Tag Archives: pregnancy

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.

What If Your Partner Leaves You On The Field

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Broken Heart photo: heart glass and broken broken.jpg

 

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.

Talking To Myself Again

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If I were able to talk to my twenty-one year old self my younger self would tell my present self to get on my Back To The Future care and go to hell. My younger self would not believe the things my older self would experience. I would be either way to cool to have gone down future self’s road or I just would have not believe that “IT” could happen to me. Hey younger self could make any girl he wanted to get pregnant in less than two minutes of serious love-making. Yes older self is telling on younger self and quite frankly older self “two minutes” but at least it would be “serious”. When it comes to either of my self’s you take the old you take the bad and….what is the rest of that sitcoms jingle anyway. Facts of Life theme song aside, my younger self would be blown away at the things he would do down the road.

A twenty-one year of age strapping young man such as my younger self would have never and I mean ever gone with a girl to her gyno appointment. Younger self could certainly not have dealt with a man tinkering with his girls undercarriage right in from of him. Younger me would tell you that there may be a third person in the room but it would have been a second girl….he only wishes. Younger me would have never admitted to anything but the highest of sperm counts. He would tell you he had a count that was so high that it mystified doctors. My older self would be so very disappointed in the way his crows feet free self viewed a woman’s part in having a child. He would have told younger self to be sensitive to his significant others feelings when she said she felt less than a woman because of the difficulties they were having in conceiving. He would make sure younger self did not blow off her feelings with a “suck it up attitude”. Younger self may have left a woman who couldn’t “get the job done” in his eyes. Younger self could be a real asshole.

Older self is educated to infertility norms. Older self recognizes that it is not unusual to get angry at friends when they are pregnant and that he should not judge his wife for feeling such anger. He gets that she will be more sensitive. Older self gets that he will feel less a man because there is nothing he can do to make her feel better. Younger self would tell you that not only could he keep his girl feeling happy and secure but if he could not (and he would never admit he could not) he would simply trade her in for a less bitchy model. Younger self would not talk about his short comings in a blog if a such thing even existed then.

Infertility Awareness makes a man out of you. It makes you aware of others feelings. It forces you to listen and to come to grips with what you do not know. It teaches you patience and to understand the facts of your infertility but to fight them with every tool and practice medically assisted conception has to offer. Yes my younger self may have been a jerk but with the power of an amazing woman as a partner, a good fertility clinic, and love he became a better person and eventually a father. I hate to admit it but infertility taught me what should not be taken for granted.

What would you say to your younger self about your infertility?

Infertility: It’s Harder For the Man!!!

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WARNING

THIS BLOG ENTRY IS WRITTEN TONGUE AND CHEEK. SOME PORTIONS ARE WRITTEN IN A SARCASTIC MANNER THAT IS NOT MEANT TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY BUT RATHER TO ILLUSTRATE SOME OF THE MUNDANE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE PERSONAL AND MEDICAL EXPERIENCES SOME COUPLES ENDURE WITH THE MEDICALLY ASSISTED CONCEPTION METHODS OFTEN PRACTICED TODAY. IF YOU FIND NO SENSE OF HUMOR AT ALL IN THE INFERTILITY JOURNEY YOU MAY WANT TO STOP READING HOWEVER IF YOU HAVE FOUND WAYS TO LAUGH FROM TIME TO TIME AT THIS HORRIBLE EXPERIENCE READ ON……..

It has been nearly nine years since my wife and I began a very emotional journey to have a child. I do not know what I expected of the experience before it began. I simply do not believe I gave it a thought. I think I pretty well went into it blindly thinking we would follow the doctors directions and in no time at all would be parents. I also thought my wife and I only had to cut off the birth control to have a baby naturally. I am not a caveman but when it came to the statistics, commonality, and knowledge of infertility my butt had not even seen the invention of the wheel yet. Our experience began at the Jones Institute in Norfolk, Virginia. We never had the success we yearned for there but they are a wonderful institution. I can remember our first meeting with a doctor there. I was sitting next to my wife as the doctor used word after word that meant nothing to my ears and brain. I am not a dumb man (I like to believe this anyway) but big medical words are pig Latin gibberish to me. My wife, however, is a pharmacist and could dumb down the conversation for me. By using monosyllabic words and shadow puppets she made cave-brain understand what was thought to be wrong and how we were planning to treat it. I decided early on that I wanted to be completely involved in every aspect of the journey so I attended my wife’s first gynecological visit.

