Hello blog. It’s been a while. In pregnancy news I’m 6 1//2 months prego. In vegetable terms, baby Eliot is as big as a head of lettuce, although nothing about my waste resembles a cute little salad. It’s more like a balloon filled with little rockets that fancy going off and landing right between my breasts. Ode to the sweet, sentimental butterfly flutters from a few weeks past … my womb has turned into a playground and I have an active and curious little monkey in there.
Still over the moon though. Mostly.
The second trimester was pretty sweet. All the meds, shots, bruising and fatigue from the first trimester IVF cycle have been forgotten and forgiven. First lesson in parenting, I suppose. As the third trimester descends upon me, so does reality. The actual pregnancy (ouch, OMG, EASY TURBO, is that an elbow or a foot pounding into my ribs?!), decorating the nursery, finding the perfect nanny, the right diapers, the 101 on strollers, carseats and all baby things with gadgets, reading birth stories and parenting books (my favorite so far) … three months is a blink of the eye! In the heat of August my little designer baby love will be here. Eliot Michael Hart. I can’t wait to meet him! Speaking of my designer-love: If you remember from the last blog, I did an embryo adoption. That means that I am the recipient of another woman’s labor of love. The story has been told to me (from my doctor’s office) like this: a woman wanted a baby. Unable to produce one herself, for reasons of which I’m unaware, she found a Latino egg donor and an Irish sperm donor that she assumedly liked, had an embryo created in a pea-tree dish, did the ET (embryo transfer) and didn’t get pregnant. Distraught by her outcome, she didn’t try again and put her leftover embryo’s up for adoption. Enter: me. Lately I’ve felt particularly indebted to her, for giving me this gift. I’ve wanted to meet her, to thank her, although as my friend E pointed out, it would probably be very hard for her to meet happy, perky, basketball-bellied me. I suppose it’s a bitter-sweet mercy for her, to stay anonymous.
And a nod to embryo adoptions: This is my story, for now. Soon it will be more of Eliot’s story. And it’s a good story. There’s redemption and mystery; it’s progressive and filled with love, friends, humor and support; parts are bitter-sweet —no second parent, anonymous donor’s Eliot won’t be able to track down; most of the story is still unfolding. But in my research of embryo adoptions or “snowflake babies,” for the more sentimental than I, I’m learning about how new this way of having a baby really is! A quick history: in 2004 there were 213 babies born this way. President Bush invited them all to the White House, as these were the days when stem cell research was a hot topic, and adopting the embryo’s versus sending them off to science was all the rage in pro-life circles. According to my Internet research, as of 2013 there were 3,500 adopted embryo babies born in the U.S.A. I’m sure the number is much higher now, but STILL! I feel a small thrill to be a part of this budding new alternative to having a family. Most go through adoption agencies, with intensive home studies and social workers. I didn’t do any of that. There are 200 infertility clinics in the USA that do embryo adoptions and my then-doctor happened to be one of them! After getting to know me for a year of trying the old-fashioned way—IUI’s with a sperm donor, he recommended this option to me. It took me a minute to say yes. A minute and six months. But I did and well, here we are. Here I am. Sitting on my screened in porch on the quintessential spring day, eating local strawberries with my laptop and beautiful belly bump in tow.
I never would’ve thought I’d be so happy and content during the unfolding of Plan C in life. But I am. Lots of people are. We dont’ get what we want. We cry, then wipe our tears, and the sweet mystery is this: there’s still so much happiness and gratitude left for the taking. Maybe even more, since much of the entitlement and expectations drop off after a while. It doesn’t all feel like forced capitulation anymore. I said yes—when I almost said no, to am embryo adoption. And why this doctor (who offers embryo adoptions!) versus the other clinic in town—a flip of the coin, at the time. Life is coming together in such an unexpected way. It’s my norm at this point and the moments of lamenting a more conventional path are small. I do long to find companionship in this journey someday, even now, and sweet “daddy moments” I observe well me up a bit… but it doesn’t take away from my current love story. Baby Eliot has my heart–even in utero, and being single has not compromised any of the love or anticipation that I feel, which puts me in the universal pool of motherhood: single, married, partnered, biological child, adopted at birth or as an organism. It’s all the same journey of love. Mine is connected to a pregnancy and motherhood, but I don’t think this kind of grace is limited to child-rearing. Rather, it’s having the courage to keep going; Plan C, D, E or Z — to keep choosing a love story … there are myriad options waiting on us.