It’s hard to admit you have a problem. No I’m not talking about a drinking problem or a drug problem or am physically or mentally abusive. By all accounts I’m a pretty swell guy. But I do have a problem. That problem is with making a baby. It really is hard to admit you have a problem with that. Because I’m a guy, guys don’t have problems, they have sex and make babies and act manly. Well, I’m not that guy. Well I am and I’m not.
Not quite two years ago, my wife and I decided that it was time to start trying to have a baby. My thoughts turned to dread. A baby, means extra money, we lose our sense of independence and in return we earn a generous pile of extra responsibilities. I wasn’t ready. I talked to a friend of mine who had kids and he said it point blank. You are never going to be ready, so just do it. He was right, there was never a GOOD time to start a family. I’ll be the first to tell you, whether you be a friend or a stranger, when talking about having a baby. It’s not fun and I was not great at it. There was a mental issue of being told WHEN you could have sex and it was a scheduled activity. I wasn’t feeling the same way I felt before. It had been a gradual decline but I was noticing a lack of mojo so to speak. It wasn’t really there like it had been.
About the time when I started to put two and two together was about the time Mel decided she needed to talk to her doctor. It had only been 6 months but she felt it was time to talk to someone. In her mind there had to be an issue. It shouldn’t be this hard should it?
We both had issues. But mine was the bigger of the two. Turns out my testosterone production was being blocked by a tiny little tumor in my brain on my pituitary gland. I had low testosterone and sexual function was not great either. Before that, I had taken/given sperm samples and my results were not good. It was clear that the biggest hurdle we had to face was something I had no control over.
I’m not good at expressing my feelings. I don’t wear my emotions on my sleeves and I’m hopelessly optimistic (We will figure things out when we get to them, attitude) But this was something that scared me. I don’t get scared often but this was something that had the potential to threaten my marriage. Why would Mel want to be married to someone who made it more difficult than not to have a baby? Could I even have a baby? These thoughts ran through my head like wild fire. I would be silly to think it was just me that had this problem and I would be even sillier to think it wasn’t causing a strain.
Fertility issues can wreck you and your marriage. There is no doubt about that. They can also cause you to become closer. But after every failure and every dollar spent (tens of thousands of them, or more for some couples) the strain gets harder and sometimes the divide gets longer.
It’s not something anyone talks about, Women or men, for me personally, it was because of those societal issues that I couldn’t talk about it to people who don’t understand and even those people I don’t really go into detail. Is it because I’m embarrassed? Maybe a little. I just don’t really talk about myself which is a problem that is very hard to get over.
But we nevertheless we found ourselves in the middle of a journey that nobody talks about that nobody understands unless they’ve been through it and that some people, albeit, not intentionally, just don’t care. We’ve found some awesome friends through this journey and we realized we had friends who had gone through or were currently going through the same thing. Those people were the best. Sometimes it’s nice to just chat about things most people don’t understand and have someone who not only understands but has been there.
I could spend weeks telling you about our infertility journey. It’s been two years of our lives. It’s been almost two years of ups and downs, failed IUI transfers, failed IVF cycles and even one miscarriage which wrecked us to the point of what could only be considered close to rock bottom in the world of fertility. We had 2 fertilized eggs left after our miscarriage. But we needed some time away. So we took a fertility break and focused on other things. We miscarried in April and I begged Mel to not schedule the next one until July but we could put both eggs in, which complicates things ten-fold. First and foremost, it could be twins or more if the embryos split and it could mean that the likelihood of having two babies going to full term is very rare so we could have premature babies.
Despite the risks, we decided to transfer both eggs and see what happened, we were prepared for the added responsibility of twins and we only had two embryos left which meant we would have to start all over again and trust me, the process isn’t cheap and we certainly don’t have stashes of cash around the house. So we were for all intents and purposes “all-in” in the craziest game of poker ever played.
I’ll spare you the details of blood draws and waiting and wanting to take a pregnancy test before we were sure and all that good stuff and just skip to the good stuff and tell you that after two years, we were finally able to have a baby that has survived into the second trimester so things are looking good so far! Today as I write this we were sitting at 16 weeks, so 4 months pregnant and 5 very short months until the baby gets here!
I sit here and look back at my journey which felt so long ago but wasn’t that long ago and remember the times in which I wasn’t even sure if I could have a baby and look at where I am now and am proud to know I will have a son!
The journey is still real and our new adventure is only beginning, much like everything with life, once you get past the first hurdle there are so many more just waiting for you on the other side. But we will make over them I know that and we can appreciate everything life can throw at us because we’ve seen bleakness and we’ve seen blinding sunlight and we’ve smiled at both.