Georgia Kolias – Anything is Possible

June 30, 2014 | By | 1 Reply More

I am resting while my children sleep, but my mind is awake and churning with the memories of my arduous journey to bring them into this world. When I meet people now, they often remark upon the beauty of my children, and then they say, “You are so fertile!” A comment I find amazingly ironic. If they only knew how long I struggled, never knowing if I would ever have a child.

I started at the age of thirty-seven, when my partner of ten years and I selected a sperm donor. When the fertility monitor signaled that I was ovulating, we awkwardly lugged a nitrogen tank holding two tiny vials of sperm to the OB/GYN where I experienced my first IUI, intrauterine insemination. The small vials of sperm were thawed, brought back to life in preparation for this journey. I could see them, infinitesimally small, swirling through the liquid in the vial. Just knowing that they had been frozen—still in suspension, alive and vigorous, capable of bringing about pregnancy—was difficult to comprehend and seemed more miracle than intellectual knowing. How could something so tiny be so full of life and represent the difference between my becoming a mother or not?

A long thin tube was inserted through the opening of my cervix, and the swirling sperm was drawn up from the vial and pushed out through the long tube, feeling like a miniature, rushing current entering my womb. I willed those little sperm strength and some instinctual knowing to navigate them toward the elusive egg. Somewhere in my Fallopian tube, egg and sperm would meet, fertilize, and following some predestined map, tumble together toward a landing spot in the lush lining of my womb.

The next two weeks felt unbearable at times—not knowing if the IUI had worked—if our miracle had taken place. I alternated between elation and despair, from day to day, sometimes moment to moment. When the day finally came for the pregnancy test, a plus sign appeared almost immediately. Against all odds, we had conceived on our first try.

My morning sickness was mild. I was nauseous at times, but only threw up once after overindulging a craving for Salisbury steak with mashed potatoes and gravy. My happiness that I was growing an amazing new life within my womb was only tempered by the knowledge that some friends were having a harder time trying to conceive. As weeks passed, I noticed my nausea subsiding, and I congratulated myself on nearing the end of my first trimester.

I went in for a routine prenatal appointment, excited to see the baby, but instead was devastated to learn that I’d experienced a “missed miscarriage.” According to the measurements of the fetus, it had stopped growing a few days after my last prenatal appointment. Its heart had stopped beating, all without my knowing. I grieved for the baby I once held deep within my body and released into the open blue skies on the top of a grassy hill to soar with the birds and twinkle with the stars.

When I finally became pregnant again after two years of trying, I wondered constantly if the baby was indeed still alive, still growing. The idea that I could be fine at one prenatal visit, and that the baby could die the next day without my knowing, gnawed at me. But the baby was fine, and he was born, and he became my first born to the world of flesh.

We dared hope for a second child, and I became pregnant on our fifth attempt. However, a routine ultrasound showed the baby had died at nine weeks and five days. I felt sucker punched as I looked at the image of my baby on the screen, its head and arms and legs curled up, suspended in amniotic fluid,—knowing that I would never see that face again.

After a year and a half of unsuccessful attempts to conceive, we decided to allow ourselves one In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) cycle. It would be our last chance to have another child. It was terrifying and exciting and lonely and desperate. Then came the needles, the money bleeding out of our pockets as we bought sperm at nearly $500 per vial, the drugs, the cost of the cycle. It was all worth it when the doctor retrieved thirty-five eggs, pretty amazing for a woman of forty-three years. Of the thirty-five eggs, thirteen fertilized, and of the thirteen, five continued to thrive and grow into five-day blastocycts. Three were transferred into my womb, and two were frozen. And the waiting began.

Because the embryos were already five days old, it would only be nine days until we found out if it worked. That day I went home with overstimulated ovaries and a distended belly full of follicular fluid, to rest, wait and hope. I kept repeating to myself, “Anything is possible.”

Nine months later, my beautiful, vibrant daughter was born, with her arms and legs outstretched, she screamed her arrival into the world. I was so moved and empowered by her birth that my first thought was that I wanted to do it again. We had two frozen embryos. Two years later, we transferred them into my womb, and my third baby was conceived—a boy who snuggled against my breast sweetly and was born just before my forty-seventh birthday.

When people remark upon my prolific fertility, I can only inwardly laugh, knowing how difficult my road has been, and yet so fruitful. Not only did I birth three healthy, wonderful children, I was inspired by my experience to write a humorous food novel, The Feasting Virgin. The protagonist of which prays to become pregnant by virgin birth. The magic of my experience is reflected in the novel, and in my everyday life as I work to care for my children, to encourage them, and to let them know that anything is possible.

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  1. New Publication! | GEORGIA KOLIAS | July 10, 2014

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