Our 9-Year Struggle to Have Children
Becoming parents wasn’t supposed to be this difficult.
Inever thought much about having children while growing up. So, instead of lying and saying that it was always the plan, I’ll be honest and say that it was the plan once we felt that we could support a family financially.
My wife and I talked about kids much earlier than this, but it was in a “when the time is right” sort of way.
I always thought that we would make the decision, and nine months later, we’d have a baby.
Little did we know the struggle that would ensue.
The first couple of years weren’t too bad. It did come as a surprise that having children wasn’t as easy as we thought it would be, but we were not too concerned. We just figured that it would happen when it happens, so there wasn’t excessive pressure or frustration at this point.
Tears of joy one day, and just tears the next.
During year three, we finally received the news that my wife was pregnant. We were so excited; we went out to dinner to celebrate at a fancy waterfront restaurant. I remember running into a friend there, but can’t recall if we told him about the pregnancy. I know we told other people, but I wish we hadn’t.
Unfortunately, the very next day at a followup visit, a doctor told my wife that she had suffered a molar pregnancy. We had never even heard of this rare diagnosis, but we were devastated. It was only one day between getting the news I was going to be a father and finding out that wouldn’t be the case this time, but it was so awful that I haven’t gone back to the waterfront restaurant since.
A doctor insisted that we wait for a year after this loss before trying to get pregnant again. After that time passed, we began to see a pregnancy specialist who assured us that she could help us achieve our goal of becoming parents.
We tried going to a fertility specialist.
We were both tested to make sure that there were no underlying problems preventing pregnancy. We both passed, and there was no diagnosed issue stopping us from having children. Upon hearing this, we were relieved yet frustrated — we kept hearing that there was nothing stopping us, but we still felt stuck.
The testing and trials continued over the next few years. At first, it felt like we were at the pregnancy specialist every week. We would try something new, wait to see if it worked, and regrouped each time it failed. Every month was full of trial and error, ultimately leading to disappointment. It was like a strange fertility version of Groundhog Day.
My wife was given all kinds of medication during this time — none of them worked. There was one medication that I had to administer by a shot in her abdomen. I remember feeling nervous and telling her that I didn’t feel medically qualified to be administering it, but we were both willing to do whatever it took to become parents.
Doubt, frustration, and sorrow started to creep in. Many of our friends and family were starting to have kids around this time. It felt like every other week was filled with another Facebook pregnancy announcement.
It’s a weird feeling to be truly happy for someone but be hurt by their news at the same time.
Every time we heard about someone else getting pregnant was a reminder that we were not. My wife attended numerous baby showers during this time; I admire her strength because I don’t think I would have been able to do so.
When the fertility specialist brought up the option of performing artificial insemination, we were both optimistic for the first time in a while. We were both healthy and medically capable of having children, and the fertility specialist was tracking the perfect date to assist us. Everything would be as optimal as possible from the timing down to the execution. How could this not work?
I remember being a little surprised the first time the test came back negative. None of it made any sense. There was no reason it shouldn’t have worked. Why wasn’t it working?
Over the next few years, the visits to the fertility specialist occurred less and less. Eventually, we stopped going since it didn’t seem to be getting us anywhere.
Not even Disney could cheer me up.
People would often ask us, “When are you going to have kids?” They obviously didn’t know how hurtful this was, but this question needs to be retired from our society’s lexicon. It‘s a painful reminder, which we would never answer truthfully but would deflect in hopes of changing the subject. This question is about as appropriate as asking someone how much they weigh or how far along they are when no pregnancy has been announced.
During year seven of our pursuit of parenthood, we took a vacation to Disney World. We had been there before in our early 20’s and had a great time. This time, however, with the cloud of childlessness hovering over me, it was not the happiest place on earth.
We did have a fun vacation. However, there were times when I felt an intense void. Happy families surrounded me everywhere I turned and served as a constant reminder of what I was missing.
I put on a brave face but had pretty much given up hope at this point. Wishing and praying just brought sadness, so I stopped and left it up to chance/God/fate/whatever you want to call it.
But then a miracle happened: my wife gave me the news that she was pregnant. I was so happy, but a little nervous at first, due to the last time I was given that news and the letdown that followed. Thankfully, there was a heartbeat, and the doctor advised that everything looked good at the first checkup.
Everything happens for a reason.
The months that followed were full of numerous joyous moments: breaking the good news to our parents, the baby shower, cluelessly shopping for baby items, and many more once-in-a-lifetime moments of prepping for parenthood. It was all so new and breathed new life into me. I was still a little anxious — that’s just how I’m wired — but I was also beyond thankful, optimistic, and full of excitement as we awaited our long-anticipated child.
My wife woke me up at three in the morning a week before our daughter was due. She still teases me over my lack-of-sleep-induced response to her telling me that her water broke: “Are you sure?”
When she called the hospital to let them know we were coming in, the receptionist told her that “the party’s on the 4th floor.”
I grabbed some cold coffee from the fridge while she was getting dressed and poured it in a 7-Eleven cup. As fate would have it, this would end up being my daughter’s weight when she was born.
I also went to get a can of Coke for my wife as soon as she was able to have it. It had the word “Love” on it, which is what my daughter’s name means. These coincidences seemed appropriate as if everything played out just as it was supposed to.
We don’t talk to others too much about our nine-year struggle to have children. I don’t think it’s a subject that anyone talks about too often. It’s personal, often depressing, and almost taboo. The ironic thing is that I know this struggle is felt by many.
We have friends who went through much worse than we did. I don’t mean to compare but rather to express compassion. Every loss is devastating, and every negative pregnancy test feels like a little loss when you’re trying to start a family.
I truly feel for anyone who is going through this struggle. I hope they know that there is hope and they are not alone.