Tag Archives: National Infertility Week

Infertility: The Healthy Fertile Man

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The world as we know it can be hard. There are worse bad hands to be dealt in life than infertility but when you want a child it is all you can think about. Infertility is one of those things that is almost a sick prank that life pulls on you. I am a man but I know that many women think of having their own children often. The truth is men do too. I can’t wait to take my kid to a baseball game. I can’t wait until the first time a guy shows up at my door to ask out my daughter and I give him the “stare down and talk”. I can’t wait to teach them to ride a bike, to…….wait I suffer from infertility? What if you do not suffer from infertility directly but your wife does? What if you are a studly baby making machine just waiting for your wife to produce the child you were blessed to be able to biologically produce but she cannot? What do you do?

You marry to be in love. You marry to have the support system to get you through all of life’s ups and downs. I have never once heard in marriage vows the part that says she will knock out a kid when directed to do so and if she can’t then she gets sent to the farm and the groom can move on. After all a bull has needs right? HORSEHIT!!! A man is defined by how he behaves when the chips are down. It is easy to be the “I pick things up and put them down guy” but it takes true testicular fortitude to love for better or worse. If a man wants to be a father and the love of his life may not be able to make this happen he needs to then show her why she married him. He needs to go out of his way to redirect their life. He needs to talk about options. He should make her know that this is simply a little bump and all they have to do is slow down and get over it together. If adoption is not the answer he should help to cultivate a life for them where they can hand in hand find other interests that they can share and make memories from. Maybe they do not have kids but they can travel the world or become more involved in church or other community activities. He should not let infertility be a stop sign in their life.

If his wife needs medical help for the possibility of childbirth then he needs to become a brick wall. When she is feeling beaten he should hold her up and never let her fall to her knees. He needs to remind her that she is not the first to walk this path and many have had children with persistence and medical help. He needs to arm himself with knowledge from the countless appointments she will go to. Let me clarify that last statement ….the countless appointments “THEY” will go to.The hardest thing I had to do when we went down our infertility road was from time to time be quiet and just let her let it out. I had a few times I had to walk away and let her have a moment but I always returned with a kiss and a gentle touch (for the record we were both contributors to our infertility). I can still remember my wife telling me I should find a woman who I deserved. A woman who could just knock that child out. Men can you imagine the emotion a woman must be carrying to make a statement like that? She loved me so much that she was willing to give up her own happiness so I could wander in another field for offspring. That was the hardest statement I ever heard. You need to know that it could be you boys. It could be you have no ammunition in the pea shooter. Would you want her to leave? Can you imagine how emasculated would feel if you could not produce what was needed to have a child? Would it be fair if she left?  Be the man she married. Be a man! Be the man!

Please share this post. Challenge men to be men if they are not. I love you all and I wish you the best on a journey that takes a lot out of you but is well worth it when you find what you are looking for.

INFERTILITY: THE SEASON OF HOPE

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We have a six-year-old child. Her name is Emma. That is not how most infertility entries start but sometimes it is fun to work a story from its end to its beginning. You ever seen a movie like that? Quentin Tarantino is the master of that. You know the end so how interesting could the events that led up to the conclusion hold my attention? HOPEfully this story will.

Rewind nearly five years before the birth of our child and my wife and I were about to have the ride of our life. We were at the beginning of an endless series of doctors’ appointments, needles, and a ton of pain. The infertile community will understand when I write how frustrating it can be listening to a friend innocently discussing how they are pregnant. It is even more confounding when they tell you how annoying the pregnancy is or how uncomfortable it is or how their spouse won’t touch them while they sport a baby bump. All I want to say is, “Bitch my wife just finished crying for a week and a half because we miscarried. Now she hates herself and there is nothing I can do to console her because in her head it is her fault and she is less of a woman. She thinks I should move on to another woman who can give me a child. She couldn’t be more wrong but I will never get her to understand that…” but instead I respond with, “Oh that’s stinks but it will be worth it in a few months”. You are supersensitive and self-destructive if you are a woman (in many cases) and emasculated as a man (in many cases) during infertility. I am a man but not a macho man. I am not the guy that will fight at the drop of a dime. Even though I was a cop I had few physical confrontations of note in the first 45 years of my life but I will defend my wife until I have not a breath to give. It is so hard to see your wife hurt and there is nothing you can do. The assailant is invisible and you can’t make them stop. Infertility is an invisible bully and it attacks you physically, emotionally, on the news, on your favorite sitcom, social media, at work, from your family, and so many other directions. Infertility is a hurricane that pounds you until it passes over you because you throw in the towel or you beat it.

