Morning of Day 6

Today the embryologist is calling me with the blastocyst report—to tell me how many of our 4 embryos have made it to the 60 to 100-cell stage. I will be at work all day, at a nursing center that does not get any cell reception, as it is tucked inside wooded parkland; today, that is a blessing in disguise. I have told the embryologists to leave me a voicemail and I will call them back if I have questions, and I won’t be able to retrieve that voicemail until the workday is done. If I received bad news in the middle of my workday it would be impossible for me to be totally present for the residents.

And being present for them these past two days has been good medicine for me. I’ve connected with about four new residents since Monday—we have these sort of conversational counseling sessions, as I’ve begun to think of them—and one of the residents has developed a crush on me. He waits in his wheelchair outside my office while I am at lunch to be sure he can talk to me upon my return. He is someone, they tell me, who is not nice to anyone else (I’ve had to talk to him about not threatening to hit staff) and who never gets dressed or leaves his room, except now, to visit me. Another resident was an absolutely lovely bright-faced woman who looked twenty years younger that she is and whose philosophy in life is that everyone has good in them, you just have to look for it. Another woman was fully cognizant and not hard of hearing—which was such a pleasure for me, as those are the two big barriers to communication—and talked at length about her love for her husband of 58 years, who just passed away; I marveled at her strength, and the strength of their love. There were photos of them in their twenties and thirties on her walls. They are laughing, holding each other. I thought: That could be me and DH in these photos. “The loss of him is just…it’s unbelievable, it stuns me,” she said.

So I will dedicate myself to them today with all of my heart and mind.

Last night, DH and I went to a yoga center in Greenlawn for a mediation hour. It was exactly what I needed. The facilitator, who reminded me of a healthy-looking Kevin Spacey, said that we think we are only the waves in the ocean, but we are the entire ocean. We are that deep, calm, still part of the ocean, too, not just the individual and ever-changing waves. The first thirty minutes, I was caught up in the little waves, but the last thirty minutes, I reached that stillness.

I had sustained visions of my four embryos dividing healthily—in four boxes, side-by-side, like an Andy Warhol painting. Brightly colored cells.

Then I was holding a baby in my arms and looking down at his face for a long, long time. I could feel his warmth in my arms.

I can’t help but think of those four embryos as our children already. And it makes me feel protective. It makes me feel motherly. It’s a good feeling, and I don’t want it to end.

Maybe it won’t.

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