About a year after marriage, my wife and I decided to have children. Being both A-type personalities, we thought long and hard about timing, finances, and the actual act of growing our family. Our fur-baby, Reggie, was a large part of our lives, but we wanted more. We always discussed having multiple children. Our conversations varied, but we usually settled on 3 or 4.
Unfortunately, things haven’t gone as planned. We were married in 2010. If it were up to us, we would be 3 kids in by now. Not so much. We tried for about a year and a half. Nothing. Not even a false positive. Thankfully no miscarriages. We have had family and friends go through that terrible experience and have felt the pain alongside them.
After a year and a half of “trying”, our faith became strained and we decided it was beyond our control. We decided to seek professional help. The first step was testing. Seeing who and what was the problem. Turns out that we both were. From there, we were given options. We started with medication to assist ovulation. Nothing. We went to the next step. Medication and an insemination procedure.
I’m going to stop here and talk about a very embarrassing experience. Going into a room where everyone knows what you’re doing. “Producing” is what they call it. I think we all know what activities the “production room” really facilitates. The room is made for one purpose and filled with all necessary and/or desired aids. It occurs at an office where you even have an appointment. The smug faces of the office staff are half smirking because they know how awkward it is for the guy. It’s a giant serving of humble pie, because you know it’s a necessary step in the process. I’m doing my job so they can do theirs. Get us preggo.
After that uncomfortable experience, they clean my “sample” to extract the best swimmers. An hour later, those of Olympic quality are ready to be given to my wife, who has been prepped with more medications than I can count. Then…hope for the best, which is only a 25% chance.
Two strikes and we were nearly out. Thankfully that third pitch was a home run for us. Introducing Claire. The world’s most perfect kiddo. My “babykid” as I’ve called her since birth. My God, do I love her. The story of how we discovered she was on her way is enough for another post. I’ll spare you that. It was almost more than we could handle. Thankfully we did.
We had picked her name not long after we were married. We knew we would someday have her to love and to hold. We thanked God several times when we learned she would be ours. I drank a Zombie Dust beer to celebrate. Those who know, know. 5 weeks early, but right on her own schedule, Claire arrived. After a short stay in the NICU, we brought our beautiful, but tiny, babykid home.
So here we are present day. Two A-type personalities chasing after a (nearly) two year old, trying for kiddo number 2. With a blessing already bestowed upon us, despite several struggles along the way, we take solace in the fact that Claire is our real, tangible cutie-pie that we can hug at the end of the day when we’re feeling down. For that reason we can avoid some of the stressors the infertility process brings by reflecting on how we have such a wonderful daughter. It is a relief when you are not sure if you will be able to have another. We keep thinking, “At least we have Claire.”
This round we have already had three strikes, but we are not out. The next step is IVF. A “test-tube baby” is the layman term. When we were born, the science was new. Now, it is mind blowing. They can tell you the genetic makeup of a kid before they have even been implanted in the womb- including the sex. (All of course for small fortune.) And yes, I am Catholic and consider life to start at conception. Embryos are kiddos. Another moral dilemma to deal with when poised with what science to take advantage of in order for us to have another “babykid”.
I am nervous. I am scared. I would like nothing more than to have a kid naturally. Unfortunately that’s not in the cards. And I’d be lying if I said it didn’t sting when I hear of someone becoming pregnant so easily. It especially hurts if it’s unwanted. Don’t get me started on the numerous calls I’ve been on where I run into parents who should certainly not be parents. I still don’t quite understand it how that works out in the end, but it’s a book I may write later in life.
I just hope that others out there take notice of how difficult it can be to have kids. My wife and I are both young healthy people. We have no serious disorders and require no daily medications. Yet we have to rely on science- in addition to the grace of God- to provide us children. Fair? No. But, boy do I appreciate what God has given me. Hopefully he gives more. If so, I know that the love will be unconditional. If not, I know that Claire will forever be my most cherished.
My heartfelt well wishes go out to all those going through something similar. Feel free to reach out for support, advice, or questions about the processes. I’ve become an expert these days. Especially about “the room where everyone knows what you’re doing”, but also about being a supportive husband.
My wife is a pin cushion. She has endured more to her body in the last month than I have my entire life. I can’t express in words how much I love her for her selflessness. Mothers who undergo such tremendous feats to merely become mothers, are deserving of sainthood. I know that with my support, we will be successful. We will be able to have more children. But it is a stressful, unknown road with either heartfelt joy or terrible heartache on the other end. We are hoping for the best. I’ll keep you all posted.