This a path that Finn and I are on together and he has been an amazing partner throughout this horrible year. I asked him if he wanted to share “his side” of the story here on the blog and I was pleasantly surprised when he took me up on the offer.
Sometimes I forget that it’s not just about me. Yes, a lot of the physical crap is on me (shots be damned!), but it’s taken an emotional toll on both of us. Reading his words were a great reminder to me that we are in this together.
So I’ll let him take it from here…
Finn’s View on the Last Year
When we started this journey (about a year ago) I truly thought the hardest part was going to be making the commitment to become parents. A simple flip of the switch and in about a year we would have a baby. I even thought we could try to plan the birth month around major events in the sporting world (oh, how naive I was…). I have since learned that not only was that an embarrassingly arrogant thought process, but clearly, I was not ready and committed in the same way Casey was.
My guess is the first time she reads the next few sentences she will be angry with me and maybe even sad. However, given the honesty and courage she has shown here on the blog, I think it’s only fair I am honest as well.
Here we go…. The first few times we took a pregnancy test last fall (before any doctors, needles, or crazy acronyms) I was relieved they were negative. Admittedly, it was a very confusing emotional moment for me as I watched Casey suffer through the results. I knew long term that I wanted to be a father, and I could see Casey’s disappointment, but I thought “Wow, that moved fast!”
Seeing a Fertility Specialist
A few months later, and we still weren’t pregnant. That’s when we started to see a fertility doctor. As we progressed with testing, our odds of becoming parents naturally kept diminishing. I began to feel fear and doubt creeping in.
Then it got even worse. I was at work in late November and I received a call from Casey where she could barely speak and was almost hyperventilating. The week before I had gone through some routine tests and the nurse called Casey to deliver the results. Upon hearing the results, there was a period where I thought fathering my own child was not going to be a possibility. I was left with the simple thought that I may never hold my own child in my hands.
I broke down.
I came in the door and I just remember Casey sobbing and just repeating over and over to me “I’m so sorry…I’m so sorry” as the magnitude of what we had been told began to take over. This is when I knew deep down how badly I want to be a father.
Thankfully, after more discussions with our doctor, we realized that our initial fears were overstated and through IVF we had a better chance of becoming parents. Knowing we still had a chance to have a biological child brought me so much hope and positivity.
Dealing with Disappointment
But IVF has been challenging. We’ve dealt with so much disappointment and so many failed procedures, each eroding away our spirit and patience.
During these horrible moments, I feel the pain just like Casey, but I quickly realize that I need to be supportive and strong for her. Because no matter how I feel, she is experiencing so much more than me. Casey is the one who must start and end her day with needles, she is the one who is experiencing all the swings of hormones, and she is the one who is on the frontlines at the doctor’s office and surgeries for months on end.
No matter what I do or how much I want to help, there are certain things that are unfairly her burden to carry as she sacrifices everything for OUR child and OUR dream.
While I can’t take any medications, receive any shots, or jump in any stirrups (men really do have it so easy…), I have taken small steps to help her throughout this process. If you’re looking for ways to help your wife or partner going through infertility, here are things that I have done to help her.
Ideas to Support your Partner
- Create a Plan & Schedule: The most overwhelming step of IVF is receiving, organizing, and then properly administering the drugs according to the doctor’s notes. Making Casey a color-coded schedule with clear directions was helpful for both of us as it allowed us to stay prepared and on track.
- Organize the Medications: There are so many different shots, vials, and pills that get delivered in batches. Reorganizing them into smaller sections and manageable doses help keep me prepared and on top of our supply.
- Don’t Stop Living: Casey is under strict orders to not do certain things (like working out, lifting heavy items, etc.), but it is important to still celebrate other aspects of our life and not let this be our only focus. We go on walks, go out to dinner, and have movie marathons. I think it’s important to take control of the planning and stay engaged with family and friends throughout this shitty process.
- Don’t Complain about YOUR Medical Visits: One time I came home and was complaining about giving blood, saying I was going to get a little bruise on my arm. I felt a radiating heat and energy focused on the back of my neck and looked up to a death stare from Casey. And, rightfully so, as she gives blood every other day and has bruises all over her body. Just a swift kick in the pants to toughen up.
- Stay Positive, But Give Yourself Time to Grieve: I try to stay positive and patient because I know that my attitude will help Casey. I constantly remind her of all of the progress we’ve made and remind her that we will get to our end goal in due time. When it does get rough, I give myself time to process it and I try to be the one to pick us up and move us towards our next hurdle.
I try to remind myself that we are attempting to achieve something truly magical…the creation of a life and our future family. Yes, we’ve had rough days, but it will all be worth it when we hold our baby. In the meantime, I am left to simply appreciate and respect my wife (and all the other women going through this) for being so tough and committed to our family. She is a real badass!
Thank You to This Community
I am also humbled by the kindness and support we have gotten from so many people. Casey is always so excited to show me kind emails and notes from her readers. At this point, we have a lot of things on our walls, on our dresser, and in our bedroom that I know would go against her design sense, but they’re all small good luck charms and blessings from all of you. She is willing to make ANY sacrifice to achieve our goal!
I also want to personally thank everyone for their kind words and support as we go through this. Your words of encouragement have been invaluable during our rough patches and I’m forever grateful Casey has this amazing community to lean on.Finn