For those of who who know me, you know that Dan and I are polar opposites. I’m loud, energetic, talkative, very opinionated, and cannot relax. Dan is quiet- bordering on shy, calm, and avoids conflict like the plague. Sometimes I laugh when I think about different we are. However, in the grand scheme of things, I believe that is part of why we have such an amazing marriage.
Dan has an amazing ability to clam me down, rationalize another perspective, and keep me grounded. I like to think that I help bring his other traits out too.
Fertility has this amazing way of making you feel utterly alone. The medical issues that are preventing us from conceiving are all on me. Dan says ‘we’, but frankly it’s semantics. I have the issues. Regardless of who has the issues, the women is most often put through the ringer to get to that seemingly impossible end of the road- a baby. It’s the woman who has to do cycle monitoring, take injections, have tests, and take the brunt of the procedures. If my end of the bargain was to jerk off into a cup, hey, sign me up!
While it doesn’t seem fair that the bulk of the work is on my side, that’s how it works. More than once I’ve had the ‘woe is me’ pity party about how much it sucks and how I just wish Dan had to do something too. It seems odd in retrospect, I’m not sure why I’d want anyone to endure what I have had to- especially not Dan. But in the moment, I just wanted to break… but also to keep going forward through fertility. Again- two polar opposite things.
Dan stood beside me every step of the way. He attended appointments, assisted with injections, catered to my every whim when I was sicker than I ever have been, but it didn’t seem to matter. I felt alone.
We were experiencing two completely different things, yet walking down the same journey. I felt depressed, useless, and angry with myself and my body from failing to do the most simple ‘womanly’ task. In these moments, I felt bitter that Dan got to continue with life. He got to go to work and take his mind off things. I had to schedule my work around my appointments, medications, and illness. It was absolutely impossible for me to do anything without fertility coming into play. I felt like he got a free ride sometimes.
I was pissed and pitiful. This wasn’t fair. It wasn’t fair that we had to do this. It wasn’t fair that my body was broken. It wasn’t fair that I had to do everything.
And poor Dan, I let him know it. It took me, in one of my not-so-glorious moments fueled with excessive hormones, to get that even though Dan wasn’t going through the same exact thing as me, he was going through it in his own way. He was trying not to get down he explained, because he felt that I needed him to be strong to keep me going. My anger towards him because he was smiling and was talking about his day was because I felt like he could just turn off fertility and have a lovely afternoon. To him, he was trying to take my mind of things and keep my positive. He truly felt like this was a ‘we’ situation.
One evening in bed after yet another day of bad news, I remember telling him it was ok for him to leave me. I’d be devastated, but I know having a family was important to him. If I wasn’t going to be able to do that for us, perhaps her could fulfill that dream with someone else. He looked me straight in the eye and told me that having a family with me was his dream. And no matter what happened, we would have a family. We just didn’t know exactly how we’d get there yet.
Throughout this journey, I’ve continued to have moments when I felt as if I’m completely alone. However, when I started to get down, I always think back to what he told me that night as he held me through my sobbing. We are in this together- and we make an awesome team.
Dan isn’t a talker, never mind a writer. I asked (read: forced) him into answering a couple directed questions about fertility. Here were his answers:
What is the hardest part of fertility?
Dan: Watching Adele get disappointed over and over again. I can deal with my disappointments but I wish I knew how cheer her up after we get bad news.
What was a lighter moment you remember?
Dan: I tried to lighten up the mood when I could so when Adele would moan “ohhhh” because she was cramping up, I would finish with ….”Varies”. (‘Ovaries’) Then we would laugh.
Do you think you would feel differently about fertility if the medical issues were your medical issues?
Dan: Adele is a stronger person than me, so if the medical issues were mine and I had to give my self needles and medication as much as she is, I would cry a lot! As far as the issue of fertility as a whole, it is something we both have to go through so we are doing this together.
How do you feel about telling people about our story?
Dan: Not unlike myself before we started, a lot of people are ignorant to what fertility treatment is actually like. Adele telling our story, not only educates those who want to know more about what we are going though, but also gives those who are going through similar circumstances something to relate with. Adele found a lot of strength in finding groups online where she could read stories and share our day-to-day status.