I was tidying up in our spare bedroom when I stumbled across the photos from our two embryo transfers. That there are only two photos is telling in itself, since we attempted 4 IVF cycles. There the photos were, in between some socks and a couple of camisoles I forgot about. There were three embryos in total: two 8-cell grade B embryos from our first transfer and one 4-cell grade A from our second. I had stashed the pics in a drawer in the bureau that I always used as my injection center.
I don't remember putting either of them in the drawer. I don't remember thinking, "I can't bear to look at these" and hiding them away. I do remember showing the first photo to everyone in my family and several friends, really anyone who knew we were doing IVF. I said, "Look at our babies. Aren't they beautiful?" God, it stings just thinking about how naive I was. I was pretty sure at least one of those embryos would turn into a baby and be in my arms right now. We would have been due in early May. I'd be breast feeding right now, getting no sleep, listening to our baby coo. I remember that DH and I were concerned about twins-part worried, part hoping. I carried that photo everywhere with me during the two week wait. Until I got my period. Then I guess I shoved in the dresser drawer Out of sight, out of mind. But not really.
I didn't show anyone the photo from our second embryo transfer. I was much wiser, more cautious this time. I felt lucky we even made it to transfer, after having two IVFs converted to IUIs. Our one embryo was behind in its growth, but we tried to view it as a late bloomer instead of as delayed. Although I didn't show anyone the photo, I looked at it all the time. I'll admit that I even talked to it: "C'mon sweetie, you can do it. Mommy and Daddy love you. We're waiting for you." Then I started bleeding and I knew that it didn't matter anymore, and that photo ended up in the drawer, too.
So now I'm asking myself what I should do with these photos of babies that weren't meant to be. It seems silly to keep them. What's the point? There's no baby book to put them in. No child to tell, "Here's our earliest picture of you." But I can't throw them away yet. Every time I imagine them in the trash, I get a panicky feeling in my chest. I wonder if once we adopt I'll want to get rid of them, but I don't think so. It seems like my feelings about one have very little to do with the other. So I put the photos back in the drawer. I guess they'll stay there until I'm ready to let them go. If I'm ever ready to let them go.