For THIS child I have prayed.

Yesterday our shipment of medications arrived, along with our multicyle plan contract and some educational DVDs about how to inject all the fertility drugs. Between the giant box of meds and the receipt for the IVF payment, I was more than a little overwhelmed. And strangely, my anxiety was less about whether or not this plan will work, and more about whether we’ll be glad we went to all this trouble.

Now, everyone in the parenting club says it’s amazing and totally worth the sleep deprivation, the poop, the sore nipples and all that jazz. But every now and again I wonder if they aren’t just lying to trick us into buying a membership and getting their numbers up. You know, some kind of sick parenting schadenfreude.

I wonder how the decision to relentlessly pursue parenting will affect my life, my marriage, my future happiness. I worry about having buyer’s remorse and wanting to revoke my membership. As much as I know I should have no expectations of my children or of parenting more generally, I do have these vague visions of what life with kids will be like.  I envision us camping, hiking, taking trips, working on homework, puzzling over science fair projects, going to the library, eating gluten-free, no-sugar-added cupcakes. (JK on the last point.) But our child(ren) might hate all those things, or more importantly, they may be unable to do them.

This week I read about how R’s age and our use of ART increases our risk of having a child with a chromosomal abnormality or cerebral palsy or a few other birth anomalies. And yesterday I was struck with a cold panic over all the things that could go wrong after R conceives on top of my baseline panic over all the things that could go wrong beforehand.  I wondered if we’re ready to accept any outcome, because that seems like an important prerequisite to parenting. There’s no guarantee that after all this money and effort spent we’ll walk away with a healthy, happy child. And even if we do, s/he may still turn out to be a royal pain in the ass. I guess it’s natural to get cold feet when you have to work so hard to make something happen. It’s probably normal to constantly reevaluate your motives, your desires, your goals as you inch further and further toward complete insanity to achieve them. But it’s a little unsettling.

This morning I hopped on a TTC forum to check on how a friend was doing after her egg retrieval today. I noticed that one of the other women posted under the subject line “1 Samuel 1:27.” It was a fitting passage for me to stumble upon today, after chewing on my anxieties for a few days. The verse says:

I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him.

You’d be within your rights to suspect I find comfort in this passage because it suggests the good Lord is going to grant my wish. But truthfully, and astonishingly, when I read the passage I automatically placed the emphasis on the word “this.”

I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him.

And I feel sure that when I finally meet my child, I will know s/he is the exactly the one that I prayed for, and the one who belongs with me.