Today I had my "annual" appointment with my RE/Ob-Gyn, and as I sat waiting in the lobby for my name to be called, I looked around at my fellow patients, as most people do.
There were three other women there alone, and three couples. Seeing as how my RE runs the local fertility clinic that was housed in the same office, and the fact that none of these women were visibly pregnant, it wasn't hard to figure out what they were here for. Here were my fellow infertiles.
The three couples and myself were called back at the same time. While we waited in the long hallway to be assigned to our perspective rooms, the couples all looked at the photos on the wall of the babies my doctor helped to conceive and deliver. In their eyes I saw the hope, and heard in their minds "This could be us. We can be this lucky. This doctor will help us have a baby." As my heart broke a little for them, that they even had to use ART to achieve their dream of a family, I came to the realization that I'm not really one of "them" anymore. I am no longer relying on technology to help me build my family. I'm counting on the brave decision of a wonderful woman to place her child with me. I felt removed, apart, from these couples. However, I still remember what it's like to be them. To hope that this doctor will have the answers for them, to dream that they'll finally become pregnant and carry a child to term. That's not me anymore, and I'm glad. Infertility, while always a medical part of who I am, no longer defines me. It's my past, who I was, not who I am now. I no longer imagine the big red "I" on my chest, declaring my inability to bear a child.
I'll admit, that when looking at the photos of the babies and happy families, my heart twinged, just a little, then no more. My present is one where I am happy with who I am now, and glad to have my husband and our dogs as our family at this time. We are working hard, paying off debt, building credit, and hopefully, within the next year, buying the home that we'll bring our child home to, where we'll have our own happy family photos to display. My present is full of plans for my future.
That future-adoption, is one I am embracing with open eyes and a glad heart. I felt a bit smug at knowing how my child will come to me, that question being answered for me when we made our decision not to pursue ART, but to adopt a child. Sure, my husband and I will never know what it is to conceive a child, someone else will do that for us. We'll never see our combined features reflected in the face of our children, but we'll see their own beautiful faces none the less. I may have no say so over my child's nature, but I'll nurture him or her with all the love in my heart.
As I walked out of the examination area, and back into the waiting room, I locked eyes with another couple who had come in, waiting anxiously for their turn. I gave them a small smile, and a mental wish for their success, whatever way that may come.