I have spent more than a fair amount of time in recent weeks marveling at Baby G. And, by marveling, I mean staring at him, kissing him, taking in his every feature, breathing him in and praising the universe that he is here, the missing piece of the puzzle that brought the complete picture of our family into view. I catch my husband doing the same. We never miss an opportunity to be with him.
Part of my marvel is that he was a mass of cells, left-over from someone else’s cycle to create their family. He was frozen, suspended in time, just as he was. Knowing that this is the state of some 500,000 embryos in this country alone, brings me to tears every time. Not that every embryo is destined to become a live baby, but that so many won’t ever get the chance. I think I read the loose statistic that only 1-2% will ever be cycled with and far fewer as part of a donated embryo cycle.
I sometimes don’t even know what to make of our good fortune. It is that, isn’t it? We tried so long in so many ways and it was not happening. Failure after failure, months turned into years, and still we kept at it, knowing that another child was out there for us, but never considering that he might be a frozen embryo that would be gifted and entrusted to us, come what may. How is that even possible?
Love and pain are on the same continuum. The manifestation of my love for him is a sensation in my heart. Almost always it is an intense, warm tug. However, when I think that he might have never been, that he could have been in the 99.5% of embryos that are never donated for another couple to use, my breath catches and the tears well up.
Some years after my brother died, I read that each person has a maximum amount of tragedy that they will endure in their lifetime. I remember thinking that having been adopted, living through a horrific accident that killed my brother, the untimely deaths of my beloved uncle and grandfather in rapid succession, meant that I may have met my quota early. I bought into a belief system that no matter what else life had in store for me, struggle and strife, joy and happiness, that I’d already lived through the worst of it.
The universe has kept that promise to me so far. She has whispered to me in the darkness of the night and at the depths of my sorrow that I have already been through the worst of it and to just hold on. I’ve never known exactly what that has meant but I have been comforted that if I just keep moving forward, learning the life lessons that I am supposed to, and employing the resources at my disposal, everything will be OK.
I never knew that Baby G was a boy, let alone suspended in a straw frozen in time. I never knew that my body would once again be a vessel for life. I never knew that the kindness of a stranger who wished to remain anonymous would bring him to me. All I knew was to keep plugging ahead, never letting any one failure or the accumulation of them, to take their toll, rob me of my purpose, stop me in my tracks.
The universe whispered that he was out there; I knew in my bones that he was. I felt blind in my pursuit of him, not knowing for sure which path would lead me to him. Tenacity, stubbornness and perseverance were my guides, literally. There is no other way I can explain the paths it took for us to get to him. No.other.way.
My heart is still heavy for those who are in the throes of trying to create or complete their families. Some have gotten off the train completely and they are especially close to my thoughts. However, if you are reading this and you feel compelled forward even in the face of decreasing odds, it is the universe holding your hand, ushering you forth. You are not being whimsical or foolish, you are trying, mightily, to get where she is leading you.
I’m in no way suggesting that you should chase this goal at the exclusion of living your life. You must find a way to do both and not be foolhardy. You must invest in the relationships that are important to you. You must nourish your body, mind, and soul in the ways you find most self-loving. You must maintain and develop other interests, hobbies, talents. You must be prudent with your finances as nothing can bleed the rest of your dreams dry like the pursuit of a baby. But, if your instincts tell you to continue, if you can remain balanced and not depleted, if the toll on you physically, emotionally, financially is not too great, then you WILL get there. It may not even be in the way that you think or are planning. Keep an open mind. Listen to others. Do your research. Let go of false pretenses that it can only happen one way or the other. This dream is bigger than you, perhaps bigger than all your other dreams combined, and you owe it to yourself to hear all options and pursue those that feel the rightest to you at any given time.
Oprah defines luck as ‘preparation meeting opportunity’ and I believe this to be true. Otherwise luck would merely be some arbitrary happenstance and while that may be true of odds in Vegas or with the lottery, it is not true in life. And, if being held in collective consciousness helps in any way, know that you are in my thoughts and heart and if I could will this to happen for you by merely wanting it to be so, I would. I may finally be on the other side, but I am next to you. Use my journey, not necessarily my path, as a beacon.
“This is my wish for you…
That the spirit of beauty may continually hover about you
and fold you close within the tenderness of her wings.
That each beautiful and gracious thing in life
may be unto you as a symbol of good for your soul’s delight.
That sun-glories and star-glories
leaf-glories and bark-glories
flower-glories and glories that lurk in the grasses of the field,
glories of mountains and oceans of little streams of running waters,
glories of song, of poesy,
of all the arts
may be to you as sweet, abiding influences
that will illumine your life and make you glad.
That your soul may be as an alabaster cup,
filled to overflowing with the mystical wine of beauty and love.
That happiness may put her arms around you,
and wisdom make your soul serene.
This is my wish for you.”
~Charles Livingston Snell, 1914