What a month it has been! I have been struggling to find the words to sum up the emotional roller coaster I have been through after completing our last chance IVF. It is surreal to me that this process, which has taken months to prepare for, is now behind us. As my husband and I went through this process, the world was caught up in its own emotional roller coaster, rooting and praying for the 33 miners in Chile who were trapped a half mile below the earth’s surface for almost ten weeks.
Millions of people from around the world followed their story for months and watched as each man resurfaced and greeted their loved ones. The whole world had prayed for these men as they endured unimaginable circumstances day in and day out. The family and friends of the miners hoped beyond hope that the miners would be rescued. They set up “Camp Esperanza” or “Camp Hope” at the site, praying for a miracle. A miracle happened.
There is a lesser known story regarding trapped miners that was also in the news recently. A group of 276 men were working in a mine in central China when the mine suffered a gas leak. 239 made it out safely. 26 were found dead. But 11 men were missing, and no one knew whether they were dead or alive. Then, after a couple of days, these 11 unfortunate men were found to be dead.
Merriam-Webster defines “miracle” in two ways; “an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs” or “an extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing, or accomplishment.” By the second definition, there is no doubt that the Chilean miners’ rescue was indeed a miracle. I am certain that their faith and hope carried them through those horrific days spent underground. But, I hesitate to say that it is a miracle by the first definition. If you say that the Chilean miners were saved by divine intervention, where does that leave the 37 Chinese miners that didn‘t make it out alive?
Using the word miracle in the infertility world can be viewed as insensitive to some. I often reluctant to call my daughter a miracle for that reason. But now after my last shot of having a healthy pregnancy through IVF, my husband and I have lost 32 potential lives, by either miscarriages or non-viable embryos. With those statistics, our daughter, who was conceived through IUI, is surely an “extremely outstanding event.” But what about those people who never succeed at conceiving naturally? Where is their miracle? To say that God helped me, but not others, conceive, or to say that God helped me once, but then refused to help me again, seems ridiculous.
In matters of creating life or avoiding death, I have no answers. It is a mystery and always will be. My husband and I have had a difficult path. I am certainly struggling with and grieving over our recent failed attempts to add to our family. There’s an emptiness that remains after the drugs and doctor’s appointments stop, after the fight is over and all that is left is the sad reality. The reality is that in creating a life, there is only so much one can do. I am not sure where our journey will lead us now. Many of the tears I shed these past couple of weeks have been in gratitude for my daughter. I can’t explain why she is here any better than I can explain why the Chilean miners are alive today. But I promise to cherish my daughter and never take her life for granted.