Tuesday, January 19, 2010


We have four frozen embryos.

The leftovers.

The ones that weren't chosen. If the doctors had chosen differently, Rhys or Quin could be neatly preserved in a medical freezer in Boston right now, instead of playing happily on our living room floor.

At first I was thrilled with our four frozen embryos. I felt so lucky - to suddenly be pregnant with twins AND have four more embryos sitting quietly in wait should we need them.

And now the thought sickens me. Haunts me.

My four little embryos. Waiting. With uncertain futures.

I am a card holding member of the National Organization for Women. I will always stand up for, support, and believe in a woman's right to choose. I hate the way pro-lifers make the right to choose about something other than a most basic human right. They make it about "when life begins" and the "rights" of a fetus. Or an embryo.

It's not the pro-lifers who have gotten to me. I don't care what they think about infertility or infertility treatments or frozen embryos. But I have gotten to me. The mother that I have become has gotten to me.

When we chose to freeze them - or back this up even more - when we chose to create them or maybe have them created for us, I understood what we were doing. What I didn't understand was how it feels to be a mother, or the painful pull of the love I would feel for my children.

I feel that painful pull for our embryos.

I let my mind go all of the places that logic tells me not to go. I wonder about the children they might be. Would they coo like Quin? Give big open mouthed kisses like Rhys? Or have their own endearing traits to make me fall helplessly in love? Do they have souls yet? When does that happen, that an embryo, a fetus, a baby grows a soul? Why do I sound like I should be standing outside of an abortion clinic thumping my bible?

We don't know if we want any more children.

And if we do want more children, maybe we would want to see if it could happen without medical intervention this time.

But what about our embryos?

I consider donating them to "the right" couple. And believe almost immediately that I love them too much to chance that. To chance that they wouldn't be loved enough, or that I couldn't live knowing they were out there, mine but not mine.

I consider how selfish it would be to try and have a baby "naturally" when we have four we already started just sitting there waiting for us. I consider what that would say to Rhys and Quin about how they came into this world.

I watch Rhys and Quin play. I listen to them babble together. I look into their big blue eyes and am awed by their simple innocence. Behind the love is a layer of guilt.

Four embryos, waiting.


Daryl said...

A real conundrum

Anonymous said...

Motherhood complicates a lot of things that seemed simple enough before.


Anonymous said...

Here I am, bloglurker Diana again. Wow, what a position to be in. First, a lucky one because you got two beautiful babies from the miracle of science and second, a tight spot because of the miracle of science. Not being a mother (unless you want to give me a little credibility because of all the 4 legged children I have) the best thing I can say is to approach your decision with the best outcome for the embroys as a priority. There will be no decision where everyone wins, but from all your posts you will make the right one. Good Luck.

Christa said...

Once again I feel like I could have written this post. I think you remember our situation and if you ever want to talk please call. We decided to pick up our little embryos because we too loved them too much. It was the hardest day ever. It was harder than any moment in my 8 years of infertility. We buried them together under a special tree. Two years later I became pregnant, naturally and shockingly. Our third child was not planned and to this day I believe that she is the little soul that was supposed to be with us. Take care, you will make the right decision.

Sarah said...

April –

I am a silent follower of your blog and have never felt that I could offer anything of value since I am still single and without children. :o) This post is no different. I do not have the ultimate answer for you – you and Kyle will figure out what is best together. I would like to say that you should not worry about what having a baby “naturally” would say to Rhys and Quinn. Everyone has their own individual story about how they came into this world. I, myself, came into the world and became part of my family much differently than my brothers and sister – that is never what mattered to me or my parents. What matters to me is that I have a loving and supportive family. I believe that Rhys and Quinn will feel the same. There are many different ways for parents to have children… one way is no more valuable than the other!


freckletree. said...

Oh, April. So beautifully written. Wow. I can't imagine how that must feel.

My only advice is to start using your bible for cow thumping-- hammers are scary.

And bibles can be even scarier.

I just love this post so much.

Amy said...

April, you always touch me with your profound thoughts. You amaze me (and make me cry)!

Deb said...


bess said...

wow. i havent checked your blog for a while and was hoping for a quick little laugh, but i'm instead all teary. i love your honesty. you'll figure it out, somehow, in your heart. best of luck. (hug)

The Janowski Family said...

April, you have a lot of deep thoughts for someone so young. I can not imagine the position you are in, yet I understand it because I never really grasped how much love could be in my heart until Gracie filled it up and that was from the moment we decided to try, not the moment she was actually there (although that was an exponential love explosion).

There was another mom at Nini I was talking to about this very thing not all that long ago. She had no idea how to proceed either. She said she would pay for their "storage" forever if need be, but that did not feel right to her either.

Such incredible medicine that gives us such incredible hope and much longed for babies, but the ethical dilemmas and answers have not caught up with it yet. I don't know the answer.

I hope you know what I'm trying to say. You seem to have a much better way with words.