“Frozen” has a couple of different meanings for us. Of course it’s the über-popular Disney movie that our daughter is obsessed with. But “frozen” also touches our lives in a deeply personal and important way.
We just got our annual bill for the continued freezing of our embryos. I’m not sure what costs our already frozen embryos really generate, but I guess the facility has to maintain cryopreservation equipment, have staff on hand for periodic monitoring, etc. But the charge is not insignificant.
Anyway, the question we face each year is what to do? After years of fertility treatments–IUIs, IVF, acupuncture, surgeries, etc.–we’ve put A LOT into our quest for having children. We’ve spent real money, been pricked and prodded, missed family events, cancelled vacations, and more. We have celebrated successes and suffered through extreme heartache that never totally goes away.
And now, after having two beautiful children, we finally feel like we can close that chapter of our lives. Sort of. I sometimes find myself driving towards the fertility clinic and then “waking up,” wondering what I am doing. It’s just so ingrained.
In truth, the fertility journey we took will always be with us. It consumed us for so long and it was so important. It affected our physical and emotional health, our marriage, our professional decisions, our work-life balance, our parenting style, and even our relationships with God.
It’s also the story of our family, of our children. Someday, we will talk to our kids about how they were conceived; they will know that perseverance pays off (usually), that they were so very wanted, but that you can’t always get what you want. They will also understand the miracles of science, the importance of doctors and nurses who really care, and the magnitude of what God can do.
I don’t really want to have any more children. It would be a major challenge for us, in so many ways. And we feel so lucky to have what we have; we count our blessings and are afraid to ask for more. Despite our losses, our family now feels complete.
But each year, when this envelope comes in the mail (and the kids look like angels as they sleep), I start to wonder. What would it be like to add another miracle to our family? What would he or she look like? Be like? This annual bill makes us take the time to stop and think about our lives and our children and talk about our family and our future.
I guess everyone makes these kinds of family building decisions. But it’s not always so in-your-face–pay now or forever hold your peace! For us, the decision feels black and white, yet still, we will pay the fee for continued freezing for yet another year. Will we ever make a different decision? I wish they offered lifetime plans; it would make things simpler.