When I “graduated” from the fertility clinic at about 10 weeks along, I felt a little unprepared to go out into the world. These people who had been so kind to me, so caring, who knew so much about me and were super-excited for me in every way, would no longer be part of my routine care. I would soon find myself in the cold, clinical settings of an OB/GYN and a Maternal Fetal Medicine group, where I would become one of many pregnant women seen daily.
So when they dismissed me, I shook the hand of my PA and gave it a squeeze and a hearty thanks – it certainly didn’t seem like enough of a thank you or even a goodbye. I walked a little slowly out of the office and toward the receptionist. She asked me if I needed any follow up visits, and I said no. She smiled and said that I was all set. Really? That’s it? I turned to leave.
“Wait! Did anyone tell you about the jar of hope?”
I shook my head and murmured a “No,” turning back around. She stood up and opened the door to the other side of the clinic and invited me in. Now, although I had responded “No,” I knew what the jar was. It was a glass hurricane bowl they keep on the “clinic” side (where they draw your blood, perform early ultrasounds, and probably do their IUI/IVF procedures) by the exit door near the receptionists desk. There are tiny little glass marbles inside the jar, and a postcard next to it explained that the jar of hope was filled with marbles that each represented a pregnancy / baby that the office helped to conceive. It’s supposed to inspire you that you too will achieve success. I remember being very charmed at first seeing the jar and reading its story, especially as it was placed in a modest area of the clinic – not in plain sight for everyone to view but in a visible enough space that those who needed to see it would. As time went on, I looked at it a little cynically, believing I would never have a marble in that jar.
No one had mentioned the jar to me, or the fact that I was now pregnant meant I could leave a marble in the jar. I didn’t even believe it myself – after all, the clinic had studied me quite well but I had gotten pregnant spontaneously, without the assistance of their ARTs. If I put a marble in the jar I would be committing fraud.
But the receptionist didn’t know that. She just knew I came in at 7:15 or 7:30 in the morning to get my blood drawn, and had started coming in for ultrasounds. She knew I was at my 10th week and ready to be dismissed. She knew I was pregnant while a patient there. She smiled and offered me a little woven basket of marbles and explained the purpose of the jar to me. I teared up as I grabbed a marble and put it in the jar. Plink! I started crying and the receptionist did too. She gave me a big hug and wished me lots of luck.
That was the first time I cried about being pregnant. I sat in my car and cried a little more before pulling myself together and going home. How many other women have felt that same way in their office? How many other people can be touched by a simple act of kindness?