She is 40. Fit, healthy and smiling anxiously. She is in the hospital because she needs help with being able to be a mother. The doctors have given her some medicines to increase the number of mature eggs in her ovaries to help her with in-vitro fertilisation. She is on the operating table. Her husband waits outside. She is deeply sedated for harvesting of the eggs. The surgeon can see 2 follicles and he drains them both. He makes doubly sure that he has done everything he can to get the eggs out of those follicles for her.
My assistant sits in the corner, praying with her eyes closed and all of us have our fingers crossed. The embryologist from nextdoor comes back – ‘No eggs.’ There is a stunned silence in the room. Unbelievable! Everyone stops. The energy in the room drops to the floor.
We keep her asleep for a bit longer and take a few moments to mourn the loss of hope. The loss of a possibility, a future. The loss of what could have been. The loss of something that didn’t actually exist in that moment.
While feeling this way, I was utterly grateful for having experienced motherhood with all its joys and trials.
‘Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.’ – Alfred Lord Tennyson.