Fertility Vacation // 8 Hours

We walked around Prague laughing and taking pictures. Three seemingly carefree tourists with tiny bottles of alcohol in our winter jackets. Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

8 hours of freedom. 8 hours before my first injection.

My happy place is walking around and falling in love with a new place. It makes me feel positive and at peace. I feel a deep sense of contentment knowing that I’m not taking my life for granted. One of the easiest ways I can show gratitude for my life is to travel to the world’s meccas and pay tribute to how beautiful the world is.

Hi Universe, I see you. I'm profoundly grateful for your accomplishments and these pockets of peace that you have created all over the globe. I see your light and I'm doing my best to reflect it in my images, my open heart, and the soft, happy smile I pass to others enjoying your beauty.

We wandered into Shakespeare's old book store and took photos of the picturesque buildings. We asked tourists to take our picture in front of the river with the Charles Bridge behind us. We saw the Lennon Wall which felt peaceful and open. Alongside us were families, school groups, travelers, Instagrammers, Facebookers and lovers from all over the world, all walking by and talking pictures.

We stayed a while, sipping whiskey and indulging in Vanessa’s deep love for St. Patty’s Day (she’s from Chicago). We had a pub lunch. We passed the river again and saw a boat pulling a life-size inflatable pastel tank with a giant sign that read #MakeLoveNotWalls. I'm glad that someone felt like making floating art with that message. I didn’t let it cast any shadows of reality.

I still had two more hours until I would willingly give myself a shot. Two more hours before I would find out how the hormones would affect me. Two more hours to not be afraid of the possible disruption in my mental stability.

Medicine and I don’t typically get along. When I was in Africa, the malaria medicine made me hallucinate spiders. I took antibiotics 10 years ago and my GI tract has still not recovered. In fact, one of the effects of the antibiotics was temporary infertility, which is why I'm waltzing around Prague in the first place.  Why would I willingly shoot hormones two inches to the right and one inch down from my belly button?

Eventually we made our way back to our Airbnb apartment. About a block away, time ran out.  As always, I’m able to completely ignore something until a few minutes before it happens, and then panic sets in. All of a sudden my mind was shouting, “No, no, no, don’t do it!”. My head was shaking back and forth as I told Vanessa and Jenny that I didn’t want to do it. I really didn’t want to do it.

As we approached the door, my heart was running a full blown hundred-meter dash.  I knew it was unreasonable, but I had no idea how my body or mind would respond. Neither were interested in finding out.

Vanessa was sweet and tried to think of calming techniques. She told me to focus on my belly because one day, it might grow a baby.

My mind desperately tried to find something to hold onto. “The sooner you do it, the sooner it’s over”.

That I could get behind.

Fertility Vacation // 10% and all the Emotions

Today I had my first IVF appointment where the clinic re-did a few tests, including checking my current hormone levels. The doctor said we actually have a 10% chance of getting pregnant, not a 30% chance like we had understood on the call, because I’m 41. I was told to come back in two days to pick up the injections and learn how to give myself a daily shot. Yikes. She said that some follicles were visible which is good for our chances.

I left the clinic and walked for an hour to the Old Square. When I got there I realized I was hungry. I sat down to order and felt that I was near passing out. Not exactly fainting, just falling asleep without control. Is there a difference? I think I was a little bit in shock. 10%?

There is always a delay with me. My natural reaction is to be strong and say, “I can handle this”. What follows is an unexpected falling apart.

We had planned for 30%. We would try three times in the next 12 months with a 30% chance. I realize now that we actually have a 10% chance each time. How do I have hope every day in the process? What’s it like to keep going?

After lunch I walked around some more and then posted up in a lively cafe. I peered out the window, drawing, writing, collecting my thoughts, and wondering, how do I feel?

I’ve entered some kind of beautiful dream full of uncertainty and perhaps some inevitable heartbreak. This dream has the potential to burst my heart wide open by putting one or two more Ofeldts on this earth. It’s a dream I am absolutely made for.

I’m vacillating between feeling incredibly strong and heroic, and feeling like I may have a panic attack right here at EMA Espresso bar. A duplicity that seems to be the new normal.

I wonder about the people I’m watching and drawing. I wonder about their story. Do they have something exploding out of them as big as invisible sunbeams, or are they just having a regular day where all of their emotions are in the normal range?