The strength it takes to stand up to a bully is palpable. Infertility is no different. Families that take on this task and it is a task go through things that very few people will understand. Some will feel like they are on an island and the population is one. It is a difficult thing to explain because the emotions hit you when you least expect it and sometimes you do not feel yourself. I mean honestly who in their right mind is pissed at their cat for being pregnant and thinks the feline is flaunting it?…..an infertile person may feel that way. It takes a special soul and couple to step into the darkness of this unknown menagerie of appointments and scrutiny and get each other through it. If you cannot be an organized person that keeps doctors visits, medication schedule’s, and many other inflexible things straight you best find someone to help you stay on point. You have to be honest with yourself and do all you can from time to time to set your pride aside and ask for help from your spouse, friend, or other family member as needed. You will also need to “LET IT GO” from time to time and vent, cry, and maybe scream…..just don’t do it in line at the Wawa buying your coffee!!! Enough with the bad.

This entry is about HOPE. HOPE comes from many places. HOPE can be faith in God. HOPE can be faith in family and friends. HOPE can be faith in yourself and knowing that you will not be denied a child until all things have been tried, all calls have been made, second opinions have been heard, all angles have been viewed, all medicines that are safe to you have been tried, all voices are heard, all money you can afford has been exhausted, all support groups have been visited, all…well you get the picture. My HOPE came from my wife. She does not believe it but there is none stronger than her. There is none more determined than her. We ran the infertility gamut. We had miscarriages, a million doctor appointments, IVF, IUI, pokes, prods, a crap load of judgment, tears upon tears, and the list goes on. My wife sat in the floor of her pharmacy, in tears once, as she miscarried and there was nothing anyone could do. She even gave up once. I was relieved because I could not bear to see her in such pain but a few months later she decided that she and we were not done. She decided that that giving up was not the end she wanted. Reluctantly on my behalf we moved on. We went through another IVF. Every number that could go wrong went wrong. We only had two eggs to implant and they had poor grades. Two eggs but we had HOPE. In our case it was not faith in God it was just a good old fashioned Hail Mary hoping to reach the end zone where life as parents began. For us it was HOPE that luck will change. We became pregnant. We had no time to celebrate because only a week or two in my showed signs of a miscarry. We went to the fertility clinic and would not even look at each other. The nurse did an ultrasound and told us she had a heartbeat. It was the first time we heard the heartbeat of our child. There was a sub-chorionic bleed. My wife would be on bed rest for nearly eight months. She never complained. At one point she did not come down stairs for a couple of weeks. She would not lose hope. She would not quit. This thing was happening. We eventually picked up the nerve to get stuff for the babies room. The clerk at the store actually berated my wife for waiting so long. The woman needed a smack on the mouth but we walked away. Even after the pregnancy progressed there was judgment. Some of the other people she knew said they would have worked through it because “what’s going to happen is going to happen!!!”. These are insensitive jerks. She never lost hope. Even on the day our child was born we would have not been surprised that something would go wrong. On October 20, 2008 nothing notable went wrong.

HOPE got us through. Faith in each other was the fuel that allowed my wife, in the terms of one of her favorite movie “A Knights Tale” to tell the bully infertility that “You have been weighed, you have been measured, and you have been found wanting. In what world could you possibly beat me?”. I beg you to not give up HOPE. I ask that you hold your partner tight. Tell your partner everything in your heart and ask the same from them. Keep the conversation up as you beat this bully down. Even if the battle cannot be won you may have strengthened the bond with whoever you chose to spend your life with to the point that in no possible world could anyone break you emotionally. My wife and I understand and even after what seems an eternity ago I still feel the heat of the HOPE that she kept alive.

