From the moment Liz and her husband started dating, she fantasized about their future family. She thought about creating beautiful lives and equally beautiful little ones. Even before she met her husband, Liz fantasized about how her future children would look and act. Would they have her super thick hair that would eventually become blonde? Would they be petite like her? Have her tiny voice?
Liz had always dreamed of being a mother. As a child, she loved to play with dolls and pretend that Barbie was “pregnant.” Even as a child, Liz dreamed of being pregnant by stuffing pillows under her shirt. Being a mother had been her dream as far back as she could remember. She yearned to grow life inside of her and to have that uncomfortable, swollen belly. She wanted all of that experience and the connection between her and her child.
Her dreams were quickly put on hold when she was told she had to have medical intervention to become pregnant. However, her fantasies remained intact. She maintained the thought that even though she wouldn’t be having children like most people do, she would still create life. However, with each failed treatment, her emotional turmoil increased.
“It was like I was sliding down a rope into a deep dark pit. I didn’t know how much more rope I had until I’d be lost to the abyss or if I could hang on long enough for someone to come lift me out before I was too far gone.”
Liz writes that at the end of the rope, there is a big knot that lets you have a few extra moments to hang onto before slipping. Over the course of the year, Liz had gone through three failed IUIs and a cancelled IVF treatment. The bottom of her rope, as she says, was when she was told that doing another IVF treatment would be a “waste of time,” and that she needed donor eggs.
Liz was told that she should simply adopt or give up the idea of parenthood, but Liz was not keen on either idea. Her husband supported her through all of her decisions, open to whatever Liz was willing to try. She eventually decided that she was going to opt for donor eggs. She used them because she was not ready to give up on her dream of experiencing the beauty of pregnancy that every woman deserves. She was not ready to give up on a child genetically connected to her. All she wanted was the motherhood experience.
The months that it took for waiting for a donor match were unbridled. Liz went through severe highs and lows as she mourned for the children she could not have. She could not even look at baby pictures of herself. Her heart ached whenever anyone talked about what kind of features their babies had and what personality traits were inherited. In addition to these feelings, however, was excitement. Her excitement outweighed her sorrows. She knew that deep down, genetics were trivial compared to motherhood. She was finally pursuing a treatment that would work and give her a child she would love. Even though she was at the end of her rope, she constantly would pull herself back up.
When Liz read her donor’s profile for the first time, she physically began to shake. Her eyes welled with tears as she knew that in that moment, she would soon meet the women that would help her have a baby. Her personality matched Liz’s, creating an instant connection.
A few months later and a week after her embryo transfer, Liz was sitting on the bathroom floor, awaiting the results for a pregnancy test. She writes that this was the most difficult moment as an infertility sufferer, waiting to see what the results are. When the timer buzzed, she saw the little plus sign. It was positive. Tears streamed down her face with a sense of relief, realizing that she would soon be what she always wanted, a mother.
Liz writes as a reminder that there are co-workers, sisters, neighbors, and friends hanging onto their own ropes. Some of them might still be near the top and can feel the warmth of the sun on their faces; others may be losing hope and precariously dangling near the end on their own chunky knot. These women need them no matter where they are on the rope. They need others to be supportive. They need them to listen. They need them to lend a shoulder to cry on. They need them to help them hang on until they find a way out of the pit—whether that be clomid, IUI, IVF, donor eggs, adoption or even finding peace with childlessness.
Liz M., PA