Ten years ago today, I conceived. It’s an odd thing to be able to pin down the conception of one’s child to practically the minute, but on this day all those years ago, the doctor harvested my eggs, the late husband contributed his “sample” and wee daughter’s existence began later that afternoon.
It was a not overly climatic end to a nearly two year oydessey that I would wish on no one.
When at first we had no luck getting pregnant, the doctors suspected that I was “to blame”. A natural assumption given that I was 36 and Will just 26. It’s helped along by the fact that women are nearly always the go-to in the infertility blame department despite the fact that the reasons for infertility problems are split pretty evenly between husband and wife, we women shoulder most of the heavy lifting.
Our issue was him, however, and in an ironic twist, the only medical fix was to put me through the grueling IVF protocol. I was then, and still am a bit, resentful of the fact that most infertility treatments are aimed at the female, whether it’s good for her or not. We could have much more inexpensively opted for artificial insemination using donor sperm. That was my choice because it meant that all I needed to do was monitor my cycle and show for inseminating when I was ovulating. No injections to kill to stop and then start my cycle up again. No egg harvesting. No egg reinsertion. Much less fuss, muss and upset of my hormones and plumbing.
But Will balked and I gave in because I figured that it didn’t matter as long as we got a bundle of joy at the end of it all.
The first IVF failed and I was ready to give up and move on to other options, but Will wasn’t. His family was very anti-adoption, but in that polite way of people who truly believe that it’s a second-rate way to build a family and probably God’s way of de-selecting people who shouldn’t be parents in the first place. But these types are too Christian to say so out loud. They simply make faces and not quite objectionable asides during the course of conversations. I remember mentioning the possibility of adopting to my mother-in-law and the look of distaste on her face made me sorry I hadn’t thought to vet my future in-laws as well as I had my mate.
Not this his need to cow-tow to his family’s prejudice’s at my physical expense was not a sore point.
Being adopted, I found his mother’s white trash horror of it irritating. Even taken the notable dysfunction of my own family into account, I couldn’t see where shared DNA had benefited her or her late husband’s family much at all, but the extended family’s cold reception of adoption was not what put it off the table. What doomed it was the cost, the waiting periods and the fact that there was no better guarantee it would result in a child than medical intervention would.
“Just one my round,” he said. “It’ll work this next time, I know it.”
It wasn’t as though I didn’t believe him, but the IVF protocol wreaked havoc on my system even though the doctors had me on the lowest doses of everything. My hips and inner thighs were solid bruises and the hormone overdose made me feel as though I was coming out of my skin, and even though I lack solid proof – I am certain that one of the medications is the root of knee issues that have just worsened over time.
In the end, I only agreed to try again after extracting a promise from him that if it didn’t work, he would agree to allow me to try insemination with donor sperm.
So on November 11th of 2001, we drove my painfully swollen self up to the hospital and tried again. I was so nervous and apprehension about another failed round that I refused to discuss the possibility that it would work with anyone. Even a week later, sick with hyper ovaries and already a bit green and nauseous, I wouldn’t allow myself to be drawn into any happy baby talk.
It wasn’t until well after he was diagnosed and dying that I ran across information that confirmed the source of his fertility issues was tied to his illness. Our not being able to get pregnant was actually one of the first missed clues on the road to his terminal diagnoses.
Ten-year anniversaries are considered milestones and that’s likely why those long ago days are on my mind a bit today. I am lucky to have wee Dee, who is less “wee” by the day, and to have moved on to a new life, but the old one always lurks a bit and sometimes asks to be remembered and recognized.
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