 

 

My Name is Andy Thornhill. I will always remember what happened that made my life feel closure. I wrote a book titled, “The Longest Love Letter” and it tells our families story. I have very good reason why I will never forget. Yes I saw the miracle of my daughters birth but what was nearly as impressive was the stength I saw in the woman I am lucky enough to call my wife. “The Longest Love Letter is available for the Kindle and Nook. Best of luck with your journey. 

Her Resolve Changed The World

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RESOLVE

Defined by Oxford Dictionary

1. Settle or find a solution to (a problem, dispute, or contentious matter)

2. Decide firmly on a course of action.

3. Firm determination to do something.

     Men often do not know how much they don’t know!!!

“Here’s all you have to know about men and women:

women are crazy, men are stupid. And the main reason

women are crazy is because men are stupid”

—George Carlin

     Infertility is invisible. Most people do not know they have an issue with it for years. Some people who suffer from infertility issues will never know they had them. The ones that never know could be oblivious or in denial. How do you wage war against an invisible enemy? You approach it like any other war by preparing a strong offensive collecting an army of support. You educate yourself about your enemy and try to beat it at its own game. You anticipate what your enemies move is and use what you have learned and with your allies support conquer it. The difference between this war and the all too common ones we see on the news is that winning this war brings you the satisfaction of fulfilling your dream of being a parent. To beat infertility you must have a great deal of RESOLVE.

     We started our infertility like many couples do. I figured it was just a matter of time and my wife knew something wasn’t quite right. From the beginning I was blind and my wife had intuition. After a few months my wife settled on a solution to solve our contentious matter. She scheduled us to go to the Jones Institute in Norfolk, Virginia. We met with a doctor who delicately laid out a plan to help us conceive. The idea that I would need help conceiving was a thought that never crossed my mind in the first 33 years of my life. I did not know how little I knew about fertility. My wife knew a little having a pharmaceutical back ground but my background was much more limited. I wanted a child and I wanted my wife happy but when it came to being able to solve our fertility mystery I was useless.

     RESOLVE at this stage came in the shape of my lovely and persistent wife. She refused to quit. Every time her body told her no she changed her tactics and faced infertility eye to eye . She listened intently to her doctor and I came to nearly all the appointments with her. We figured if both of us were at an appointment we would be less likely to miss something our clinic told us. My wife kept notes and was meticulously organized. In my wives normal life sometimes stressful situations could have unglued her but when it came to infertility she refused to let it break her down. There were moments when she found dark places. Miscarriages would shake her. She would sit on the floor and cry. She did not want anyone around and wanted to curl up and disappear but after a day or two she would pull herself up and with the iron jaw of a champion boxer she would prepare her self for  the next round of the fight. What her heart wanted outweighed any obstacles that infertility would put in her way. We had reached the end of the road where insurance was a monetary contributor. The battle had waged for nearly five years and after several cycles we threw in the towel. I thought to battle was done. The war was over after we went O-Fer in every battle. RESOLVE: firm determination to do something.

     My wife went back home to West Virginia a couple of times a year and was at the airport when she called me. She told me we were going to pay for a round of IVF. I was against the idea because I was concerned whether she could bounce back from another miscarriage that also cost us as much as $20,000. I had no choice in this decision. My wife was so sure of her course of action that she had already set the appointments in motion for the next cycle before calling me to tell me we were taking another shot at slaying our invisible antagonist. The IVF cycle worked and now the real fears would kick in. We were used to things breaking down. We never talked about it but we were going to be surprised by a delivery and probably not by a loss. She would be on bed rest for eight months. 10 to 15 minutes a day was all she was allowed on her feet. She never complained. We had several scares. The first time we saw our child’s heartbeat was at an appointment when we had reason to believe the pregnancy had failed. RESOLVE was all my wife had. She refused to give in. She refused to make a mistake and she had the tenacity of a Lioness protecting her young. On October 20, 2008 our daughter was born in Norfolk, Virginia. Our story was over. The invisible antagonist was weighed, measured, and found wanting. (my wife loves a Knights Tale) The story could have ended there but it did not.

