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It Feels Like the First Time
a blog by Murgdan
As IVF/ICSI #1 fast approaches, my jaw drops to think this is our first time ever really trying to get pregnant. This is our first shot. I mean, we didn’t have a fighting chance even once during our au naturale attempts over the last 18 months. Just knowing that for the first time it is really going to be possible for baby-making to become fruitful has brought back bittersweet memories of hope from what feels like another life . . .
Our decision to try to conceive was not reached quickly or simply. It was a year-long debate that swung like pendulum from talks of daycare and playgrounds to world travels and career moves. We were fickle, vacillating, and indecisive. Then it happened. We reached a verdict. We wanted children. Then we wanted two children. Then we wanted to conceive and adopt. We were ready.
Now it was all about timing. Perfect timing. The delivery would take place the summer after I completed Grad School. We would get pregnant in August, or maybe September. Our discussions veered into uncharted territory. Which bedroom will become the nursery? What color should we paint the walls? Where will we put the crib? How would we cope with the sleepless nights, the dirty diapers, and the change that would redefine our lives?
It was an exhilarating time. My mother started to buy baby accessories, so excited with the reality that her oldest daughter was finally up to the journey that her younger daughters had embarked on years before.
The first month was electric. The energy was palpable. The confidence was something to envy. There was no doubt we were pregnant. We were going to be the couple for whom it happens . . . the first time.
I turned away wine and soft cheeses for two weeks. I read through my company’s maternity leave policy. I planned out disgustingly cute pregnancy announcements and fantasized about gift registries and baby showers. Our world was in full bloom with possibility.
Given that this story is being told on a website for the infertile population, it was obviously not to be. My fairy tale was halted in its tracks with the discovery that my husband’s small team of sperm would be more likely to sink than swim.
I’m not sure what was more shocking, the realization that we would never conceive in that old-fashioned way, or the understanding that all our previous attempts at pregnancy were like the universe’s version of a practical joke. Smile, you’re on Candid Camera.
My past enthusiasm became an embarrassment, and I wished I could back peddle and retrieve all those ‘we’re expecting to expect’ announcements. We expected too much. We expected the impossible.
We are now standing on the edge the first time all over again. This time I approach our ‘attempt’ with a much more grounded sense of reality. It might work. It might not work. Yet despite all my newfound level-headedness and determination to avoid excitement, I catch myself still daring to hope. I steer myself away from conversations about nursery decorations and daycare arrangements, but still find that I am drawn, in my deepest most private thoughts, to the what ifs.
What if this works? What if we have a baby? What if we have twins? What if we get to announce a pregnancy this summer?
And suddenly I’m swimming in the deep end of desires and clamoring to reach the ladder, unsure if I’m really ready to take this plunge. I’m not hesitant to take the plunge of pregnancy and parenthood; it’s the nosedive into the black-bottomed pool of hope that terrifies me. It wasn’t like this the first time.
But what if?
And so it goes, here I stand. My goggles are on, my swimsuit is shiny and new, and I’m ready to throw myself headfirst into the cliff dive of IVF. Anyone else joining me? I hope the water’s fine . . .