When we arrived for the appointment I was confronted with the make egos worst nightmare, a good-looking, young, nice make doctor. Whether it was true or not this guy was “Mcdreamy” in my memory and his looks were only the beginning of my egos assault. The doctor was explaining what he could about the tests that my wife had taken and what he knew about her history and afterwards he began to conduct a physical evaluation. I had not really thought too much about the fact that I was going to be in the room while Mcdreamy was going to “explore” my wife. I got a little antsy as her feet went into the stirrups and he went in for an evaluation. What was I thinking by coming to this visit?!?!? As soon as I got all “guy goofy” I began to get into it….not in a dirty way. The doctor was explaining to me everything he was doing and suddenly I was fascinated with how crazy amazing the female reproductive system is. The idea that a woman’s body can take the seminal fluid a man produces and turn it into a child blows my mind. Of course I knew the capabilities of a female reproductive system before that day but I had never really been confronted with accepting how incredible the concept is. A woman can make a child in nine months and most men have “house projects” that are five years in the making. I had gone somewhere a man rarely goes, the lady doctor room but I was a better man for it.

Another place where men suffer great humiliation is when they are expected to admit they know how to do something that they would never talk about and that would be masturbation. My first experiences with this strange aspect of assisted conception was educational but before I tell that story I need to tell another one. When we started out at the Jones I was working with a guy who was unique to say the least. He looked like a heavy weight version of Herman Munster. He was a great guy but he was different. His son worked at the Jones and he would tell me stories about the room I was going to go into to produce my “sample”. The description was a complete horror show to this germaphobe. Now I turn the story back to my first medically self-loving experience. I get to the Jones and when I approach the medical personnel that is going to guide me through the procedure and it is the spitting image of my Herman Munster friend it is in fact his son. It is very strange being given directions on such a simple act. It did not go like this but it sort of felt like this.

“Mr. T when you go into the room there will be supplies to help you with your pervy little task. (I hate when they use the word little) There will be nudie books ( I am not touching those, how many times are the used a day) and even a video (like I really want Herman Munster to hear that through the door) if that is your preferred method of reaching the desired result. There is also a convenient stand for you to place your supplies so you can get two hands fully into the action even though it is doubtful you will need two hands. Even though your sick little ass already knows what you are doing in there this is still a medical function so you need to follow a couple of rules. You need to wash your hands before the event and damn sure wash them afterwards because I don’t want your little swimmers anywhere except inside my bullet proof specimen cup. Speaking of the cup, do yourself a favor and have it open before you start your sprint to embarrassment. Get all of your stuff in the cup and not on the floors or walls. I will be out here waiting for you just outside the door with a stop watch and killing the next couple minutes on my cell phone talking to my friends about you. When this is done do not look me in the eyes. I will processing your stuff to get the dumb, broken ones out since your are not capable of a healthy batch of specimen. Now have at it…..”

These are the words this guy heard but that is just the beginning of your emasculation. You will return to your wife and say nothing about what you just did in the private room unless you are me and I shared every twisted detail with my wife. While we wait for Herman to do his part I can share other funny and odd things that occur around this event. The event I am describing was my first medical attempt but there would be several more. We did not stay at the Jones and when we went to New Hope I decided I would try to do it at home and bring the evidence to them. The problem with this method is you are given a time frame to get things to the doctor. It is a lunch hour you will not forget. Once you finish you get in your car  in a “thirty minutes or the pizza is free style” you rush to your doctor where you will sit on the waiting room with a brown bag of embarrassment. When I finally gave the bag to the lady at the desk I swear she smirked at me and told me you really have more time than we give you but we want to make sure we get it quickly. Can you imagine getting in a car wreck and being knocked unconscience only for the cops to find that in your car? The very last time I had to go through the procedure I was sitting with my mother in law when my name was called. While I was walking away from her I turned around and told her I wanted to take her in before the event. I love her but now she has to live with that thought.  The nurse actually told me before I went into the room “lets knock this out”….she was cute and I was wondering if there was a new method I was not aware of. When I went in that room they had a boom box to drown out your racket. What CD was in the player you may ask? It was “Eye of the Tiger” of course (true story). I always wanted to be a screamer in that room to give them something to talk about but I never picked up the nerve. I return us back to the first time and the waiting room. When the specimen is processed you get escorted to a room with your wife. A doctor comes in with a strange apparatus that has a small tube hanging off the end of it. They put your specimen in the apparatus and then Doctor McDreamy goes in to “place” the specimen where your dysfunctional self cannot. He is hitting her baby spot right in front of you. Of course what he is really doing is place the specimen in the place it needs to be to give you a chance at parenthood. I do love Doctor McDreamy’s efforts. Once the doctor leaves you and your wife have to hang out in the room while things settle. What do you talk about after this kind of evening? Survivor? It’s hard being a man!!!!!