     During the first year of my daughter’s life I wrote a book. The book was a love letter to my daughter. It illustrated in great detail nearly every step of the battle and ended with her birth. I wanted my daughter to know her story and if I waited 20 years to tell it to her I would have forgotten some of the emotions and details. When The Longest Love Letter was near completion I realized it was actually a love letter to my wife. My wife had changed my world. My wife gave me the greatest gift. She showed me the greatest vote of confidence when she chose me to raise a child with her. I made a decision at that time to write about infertility and living with infertility at every chance I could. I wanted others to know it can be beat. I wanted to comfort those in their dark battle. My wife takes it even further.

    My wife jumped in head first to every Facebook Infertility Support site she could find. She uses her knowledge and experience to help others. She became friends with many of these other women in various stages of their journey. It would be easy for her to put the past behind her but she remembers the thoughts that kept her up at night. She did not have support groups but wishes she did. It is easier to get through dark places when  others will be your light. My wife is a lighthouse for those that are lost in their journey and need an ear to listen to them. She is a voice that will tell them that while it may hurt like hell it will be okay. She is willing to help them find their RESOLVE!!!!

    Couples please do not give in. Find your RESOLVE. Find you course and commit to it. Don’t be afraid to hear a strangers story and maybe take their hand if they offer it. RESOLVE to not let the battle take away the essence of the one thing you are trying to create life. You can do this and you are not alone.

If you want to know more about Infertility please go to these links at Resolve.org

http://www.resolve.org/infertility-overview/what-is-infertility/

http://www.resolve.org/national-infertility-awareness-week/about.html

What If Your Partner Leaves You On The Field

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Pat Benatar sang that “Love Is A Battlefield”. I wonder if she meant that love was a battlefield because of the wars you will have with the one you love or if she meant something a little deeper. I like to think that love is a battlefield because any person or problem that faces the one I love and I will be left gasping for its last breath on the battlefield where, as a unit, we will defeat them. Today I read a passage on the Resolve Facebook feed that infuriated me. Generally I do not spend much time reading feeds. My wife could post on her page that we won the lottery and she cannot wait for me to get home and I would not see it unless she tagged me to it or it happened to be on top of the news feed. Sometimes I do scroll through the feeds looking for something to make me smile or maybe a random update from someone on my friends list. Today I ran across a comment from someone I do not know whose story was posted directly by Resolve. The post (and I am greatly paraphrasing) told us about a woman who had tried to have a baby with her husband for a couple of years through medically assisted fertility treatments. She received the news that everyone in the infertile community clamors for “you’re pregnant”. This should be where the good stuff happens but evidently not. Her husband was leaving her for someone else. My brain explodes in anger (for the husband) at the same time my heart broke for the lady in the Resolve feed.

For those who have not read my blog before or may not know me please let me give you my résumé on this subject. I am married for the second time after a bad first marriage. I met my present wife well after my divorce. My present and last wife and I have had plenty to deal with as a couple. We have dealt with nothing that many other couples have not faced and nothing that is worse than the next couple. We have not dealt infidelity and by the grace of whatever we may believe in I doubt we ever will. I should say I know we never will but if the Bachelors Juan Pablo popped up I am in trouble. We have dealt with infertility, loss of baby, and finally successful IVF. I am also a man. I am not the tough guy macho man. I am sensitive but I have my limits too. I have been cheated on but have not cheated. I will not pretend that I will not take a second to notice a pretty girl in a room but I fully expect my wife to notice a man and we have discussed attractive people on both sides often. There is a line to noticing politely and being the creepy person in the corner. Now let my diatribe begin.

