Monthly Archives: April 2015

Infertility: Brother You Are Not Alone

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I am a man. I am not a tough guy kick another guys ass man but I can handle myself if need be. I am emotional and in touch with myself but not in a cry when I see a butterfly land on a lambs nose on a spring day kind of way. I spent nearly ten years as a police officer and that’s a rough and tumble job. I can command attention in certain situations when need be. I am simply qualifying myself as an everyman. I am not special but I am not to be looked over either. When I found I was in part responsible for the infertility issues my wife and I had nearly ten years ago I never took the time to check myself. I “MANNED UP” and sucked that girly emotion in and tended to my woman dammit!!! I had no time to look at myself. I could not be bothered with me and my problems.

A man by most definitions is a hunter. He is the one that takes care of his family with his hands and his back. He speaks strongly and carries respect with him sometimes just because of his sex. This is partially true. I am stretching things out to show a point. He does not have to be these things. What is the point in defending your home if you never take the time to take care of yourself as a part of your family duties?

I protected my wife when we were working through medically assisted conception. I felt the need to put her needs before mine. I still think for the most part that is the right thing to do. In a relationship you need to be able to put your needs aside from time to time but if you are going to stay strong over the long haul you need to recalibrate yourself every now and again. I have coached youth baseball for a several years. I coached long before I ever had a child of my own. After I my wife and I lost a pregnancy I still remember canceling practice late right at the field and when all the parents left crying in the cab of my car. I needed to let go so I did not hold in my emotions and potentially take it out on others. I had a friend at the time I would call and just talk to. He did not offer up much in advice but he listened. It turned out that he too had dealt with a pregnancy loss very late-term and hearing his story saddened me but brought me calm as well. It brought me calm because I realized his was far worse and I was not alone. I listened as he told me about the emotional process he went through. I was not happy because his was worse but I realized not only am I not alone but there are other men that have more loss and deeper loss. I thought to myself…..this could always be worse.

If you are a man going through infertility issues make yourself stronger by educating yourself through your doctors, good websites like Resolve, Shady Grove, and Attain Fertility. Find that one friend you can always go to and be honest with them. Tell them I need you to just listen. Most guys have that friend. You may be surprised to find out they have had problems or know someone who has. You are not alone as long as there is information readily available to you. You can be the hunter…of information. Do you remember those Schoolhouse Rock cartoons as a kid? Those cartoons were right when they said knowledge is power. Show your partner that not only is your back strong, and your hands hard but your brain is your biggest asset. A man is most comfortable when he feels he knows his stuff. If you have infertility issues own it, educate yourself, talk to someone, and no matter the final results of your journey the most important thing you have will stay in tact: your marriage.

Marriages can come to an end during infertility struggles because of lack of communication. It may be that a man has sucked it all in and becomes irritable and impossible to live with. You do not need to be that man because you are not alone. Are you a man that like tools? The tools are there you just have to swallow pride and get the tools. If you go to church talk to your pastor. many churches have family building groups and nothing is more positive than men of faith getting together shoulder to shoulder to face their problems. You cannot be broken when you build up a wall of support and information.

Love your wife. Rain love on her. No matter what emotion comes out of her you have never seen before step back and breathe before opening your mouth. You will never look better to your wife than when you listen, show you listen, and take the time to learn about your plight together. Never forget this is a we problem not a she problem. You are not alone brother and the infertility battle is an amazing opportunity to show the world what a real man is.

This is my third year writing a blog for this annual Resolve event. I will never forget where we were and how we felt. We are fortunate we had a child but I still see hurt in my wife eyes from time to time as she enters a new level of the infertility struggle. No matter where you are in your struggle you are not alone. You are important and you are loved. Below are links that will help you to better understand infertility. Please consider surfing the web for others personal stories.

In 2011 I wrote The Longest Love Letter. The E Book is the true story of our infertility journey. It leaves little to the imagination but is the most honest thing I have ever written. It is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

http://www.amazon.com/Longest-Love-Letter-Andy-Thornhill-ebook/dp/B004MYGAM2

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Infertility: You Are Not Alone the Aftermath

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Sometimes you get what you want and you would think all will be well but then you realize some ghosts just cannot be exorcised. This particular post is not your typical infertility blog. This blogger for those that do not know is a man and he blessed enough to have an IVF child with his wife. I have a great bit of respect for my infertility circle and understand the sensitivity of those reading a blog about the pains of infertility from a person lucky enough to already have a child but in infertility there are many stories and this is ours.