Everything I wrote is true and my experience but let me make something crystal clear for you. The woman has is twenty times harder than the average man when it comes to medically assisted conception. The mans ego may take a hit and he will be challenged as he watches the specter of infertility kick your ass while he is helpless to defend you. I will take the masturbation experience over multiple people poking you with a speculum and judging your fertility over the course of several years. Many women view their fertility as a core tenet of their womanhood and feel less of a woman when it is a struggle to get pregnant. That last statement kills me. My wife is my hero. We were lucky and after many years had a baby. Women make life move forward. Women make life worth living. Women bring balance to life and my wife is the very air I breath. Any man who thinks he has it hard to do the things I illustrate above (okay thankfully there were no drawings) is not worth his salt. I hope you all reach your dream and believe me it is not impossible. I cannot tell you how many false starts we had and how many disappointments we suffered. For all of our pain, prior to a successful IVF cycle, there are couples that had it a million times worse. Stay strong, love each other, and keep the flames of hope alive. Having a sense of humor from time to time helps.

I wrote a book about our experiences called “The Longest Love Letter”. I discovered that writing is an excellent way to clear your head and share your experience. By sharing your experience I think it makes a community that feels isolated from time to time feel smaller and closer. If you get the chance google blogs on infertility and you will find out how not alone you are. “Where The Bleep Is Our Stork” is a great place to start. The author ,Theresa ,is heroically open and bold in her entries. She will make you laugh and cry but most of it will seem so very familiar. Infertility is not the end of a dream, my friends, it is simply a roadblock that you can clear. Like most things worth having sometimes you have to fight for them. I truly love you all and wish you the best. Please feel free to ask me and my wife questions if you like. My wife is brilliant and not only has she walked in most of your steps she is a pharmacist and can give advice on meds.  I posted links below for you to use as needed.

Where The Bleep Is Our Stork

http://wherethebleepisourstork.blogspot.com

Andy Thornhill Facebook (warning for those sensitive to the matter my page has many pictures of my daughter, my wife can be contacted through me here by private message)

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

“The Longest Love Letter” can be found as an E-Book on Barnes and Noble and Kindle

Infertility: Don’t Believe The Hype!!!

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There was a time we had a god for everything. There were gods of thunder, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and even goddesses of fertility. The time frame where the belief of these gods existing is sometimes called the time of myths.  We still have myths today when it comes to infertility. The myths run the gambit of God just don’t want you to be a parent to if you watch The Gangnam Style YouTube video on a Sunday while eating hard-boiled eggs in a tutu you will be stricken with infertility. Do not believe all the myths.

One myth is that infertility is the problem of people thirty and up. Twenty year olds can go at it like rabbits at a carrot convention and knock out babies left and right. This is simply not true. One of the greatest surprises I had when I went to the fertility clinics with my wife was that there were so many twenty-something  couples there.  If you are in your twenties and have tried for a while to have a baby without much success you may want to see your doctor and make sure there is nothing that is causing the problem.  Depending on what website study you read infertility affects 7 to 10% of people at childbearing age. That is over 7 million people. Do you still feel alone in your journey?

