This one is a tough one to write. I wanted to describe the feelings and all the moments of the day. But when looking back, even now, a week later... I am still overwhelmed with a HUGE sense of gratitude. As I'm typing this, I'm trying not to cry.
The night before I couldn't even sleep. I stayed up putting Tina's gift basket together.
Let me also say, I am not superstitious. But I am super-fun. Green is said to be a fertility color and so I found the perfect shade of nail polish that we could both wear called First Timer. Pretty perfect. I gave it to her a couple of days before the transfer at our counseling appointment.
|Me, at 6AM that morning, |
filled with excitement, gratitude, butterflies and hope.
I woke up the day of Transfer before my alarm went off. I think we all did. As I got ready for the day, and was feeling all the feelings… I got this text message….
We went to go pick her up and take her to her very first acupuncture appointment. Funny story... I had described mine and how they used like 4 needles and then attached me to a machine, and how it felt like Pop Rocks. Well, for her they didn't use the machine, which I think is a plus. However, it wasn't just 4 needles. She said she had needles from head to toe! That was totally unexpected, but she's a trooper and said she couldn't even really feel them.
From there we went to the clinic. They took us all to the office where I'd had my retrieval done. It was actually just a few doors down. (lol... no elevator needed.) We waited for a while, and during that wait, we took our very first selfie together. The three of us. In this together.
Luis:I try not to get too excited or anxious about many things as I have gotten older. The butterfly feeling in your stomach and the worries that go through your mind about all the possible things that can happen. Avoiding this has helped me be calm and think things through, be more rational and less reactionary. I suppose it's my own defense mechanism against getting hurt. I went into transfer day thinking I would be able to keep this up. I was wrong.
When we arrived we were placed in the waiting room that I had been in but not Tina and Erika. Two months had passed since the last time I had been in this room. I was there by myself waiting for Erika to wake from her egg retrieval. True to myself, I tried to keep my mind occupied with positive things while keeping conversations light hearted. The doctor called us into his office after waiting 15 minutes or so and showed us a profile on the blastocyst they were going to transfer. Erika took a few pictures, and he asked if we had any questions or concerns. We all drew blanks on questions. My mind was moving in slow motion and the meeting at the speed of light. I felt like a baby trying to learn how to speak. My mind had failed me. All of this rational thinking and keeping calm went right out the window as soon as I saw this photo. It looked like a catscan of a brain, but inside I knew this was our future. A baby that could change our lives. It was the first visual evidence of Erika and I being one. Something from each of us. A part of us.
My mind was in full action as we were physically limited waiting for the doctor. Here in front of Erika and I was someone who has taken a step of courage and love for us without really knowing us. I suppose in life we have friends who we hang out with, call upon every now and then, get together at social events. We also have close friends, people who we have purposefully placed our time and energy into building life long relationships. These close friends are those who really know you and are there to support you on this journey of life. Then we have family. For me growing up in a large Mexican family I would meet new cousins, aunts, uncles all of the time. I was raised to understand that even though I might have just met a family member, I loved them unconditionally. They were blood. We had a connection that went beyond our lives. We at some point shared a common past. Family gives without asking in return. Family offers without question. I remember feeling this sense of family about Tina as we were crammed in that room. I saw her as a family member I'd never met. Someone who I had not shared stories with or knew every little thing about. But someone who I would love as family. Right here in this little room, this was the beginning of our common past. Perhaps years from now I hope our children will know Tina's children as family too.
My position in that room did not allow me to see much of what was going on from the screen. The doctors spoke very softly and their eyes were glued to the black and white monitor. The silence made me fearful of making any noise or causing any disturbance. I thought about what would happen if my phone went off or if my breathing was too loud. I did not get to see Erika or Tina's reactions through out the process. However the three doctors faces were exactly like a T.V show or movie where humans have just landed on a new planet. Any movement on the radar caused an immediate twitch in their eyes to refocus. It was a bit too much for me. I have not been that serious about anything in a long time. I forgot how intense things can get.
Erika:Picture this: Luis and I crammed in a corner of a room (not much larger, but definitely nicer than my retrieval room) behind Tina. Me, placing part of my foot to the side of Luis’ leg, balancing on the other foot in order to capture the screen with my camera, while not trying to be in her way either. Luckily, I do yoga, so that helped me hold my balance. Before the doctor arrived, we’d been waiting quite a while. We spent the time talking, laughing and trying to figure out what the best angle would be for me and how many other people might also be in the room for this.
We’d been waiting in the room for a while still and I think the longer they
made us wait, the more antsy we all got. At one point, Luis asked, “…What are some signs that you’re gonna pass out?” Tina and I started giggling and asked if he thought he was going to. He said no, but I made sure to keep an eye on him.
The craziest part of the day… well, there were two. But the first one was when the lady came back with the baby blast on a straw. I know she’s a trained professional, but she’s carrying literally the most precious thing in our lives in her hands… in a straw. (Notice how shaky and blurry the video is... nervous much?)
The other crazy part of the day you can’t really see. It looks like static on a TV and we honestly had no idea where to look. But watch and listen to the doctor as he let’s go. "One, two, three...." I get chills just thinking about it!
The thing you didn’t get to hear, was the largest exhale I’d ever heard. I think Luis must have been holding his breath the entire time.
|Keepin' the toes nice and warm.|
When it was over, they asked Tina to stay laying down for the next 30 minutes. I rolled over the doctor’s stool and Luis now had room to sit. In hindsight, we probably could have given her this half an hour to process it all on her own. It didn’t even occur to us at the time. We just wanted to stay with her as a sense of support. I think Tina said something about not wanting to laugh. So we tried to stay mellow and speak softly. But then Luis said something, out of nowhere, about siamese twins, like from Lady and the Tramp. And that made Tina laugh super hard. And you could tell she didn’t want to, but she couldn’t help bouncing from the giggles. It totally lightened the room. You can always count on Luis for comedic relief. The nurse came in a few minutes later, assured us that the baby could not be laughed out and that basically it was nice and safe in there, like a little jelly sandwich. She then went to grab a wheelchair to escort her out and Luis went to get the car.
It was honestly all a bit surreal and I don’t think I really knew how to process it. We laughed and talked a lot that morning. But I didn’t really get super emotional at any point during or right after the transfer, and that’s weird for me. I was just trying to take it all in. But as real as I knew it all was… I still felt a bit removed. I felt like maybe the true possibility of it all hadn’t yet sunk in.
In the elevator on the way out, a mother and her son stood near the buttons. He was about 3, with curly blonde hair, and wearing a bright green t-shirt. We had a few stops on our way down and the little boy kept looking up at the numbers, asking his mom if we were on the right floor yet.
The mother overheard us all (me, Tina, and our caseworker who arrived later) talking about the transfer on the way down. When we got to the first floor she looked over and said, “If that was a Dr. Lin transfer… he is a Dr. Lin success.”
And just like that, it was real. That little boy represented all the potential that was being held in that beautiful bundle of cells. And suddenly, I felt it all.
“Having gone through all of this, we really have developed a huge understanding of how you grew to be. We now know all of the complexities of life and how you were formed. We are also able to see how much love and how many possibilities are held in something so small. A true bundle of joy.”
---expert from a letter to our baby
---expert from a letter to our baby
|And afterwards we celebrated with Big Hero 6|
and (even though I usually avoid fast-food like the plague...)
we got some traditional transfer Mickey D's fries.