I cannot wait to hold your hand
The world will be wide open for you
Life will be what you make it
I will open every path I can for you to realize your dreams
Your Daddy is your biggest fan and life’s guide
We will talk when you have your heartbreaks
When you fall short of your goals
But I will stand you up to tackle those goals again
and conquer them
Nothing can stop you
But wait you never made it here
I will not see these things
You may have never walked on this Earth
I may have never held your hand
The day you left me I was lost
But the thought of you
Makes me stronger every day
You make me want to keep fighting
Your invisible presence carries the weight of a million suns
You guide me to where I need to be
If I do get to hold a child’s hand
I will know you helped me get there
Thank you my child
I may have been helpless to save you
But you have saved me
The Football Game To Heal
I have never written about my feelings when my wife and I lost our babies. I tend to be the typical man who likes to share a little of himself but mostly of his innate male wish to push back his pain to absorb the pain of the love of his life, his wife. There were two occasions for us that we know of. Some of you may question the part where I say that “we know of” but we later found out that chemical pregnancy loss is common and we feel that may have happened as well. I really don’t want to know the truth.
The first one was before we took on the infertility war. My wife had always swore that she would never tell me she was pregnant over the phone but she did anyways. I was over the top excited. I called my dad at work and I never call my dad on his cell much less at work. I told my dad he was about to be a grandfather. I called my boss too. Now allow me to rewind myself a tic or two. A months earlier I was working for another man. He came to me to tell me he was about to be a father again. A couple of days later I saw his wife and congratulated her. She looked at me like I had kicked her dog and walked away. My boss came back a few hours later and said she was upset with him because he shared the news too early. I found that preposterous and talked to my wife about it and she agreed with my bosses wife that people do not always share early just in case something goes wrong. I still did not agree with my wife. Flash forward to the beginning of this paragraph. One week later we lost our pregnancy. I was stunned. We had been coaching baseball at the time and I had to meet the parents at the field to tell them that practice was cancelled. One of the mothers could tell something was wrong and I shared with her what was happening. She shared a similar story. When the lot was cleared I sat in my car and cried. It was an all out let it go sobbing. I went back home and asked my neighbor to take me to get my wife’s car. The loss occurred while my wife was at work. We went to my wife’s doctor and she coldly told us that “lightning strikes”. So lightning struck my wife and we lost a child? I was hollow. I felt numb because I had been in a million bad spots in my life. I was a police officer and had dealt with an incalculable amount of issues but this time I was lost. I can look you in the eyes and give you great advice to get through a dark spot but this was too close to home and I felt helpless. That weekend we stayed in the house and watched an Americas Next Top Model Marathon for a day and a half. We decided we need something to look forward to and I bought my wife tickets to a Steelers and Redskins game (she is a Steelers fan). We changed doctors and began our infertility story. I also learned that when your wife says don’t share until she is ready…..listen!!!
The second one destroyed me. We had been on the infertility journey for a while when we got news we were pregnant. I felt stupid. For years I had always thought that making someone pregnant was a God-given right. Lay down and nine months later you are there. We had tried with infertility help for a while to get pregnant. I remember asking myself what had I done wrong to not be able to fulfill my role as a man. I felt emasculated. I prided myself on being there and taking care of my wife and dammit I was not doing it. I had given up and was only hoping and waiting for my wife to say the same thing. Thank God my wife is stronger than I and did not give up. In October of 2008 our daughter was born as a result of an IVF. Had my wife not been persistent it would have never happened.
I did not think too much of the lost babies until recently. We hear noises in the house at night and I told my wife she was crazy for thinking it was the babies until one night I saw a child walking in our home. I still do not know what to make of it and have not seen it since then but I found calm after seeing it. We met psychic Sylvia Brown years ago in Las Vegas before the birth of our daughter. She told us one of the children was with a family member, my wife’s grandmother passed a couple of days after we lost the baby. I am not telling you that our lost babies became ghosts and sometimes I believe our minds deduce what they need to make sense of life’s strange situations. I do think that we all find ways to cope with loss and if my wife lost me I would want her to move on no matter what she had to believe to get through it. Every child is a gift even the ones you never get to hold. A child gives you hope for the future. A child fuels your need to do good and live a life that has new meaning. To lose one is like losing hope but there is another side to consider. As hard as it is to lose a child have you ever considered that if the child would want you to move on when you could? The child knows you love them and when you love someone you do not want to be the thing that makes them not want to grow and move on. I believe a lost child could feel the same way. It does not take away the loss but it could give you reason to move on and maybe realize your dream to be a parent. To all of you that have lost a child I tell you I love you and can understand. I wish you all the best and on this Day of Hope I honor all of our children.