We all know that all child issues are women’s issues. A women’s ability to get pregnant is all up to her. If you have had problems getting pregnant then you need to carry your lovely bride to the doctor because dammit it is a she problem…..wrong it is a “we” problem. Most studies show that the party that has the infertility issue is pretty much a draw between men and women.  When my wife and I had our journey we both had issues contributing to our problem. It is not fair to ever call someone the blame of infertility. It is very important to be supportive and caring for your partner if a problem arises. Men can have egos the size of Texas and some women spend a lifetime dealing with public perception issues. Infertility can make those fears grow to self loathing proportions. It will not make all the pain go away but make sure you remind your partner that infertility is not uncommon, is often treatable, and does not make them lesser a man or woman.  Nothing in a relationship should ever be a he or she issue and infertility is the same.  Support each other and you may be surprised at what you accomplish.

While we are on the subject of public perception, have you heard the story that a woman with a little baby fat will never get pregnant?  All we hear is how obese our country has become. Unfortunately our nation fights a weight issue (as well as this blogger) but if weight were the only reason preventing people from getting pregnant our country will be extinct in a couple of generations because us people of size are not capable of having kids. We should all strive to be healthy and reduce our body fat index but the fact is that most women with a BMI between 20 and 25% have no fertility issues. If you lose weight do it for you.  If you lose weight for any other reason you very well will have limited success or put your weight back on. Loving yourself is not a sin. I am not suggesting to not worry about your weight because it does not matter I am only expressing the truth that a person with meat on their bones can have a baby. You should consider that if you get pregnant and are already heavy that the added weight you gain during pregnancy will enhance present back issues and can affect delivery. If you can get healthier do so for yourself but don’t let anyone convince you that you cannot get pregnant.

God hates you buy the way. God decided a long time ago that you should not have a baby. He was so sure that you should not have a baby that he shared it with your work mates, friends, and family. He wanted to make sure that from time to time one of them would say to you that maybe God does not think you should be a parent. Of course God told this banana head His intentions and they were sharing them with you because well you should know. Faith is good and powerful. I had a friend tell me that maybe God did not want me to reproduce. He was not kidding. He meant it. Do you really think God is so self-absorbed that He creates drama for his entertainment? No!!! or at least I doubt it. When someone uses faith as the reason you are not pregnant they are small and hiding behind something that makes them feel better and superior. No matter your chosen god or faith make sure that you use it to help and support you and not to make others hurt you with it. For anyone to assume what someone’s god thinks of them is ridiculous.

There are many myths out there my friends. We live in a society where news and myths are quickly spread because of the internet, satellites beaming news everywhere instantly, and too many so called experts. I took the infertility journey with my wife but I am only an expert on what happened to us. Listen to your doctors. Arm yourself with good information that has facts to back it up. Don’t allow yourself to be discouraged by a friend who heard a story from another friend about a couple on the internet that could not conceive for some ridiculous reason.  If you are the person that watches drug commercials on TV and after hearing the some of the effects of a sickness you automatically assume you have it you may want to be wary of the internet. I am a normal idiot and I have a blog so anyone can write anything. It does not always make it true, unless of course it is me. Before you immerse yourself in the internet it may not be a bad idea to visit your doctor first. The couple should visit the doctor when possible and not just the individual. Infertility is not a final judgment. Nearly everything is possible.  Keep your faith and love each other. Sometimes that is enough once you visit a proper doctor and follow-up on their advice.  I love you all and wish you the best.

Infertility: Hope Is a Dragonfly

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     If there is one thing I learned during our trials with infertility it was that you must have hope. You need something to cling onto that will get you through when dealing with the invisible bitch called infertility. For me the thing that gave me hope was dragonflies. I know that seems simple. It’s a bug for cheese sakes. Most people would get hope from God, or a loved one, or anything but a bug. I am sorry but it was dragonflies for me. I never paid much attention to dragonflies until the last cycle my wife and I had with IVF. I had low expectations for the IVF to work. We had already had the litany of things many of you may have been forced to endure from failed cycles to  with so few eggs cycles to miscarriage. There was a small part of me that found strength in that last cycle because of my amazing wife’s steel will to beat down that invisible bitch. I wanted it to work with all of my heart but I was more concerned that my wife not to have more crushing blows of disappointment to her heart, soul, ego, and psyche. I was standing guard over her and praying like crazy for the best. Who am I kidding I had long given up praying for it to work by then. The invisible bitch can do that to you, crush your faith.

