After I wrote a blog a couple of months ago about a controversy over whether or not contests to win a free IVF cycle were ethical, I received quite a few messages/emails from others telling me their own experience with IVF giveaways. (My position, by the way, is that I didn’t see anything wrong with contests per se, but wished that the professional community would work to reduce costs across the board for all rather than give away a couple of free cycles for a few.) Most of the contests or grants involve an essay, and the writer in me always get stumped by the pressure of what I could write that would capture something so important. As I mused on this with one of our Creating a Family Facebook community, she sent me a link to an actual essay for an IVF grant submitted by Paige who blogs over at Baby Dust Diaries. With her permission I want to share it and the outcome with you. Darn, that woman can write!
So it has been several weeks since that doctor’s appt. and I have procrastinated terribly on filling out the paperwork for that grant for IVF. Procrastinate isn’t the right word. People procrastinate when they are apathetic. I am far from apathetic I am terrified. I feel like this is the writing of my life. What I say here will determine if we can have a child. I know this isn’t rational – but come on! This beats any college app or grad school paper ever. I wish I knew the key to unlock their hearts and let them pour their money on us!
So here I share what I’ve written.
It is 3:20 AM on a work night. This might be the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to write. I must admit, as elated as I was when Dr. Austin gave us the application, for several weeks I have pondered what to write. One part of me wants to impress with you with flowery writing – with prose so poetic the angels sing. Another part of me wants to rationalize what a terrific father my husband will be and how I will strive to always be the best mother. Of course, in all honesty, an insistent (and sometimes quite loud) voice in my heart is just clamoring for me to throw dignity to the wind and beg with every fiber of my being. The more cautious part of me fears that all of the above may be inappropriate. Perhaps you, kind reader, will find objectivity to be of utmost importance and deem my attempts at flattery as trite posturing.
So as I lay in bed tonight I had an idea. Am I sure the idea is the best approach? Not entirely; but it came from my heart in a moment of contemplation and I find that listening to those truths usual outweigh all the logic I could apply to the question. So my idea was this: Twenty years from now I will be a parent – regardless how our child eventually comes to us – I will be a mother who wants her child to know the journey we took to find him/her. Regardless of the outcome of any treatment I want them to know that each step was taken with great love and hope – for them. If you will please excuse and emotional woman’s early morning idea, this is what I would want them to know:
Hi. This is your Mom. Your dad is here too; he is leaning over my shoulder. Actually he is looking over occasionally and watching America’s Funniest Home Videos (you know how he loves that show!). You may not know this but your life began before you were born – before you were conceived – in the hearts’ of your Dad and I. As I sit writing this it has been over 8 years we have been dreaming and planning for you. It has been a turbulent river ride of Infertility but it has brought blessings as well.
Many Moms and Dads are surprised to hear they will be parents and others wait a short time between “Let’s have a baby” and “Isn’t he/she cute!” We have had much more time on our hands! True, some of this time has been spent crying over negative pregnancy tests; but more has been spent walking in the park talking about things we can’t wait to show you. We have sat in bookstores (you know how I love books!) and read about parenting, child development, and vacation spots we want to take you. We have talked about you constantly to family and friends, so your Grandma and Grandpa and Aunts and Uncles are as anxious to meet you as we.
Sometimes we have gotten angry at unfair medical insurance rules that won’t help us find you despite the advice of our doctors. We send our indignation to our congressmen and watch diligently for the House of Representative Bills that have been drafted and collect dust in committee concerning Reproductive Rights. Our advocacy has educated quite a few people who ask, “When are you going to have kids?” They are anxiously waiting for you now too! We have prayed so much. Prayed for you to find us. Prayed for patience while we wait.
We are writing this now because a new opportunity has presented itself on the journey to you. A wonderful charity called ______ exists to finance an amazing technology called In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF). They help people who have tried IVF once and desperately seek another chance but lack the money. Our doctor told us that in very special cases they will help with first time IVF! Your Dad and I both cried when we heard this since we had almost given up hope of you having your Father’s eyes. You know how much I love his chocolate eyes! The doctor’s have said since the beginning that this was our best way to conceive but it is very expensive and not considered essential to medical insurers despite pleading and rationalizing. We have tried other ways with hope despite low chances of success. This opportunity is an answer to our prayers – a good chance to bring you into the world.
As you read this now, even if you don’t come to us through IVF – even if you end up having totally different beautiful eyes – this will have been a bend in the river we traveled to reach you. This is part of your life just as the previous 8 years have been. To us you have already been born and we are just waiting and hoping and praying to find you. Always.
We have and will always love you,
Mom and Dad
Please God hear our prayer.
Turns out that Paige not only writes well, she also writes persuasively. She is now the mom of three children all from embryos created from that one IVF cycle she won as a result of this essay. Now, while she still blogs on infertility and especially advocacy, she has also branched out to blogging on natural parenting and natural living. (For the record, she’s got a terrific recipe for homemade mayonnaise that I’ve tried and loved.)