I couldn’t bear to part just yet with my littlest man for a whole week, so we took him along with my parents, on a ski trip to Colorado this week. The full significance of taking Max to Colorado didn’t become fully apparent to me until the plane started its descent and I saw the jagged mountains to my left and the peaked white roof of this all too familiar airport once again.
The first time I visited Colorado I fell in love with its mountains, pine trees, rugged rock formations, amazing food and low humidity ( good hair days of course!). I knew immediately I wanted to come back again and again, but had no idea until what circumstances I’d return.
After our first failed year of trying to have a successful pregnancy, I made the decision to go to a well known fertility clinic in Denver. I figured, if we were going through the IVF process, why mess around with anything less than the best of the best.
This meant flying cross county for consultations and testing, arranging for remote early monitoring of each IVF cycle, and reservations that were repeatedly cancelled or rescheduled due to changes in each IVF cycle that couldn’t be anticipated. It would all be worth it though, once we had our child.
Our first IVF cycle in Colorado yielded no embryos and I still remember getting the news over the phone in my hotel room at the Marriott extended stay that was our temporary home, and crying on the phone with my friend Bona in the mezzanine level of the airport as we traveled home that same day, thanking her for having the courage to call to hold my hand from far far away, even if neither of us knew what to say.
Our second cycle there yielded 2 embryos and some hope. I remember riding the train in Georgetown and going for drives to help pass the time as I was undergoing treatment. Later that summer when we tried to transfer one, again it ended in disappointment.
The next year we traveled to Colorado on a ski trip with my amazing friend who offered to be a gestational carrier for me because we didn’t know why nothing was working. The mountains seemed to bring me peace and hope as I skied through a pinetree lined run far far away from the rest of the world.
Then we traveled to Colorado again that summer for a wedding, just a month after we lost that pregnancy we hoped for for so long. I remember hiking in the summer wildflowers and beautiful aspen trees with girlfriends, trying to reach a beautiful waterfall just east of Vail, and finding such strength in the majestic view once we reached the summit.
Throughout those visits, we went back to doing treatments in Orlando, by way of a football analogy, it was a crazy Hail Mary pass by which the amazing doctors here gave us our son. Not an IVF cycle that was planned, or that used the typical medications. By some crazy chance it worked, but had any one of the twists and turns in the timeline of our lives not happened exactly that way, we wouldn’t have our little boy.
So as we pulled up to the gate in the airport this week, I reflected upon the number of times I pulled up to the same gate full of hope, and hugged my boy tight. I had him, here, with me finally, and the enormity of it all was just overwhelming and I began to shed tears of pure joy.
As we passed the spot in the airport where I sobbed on the phone, the entrance to the hiking path where I found strength again, and the exit from I-70 to the clinic, it all made sense somehow now looking back. The story had a beginning, middle and end, and it is such a wonderful happy ending for us.
I do hope we can have a brother or sister someday for Max, and I know I just need to remind myself that I may not know what the journey may hold, but when we get to the end and look back, it will all make sense once again and things will happen as they are meant to.
Once again this trip I felt strength and peace in the mountains as clumsily made my way down one run after another, and I relished the warm smooshy and slobbery baby hugs when I got back to the room. Max loved playing in the snow, his sled ride, and looking at the pretty lights on the trees from the window of our room.
I am so very lucky in life.