• Ashley

It Takes a Village

Here we are, IVF round 2. Our final round. Obviously emotions run high, and the emotion that has been demanding the most attention from me is gratitude.

Sitting here in a coffee shop in Syracuse, killing time on day 3 of stims (for any non-IVF veterans, stims is office talk for the shots that stimulate your ovaries to produce more eggs) I pull out my pen to write. The pen moves almost on it's own, frantic to give an outlet to the gratitude that is bubbling over.

Sometimes, it takes a village to get pregnant. Go ahead -give 12 year old you a minute or two to get the giggles out - I would giggle too - and meet me back here.

Over the past 5 years, my village has been LEGIT. Rather than write an entire piece about how every single person has touched my soul in ways I will never be able to repay, here are some bullet points:

* The friend who showed up at my 1st IUI, because she "couldn't stand the thought of you getting pregnant alone". Spoiler alert - I did not get pregnant alone OR with her

* The friend who made a care package of gluten free goodies and sparkling grape juice post IUI

* The sister who offered to give me her own eggs

*The sister who sent me a letter on mother's day - acknowledging that the loss of our perfect embryo was, in fact, a valid loss

* The husband who does every.single.thing in his power just to make me smile

* The friend who offered to be a surrogate

* The dad who spent his first weekend of retirement traveling to Syracuse NY (in January) so I didn't have to start IVF alone

*The sister who drove 8 hours round trip to be with us in Syracuse

* The aunt who gave me a St. Gerard pendant, special to her from when she struggled with fertility years ago

* The neighbor who gifted us the cutest, Buddha belly figurine said to be a good luck charm for fertility

* The friend who gave me the coziest lavender scented stuffed sloth to keep me company in Syracuse

* The friends who text out of the blue just to check in

* The friends who don't shy away from asking "how are you actually doing"

* The sweet puppy. Nella, who knows exactly when I need to pet and cuddle. She does it for me

* The client who went on vacation and bought me crystals special for fertility

* The yoga teachers who, without knowing it, helped me stay afloat when I was actually sinking

* The mother who has repeated tearful prayers on her knees countless times for us

* The online friends who have answered crazy questions, asked crazy questions, validated my emotions, and laughed into we cried over the shit we have all gone through

* The girlfriends who held me while I drunk sobbed after 2-3 (or 7-8) beers on a girl's trip

* The aunt who sends the most appropriately timed inappropriate auto-correct to check on me post surgery (masturbate does not = meditate)

* The husband who somehow (almost) always knows exactly what to say

* The husband who has stuck around to grow through these years of infertility, dedicating himself to our marriage and our growth together

*The husband who has been my refuge/safety/home base. Who has held me, stroked my hair, let me cry, soothed my heart, all while he has been hurting too

* The Airbnb hosts who kindly allowed me to ship thousands of dollars of medication to their home mid IVF cycle

* The stranger, Carrie, who found my number on the medication box and called me when those meds were delivered to her front porch by accident. Who took my meds into her home for safe keeping while she waited for me to get there. Who, without knowing what those meds were for, shared her struggle with infertility and her understanding of how important meds are. Who let a complete stranger ugly cry and hug her on her front porch - possibly holding on just a litttttttle too long

This leads us up to today. I am certain there will be more for which to be grateful and I am also certain that I have left out some very important key players.

Future baby: please know the amount of love that was swirling around in this world waiting for your arrival. Please know the village who helped make this world the best possible place for you to join.

To my village: thank you from the bottom of my very hormonal heart.

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