When you fall in love and marry it is not disposable. Marriage is sacred and not because of faith-based reasons. Marriage is sacred because it is a promise. You promise yourself, the one you love, your friends, and both of your families that come hell or high water we will get through life together. Nothing that man or life can throw at us will tear us apart. If you fold under pressure and leave your partner on loves battlefield you are not a man. You are not human and quite frankly if you fold because “you can’t take it” then every woman who sees you from the day you fold on should also get an e-mail that says, “While he may be handsome he will leave you when times are hard. Before taking a date with this man share this information with everyone in your inner circle so the one that you are most likely to listen to in life will tell you to not even give him the time of day”. I am a realist. I do think that sometimes what was shiny and brilliant sometimes loses its luster. Sometimes things do not work out but before you throw in the towel did you try every avenue to be sure it isn’t just a relationship bump?

Infertility will try even the strongest of couples. I still remember my wife telling me at one point that she would not blame me for seeking out another woman who could give me a child when we went through our journey. To this day I cannot believe that statement but I understand that her love for me and the disappointment she felt in herself because of our struggles to conceive made her feel that way. The truth is we both contributed to our infertility but moreover we both were in the struggle. I have read many women make the same statement my wife did to me but I don’t think I have ever heard a man say it. There is no greater love than the love where one will sacrifice anything for another but that does not mean you take the “get out of infertility jail pass”. When a couple tackles infertility it will shake them but a good man will see past the tears, the loss, the insecurities and find a way to bring relief to the woman they love. The relief is often no more than just saying I love you, kissing them, holding their hands and saying nothing. Let’s face it, when it comes to the bumps in the road infertility brings sometimes the best support is just making sure they know you are there. If a man falls out of love during the infertility process he is weak and is only looking to escape what he is not man enough to face up to.  He is selfish because he cannot keep a promise and went down a path with you he probably knew in his heart of hearts he could not handle and when he found a woman who would support his weakness he left. It takes a strong couple to handle marriage much less infertility and my heart breaks for this woman because I am sure she felt they were this strong couple but it seems the strong one was her. So what does she do? She is pregnant and her other half has left. I suggest that your other half is the child you carry. You may still have a tough road ahead. For infertile couples the battle is not won when you are told you are pregnant because too many couples still have problems carrying the infant to birth. My wife had nearly eight months of bed rest and could only get out of bed to use the bathroom at several points in the pregnancy. Notice I said “couples” have problem getting the infant to full term. It will be hard but do all you can to focus on yourself and your child. Even if he thinks he made a mistake later you do not need extra pressure added by him. If he bailed on this be would bail on something else. Build up a fortress of support from friends and family. Try to not get caught up in the hideousness of his act and know that you have a blessing to care for. I truly wish you the best.

Love is all that matters. When you get married is it not for love? The same can be said for couples trying to have a child. Having a child should be about love. I am not making light of the families that are fortunate enough to build families without infertility issues but the couples that have children after infertility battles have a different view. We do not love our children more than couples that had children without issue but there is an extra glow to it and in some cases a maybe a bit more appreciation. I truly and fully intend no insult with this. It’s not more appreciation for the child as much as it is more appreciation for conceiving successfully. Not every couple is the same and every word of my above diatribe is simply opinion but love must come first.

When you enter into medically assisted processes to have a child it is very important to be supportive. Even if everything seems okay it is not a bad idea from time to time to ask your partner how they are feeling. Let them know if you feel less of a man or woman. Let them know that it bothers you when friends and family ask:

“When are you going to have a child?”

“At least you get to have a ton of sex?”

“Mary is pregnant. Todd and Amy are pregnant. The dog’s pregnant”

“I want you to come to my baby shower.”

“Just relax it will happen.”

“It’s Gods will.”

“If you need help I’ll volunteer to take Teds place.”

The more you share then the less likely a buried emotion fester into an argument that could have been avoided. I do not for a moment say any of these things happened to the muse of this blog but they are just things that help.  I learned from my wife that women are the strongest of creatures and in many ways stronger than men but even the strongest of us have insecurities. I wish you all the best. I hope you all get what you are looking for in your journey and most of all love each other.

