Happy New Year! Is it ok to say that in the middle of January? Well anyway … With the New Year, I thought it would be interesting to start a series of interviews of people who were by my side during my infertility struggles. I hope it provides interesting perspectives and potentially some laughs along the way.
My first “subject” is my husband. Here’s what he had to say.
How do you think you best supported your wife during your infertility struggles?
To be honest, I did not know what to expect. At the time, I didn’t know anyone who had been in this situation and I certainly never imagined that it would be me. When I thought of making babies, I didn’t think that “sticking it” to my wife would actually have a literal meaning referring to syringes. But as the process began to play out, I learned that aside from being a partner, my role was to be a combination of equal parts cheerleader, therapist and nurse practitioner (since I was the one giving the shots).
To give my mom a shout-out – both spouses cannot be upset at the same time. To note, she may have some other smart clichés, but I have to confess that they may have been included in emails that I “inadvertently” deleted as part of her numerous forwards concerning irrelevant articles, reviews, recipes or just random thoughts. Anyway, since it was undoubtedly Sara who was far more emotional (as was her right as the woman), I had to play the part of the macho man. More importantly, I knew that I had to remain positive since negative feelings can inevitably lead to doubt.
Aside from just providing lip service to the emotional support I may have provided, I was committed to going to most appointments because while it was her body committed to the process, I had to make sure to be there every step of the way to show that I did in fact support and believe in what we were doing.
Did you ever just think to give up and choose to have a child-free life?
From the outset, I knew that there would possibly come a time when I would have to be a realist and prepare for that possibility. Probably after the 2nd miscarriage before our first son was born, serious doubt began to creep in. I started to weigh the amount of time, emotional stress and money that was spent to date and began to think that maybe it would be beneficial to prepare for the possibility that we were destined to be childless. Maybe we were instead destined to become world travelers or philanthropists.
Did you ever look to blame someone – either yourself or me?
It wouldn’t be fair to place blame when there was no cause and effect – meaning no one did anything to cause the situation. I can’t blame nature and it wasn’t like my wife was a heroin addict that may have altered her body.
How did you feel when other family and friends shared their pregnancy news?
This is a tough one because I’d like to sound like a person who always takes the high road and say that I was always happy for everyone else’s good fortune. And in most instances, I was happy for them. But more often than not, it depended on who the people were.
For instance, I would feel a combination of anger and bewilderment when I would hear about the young, teen idiots who you see on so-called reality TV shows or those celebrities you read about on TMZ who had a couple of drinks at a club one night and wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am.
For family and friends, there may have been some jealousy; however, I rarely had any angry or harsh feelings because I knew they were good people going about their lives. I realized that to be angry and shut everyone out would have meant to cut off all relationships. But, the part that really got me was that it was inevitable that upon hearing someone else’s good news, it wasn’t long before hearing comments like “You’re Next” from people who didn’t know about our struggle.
What was the lowest low of your infertility struggle?
I can probably think of two instances/emotions. First, after the 2nd miscarriage before our first son was born, we started to realize that IVF may not in fact work and we had to think of Plan C, D, E, etc. (note, Plan B was IVF). So on top of the fact that I never thought that I would ever be one to need IVF or similar treatment, now I was relegated to exploring other options including, adoption and surrogacy. I have to admit that I was not a fan of surrogacy but deep down knew I’d probably come around to the idea if my wife and I were both determined to have a family.
The second has to do with the fact that as a man, I will never know what it is like to physically experience a miscarriage. So for me to watch my wife experience it and know that there was nothing I could do was devastating.
The highest high?
Easy . . . birth of both our sons. In the delivery room, it all suddenly became very real. For women, they have nine months to get used to the feeling of having a little person around. So for me, holding them that first time in the hospital was the first opportunity for me to make a true connection. Still, what is even more amazing is that after my first son was born, I nearly forgot all of the anguish that we experienced to get there – – because it was all worth it.
How did you spend your time to educate yourself to this world of infertility?
Aside from reading/visiting countless professional websites and medical articles, I have to admit that I was a regular stalker in chat rooms looking for success stories and relevant data. Despite all my time online, I am embarrassed to admit that I still have no idea what all the abbreviations mean – like what’s a “DD??”
Since this is a blog about laughing at your own infertility I have to ask what was the funniest moment-and be honest?
Well, as has been written about on the blog already, I have to mention giving my wife a shot in the tush in a dirty Starbucks bathroom. Who ordered the tall latte with an extra shot of progesterone?
I’m also partial to us having become members of the Mile High Club. There’s nothing like sneaking into the bathroom in an airplane, mixing the fluids together and sticking it into my wife’s tush. I’m talking about menopur and bravelle – naturally. When you think about it, wasn’t what we did like sex? We were making a baby!
In a previous post I referenced your mom wishing you good luck before doing your part for the ivf process … how did that really make you feel?
This question is making me have the same icky feeling.
But since you brought up the subject, for another awkward moment, let’s talk about the “little room.” You know . . . the one with the magazines, movies and tissues. A man’s place where he can have a moment alone and do some serious thinking. Well, one day I had to go a doctor’s office for some routine genetic testing. I should first mention that – at least at the doctor’s office that we went to – procedures are scheduled at times when there are few, if any, other patients present (presumably based on doctors’ schedules). So I came early in the morning before work (ok, bad choice of phrasing). Naturally, the waiting room is filled with women who obviously know why I am there. As if that wasn’t bad enough, I get to the little room only to see another guy leaving the room! Talk about a twisted form of sloppy seconds.
**I want to thank my husband for being my first interview in the hot seat. H-You’ve been an amazingly supportive partner and I’m very lucky to have you by my side … in the past, present and in our bright future.