Seven years later I do still remember the day because it did work, finally, on that day and in the weeks that followed. It was my fourth IVF cycle. Thirteen eggs were retrieved that day, nine of them fertilized, we had six embryos on day three and transferred the best three. (We asked that they continue to culture the other three and tell us what happened; they died in the dish.) Two embryos were seen on our first ultrasound, but by the second ultrasound there was only one. Now she rides a scooter, her reddish-brown hair streaming out from under her helmet and past her waist.
It worked again a year and a half after that on a damp May 12th, even with only half the number of eggs. We only had two to transfer on the third day. One of them developed only enough to be seen as an empty sac on the first ultrasound, but the other is currently obsessed with Lego, especially his castle and knights and dragon set. Two pregnancies in quick succession seem to have cleared enough of the endometriosis out of my system that I managed two natural conceptions after. The first ended in a miscarriage, but then there was the Christmas day nearly three years ago when my period failed to come. Now my present from that day happily corrects our au pair when she alleges that there are valid words for his two favorite things other than car (“cah!”) and dragon (“dra”).
I’d always dreamed about what my kids might be like. I was so sure I wanted kids, and prior to actually trying I had thought that getting them would be easy. What made the infertility so hard was that I just couldn’t bear to imagine what life would be like if I didn’t have kids. I am so glad of that October 3rd when my life finally changed in the way I had wanted for so one. I may be short on sleep still, and I may spend my mornings in a frantic rush to get everyone out of the house on time, but there is nothing better in my life than watching them grow into people more interesting and complex than anything I managed to imagine. Now the things I commit to my memory are trips to the park and the zoo and Legoland. Now the images I have aren’t just about hope, but about happiness: Margaret on her scooter, pink shoes pushing off as she zips ahead of me and the stroller, Duncan at dance class, enthusiastically reaching up on all the way on his toes, Martin fearlessly braving the biggest slides at the playground, going down on his belly. The beginnings of all these happy images started in a petri dish seven years ago today.