Love is a battlefield. The best way to win a battle is a solid yet flexible plan, communication and trust.

Join The Movement: Why Is This Man Here?

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I never gave my fertility a thought until my mid thirties. I had no reason to think about it. I am a man and dammit we just don’t consider those things. In my twenties it simply was not on my mind but then I got married to a woman I wanted to have a child with. I had long thought of being a father. I had the dream of watching my son score the touchdown at the big game. When it came to having a baby I knew exactly nothing. I truly thought it was just a matter of making love and then letting the magic of birth follow. Stupid boy!!!

We tried for a little more than a year to have a baby and the spark just never took to flame until  a phone call broke the silence. My wife called me at work to say we were pregnant. I was like a thoroughbred at the gates of the Kentucky Derby just gnawing at the bit to tell everyone the great news and I did. A week later we lost the baby. It was a sobering experience. My wife immediately knew we needed to see a fertility doctor. I had been a police officer for many years. I handled the most stressful of situations for a career but now I had the big invisible monster at my front door and I did not have a clue how to handle it.  I was about to be introduced to the world of infertility and all of its pains.

My wife and I went a route that the infertile community will relate to. We started out at a fertility clinic that was well thought of in our state. The results of our visits were a mixed bag. We saw multiple doctors and nurses during the same cycle. I learned to get comfortable with gynecological type visits with my wife. I was given a one minute course on giving my wife shots. They drew circles on her buttocks as a target just in case I forgot. We did many IUI cycles and had the same result every time. My wife is a pharmacist. Anyone that has done a cycle will tell you that your schedule must be flexible sometimes and you best be very organized. During one cycle we had to take an appointment on a Saturday morning before she was scheduled to open her pharmacy. In her job business cannot begin or even open until she is there. We were promised ;by the doctor, that they would get her out in time for week. There were probably a half-dozen couples at the fertility clinic for the same tests my wife had to do. They lined us up and ran us through the stations. First she had to be weighed and have vitals taken, and then she had to urinate, and then wait to have a blood draw. At the blood draw we had a bottle neck. We waited and waited and then finally I heard a doctor tell someone he could have his wife come in to draw blood. The nurse that  was suppose to draw blood was absent and the doctors were not willing or able to draw blood. I was stunned to be  in a doctor’s office with doctors and no one could draw blood. Just when were about to be forced with either blowing a cycle or losing a job due to a no show a nurse finally showed up.  We were done with this clinic and went to another one in town. We had blown a couple of years at the first one.

When we went to the next clinic we felt better about how they wanted us to move forward. They were much more personal and the two years we were there we saw the same doctor and nurses. The doctor immediately suggested an IVF. We started the process of an IVF and were thankful that our insurance covered a one time shot at this procedure. The IVF failed and we gave in. There was only so much I could watch my wife do. I hated to see her so let down. My wife is a smart woman because she does not listen to me. A few months later she told me that we were doing another IVF. Shut up and do your part I was symbolically told. I still wanted a child with my wife but I did not want to see her hurt. The IVF beat nearly every odd there was. My wife was on bed rest for nearly eight months. A dear friend died during the pregnancy that by itself could have emotionally caused us to lose the baby but in the end our daughter Emma was born.

During our journey my wife suffered a miscarriage at work where she was sitting on the floor of her pharmacy in tears and bleeding, we had more failures than I can remember, we thought we had lost our daughter several times, my wife overcame a fear of needles (sort of), my wife hated herself and anyone else who was pregnant, friends challenged our decisions and even accused us of blasphemy before God, and a million other horrors great and small that will sound very familiar to most. I tried to be the strong man. I stood by my wife because that is what a man does. I cried when she was not there for her and me.

