Thursday, February 10th I started the very first day of a professional training in Core Energetics. The course is four long weekends (Th-Sun) from 10am-6pm over the course of three years. I’d been waiting about 6 months for it to begin. Needless to say, I was super excited. So excited in fact, I could hardly sleep the night before. By the time the end of the first day arrived, I was pretty sleepy- not to mention full in my brain from all the new info.
But home I could not go. Gina and I had our first of two IVF classes we’ll be taking over the next week. This first class covers all the basics; how it works, what the drugs will be doing to my body, some of the science, amazingly interesting and fascinating material from the embryologists (including microscopic videos of how they retrieve the egg follicles and how they do ICSI (use a needle to put a sperm into an egg, which is the process we’ll need to do since our sperm is frozen first).
Because my first Core Energetics class ended at 6pm and this IFV class started at 6pm, Gina picked me up to save time and then we arrived about 30 minutes late.
From my previous conversation with Caitlin, we expected to see about 10-15 couples there- all who are readying themselves to go through IVF this month or next (just with ORM). Instead there was a small auditorium full of couples! Maybe 30 couples…or more! It was such a surreal experience to be there with all these people who desperately want to be pregnant but cannot on their own. All these people who are willing to put a lot of money down on a 50%-60% chance of having it work. All these people who are hoping that, when the speaker reminds us that not everyone in this room will be pregnant from this process, we are all secretly hoping/wishing/believing that WE will be the lucky ones. The chosen ones, even.
I noticed a few things. I noticed that I was surprised at how many of the couples (the women in particular) looked so young. Like 28, 30, 32… why do they need help I wonder? But I know from my fertility support group that age is only one of many factors in this big wide world of “infertility” (I hate that word).
I also noticed that it felt strangely intimate to be here with these couples. We all now know each other’s secret. Each other’s big vulnerable, private journey. At break, miling around over cookies and cheese squares, I noticed that I didn’t want to even look women in the face for fear of them feeling uncomfortable that I am “seeing” them. Maybe it was me that didn’t want to be seen.
Even though we are a big old lesbian city, and we know lots and lots of female couples that use ORM, we were the only lesbian couple there this go round. Though we did see a male couple though—maybe they are using a surrogate?
Most importantly though, I noticed how irritated I felt at all the couples who had only just started their journey. In the content of what the speaker was saying, it became apparent that most of the people in the room hadn’t gone through even ¼ of what we’ve been though- in terms of IUI’s (10 total for us), tests, conversations, years, tears, calls with bad news, “So sorry, Regina, you are not pregnant this time”, or “Well, you are ‘sort of pregnant” – it may not stick. Again. You’ll have to wait another few days- but act as if you are pregnant from now until we test your blood again”. To say those calls were painful is a gross understatement. And the speaker told the audience that, too. She explained all those things in detail and the audience was riveted, asked more questions and in general looked like they hoped all that would never happen to them. Except for Gina and I – we’d already lived through all those calls (6 negatives and 4 maybes) so many times that it gave us each a visceral response just to hear the speaker explain it all again.
At break Gina and I checked in with each other and each noted how we felt slightly irritated, and some weird mixture of both envy that these couples may never go through all that (not that they haven’t had their own grief or upset- none of this is rational, you know) and pride that we had gone through all that. Caitlin had told me that it was okay to be late, that some parts of the class we, ourselves, would be able to teach having been through so much over the last 5 years. She was right.
Still, the majority of the class was hugely informative with lots of info about IVF that we didn’t know and wanted to know and are so glad to know. The ORM staff are above and beyond professional, technically skilled and loving. A triple-good combo.
Class ended at 8pm and Gina and I were both cooked. We caught up on our days, talked a bit more about the class; the hopes that were incited for us, how exciting it was just to be there, how it made it all so much more “real” (seems each stage of this process does that) and then figured out dinner: pizza, salad and a glass of wine. We landed on our couch in time to catch the last 10 minutes of American Idol and followed it by a new Grey’s Anatomy. Given that we hoping and believing just like all those other women in the auditorium that this IVF WILL work for us, we are going ahead and taking full advantage of our “single lifestyle”. After all, in our hopeful minds, we are planning on it being over in about 10 months. Then perhaps tv, pizza, wine and early to bed will no longer be a part of our somewhat boring lives.
It’s so important for me to find the silver lining every step of the way.