We Should’ve Kept the Petri Dish

You go through a lot of stuff when you do IVF. Stuff you don’t normally run into when making a baby. Drugs, needles, scans and lots of probing. Oh wait…I guess there’s always a little probing involved. (ha!) But one of the more odd moments I recall was right after the egg transfer, when the embryologist asked if we’d like to keep the petri dish.

I recall being a little confused, thinking “people actually do that?” My husband and I pondered it a few seconds before both saying “No thanks.” Now, as my son is nearing three, I can’t help but to think about one day him asking me where babies come from and how cool would it be to whip out that petri dish and be like “Well son, you were created right here in this little dish!” For some reason I think this is really funny. It also might scar him for life. But mostly, it makes me chuckle.

My son's first baby photo, as a 3 day old blastocyst
My son’s first baby photo, as a three day old blastocyst

I did save everything else though. I have all his photos from egg to fetus. I even have the positive pregnancy test sticks where I tested every day and watched the line get darker. If you aren’t familiar with infertility stuff, IVF people are obsessed with pregnancy testing sticks. So yes, I’m saving something I peed on, and I really should get rid of those but I just can’t yet.

So if you happen to be going through IVF, don’t be afraid to save everything. Because one day you may look back and think…we should’ve saved the petri dish.

Thankful the bitterness is gone

meandKIt’s time for the official what makes me thankful Thanksgiving post! And for me, every day, I am most thankful my son has erased the bitterness that used to sit in my heart and eat away at me, especially around the holidays.

I was always indifferent about having children. Take ’em or leave ’em. But mostly just take them far away from me. The day I found out I was pregnant for the first time I was more shocked than excited. It was a sudden life change I didn’t think I was ready for. And then slowly the idea grew on me until I was excited. I bought books, signed up for websites, started prepping and then it all came crashing down when I started cramping in the middle of the night. And then suddenly that baby and all our family plans were gone overnight. And then the bitterness set in.

We didn’t start officially trying for another year, but by then I was already avoiding baby showers and hiding all my friends on Facebook that were happily posting cute baby pictures. Christmas cards that were just pics of children went straight in the trash. Birth announcements were like little daggers in my heart. Over the next seven years we went through charting, fertility drugs, IUI and finally IVF. Over that span of time I missed out on celebrating my friends’ births and taking an interest in their children because it all just made me sad. I got tired of people asking and just started telling everyone we didn’t want kids. I was a big liar.

Trying and failing for so long, and going through a monthly rollercoaster of being excited and hopeful, then sad and depressed really takes a toll on a person. And even when you try to stay level-headed, you still go a little crazy. It’s why I started my original blog Stop Telling Me to Relax. I needed an outlet and writing has always helped. And through that I connected to other people going through the same thing. I’m thankful for those people as well. It makes me incredibly happy when I check back in on them and see another one has been able to move out of that place of hope and despair.

I’m a different person now. I smile when I see baby announcements. I enjoy baby showers. I love seeing pics of my friends’ kids on Facebook. I️ reactivated all those people I hid years before, went through their photos and caught up on their lives. Having a child was, and is still, such an amazing huge heart-healing experience for me. It’s like that little black cold angry part of my heart just melted away. And it always reminds me of the Grinch, and how his heart grew three sizes that day. That’s how my son makes me feel every day, and I will forever be thankful for that.



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What it took to become a Geek Mama

Being a geek was the easy part, that just came naturally. It was the baby part I had a hard time with.

After being married for 12 years (now 14), one miscarriage followed by 7 years of trying off and on, various fertility drugs, IUI procedures, acupuncture and endometriosis surgery, we finally turned to IVF and proceeded to make a baby in the geekiest most scientific way possible. We mixed drugs, measured shots and were eventually presented with the most amazing little egg in a petri dish. They asked me if I wanted to save the dish and I kind of wish I had now.

It was the most intense rollercoaster of sickness, emotion, pain and stress that I have ever put myself through voluntarily. This is me in the middle of 3 shots in the belly a day, the last week before my egg retrieval, bruised, bloated and with swollen lumps from one of the drugs:

IVF treatment

One of the things that got me through all the sucky stuff was my blog. I blogged anonymously, and I blogged often. Sometimes even twice a day. I discovered an amazingly supportive community of bloggers doing the exact same thing. Some of those ladies are still in the trenches, going through one procedure after another. And while IVF success stories have their place and can give hope, the last thing most of them want to see is a million happy baby posts. So I decided to start a new blog all about being a parent and specifically, a geeky one. It’s mostly like being a normal parent but with more Star Wars.

If you’d like to read my uncensored IVF journey, you can find my blog here: Stop Telling Me to Relax (I’m not updating but still check in from time to time and answer comments)

*named that because when you are having trouble conceiving the #1 thing people tell you is to relax and it will happen! And then they don’t like it when you punch them. So I blogged and that helped curve those impulses 🙂

In the end it was all worth it. I can’t wait to show him pictures of himself as a 3-day old blastocyst!

Made with Love and Science
Made with Love and Science