When we walked our journey we were never informed about communities online or on Facebook or Myspace or WordPress of people who were sharing their experiences. My wife spent months sitting in her bed alone without being able to go outside and take a walk. During her pregnancy she was allowed to go to horse race, catch one stand up comedy act, and one art show. The rest of her other time was spent feeling every single noise or ache her body made and wondering whether the other shoe was going to drop. Even the day my daughter was born were prepared for failure. I decided that the adventure I shared with my wife needed to be documented for my daughter. I wanted my daughter to understand how hard her mother fought to give her life and if she had fertility issues she could have a first hand manual that illustrated that anything is possible. I wrote a book I called “The Longest Love Letter”. The story is the entire journey from beginning to end and no detail is spared. In the book I also share with my daughter things that show how imperfect I am. I wanted her to know all. When I got to the end of the book I realized The Longest Love Letter was truly a love letter to my amazing wife. The story is the greatest testament to how strong women are. It is a blueprint for what I hope my daughter grows up to be. I am very proud of the book. It is a common story that many couples share but most people are not aware of.

I do not consider myself an author. I wrote our true experiences in the rawest form possible. I decided to publish the book in an E-Book format through Amazon and Kindle. I created a Facebook page for the book and it was then that I discovered these amazing sites like Attain Fertility and Resolve. I was amazed by the raw emotion shared on these pages. I then discovered blogs written by mostly women that told of their painful stories. Many of these journeys are still unresolved. I found hundreds of women that sounded like my wife. I so wish that she had these pages when she was pregnant. I found a community that also had few people who had successfully navigated the process. I decided to create a blog just for families that are fighting infertility today. I would be taking for granted my personal story if I did not somehow give back. My blog “Sunshine Dreams and Hopes” was born. I am careful to not talk about our successes as much as let people know you are not alone and your dream can be realized. Shortly after the blog was created I opened up a Facebook page called “Infertility News You Can Use”. I try to sprinkle it with news stories I find and blogs written by incredibly talented writers going through the journey of a lifetime. I have been contacted by people from all over the world between these different pages and I am always humbled that people read and like and take in what I write. If I could I would change everyone’s story to a happy ending. I know I have a gift in my wife and in my daughter but not every woman believes in themself and not every man takes the time to examine the totality of the infertile journey. As I write and share stories I also remind myself that I am the luckiest of men. I hope my daughter notices and one day finds something in her life that she wants to help make right.  I love you all and I hope if you read my words you will take what you like or need and leave the rest. I hope you find a way to laugh but most of all I want you to love each other because in the end that is the strongest weapon you have.

Facebook Page for “The Longest Love Letter”

http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Longest-Love-Letter-EBOOK/193438320685453

Facebook Page for “Infertility News You Can Use”

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Infertility-News-You-Can-Use/168649429917070

Personal Home Page for Andy Thornhill

http://www.facebook.com/andy.thornhill.5

Infertility: Don’t ignore your feelings men…..

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Men don’t ignore your feelings. Infertility for a male is just as personal as it is to a women but the difference is that men are more often likely to not face their feelings or their fears. In everyday life men can struggle with their ego. Not all but many men are very defensive if they think any aspect of their manhood is being challenged.  When men become defensive they can be difficult and in some cases confrontational. Stereotypes are sometimes stereotypes because they are well-earned. Every woman who reads this blog knows at least one bullhead stereotypical not in my emotional backyard man. There is nothing wrong with this man but if you are that man the sooner you take steps to open up and explore infertility issues and its options the happier and emotionally healthier you will be. When my wife and I began our journey I felt so much better and at ease when I realized that infertility has no prejudice. Any man can have a fertility issue whether they are young, old, big, or small. In most cases you cannot prevent your infertility problem anymore that you can predict and stop an earthquake. Diet and health habits may contribute to fertility issues but it is just as possible that you were born with it just like that unsightly mole on your face. Men you may think to yourself that people may be able to see that mole but they won’t see my fertility issue. I can keep that a secret you may tell yourself. This is simply not true. Your girlfriend or wife can see it. She knows when something is wrong and that builds tension. It creates huge problems from nothing and can sometimes dissolve a marriage.

