Darcy’s Blog: Fertility Treatments, COVID19, the Salem Witch Trials, and Finding Nemo

Darcy is back on the blog!


Fertility treatments are one of those elective procedures that have been canceled because of the pandemic. It makes sense, of course, but it’s one of those crazy domino effects of the virus. It’s weird to think that there will be different children born at different times because COVID19.

I’m pretty bummed about it. For any readers who may not know, 99% of men with CF are infertile due to congenital absence of the vas deferens (CAVD), and must use in-vitro fertilization and a technology called intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) to have biological children.

Gunnar and I were hoping to start fertility treatments this summer, so that we could (1) take advantage of my youthful eggs, and (2) have options as to when we want to bring children into our family. The goal was to create some embryos and stick ‘em in the freezer.  

The uncertainty about being able to start fertility treatments gives me that heart-sinking feeling. The thing is, I was put on this earth to be a mother. I’ve known that since before I can even remember.

Years ago, when I first told my friends that my awesome new boyfriend Gunnar could not have biological children without medical intervention, they were rightly concerned for me. “Darcy… How can YOU of all people handle THAT?”

You see, my obsession with babies and becoming a Mom is something that I couldn’t hide if I wanted to. Even if you know me a little bit, you likely know about that about me.

I’ve had my future children’s names picked out since I was about 5. I started babysitting at 11. I’ve kept up with parenting and childhood development literature for close to a decade. I chose a career where I’d work with children all day, every day. In high school I used to joke (to my Moms’ dismay) that I could be a wonderful teen mother. If you ask me how many kids I want, I say 10 (and I’m half serious). My point is, I have thought about having children pretty much every single day for a long time.

So of course my friends were a little surprised that I’d choose to date someone for whom having children would be a significant challenge. Initially, I surprised myself, too.

And yet, Gunnar’s infertility status was never something I thought of as a red flag. I think it’s because I am so far gone in my dream of having children, that I truly don’t care what kind of oceans I have to cross to get there.

That’s just what parents do, right? They cross oceans for their children.

I actually have a vivid memory of the first time I found out what parental love really means. I was about 6 or 7 years old, and my family took a long weekend trip to Boston and Salem, Massachusetts. You probably know that Salem has a bizarre history of witch trials, which I learned about for the first time on this family trip. We went to some colonial museum, where the historian explained to us that during the time of the witch trials, people were thrown into bodies of water to determine their witch status. If they floated, they were a witch, and they were executed. If they sank, they were human, BUT THEY DROWNED. This whole idea terrified me. I kept it to myself for a few days, before I broke down to my Mom when we got home.

**First grader Darcy, sobbing** “But what if WE lived in colonial Salem, and they threw ME in the water!!!!”

*Mom* “Well obviously I’d jump in and rescue you, and we’d run away together to a safe town”

*Me* “But what would Daddy do if we left?”

*Mom* “He’s an adult, he’d be fine.”

It was in that moment when I first really considered how much my Mom loves me (my Dad loves me, too, he was just in the other room for this conversation). As a 6-year-old, it was mind boggling that my Mom would risk her life – without a second thought – for me.

Gunnar learned about parental love young, too. His Mom took the front line, day-in-and-day-out job of keeping him alive, and never once spoke of the sacrifices she had to make. Gunnar’s Dad, as most people know, went out and literally moved mountains for his son. They both still do these things, even though Gunnar is 29 now.

As an adult who will have to undergo IVF to have biological kids with Gunnar, I get it now. I will – without a second thought – do anything for my children, including my unborn children. If that means needles and hormone treatments and my life savings, so be it. If that means waiting a little longer because of a pandemic, I’ll do it. Gunnar’s infertility has never scared me off, because the motherly instincts that I already have are so much bigger than any fears related to infertility treatments and a pandemic. I know those instincts will prevail no matter how difficult or devastating such fertility treatments turn out to be.

It makes me feel hopeful to think about Finding Nemo. There is no question in Marlin’s mind that he will undergo anything to get to Nemo. Parents will undergo anything to get to their kids. And I will undergo anything to get to mine, even before they exist. Just keep swimming.