When I said on Day 61 that the last few days had been a “little” overwhelming emotionally — I had not yet met today.
Today was “a lotta” overwhelming emotionally.
After retrieving two dozen eggs, which freaked me out somewhat since I had had two dreams about a dozen eggs. Two dozen eggs. I could not have planned this, so again, I smile while breathing a huge sigh of relief and take it as a good sign.
Even more miraculous than the number of eggs was the fertilization report. 18. 18 eggs fertilized. Chai.
I tell Jonathan, and sob while hugging him. I think he had momentary fears of Octo-mom, and I assured him that was never going to be the case. I could see the fear leave his eyes.
I immediately called Selma (she’s a rabbi’s daughter — I always call her first with Jewish stuff). I emailed Susan (my mother-in-law) because I knew she was at work. I called my sister-in-law, Debbie.
Chai (18) is a Hebrew word and symbol that means “life” —
Because it means “life,” the Chai is consequently a symbol that captures an important aspect of Judaism. According to the gematria, which is a mystical tradition that assigns a numerological value to Hebrew letters, the letters Het (ח) and Yud (י) add up to the number 18. The Het has a value of 8 and the yud has a value of 10. As a result, 18 is a popular number that represents good luck. At weddings, bar mitzvahs and other events Jews often give gifts of money in multiples of 18, symbolically giving the recipient the gift of “life” or luck.
I knew it was significant when I heard the number. The hair on my arms stood up. It didn’t matter to me that the likelihood of all 18 making it to day 5 is statistically impossible — what mattered was that it was the first number. It was a spiritual number. I am not looking to give birth to a basketball team — I just want a healthy baby. The odds today appeared to point to us having some strong, healthy embryos to put into me on Friday, and hopefully some to freeze.
I cried. I felt like God was talking to me again after what seemed like an interminable long spell.
I call Debbie and we talk for an hour. When I tell her about chai — she gets goose bumps, too. We talked about Jonathan’s brother, Mark. I thought how significant he would think 18 embryos were. He and Debbie were the most religious among us.
After we hung up the phone, I stood there thinking about him. In that moment, I missed him deeply. I wished he was here for me to tell him. I know he would light up like a little boy at how lucky this was for us. I had to explain it to Jonathan. I cried again.
Just for the record, this was not the last time I cried today.
I go to acupuncture and fall asleep from all of the emotion running though my body. I think I exhausted myself with all the tears of joy for our 18 embryos and the tears of pain wishing Mark was here to share it.
Mark loved two children like his own that were not genetically connected to him. Debbie’s children, our niece and nephew — Emily and Justin. Even though their biological father is still alive, they both consider Mark their father. My in-laws their grandparents. Jonathan and I their aunt and uncle. Mark was their father in their heart. Their soul connection father.
When he passed away last May, a huge piece of their little hearts went with him.
I am always looking for connection to the people I love that are no longer here. Whenever I see a pink cowboy hat, I think Mawmaw is waving at me. Whenever I hear Glenn Miller spontaneously, I think Gran Gran is saying hello. I hear Memom say, “Hi, Miss. T!” every time I open a drawer I rarely open and see the Lord’s Prayer staring back at me written in her handwriting in Polish. I think about Bob whenever I hear Anne Murray singing Snowbird because one summer that eight track tape was in his car every time we took the ferry to Branson. I know every word by heart.
Today, while I was in the twilight sleep at the end of acupuncture, I hear a familiar voice that sounds like Mark in my head say, “That’s amazing. It’s really good luck, you know. Chai.” — and then it was gone. I wanted it to keep talking, but it wouldn’t. It was gone.
Whenever you hear someone talking in your head, you have most likely put that in your head. You have manifested something you wanted hear. The mind is really cool like that, I think.
Or I am just trying to find a way to justify this event and not appear insane.
I had spent the entire afternoon wishing I could talk to Mark. I wanted to tell Mark about Chai. I knew he would get it without explanation. Mark’s voice came at the end of acupuncture and said he had heard me. I cried all the way to yoga. I don’t know what really happened in all of that, but my heart felt like I had told him and he had heard me. I was grateful for that feeling whether I did it myself, or it actually happened, I’ll never know.
My mind flashes to the The Life of Pi and think, the story I WANT to tell is I just talked to Mark and he answered.
I get to yoga and I see Chaz. “18 embryos!” I beamed.
Chai, she replied. Wow. Chai. That’s amazing.
My 64th day on the mat was like an out of body experience. I felt so light, like I could do literally anything. Except jump back. My right knee is feeling a little off, so I stuck with stepping up and back today.
Yesterday I had nailed crow pose in Ellen’s class and then jumped back into chaturanga. It was messy, but I did it.
No one saw me. I looked up hoping someone had seen it. Everyone was in their own zone on their own mat. I was alone basking in the glow of my success. I was fine with that.
Throughout class I felt strong and light. Every once in awhile I would catch myself crying — with joy. I felt like someone needed to pinch me or something. Was this all really happening? I’ll be honest, even I was having trouble with all the dreams and the eggs and the chai and the Mark talking — when was that weight going to drop?
As I folded over in pigeon pose, I let it all go. Literally. I cried for the entire pose on the right side. I don’t know if it was for joy, for Mark, for fear it was all a dream I was going to wake up from tomorrow. As I wiped my eyes with the towel and moved to the other side, I realized it was for all of it.
Mostly joy. Unmitigated joy.
For the first time in my life I felt like the wind was at my back on something. I felt like maybe — just maybe — I wasn’t going to have to push so hard anymore to make it happen.
And that feeling was so freeing, I cried.
After class we went to Charlene’s house to watch the video teaser for a show Chaz is pitching called Retreat. Eight of us went on a mini retreat with Chaz the first weekend in January where it was all filmed. As I watched it and saw myself, I thought, Who is that? Oh! That’s ME!
Honestly, I have transformed even more since this was shot, so it was like I was watching some old me of three weekends ago.
We toasted with red wine — what I hope will be my final glass for a very long time.
It feels good to talk about everything openly. It feels even better having all of these people praying for us — we even have a Wiccan working on our behalf — apparently she is very sweet. I am still slightly nervous, not knowing much about Wiccan myself, but as long as it is positive and she’s not putting some strange rejection spell on my uterus, I’ll take it.
I posted the teaser of Retreat below if you want to take a look.
As I was driving home I heard Just Fishin’, The House That Built Me and Every Storm Runs Out of Rain. They were back to back, like a trifecta. I don’t have any idea what it meant, if anything — but like everything else that happened today, I wasn’t asking any questions.
I was alone in my car — radio blaring — basking in the glow of our success.
I was still fine with that.