Tag Archives: Emotion

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

Infertility: Giving In

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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.