The procedure lasts a little less than an hour. I am reading a magazine in the waiting room when a nurse comes out to fetch me. “You can come back now, Tim,” she says. “Nicole’s out.”
“She did so good!” exclaims the doctor when he sees me.
“That’s great to hear,” I say, looking over his shoulder at my wife, Nicole. She is lying in a clinical bed, her eyes still closed. It doesn’t take long, however, for her eyes to flutter open as she begins to come out of the anesthesia.
The first thing she asks, in a slurred, groggy voice, is: “How many eggs?” They don’t immediately know the answer, as the embryology lab staff is still counting. But it doesn’t take long before we learn the answer: 13. “A baker’s dozen!” exclaims one of the nurses.
Nicole lets out a still-groggy, “Yay!” Then she proceeds to make a joke she later will forget about how she’s now 13 periods closer to menopause.
As the anesthesia wears off and Nicole grows more vivid, a nurse checks her vitals every few minutes. While we wait, I lean against the side railing of her bed. “Can you imagine having 13 kids?” My wife’s blue eyes go wide in faux shock. “Ha! No,” she says, with a laugh. “I don’t want to be like the Duggers.”
Neither do I. But in that moment a thought pops into my head and for the first time in several weeks it doesn’t sound totally bad: But one baby wouldn’t be so bad.
No, we won’t end up with 13 kids. And thank god for that. We will learn later that of those 13, five began to split following fertilization but that only three would make it to the freezing process. They will be flash frozen to await the day when two of them will be implanted in hopes of growing into a fetus, then a baby, then to be born into the world.
But that possibility still lies somewhere in the not-so-distant future. An exciting, delightful possibility, for sure, but with all we’ve been through so far, we do our best to stay in the present moment. A moment of pure emotion. Of relief.
I notice Nicole’s eyes start to get misty. “Are you OK?” I ask, taking her hand in mine. “I”m just a little emotional,” she says with a deep breath.
I give her hand a squeeze then lift it to my bearded cheek. “Me too,” I say, as the emotion of the day finally strikes me.