Recently I approached Mike about writing a blog post. You have all heard my side of our infertility story about a million times. But in the over 2 years that I have been writing this blog, Mike has always remained silent. Finally he agreed (probably because my blog design is no longer pink) and decided to write a summary of his highs and lows over the last 4 years.
Here is our Infertility Journey according to my amazing husband...
It’s April 2008 and all I can do is try and calm Aly down. Through her tears and sobbing voice over the phone all I can gather is that Dr. T could offer no solace, no alternatives to the struggle we’d been facing for practically our entire 7-year relationship. I understand at this moment that I’m going to become more familiar with a 3-letter word I wish I never knew—IVF. In a vain attempt to comfort this beautiful woman of mine I whisper that, no matter what, “we’ll overcome this.” We’ll somehow come up with the money, I will make the time, I will shake the heavens in order to provide us with the family we’ve both been fighting for.
It’s July 2006 and we’ve decided to go off birth control. Why not? The experiences we’ve been through in 5.5 years have matured us to a degree where we feel like we’ve known each other all our lives. I’m five months out of West Point and cannot wait to start a life with my new bride. I knew since I was 12 years old that the woman I would spend my days with would be the one I could picture being the mother of my children. Six weeks into our fledgling romance I knew she would be my wife. I knew we would be parents together and it was the most intoxicatingly romantic notion to me. I loved her already and she didn’t even know it yet.
It’s May 2008 and we miraculously already secured an IVF cycle. While I’m selfishly trying to advance my career by trying to get into the 75th Ranger Regiment over a 3-week period the true Soldier, Aly, is in NC being poked, prodded, and taking daily self-administered shots. I’m now somewhat familiar with a host of acronyms unlike any I’ve heard in the military: IUI, RE, ICSI, AH…and to be perfectly honest, while I know what they stand for I haven’t the faintest clue what they mean. The experiences have been odd, make no mistake about that—the nurse laying out a plethora of nudie mags for my “enjoyment”…having to generate a sample in a PUBLIC restroom because there were no other available rooms (yeah, don’t ask how long that one took with people walking in there every few minutes while I was trying to do my part to produce my child).
It’s July 2008 and after nearly two years the process has taken a toll. We’d experienced the high and very low of one failed pregnancy (not including the ones early in our journey). I feel inadequate as a man, blaming myself for not being able to give my wife a baby. I never tell her this because I feel the need to maintain some semblance of bravado. I’m not always very receptive or understanding of the range of emotions Aly exhibits after being pumped full of hormone-inducing drugs. And finally I feel like the almost scientifically designed monthly intimacy is tearing us apart. For a period of time I wrongly resign myself from the marriage emotionally. It’s an extremely demanding time. And all the while I’m failing to acknowledge that whatever is hard for me is actually ten times harder for her. But it’s all been worth it: on July 4th we get—in my angel’s esoteric language—a BFP.
It’s the early morning hours of February 28th, 2009 and I’m quickly / gingerly navigating the streets of Phenix City, AL as the three of us make our way to Columbus Regional Hospital while listening to George Michaels’ classic “Father Figure” to commemorate the moment (what can I say, it was on the radio). In a blur the moments pass by—I know Aly is angry at me for filming her in pain, I know the whole birthing process isn’t anywhere near as dramatic as they depict on TV, and I certainly know that the doctor staring at my wife’s lady parts looks like he should be drinking at a Pi Kappa party instead of directing her to “focus [her] energy into [her] pelvic region” (all the while I curiously stared at the process I had absolutely sworn to Aly I would have nothing to do with in the previous nine months). And then he appeared in our lives. London Michael, our IVF Miracle. Suddenly the pain of the previous two years melted away…the feeling of failure when we miscarried, knowing that was supposed to be our moment…the look I could see on Aly’s face, knowing in my heart that the process was consuming her every day and that this wasn’t just something she was doing, it was the ONLY thing she was doing…the locked feeling in my chest when the nurse told us we’d lost one of the twins…suddenly the pain wasn’t as painful. Our Journey had ended and here before us was the most beautiful thing we’d ever seen.
It’s the next Chapter in our lives. London will be 18 months old in a week. It’s sad but I genuinely fight the urge to cry every time I look at him. I see my red-headed, green-eyed little man and he represents more than one simple night spent between his mother and I. He represents an era in our lives unmatched by any struggle the two of us had previously undergone (and buddy, we’ve been through some struggles). I look back at the experience and smile at the hardship and understand that all along the Big Guy had a plan for us we couldn’t possibly see. And now it’s time to begin the Journey anew. -Mike
Big Thanks to my awesome husband for taking the time to write this. (Seriously, how freaking sweet is he?) As you can tell he is the real writer in the family. He might just be showing up here a lot more in the not so distant future.