we were in our IVF journey. I finally gave up on texting or calling anyone and just enjoyed the moment.
Fast forward one year later, and I am sitting on my couch with my almost 4 month old in the boppy to my left. He is squealing and fidgeting with a stuffed animal. It felt like he would never arrive, but here he is. The closing of one chapter and the opening of another all wrapped up in one tiny little person.
I tell you all of this to say that life is full of “meantimes” where we just have to wait. And wait. And wait some more. Sometimes, it feels endless. It can be uncomfortable, especially when you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. But if you wait long enough- something will shift. And eventually you’ll look back and understand what all that “meantime” was for. You’ll learn to sit with the uncertainty of the meantime, and trust that something meaningful is coming.