The common gripe you hear from those that suffer from infertility is being angry and or jealous of your friends when they are pregnant while you are trying to just get pregnant. It is an understandable human trait be frustrated when you can’t have what its seems everyone around you attains with ease. Why would infertility haunt you even after you have a child? I am an only child as is my wife. We both admit we never considered having siblings as kids but we both grew up in neighborhoods where kids our age were out at all hours. Just step outside and join the nearest group of kids and you did not have time to consider you were a single kid.

In 2015 most everyone is time starved. Both parents work in most households and in many cases the schedules are opposite of each other. Playdates have taken place of stepping outside and joining up with a group of neighborhood kids. Playdates are a mixed bag because not only does the date include the kids it includes parents that do not always know each other. Some people are comfortable with that (myself included) and others are understandably not. Finding a playdate family is nice but rarely is it a regular event. You may be like us and find yourself in a beautiful neighborhood with wonderful neighborhood and kids galore but schedules just don’t seem to line up and the kids sometimes only catch glimpses of each other when they are just going in for the night. The kids have schedules too. Kids do so many things these days from sports to arts to school activities. As a group we have taken our time starved adult lives and handed them down to our children with their own time starved schedules. What is the hell does this have to do with infertility?

When you are an only child you notice when your friends have siblings and siblings equal a play partner. Siblings equal that lifetime partner in crime and person you can share secrets with. The single child knows nothing of sibling rivalry or the politics of sibling civil war. They don’t see sharing toys, space, TV, and mommy and daddy. They only have the why: “Mommy and Daddy why don’t I have a brother or sister?”.

We were honest with our daughter. We explained in the best terms possible that we barely held on to her and that because of infertility issues she will be an only child. She gets it sometimes but then one of her friends has a sibling and is no longer an only kid and she realizes she is the only kid in a neighborhood full of kids that has her own room, playroom, ton of toys, but when it’s thirty minutes to bedtime she has no child to play with. She looks at Mommy with big eyes and innocently mentions that she is the only single kid. The infertility that my wife kicked the ass of over six years ago reaches out from its grave and crushes her. Now my wife does not feel the pain for her and I but our daughter too.

My wife understands everything. She understands she was fine as an only kid. She knows full well the fortune of having one child. She also knows our daughter is not trying to hurt her feelings when she tells her she wishes she had a sibling or there is no child for her to play with. My wife takes it all to heart. She is reminded of the feeling of being a failed woman and now it is compounded because she thinks herself a failed mom to boot. She went from failed woman to failed wife to failed mom and even though none of that is true the spectre of infertility has a way of making you believe lies. You hear new things from people when you talk about infertility that happens after a child is born. You hear that your life is great and you should feel lucky to have what you have but now you see the world through your childs eyes and admitting to them you are not able to give them something they want is painful. As the husband all you can do is console. You are a chained dog to infertility as the man. You would destroy anyone that hurt your wife but infertility is intangible so like a dog tethered to a tree all you can do is pull at the length of your chain and bark because you will never be able to bite.

I look for ways to console but they are fruitless. I sometimes find myself thinking I am intruding on others when set up playdates for my daughter. I worry when I think my little girl has not found her lifetime friend yet even though she is only six and all good things in time. She has great friends in the neighborhood and lifetime friends so far but eventually grade differences split kids apart, friends you only see every few months stay friends but the kids grow apart to at least some degree. Infertility reminds me that I will always be looking over my wifes shoulder to make sure it is not pulling her down. It reminds me that when you think it is no longer a factor in your life your child is sad because she doesn’t understand that the older kids move on and another can’t play because it is late and they are getting ready for that crazy schedule all kids seem to already have.

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At this stage infertility is a teaching moment. It causes you to step up your game as a parent. You learn to be more honest with your kid. You learn to find new ways to keep them occupied and work harder to make new friends at her school and her activities so maybe she finds a friend that will be the Thelma to her Louise. This is where you teach her to never give up on things and to find ways to not let the dark things in life crush your dreams, hopes, and self-confidence. Infertility never goes away but it does not have to win. Twenty years from now infertility could haunt her and even though she will have been well versed in all we told her about in the first two and a half decades of her life she will feel the same pains a person just discovering infertility feels. I hope she never knows that battle. She is not alone if it happens. She is not alone figuring out that single children are fine. She will never be without us next to her watching her grow and make friends. My wife too will never be alone because as long as a breath comes from my lips I will never let it win by taking her out emotionally.

This is my third year writing a blog for this annual Resolve event. I will never forget where we were and how we felt. We are fortunate we had a child but I still see hurt in my wife eyes from time to time as she enters a new level of the infertility struggle. No matter where you are in your struggle you are not alone. You are important and you are loved. Below are links that will help you to better understand infertility. Please consider surfing the web for others personal stories.