     The day we did the egg retrieval there were complications. The doctor brought me back to my knocked out and not knocked up wife in the sterile room that they performed egg extractions in. I walked into the room to find that there were as many as a dozen nurses and doctors looking at my wife’s nether regions while she had her legs up in the stirrups that you poor women are subjected to.  Many of the gawkers were interns and were in college. They brought me there to tell me that even though there were as many as 30 to 40 eggs they could only get to two. The doctor then proceeded to tell me that her intestines were lying in a way that if they continued to move forward they could lacerate her intestines or liver and a possibly fatal scenario would unfold. They asked me what I wanted them to do. I have a degree in Administration of Justice so what do I know about fertility science? I guess the question was really do you want us to risk killing your wife to get her eggs. My answer was “hell no” and quite frankly I felt I should have never been asked the question but in retrospect I understand why they had to ask. We were dealt a huge blow. Our last cycle had two eggs and anyone that has done IVF understands that we would be lucky to even have an opportunity to implant. My wife was taken back to the recovery room and I was going to have to break this news to her. I went outside to get some air and clear my head before breaking the news. That was the first time I noticed dragonflies flying near me. I noticed the flying dragons but paid little attention. I broke the news about the egg count to my wife and wiped the tears.

     A short time later we were lucky enough to implant both eggs. It became a waiting game. The day of the implant I saw dragonflies in our backyard. A couple of weeks later we were pregnant or rather she was pregnant. We were cautiously optimistic because we had been there before and had horrible results. A short time later my wife started to bleed. When I went to be by her side again I saw dragonflies. My wife had a sub-chorionic bleed and was placed on bed rest for nearly eight months. She could not leave the house and was alone most of the time. A couple of months passed and one of my wifes dearest friends died suddenly in her twenties leaving behind three children. I did not want to give her the news but I knew I had to. I saw dragonflies the morning after her friend passed and the day we buried her. I only saw dragonflies on days that tested us.I saw them again when my wife developed kidney stones. The last time I saw dragonflies was as I loaded my newborn daughter and wife into the car. I saw dragonflies only a few times over the next four years. I found hope and was instantly relaxed every time I saw the dragonflies. They only came around during hard, tough milestones. I think the dragonflies came for a reason. I love dragonflies now. They give me hope.

     This summer I see dragonflies everywhere. The picture above is one I took in my yard. I like to think these dragonflies mean that many of you will finally beat the invisible bitch. I HOPE so. Struggle is about hope. Hope feeds dreams and dreams can become reality. I hope you all find your dragonfly. I hope I am right and more couples than ever will realize the dream of parenthood. I love you all and I am sending dragonflies your way.

Don’t Ignore The Fact That You Are Not Defined By Your Infertility

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Love Quotes

   My wife once told me, “I do not blame you if you were to leave me to find a woman who could give you a child”. She told me this when we were in the midst of a several year struggle to have a baby through the use of medically assisted conception. We had already gone through several IUI cycles, a miscarriage, and were preparing for our first IVF. I was beside myself after hearing this statement. The truth was we both contributed to our fertility problems. I am pretty sure she meant what she said when she said it. She was being selfless and loved me (and hopefully still does) so much that she was willing to put her happiness on a shelf so I could find mine. To this day the comment shakes me and saddens me. I could not imagine a time in life where my wife would be happier in another man’s arms than my own. It is not that I am such a great catch but I know how much I love my wife and I would rather be hit by a Kansas City Portable Potty truck than to give her up. She is my every, everything. What could cause such self loathing to make a spouse think that letting go is a great option? The answer to that question is a bitch named Infertility.

     Women do not ignore the fact that you are not defined by your fertility or lack thereof. For the purpose of the blog I will write in broad terms. I do not intend to offend or come off as a specialist on women’s emotions. I write of the things I have observed from both sexes in my life. A man oftentimes is driven by ego. A man’s ego more times than not is easily bruised. We men feel it is our duty to look after the fairer sex. If you say something to me about my wife in a negative fashion your day may end on a real bad not if I can make it happen. When a couple is faced with infertility and the woman has the health issue that is the culprit of the problem the man is helpless to protect her. When she has her weak moments there is no one the man can hold accountable. This is crushing for many male egos. Feeling helpless sucks. When a woman has fertility issues it will sometimes make her feel less a woman. Some women feel that when their spouse and them decide to have kids that the burden is on them. Less face it the man’s part in having babies is oftentimes relegated to doing what he likes, having sex. If he does not get her pregnant the first time he is not going to complain to get invited back to the bedroom Olympics. A woman has the responsibility of “getting” pregnant (an unfair, implied responsibility), carry the child to term, going through the pain of child birth, dealing with the body and emotion changes, and in some cases breastfeeding afterwards. Some women look forward to it. When a woman cannot get out of the gate she may feel like she is less of a woman because she cannot deliver a baby. This was the trigger my wife pulled. We had struggled and were only rewarded with pain. She did not think she was as much a woman as she wanted to be and thought I wanted her to be and she reached a low that is hard to understand if you have not been there. Feeling helpless sucks!!!

