Infertility Awareness Week: Back By Popular Demand

Okay, no one was demanding for me to be back but I'm here and going to write about how IF has changed my perspective in life. Before I get into that and express my thoughts and feelings, I want to pay tribute to ze-fur baby. Toby has been a great addition to our family and no matter how many leashes he's chewed through, and other things he's destroyed, he has been pivotal during these months. Besides for this past IUI cycle, Risa has always found out the results of her beta on nights I have had class. This means that she has to be alone until I get home which usually runs until 9:30 PM. This is where Toby has stepped up and been there for her. Toby has always been there when Risa is sad and he comforts her and doesn't try to get her to play. He is a crucial part of our journey, since besides for the sad times, he gives us plenty of laughter. So with that, I'm going to embarrass him with this video. 



Reese has blogged about how she thought after we got married, we would wait a year or so and then start trying and maybe after a few months we would be expecting. Neither one of us had ever given it a second thought that we would be faced with IF. Why should we ever have given that a thought? Nothing in our lives told us that we should ever think we were infertile. Even after a year of no success, I still never really believed that we were an IF couple, but as time kept going on and we continued to get negatives, the reality slowly was beating its way into me. 

A few things to know about me:

1) I hate not knowing things. There has been very little so far that I've faced in my life that I haven't been able to grasp what's going on, and on those few exceptions, it really bugs me. Reese loves to tell me that I have to be a "know-it-all" or "always right" and it's true. :) I like knowing things, which makes our form of IF so frustrating as we have the Bermuda triangle of IF. Lots of things have been going in, but nothing ever seems to be coming out. Science can't even tell us why, and for someone like me, it's horrible. I know Reese feels the same and I'm sure anyone else with unknown IF does too, but for someone who has to have answers, its makes understanding so hard. Trying to figure out why we have IF is like trying to solve this but not having any clue how:

(1+u_x^2)u_{yy} - 2u_xu_yu_{xy} + (1+u_y^2)u_{xx}=0

2) I am the hardest critic on myself for my faults. No person is perfect but every person has moments and decisions in their lives that they wish they could redo. Focusing on the past is a fine line, as you need to learn from past decisions and I know I have, but I also know that its hard not to dwell on things when everything seems to go against you. IF makes you ask the question of WHY? WHY US? Why can the 15 year old high school girl get knocked up, yet after four years we are still here? Not to mention the countless family members, friends, and casual acquaintances who seem to be popping out kids at an exponential rate.

It causes you to look back at your life and try and determine if you are being punished for something you might have done. I'm sure Reese has thought about this and I know that I do. Looking at past moments and wondering if this is my punishment for being so young and stupid back then. Then the guilt comes, as you feel like you are being punished for your decisions.  But what about her? Why should she have to suffer for what I did? If I had made better choices, would things be different? Of course it would, but that is why looking at the past can be dangerous because my whole life would be different and I am who I am because of my past. It's too easy to dwell on past mistakes but until you can wrap your head around why, those thoughts are always there and with that, the guilt of not knowing if you caused it.

3) I have a knack for kids. My mom has talked about how my dad has a special touch with babies and when any of my siblings and I were crying, my dad could get us to stop crying in a few minutes and I've seen this to be true. I'm not saying I have the Midas touch like my dad by any means, but I enjoy being with kids and they seem to enjoy me. The desire I have to be dad is huge and really the only person who knows how big is Risa. I mean how many guys have the song picked out for them to dance with their daughter during her wedding? I have lots of things I have planned to do with my kids and I will admit I had always thought that I would be doing them by now. IF has prevented me from doing what I had planned for my life.

The thing though is that no matter how bad I want to have kids myself, I know that Reese wants it more. I have all of these things I want to do, but I know she has more. She has apologized to me on different occasions for not being able to give me something that I want. It is heartbreaking to have your wife tell you this as if it's something that she is doing wrong or is causing. Science hasn't told us why we are infertile, and I can't tell her enough that not for one second have I ever blamed her. It is so sad that she feels the need to apologize to me for something that is completely outside of her control.

On the contrary, she is doing everything within her control to get us pregnant and to provide what both of us wants so badly. She is willing to put herself through Clomid emotions and all the rest of these side effects to give us a small increase in our chances. I am here to do my part, which is to get friendly with a plastic cup (which by the way never wants to snuggle afterwards, but that's another post) when told to and to be an emotional foundation for Risa to stand on when going through this. I have had words said to me, I have watched the pain on her face during procedures, and I have wiped tears away from her eyes when things have become too much.

That is my job, and while it's not as physically demanding, it does wear you down emotionally. Reese never knew about the incidents where I became overwhelmed and had my own bathroom moments until she proof read this post. I have never had the feeling of being the "man" of the house with her. We have been on the same page from the get go that we are equals in our marriage in all things but in this, I do have that feeling of needing to be that "emotional rock" for her. I am honest with her when she asks me how I feel about different moments in our journey but the times I get overwhelmed, I don't want her to know as I feel its my job to keep our sanity in line. She already has so much on her mind, she doesn't need anything else. I know it robs her of seeing this side of me but I feel it has become part of the balance that has kept us sane during these times. Which reminds me of something I've heard before that that holds true for everyone:

"There's something that cannot be expressed in words, human emotion. Emotions of the heart can't be just tucked away in a closet. There's a way to know the emotions. Look into the eyes."

Maybe I am more emotional then most guys, but just because your husband/significant other doesn't show it, doesn't mean he isn't doing it in private. We men have this stigma that we need to be a "rock" and normally I would argue that's just someone over compensating for the inability to express themselves, but I do think that situations like this it does hold true. We men may not show it outwardly, but I think this quote holds true, the key to how we feel is in our eyes.

That is what has changed about my life going through this. I see things differently about how my life is going to be. I once had the idea that I would be like Mr & Mrs McFertile Pants with their three kids, dog, and SUV with those stickers on the back to prove they have a family. Whatever cosmic force is causing our IF, it has brought a different view to me, where I appreciate Reese more and what she is willing to do to help us achieve our dreams. Life changes, it throws things towards us and I think God gave me someone to help me get through all of it. I know she is an amazing woman just like the rest of the IF women but I'll admit that I'm biased towards her being the best. I've stopped trying to plan the rest of my family life, as right now I have quite the amazing family and if we are lucky enough to beat this and add to it, then that is when we will figure everything out. 

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