Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Happy Birthday, Jack.

I know the calendar tells us that Jack is 3 months, 2 weeks, and 2 days old. But the truth is, we've been in love with our baby for exactly 1 year, today. Here is Jack, pictured on November 2nd, 2009:

Isn't he beautiful? This is not some random photograph of a 5 day old human blastocyst. No, this is actually our son, conceived of our genes and fertilized in a petri dish. Minutes after this photograph was taken, Jack took the journey of his life and traveled through a catheter into my uterus. 28hours later, I felt a twinge and knew the embryo has implanted. 3 days after implantation, the pregnancy test was positive. 5 days after Jack was returned to my body, we confirmed it: I was pregnant, at last, pregnant due to the tremendous technological innovation that is in vitro fertilization.

I have PCOS. It is a metabolic disorder that results in my ovaries producing dozens of follicles and never ovulating any of them. Because I don't ovulate - ever - I cannot become pregnant naturally. My infertility was not something that time would cure. For every day that I remained off of the birth control pill, my hormones got even more out of wack.

I am not secretive about the fact that Jack was conceived by IVF. I am proud of Jack, and I am proud of how much we went through to have him. I'm happy to let people know that this perfect, happy little being was created in a petri dish. It is incredibly important to speak about infertility in public, to demystify something that is startling common. To show how infertility can be so wholly out of a person's control -- even when you do everything right, things don't happen the way you expect them to.

Yet when I search for the words to really write about the experience, the page remains blank. My mind is scanning the myriad of topics, but all I can find are tears that threaten to reach my eyes. Attempting to write this post has made me realize how raw my wounds still are. I'm not ready to talk to the open audience of the unknown people who read this blog. Yet.

In the meantime... I am ready to talk about Jack, on this anniversary of his conception.

Jack, I love you. I've loved since the day we chose you out of our embryo lineup, based on some obscure growth information and an identifier (#14). The embryologist took this picture of you, all of your perfect cells dividing and becoming the beautiful little person you are today.

I began watching you 1 year ago, today, when I taped the phorograph of your growing cells to my nightstand and stared at you until I fell asleep. Soon it was an ultrasound image, and then it became my belly, where I felt you moving, preparing for the world. Now, I watch your sweet face, and I feel your soft breath next to mine. I can smell your soft hair and I can reach out to touch you. You were an idea in my head for so long, and now I can hold you.

I feel so unbelievably lucky.

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