Sometimes to get the things you really want in life you have to fight like crazy for it. When the things that seem to come easy for others are an all out battle for you then need to have a plan. Infertility is not invincible but you need to be ready.
When you accept the news that you need medical help to become pregnant it can be a hard pill to swallow and for that very reason one of the first things you need to TRY to do is make sure your head is clear and you are moving forward with your efforts concisely and openly. To say the emotion of trying to have a child with a doctors help is stressful would be a huge understatement and feelings will run crazy from time to time. If you start an IVF cycle there will be shots, appointments, shots, appointments, information, oh yeah did I mention shots and appointments? You need to understand yourself well enough to know that if you can not keep a clear focused mind during your cycle that your partner needs to be involved and be the other set of ears. When you are in your appointments take a note pad and jot things down. The night before your appointments jot down any questions you may have. There may be cases in your cycle where you are treated by more than one doctor, nurse, or even pharmacist and not every professional gives you the same information in the same way so keeping track of things on paper this will help will allow your emotions to flow while keeping you on pace with the fertility treatments.
There is a common saying that says, “Perception is reality”. The meaning of this saying equates to “what you truly believe is true will be your reality” and it makes no difference if the rest of the world sees it differently. It is hard to not have sad, scared, or mad days during a cycle but if you can resist as much as possible to feel the negative this writer believes it can make a difference. After our child was born to IVF my wife often said that she felt cheated of the enjoyment of being pregnant because of all the fears she faced on a daily basis in her eight months of bed rest. I fully understand that complaining about a successful IVF can sound offensive to the millions of couples still trying to conceive but the reason I mention it is like it or not if your cycle results in a child this cycle will be your pregnancy and your memory so do all you can to stay calm and happy. If possible find humor on the inane. If you keep telling yourself it is not going to work you may find it will not. I believe that my wife’s iron will and positive attitude made a big difference in our story.
Another key to a perfect ending is organization. You will have many things to keep straight during your cycle. Shots need to be done in regular intervals. Missing a shot can destroy a cycle. Do what ever works that helps you keep your meds straight. You can write out things on a calendar or program reminders in your cell phone. You are not only keeping track of intervals of shots but their dosages and sometimes needle gauges. Doctor appointments will pile up and if possible you should schedule appointments at times that give you a cushion to get to work on time. If you have to be at work at two and think you can squeeze in a 1PM appointment it could cause undo stress. If you make plans that occur during shot times make sure that you think ahead. We went to a rock concert and had to call ahead to the venue to make sure we could get our meds and needles in. The venue worked with us but had they not we would have missed the concert. Having anal organizational tendencies can be a plus in the infertility cycle world.
Try to have a sense of humor. On the surface, the activities you do during a cycle can sound crazy. It is hard but if you can laugh at yourself because it can help. The doctors drew targets on my wife’s butt to give me guidance where to plunge the needle. I would make sound effects to distract my wife when giving her shots. My mother in law would tell me she was going to give her daughter and I time to “make baby”. When I was at the doctor and had to “produce a sample” I noticed there was a CD player in the room. I had to see what kind of music the doctor would give a man to inspire him to “produce” and it was “Eye of The Tiger”…really? yes really. Don’t forget I said you will have a will gambit of emotions so you may as well make humor one of them if possible. Infertility is the epitome of laughing so you don’t cry.
Are you one of those people who hears about some random disease on TV with a really random yet common symptom and you swear you are afflicted because you have the “butt itches on Thursday” symptom? If you are that type of person be careful what information you consume. Every man and woman has infertility in their own way and if you are susceptible to paranoia you may not want to read every random blog or article on infertility. It could scare you to death and stress you out. If you are this type of person you may want to have a really small circle where you draw your information. I would consider keeping it to just your doctor and maybe a friend or two. This is only my opinion but there is a great bit of bad or misinformation out there.
Be open!!! If you have a spouse you are sharing this time with make sure they know what you are thinking. Some of us men are emotionally numb and don’t always ask what you are thinking. Sometimes the man is carrying emotion he should be sharing with you. When the sun sets on the day it is you and your spouse against the world so to not be open with each other about this process is crazy. If you are not the paranoid type then read blogs of couples going through the process our blogs like mine where people made it through the process. Hearing others stories can have a calming effect on some people. knowing you are not alone makes a difference.
You can make it through the infertility challenge and you could be a parent. Do not give in but have a plan and be flexible with your plan. My family loves you and wishes you the best.