Tag Archives: THE LONGEST LOVE LETTER

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.

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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

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

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: Is It Time To Quit?

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     We have all been there. We reached the point during our journey down Infertility Road when we started to look for the exit ramp. We wanted off the ride. We could do no more. For me  it was around December 2007. My wife had done all she could. She had done more than she needed to do. She had proven the point that she was tough and had a resolve that was impossible to break. We had been through the usual run of misery. We had been through several failed cycles. We had been down Miscarriage Lane. My wife is a pharmacist and had a miscarriage at work. She could not leave work until another pharmacist could get to her pharmacy and she had to sit on the floor devastated and in tears knowing that there was nothing she could do as we lost another child, another opportunity at parenthood.  That night I left her in her bed because she wanted to be left alone. I went to work and was roaming around like a zombie. On the long drive home a good friend talked me down. I coached Little League Baseball at the time. It seemed odd to coach when I had no children and was fighting to have one. We had practice the day of that loss and it was too late to cancel the practice so I went to the field and met with each parent to call practice off. One of the parents knew something was wrong and she did what she could to console me.  Many nights I gave my wife shots through bruised skin. I was constantly asked how things were going and had to repeat stories often. Relive hard thoughts and memories. I had dried my wife’s tears and suppressed my own. I hated couples that hd kids that seemed to take it for granted. I hated myself but most of all I pained for my wife. She was the hero of the journey. She was the one that was constantly confronted with obstacles and never feared as she broke through them. In December of 2007 after that last loss she was done and I was all too ready to support the decision. It was not that I no longer wanted a child it was that I was tired of watching this invisible bitch kick my wife’s ass as I sat by helpless to protect her.

Her choice to throw the towel in did not last long. After only a few weeks she called me from an airport and said she had called our fertility doctor and was doing one last IVF. I did not want to do. I had lost hope and was in protect my wife mode but she did not need my protection. She was far stronger than I had given her credit for. We went through the cycle. At every single step were statistically out numbered. Everything that could go wrong short of a total loss had occurred. A couple of weeks after the IVF transfer my wife showed signs of a miscarriage. The doctor told us to go home and come back the next day. The next day at the doctor’s office my wife and I could not look at each other. I could not handle seeing her hopes crushed and she likely could not look at me thinking she had let me down (she was wrong). The doctor pointed at the screen and showed us a blinking light, our baby’s heartbeat. Our baby was fine. My wife would go on bed rest for nearly eight months but our daughter would be born and to think I wanted to quit.

My wife is a fighter and will ignore being told something is impossible. Sometimes fate blinks and a miracle slips though. I tell you this story not to make you feel bad at our success story but to illustrate that anything is possible. As long as you can emotionally deal with it and financially handle it never say no. Do not be like me. If you are the man you may be like me and not realize how strong your wife is. Women are ten times stronger than the “I pick things up and put them down man” (you may need to You Tube that reference). I hope you find your rainbow and more importantly I hope your love for your partner gets stronger during the journey. Do not look at the difficulty look at the never say quit attitude your partner has and marvel at it. I hope the below video link gives reminds you of how amazing you are. The video is on my personal blog. You are more than welcome to read other blogs on that page but I warn you that many are about my daughter and I do not want to hurt or offend anyone with those videos. I hope you will go to the link because that video is specifically for you and anyone who is on their journey. Sunshine Dreams and Hopes does not support video but my Tao of Pig Pen does. I love you all. 

 http://abbeyscathouse.wordpress.com/2013/03/03/infertility-is-it-time-to-quit/

Infertility: The Battle Cry Of Recruitment

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I have a sales pitch you will not be able to refuse. When I make this pitch some of you are going to say this man is reading my mind. Welcome to my interview as I am going to try to recruit you into one of the most mystifying tasks you will ever take. Here we go. Brace yourself. I can feel you shaking with excitement. Join me on an adventure. It will be a personal war of sorts. You may hate yourself while doing it. You will almost certainly hate others as they win without even taking on one single skirmish much less a full-scale emotional war.  Your allies will question you, embarrass you, insult you, and at times judge you. You may, at times, hate some of your allies. You will probably have a partner during this trek. He may not understand the scale of the task or understand the depth of your committment to the task. You may hate him too sometimes. He may hate you too at times. Some of you will even hate the family pet if they succeed in their similar task. You will be prodded by people, analyzed by people, some of them will only be guessing while others will be completely wrong. These people will offer you a plan to get to the finish line. Their plan may involve shots, blood loss, taking away from other things you want to do, loss of funds, loans for things you may never own so to speak, surgery, and questions lots of questions and the answers may vary depending on who you talk to. This job will affect your sex life. People will tell you how to have sex, you are doing it wrong, they may tell you when to have sex, some may offer to step in for your normal partner thinking they are funny, sex may become clinical, masturbation will be discussed, you will be told how to masturbate, everyone will know exactly when you masturbate, when sex is done you may have post coitus exercises, and all the long others will think you’re having the time of your life with all this “BONUS” sex. Life’s may be loss while you move forward. You will feel responsible and guilty for these losses. Many will claim to understand but a very small number of people truly will. God will be against your task or at least some will tell you this, when lives are lost people will tell you “it’s God’s will” and that may infuriate you, some Christians will say you are trying to play God and that alone will damn you, everyone will claim to pray for you but most will not, you will question God, but you will also draw on His support and direction. You may have this battle for years and have nothing but loss, scars, and heartache to show for it. Are you in? Do you want to take the challenge of battling infertility head on? I think your answer is yes. You are amazing for wanting to do so.

     When you want to have a child bad enough you will get through these things. You will find ways to cope. You will find yourself stronger than you ever considered possible. You will become closer and communicate more with your partner. You will get mad at those that understand but with support groups, family, friends, faith, and maybe even a sense of humor you will get through it. Infertility is a fother mucker but it can be beat. Sometimes infertility blinks and you can knock it out. If congress had the resolve that people have trying to have a baby while dealing with  infertility then we would be the most efficient government ever. Men and especially women that take this challenge are some of the most dedicated, sweetest, selfless, and giving people you will ever know. They will risk it all to be a daddy or a mommy. When they become parents most of them will never take their blessing for granted. They will go that extra inch to be the best parent they can. I am not saying infertility battled parents are better but they may see things in a much different light. If you are going down the path now or plan to go down the path in 2013 I wish you the best. My wife and I got lucky and we are both willing to lend support. Contact us through this blog. We will give you are Facebook pages. We will support you emotionally if you need us. My wife is a pharmacist and can answer drug questions. There are dozens of  support sites like Attain Fertility, Resolve, and many others. Arm yourself with support, knowledge, and never let someone tell you it cannot be done. Infertility can be beaten and I hope you are one of those that does it.

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.