In 2011 I wrote The Longest Love Letter. The E Book is the true story of our infertility journey. It leaves little to the imagination but is the most honest thing I have ever written. It is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

http://www.amazon.com/Longest-Love-Letter-Andy-Thornhill-ebook/dp/B004MYGAM2

There Are So Many Levels: You Are Not Alone

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not-alone When you were a child you could not wait to be an adult. When you became an adult you could do all you wanted. You would make the calls in your life and no one was going to change that. You could do anything. If you wanted to be a fireman then dammit you could be a fireman. If you wanted to buy a house then all you had to do was pick one, any one. Life was going to be that simple. You would marry the girl you wanted and when you were ready you would have a child.  Some of the things you knew would happen as child happened. You got lucky and married an amazing women and after a while you try to have a child and that is where things get slippery. You have a low sperm count and she has endometriosis.

     It does not matter what the combination is of infertility bad luck because it sucks either way. You begin a long painful journey trying to navigate the unpredictable tides of a battle with infertility. There will be a long list of wonderful surprises and socks to the gut awaiting you. You will find yourself judged by people you never thought would judge you. People in their judgement will say thoughtless things. They may try to make light of the situation out their ignorance by saying that you get to enjoy sex more or they may even offer to “stand in” for you in the bedroom in a twisted vomiting of nervous words. A man will feel his machismo challenged and will sometimes bury his feelings to protect himself and seem stronger for the woman he loves. A man may very likely not start up a conversation with his boys over beer and a cornhole board about his inability to make his wife pregnant. That will be the unicorn of male conversations. A man will stand strong for his wife. He may not know what to say to her about his or her perceived “short-comings”. He will fight often for the right words to soothe. He will do small gestures to mask the events if but for a second. He may buy her flowers or ask her to have a date night. He will hope against all that is reasonable that maybe for a second she will forget about the emotional war at hand. Men truly are from Mars and women are from Venus but it doesn’t have to be that way.

     Women will take the full blow of this invisible pain in the heart called infertility. For a woman it will be a direct blow. She will need every bit of support and understanding to trudge through infertile waters. She is the vessel by which life finds its way to existence and she will feel as if that vessel has irreparable damage. She will feel like every eye that looks at her knows she is broken. The truth is she is not broken but you will not convince her otherwise. She will be the one that bares the pain of life loss and she will feel like she has let down the man she loves. She will feel alone and misunderstood. There will be a pile of information laid out before her by her doctors proving that she is not the first or last to deal with infertility but she will still feel like the rare unicorn in the room. The first and only. Her pain will be different in her heart. Her friends will unintentionally say inappropriate things to her about the problem at hand. She will get angry at things she would normally laugh at. She will cry. She will doubt herself. She may hate herself. Not a person will understand.  The world truly has dealt her a painful lowly blow.

      There is another couple out there too. There is the family that never seeks help. They either are afraid to face the battle or hear the words that lay out a long hard but negotiable path. They have the conversation with each other that is never discussed with anyone else. They don’t want to face the bitch of infertility. They may not want to face it because they don’t know what to do or where to go. They may just be afraid of the unknown. They may not be able to afford to start the journey and that is a double whammy. This family comes to all the parties but quietly walks away from the mildest conversation about children. This is the family that breaks my heart themes because they suffer silently and openly.

Yet another group is the one that had a kid. They got lucky through medically assisted conception but now their child is five or six and sees all her friends with siblings and can’t understand why they are an only child. The mother is deeply hurt and feels like they have let their child down. They are fully aware how lucky they are to have one child. They fought for years to get one but it still they want more for their miracle. She relives all the pain of infertility issues. 

    I am the father of an IVF child. I have seen all of the above families and have lived their pain. I have watched helplessly as my wife wrestled with infertility demons. Demons I could not exorcise. You are not alone in your pain. You are not alone in your confusion. You are not the first and surely not the last but if you brave the trail you may help others. Your story could bring light to someones darkness. One of our best weapons against the emotionally draining battle of infertility is each other and our experiences. We are stronger together. If you don’t feel comfortable talking just google infertility blogs and you will find so many stories that will closely match yours. This will not solve your infertility but sometimes knowing you are not a unicorn makes it e little easier to live with. We love you all and wish you the best. 

This is my third year writing a blog for this annual Resolve event. I will never forget where we were and how we felt. We are fortunate we had a child but I still see hurt in my wife eyes from time to time as she enters a new level of the infertility struggle. No matter where you are in your struggle you are not alone. You are important and you are loved. Below are links that will help you to better understand infertility. Please consider surfing the web for others personal stories.

In 2011 I wrote The Longest Love Letter. The E Book is the true story of our infertility journey. It leaves little to the imagination but is the most honest thing I have ever written. It is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

http://www.amazon.com/Longest-Love-Letter-Andy-Thornhill-ebook/dp/B004MYGAM2