     I have been a man for all 42 years of my life. I plan on being a man for the rest of my life and I have yet to meet the guy who tells me over a beer that he loves his girlfriend’s reproductive system and that is the reason he is marrying her. In my single days if I was thinking of my wife’s reproductive parts it was not to see how well the produced off spring. You marry someone because you love them and how they make you feel. You may discuss children but I doubt that fertility comes up and when it does very few men care about it. When I was twenty two I was dating a girl who was 34. She was asking me one day what I thought our future was together and told me that she was not even sure at her age if she could have kids. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to marry her but I knew I did not give a darn about her baby making abilities. Any man worth marrying will not ask for the fertility guarantee pre-nuptials. If you find one send him my way so my dogs can take a bite out of crime.

     If I learned one thing in my years of marriage it is that when your wife has an emotion burned in her brain there is nothing you can do to change her mind. That does not mean you never stop trying. I ask women that battle infertility to remember some very simple things about themselves. You have friends. You probably have a friend or maybe two that would fight a pit bull to protect your honor. You have friends and family that love you because you are defined by your personality and your actions. If someone loves you (other than family) they probably did not love you the first time they meet you. They learned to love you as they learned about you. You are your actions. You are what you do for others. You are you because you were born amazing. The fact that you choose to subject yourself to the difficult task of medically assisted conception is a testament to the levels you are willing to reach to have a child. A man will not take no for an answer but keep doing the same thing with the same results. A woman will not take no for an answer but she will seek another way and reach her desired goal. My wife never took no for an answer. I did but not her. Our only fight as a married couple was whether we continued down infertility road. I was so concerned with the toll it was taking on her. She did not care because she is amazing and she won the argument and a few short months later our journey ended after our second IVF cycle gave us Emma Dae Thornhill.

     We got lucky or maybe my incredible wife made our luck. During our struggles I never once thought I needed to bail out for a chance with another’s reproductive ability. I never once thought of my wife as her infertility. Her friends and our family never looked at her that way. Hell the dog never looked at her that way. The dog loved her because she fed her and petted her. She made the dog happy and as silly as it sounds that relationship is like that of humans. We define our wives, husbands, and friends as the ones that make us happy. The ones that make our life worth living. The ones we cannot wait to see a movie with. The ones that we know will not judge us but will keep us grounded when we need to be. The ones we have memories with. The ones that hold our hands on dark days. The ones we cannot live without. That is how we define people. You would never define a person for having cancer, or being blind, or being dyslexic so why would you define yourself by your fertility. As I said I know how hard it is to change a woman mind about her impressions of herself but I will not stop trying because this is one time I have no doubt that I am right. You are amazing and this too will pass. When these difficult times pass I hope they do with fulfilled dreams. Never give up on yourself.

For more information on infertility please visit the below links.

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

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NOTE: When I was discussing with my wife what I was going to write for Resolves Blogging project again this year I told her I was not sure what to write about. I rarely find myself in this spot. Without hesitating she gave me my title and she inspired the rest. I dedicate this blog to my wife.

ABOUT THE BLOGGER:

     I am Andy Thornhill. I keep a fertility blog on Word Press called “Sunshine Dreams and Hopes”. I wrote a book to my daughter about the story before her birth. It is a tribute to why I think women (my wife particularly) are amazing and it is called “The Longest Love Letter”. It is available as an E-Book for Kindle and Nook. I also have Facebook page called “Infertility News You Can Use”. I intend it to be a place where others can share their experience through blogs, news, and just supporting each other. I wish everyone the very best.