Shawnee Barton
Once I’m on the exam table, the embryologist hands the catheter to the doctor. He asks everyone to be silent. Then, the doctor snakes the tube deep inside of me while watching its progress the ultrasound monitor. Placing the blastocyst in the exact spot that will give it the best chance of implanting into the wall of my uterus (and at life) takes skill, finesse, and concentration. While watching him work, I think, “This is the moment when he earns the big bucks.”

There is fluid in the catheter with the blastocyst. Everyone in the room watches in awe as the doctor releases the liquid and blastocyst inside of me. It’s the closest thing to a miracle that I have ever seen. Later, a nurses tells me, “That part of my job never gets old.” At this moment, I feel so close to the life I want. The potential and anticipation is intense, and I start to cry yet again.

In every profession, it takes ego to be a star. Our doctor knows he is damn good at his job, and before he leaves the room, he tells everyone to congratulate me on my pregnancy. We are taken aback by his confidence, but excited nonetheless. It will be two excruciatingly long weeks before we know for sure if the doctor is right.

I grew up in a religious, conservative region of the country. People from home have tried to comfort me through the years of battling fertility problems by saying things like, “I’ll pray for you.” When they say that, I always think, “Pray for what? You’ll pray that God will miraculously turn my bad eggs into good?” It feels irrational to believe that God can help me physically. It was God, after all, who gave me these bad eggs. “Have faith,” others say, “God will provide you with the family you are supposed to have.”

My husband and I met while working as camp counselors. We love kids and connect with them in a way that many adults cannot. I don’t believe that the God I worship would give us these gifts or a heart-wrenching desire to be parents if he didn’t want us to have kids.

So for now, I’m okay with trying to remove as much God from this process as possible. I’m okay with letting my doctors “play God” on me, as one religious friend described the IVF process. To those who told me that we are doing is “unnatural,” I ask, “Can’t all these highly skilled people and technologies be part of God’s plan for our life, if there is such a thing? Can’t they be an answer to prayer?”

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