I sat stunned, as if I had been hit by a huge boulder; I felt as if I had been propelled into some distant place, where a wall separated me from the rest of the world. My breath felt shallow, I couldn’t focus my eyes as I blinked back tears and my head was in a fog, as if I had experienced a head injury. But nothing physical had happened; it was the day the results of my first in vitro fertilization were delivered.
The nurse simply said, “Nothing fertilized.” She continued, “You may be allergic to each other.”
I could not fathom what she was saying; all I heard was you failed again…you are never going to have a baby. I was 39. I had called the fertility clinic, praying silently that our ordeal would be over. After almost four years of trying to get pregnant, again…nothing.
The nurse said it so matter-of-factly, “Mrs. S. your results are negative,” like I had just missed a routine UPS delivery. To me it meant I would never be a mother. It felt like a death sentence.
After I hung up the phone and struggled to breath normally again, I just sat staring at the wall. My legs were weak, and I did not trust them enough to get up. This could not be happening after two surgeries and a month of painful injections and daily runs to the next state for blood tests. I had endured all of this in my last hope of getting pregnant…and nothing.
When Barry, my husband, came home, he found me sitting there staring into space.
“What’s wrong?” he asked as he stared at me with a frightened look. For him it was a regular day. He had gone to work and may even have forgotten that today was the day the results would come.
I didn’t want to talk about it, because saying it aloud would make it feel real. I just couldn’t believe this was happening.
He asked me again, “What happened? Are you sick?” I took a breath and stared at him blankly. I guess I wasn’t sick, but this was worse for me.
He raised his voice in frustration, “Tell me what happened?” he demanded.
I didn’t want to say it and make it real, but he was looking at me so intently. I blurted out, “I’m not pregnant.”
He let out a sigh of relief. I began to cry. For me it was the end of the world; he was acting like it was a minor disappointment. As I sobbed, I managed to get out, “We might even be allergic to each other.”
He scrunched up his face in puzzlement, “I didn’t know that was possible. What does that mean?”
I said, “I don’t know, but the in vitro didn’t work.”
He visibly relaxed as he noted calmly, “We knew it didn’t always work…. certainly not on the first try.”
I nodded, but repeated, “But they said I could be allergic to your sperm.” He looked at me like I was crazy.
Exasperated, he retorted, “What do we do about that?”
Again, I answered, “I don’t know.” I was so shocked; I hadn’t even thought to ask.
I began to sob again. “I think God doesn’t like me,” I blurted out.
“Don’t be silly.” He shook his head as if I was making a big deal out of nothing. “These things happen.”
For him the crisis was over, while my world had been turned completely upside down. As he started to walk away, he continued, “Why don’t you let it go until we find out more…I’m going to change my clothes, and then let’s just have a nice dinner.”
I hadn’t even thought about food; I hadn’t made anything for dinner. As he walked off to change his clothes, I forced myself to go into the kitchen and focus on what I could make quickly.
I tried to calm myself and refocus on dinner, although I wasn’t the least bit hungry. Barry could eat through any crisis, I thought. As I started to pull out some vegetables for a salad and chop away some of my frustration, all I could think was that there had to be a way to overcome this. The nurse didn’t seem so surprised, I consoled myself. I quietly resolved to call the clinic first thing tomorrow morning. Now I needed to pray that modern science had a solution for me being allergic to sperm! Is there a special prayer for this? I sighed.