By Jamie Schenk DeWitt
Last weekend I had dinner with four of my closest friends. We all met almost thirteen months ago at a local "Mommy and Me" class when our babies were three months old. At first we bonded while sitting around in a circle talking about our "pregnancy experience" in a class filled with strangers, but as the months passed we became one another's best friends, confidantes, and unofficial pediatricians and therapists.
Out of the five of us, two had miscarriages. One had her baby 8 weeks premature. And two of us (including myself) had to use fertility drugs, but I was the only one who had IVF, twins and a cesarean. We definitely grew closer due to the trials and tribulations on our roads to motherhood, but our friendship also blossomed outside of class at dinners just like the one last weekend.
By the time the second round of drinks were ordered that night, the conversation moved onto the intimate subject of our sex lives. It was inevitable...come on, five women sitting around a table together, drinking wine and relaxing. We discussed the frequency, which characteristically turned out to be not that frequent. Yet as quickly as the conversation got into our sex lives, it spontaneously turned into talking about the night that we conceived our children. It was like a switch went off in my friend Natalie's head and she said, "I can still remember the night that we conceived Jonah. We were at a very good friend's wedding in upstate New York. Even though we had been trying to get pregnant for a few months it still felt so spontaneous."
Alyse chimed in next. "The night we conceived Lila we had gone out for dinner, and then we came home and had sex. She continued, "What was really special was the day that we found out that I was pregnant was after checking into the most quaint bed and breakfast in Napa Valley."
Next was Sam. "The morning that we conceived Sophie I went to my doctor's office after weeks of taking hormone shots. My doctor gave me that shot that is supposed to help release your eggs or something, then I went home and had sex with my husband."
The last person to tell her story was Kat. "When we conceived Noah, we were actually on vacation in Hawaii. We were staying at the Four Season in Maui. It was so romantic and the best sex of my life," she said wistfully.
As soon as Kat was done telling her conception story the conversation quickly shifted to our next topic of the night, which was about Alyse's impending trip to Chicago to visit her in laws. As my friends discussed the horrors of visiting their in laws, I was still lingering in the dust of all of their baby manger stories.
See, for a second I felt hurt that no one wanted to hear my conception story. The only thing was I hadn't even opened up my mouth to share it. My conception story wasn't about being spontaneous or being in a romantic setting or even being in a bed. My story was about the fertility clinic, the battery of tests, shots and procedures, and the miracle of the petri dish and insemination. This was no Immaculate Conception or even in utero insemination. This was in vitro fertilization. And when it was all said and done it cost my husband and me close to $60,000 (with just barely 1/3 of it being paid by insurance), and it was the best thing that I have ever done in my life.
In order to get pregnant using IVF, I had to examine and work on every area of my life, so I could prep my body, mind and soul to have even the slightest window of opportunity to have a baby. I wanted it so badly that I stopped smoking. I stopped exercising. I started doing fertility yoga and meditating everyday. I stopped thinking about what if I never got pregnant and started believing that it would happen. And in turn...I didn't have the best orgasm of my life, but I did eventually give birth to two healthy, vivacious, beautiful daughters using assisted reproductive technology, and that my friends was better than any orgasm.
Thank you to all of the doctors, including my own, who have made it possible for women like me to get pregnant and give birth. I am sincerely grateful and so appreciative for all that you do. You truly do make dreams a reality.
Jamie Schenk DeWitt is a veteran of the infertility wars and a mommy.