You may want to consider that the first fertility visit you make to discuss your reproductive health is a solo trip. Make sure your spouse or girlfriend is aware you are going but a solo visit to the doctor may be helpful. If you are one on one with a doctor you may ask more questions. If you feel more comfortable with a male doctor it is not sexist to make that first visit to a male doctor. If a man does not want to discuss his fertility fears with his wife he may open up to a male physician. Wanting a male doctor is no different from the woman who prefers a female gynecologist. Don’t just choose the first male doctor at random if you go this route. Make sure you have done some research on the doctor before going.  When you go to the doctor lay it all out on the table. The conversation may not be comfortable. If you are asked to give a seminal sample it can be awkward. As a boy when you discovered yourself if was fun and casual and your secret but to do it in a medical environment is different. Most Facilities give you a choice of doing it (manually producing a seminal sample) at home and bringing it in to the clinic or providing you with a room at the clinic to produce a sample. There are pros and cons. If you do it at home you are against a clock to get the sample to the doctor. I took this route once. It was strange to be sitting at my desk at work and realizing it is time to go home and produce a sample in a cup. When I was taking the sample to the doctor all I could think of is what if I get in a wreck and the medics look inside my little brown lunch bag. What would they think? When I went in the doctor’s office I felt like everyone was staring at my brown bag. I have a sense of humor that laughed all that off but if I think of these things so may the next man. If you produce a sample at a doctor’s office you need to be able to relax. You may hear the sounds of the office while in your private room. Many facilities give “Inspiration” in the form of videos and magazines. Be ready to see these things. I will never forget an attractive young nurse walking me back to my private room and saying, “Let’s knock this out”.  To this day I kick myself for not responding to that innocent remark. It is all harmless and it is all normal. If you think you feel awkward at this point in the game I strongly suggest going to one of your wife’s appointments. When you see firsthand what women submit themself to in a regular visit you will realize what you have to do early in the fertility journey is blue comedy at best, that is why I make light of the male aspect up to this point. Ask your doctor every question you can think of. Ask him if it is common if you have a problem. Commonality can make you feel less like you are on the Island of Misfit Toys. It is not a bad idea to take notes. Once you get home, from the doctors visit, share your information with your female companion. The more you share the easier it will be to move forward. The more you share the closer you become and a close-knit couple can kick the living hell out of infertility because they are fully informed and as comfortable with the process as they can be.

Once you have had your visit and have come to terms with the good or bad news you get you have to make sure to not ignore your companion’s feelings. If by chance the partner with the medical reason that is most contributing to infertility is the woman you have to remember this. A woman may feel like less of a woman if she cannot conceive and carry a child. Some women will view this as making them less of a person, less of a woman. At one point in time in my journey my wife said she would not blame me if I decided to divorce her for a model that she perceived as not being broken. I found this laughable and appalling but she meant it. Can you imagine that kind of low? How would you feel if your wife’s esteem sunk to a level where they felt the need to say that? I tell you this because once you decide to not ignore your feelings toward your personal male fears toward infertility you need to prepare yourself to help your wife be strong. If you have a medical issue that is contributing to conception issues you need to put on the brave face and heart so she does not have more worries. This does not mean that you clam up but quite the opposite. Doing your best to be optimistic can be infectious and can make it a little easier to get her to be an optimist that the journey will have an amazing ending. Men do not forget your feelings or her feelings. This is the most challenging times most couples face and it is your time to step up and be the man she fell in love with. Being strong does not mean being quite and sucking it up like a man. Being strong is pressing through your fears and ego to get all the knowledge you can to give your companion and you the best opportunity to become parents. Best of luck and don’t forget ladies and gentlemen you are amazing just to take the challenge.

Please check these links for information on infertility.

http://www.resolve.org/infertility-overview/what-is-infertility/

http://www.resolve.org/national-infertility-awareness-week/about.html

About the blogger:

My name is Andy Thornhill and I have also written an Ebook on my family’s journey called “The Longest Love Letter”. It is available for the Kindle and Nook. Please feel free to contact me through this blog page or on Infertility News You Can Use on Facebook.