It is the easiest and hardest thing in the world to do; giving up. After 911 I decided I wanted to be a fireman. I was inspired by the hero’s of the tragedy of that day to pursue the job. I had been a police officer for many years and felt if I could do one I could do the other. I started running, lost a good deal of weight, and after a couple years I was hired into an academy. A handful of weeks into the academy and I was conducting close quarters testing. I had full fire gear on and was crawling through very tight spaces. I don’t remember exactly when but somewhere in that dark maze my mind snapped and I began screaming to get out. I found out that I am quite claustrophobic. I left the academy a week later. I felt that if there was anything that could prevent me from doing the job I should not do it. I was not sure I could overcome my fear. For months my decision haunted me. I was incredibly disappointed in myself. I woke up in the middle of the night thinking of a dream I gave up on. It ate at me for a long time. Many years later and it still bugs me. I gave up and it left a mark on my mind.
Shortly after leaving the fire academy my wife and I pursed having a baby. I had always wanted to be a father but I was waiting for my wife to be ready. We did not know what lie ahead. We battled infertility for nearly five years. It was the typical tale that you hear all the time in the infertility community. We had miscarriages, multiple failed IUI attempts, doctors’ appointments by the handful, shots, shots, shots, cash expenditures by the thousands, heartbreak, guilt, and everything else that goes along with infertility. In the scope of infertility journeys our story was not unique but it was the core of our world. Not a day went by in that time period where we did not discuss it. There were enough tears to flood Atlantis again. Just before December 2007 we quit. We surrendered. We planned to move on…..well I thought we did.
My wife was on her way to visit her family in West Virginia. She called me at the house and said we were trying to have a baby one more time. I protested and I lost. I was concerned about the “what if’s” of failure and this time the process would be all out of pocket. My wife was carrying a lot of self-doubt and I was worried that a failure coupled with well over $15,000 for this last IVF would cripple her emotionally for life. We gambled one last time on IVF. She got pregnant, spent nearly 8 ½ months on bed rest, several times we thought we lost the baby, and on October 20, 2008 our daughter was born. It was a total white knuckle ride.
I wrote the last 508 words to illustrate that sometimes you get that shot in the dark that pays off. The old adage that “Even a blind squirrel finds a nut from time to time” is true. If you are engaged in the painful, helpless battle of infertility do not throw in the towel as long as there are options. Listen to everything the doctor has to say. If you even doubt your doctor for a second seek out a different doctor where possible. Had I watched my wife’s resolve to give us a baby before I climbed inside those tunnels in the fire academy I would have found a way to dig deeper and push through my fears. My wife’s tenacity is still the most inspiring thing I have ever saw. My career failures pale in comparison to the battles of those families dealing with infertility. The reason I bring it up is because I know how much I hated myself for quitting and I can only imagine how many times multiplied my wife would have felt had she given up on becoming a parent. It’s not that our infertility issues we her issues and not mine but because I know my wife. I am married to the type of woman that tears every little thing about her apart on a semi-regular basis. I know how much she was hurting and I know she felt less of a woman, less of a wife, and falsely believing she was letting me down. I would have done anything to take that pain away. That’s why giving in was an easier choice for me because maybe eventually she would get past her feelings.
I am not saying that there does not reach a point where you have to cut your losses. Money is a huge issue. It seems that more insurance companies are passing on coverage than there are ones that help cover your costs. If it is creating a divide in your marriage you may want to put your journey on a hiatus until you and your spouse are unified and if possible have gone to counseling. Do your best to not beat yourself up. If you give in make sure you left it all on the field so to speak. My wife took every punch infertility could give and found a way to move on. She is not Super Woman but she is a super woman. She is a woman just like most every other that has doubts about them self from time to time and then faces the specter if infertility.
Also never forget that you are not alone. There are wonderful communities all over the internet that can give you comfort in the middle of the night. Attain Fertility and Resolve are two websites that are filled souls that are as scared as you. Help each other to get through. My wife and I can both be reached through this blog. Support is very important. I hope you find your way and I love you all. I hope you all find your nut.