The date June 30, 2013 just passed.
The significance of this date: it’s my daughter’s 3 year birthday.
Each time her birthday comes up, or heck really any momentous occasion that normally gives one pause to reminisce (Thanksgiving, New Year’s, wedding annivesary, etc), it’s inevitable that my thoughts center around my children. Which also means my thoughts tend to center around the fertility issues Sheri and I went through.
They say it takes three weeks to form a new habit.
Twenty-one days of consistently enacting a change to make it become “natural”.
Do that about 100 times over and you get 2100 days, or about six years.. which is how long Sheri and I were trying to get pregnant until we had our little Kayla
Habits that develop will develop pretty strongly, and in this case, they weren’t necessarily healthy habits. If you can imagine over the course of six years, every month, meeting disappointment in not getting pregnant: that can be a lot of unhealthy habits.
Dealing with repeated professions of faith, followed by repeated disappointments and questioning of faith: those habits of emotional self-defense mechanisms definitely can build up strongly, and even today they don’t seem to be going away easily.
I find that I am still bouncing between states of happiness and disbelief; sometimes thinking everything is too good to be true and the other shoe will surely drop soon.
One true blessing: I have discovered for myself a stronger understanding and appreciation for the true miracle of family.
Despite the roller coaster of emotions I still feel today, ultimately I know that I am truly blessed. I have a beautiful loving wife, and two very awesome, smart, and wonderful kids.
With Kayla’s third birthday coming and going, I wanted to write some new blog entries about Kayla, ivf, and family. For inspiration I kept re-reading my first IVF blog entry ever (written elsewhere) And realized that re-posting this very first blog entry would be the perfect way to kick this off.
I hope you find it entertaining and perhaps even inspiring! Please share it if you like it!
My Miracle Family: Part 1
(originally written February 11, 2011, two days before my birthday)
With my birthday approaching, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. Thinking about life, thinking about the birth of our daughter Kayla.
With that of course comes all the thoughts about how Kayla’s birth was a long time coming … over six years in fact. And for some time now I’ve been wanting to write about it.
I’m not sure WHY I want to write about it, just that I want to. I am guessing that before I get to the end of writing these “My Miracle Family” articles I will figure out the “why”. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy reading them and learning more about the challenges that couples face when going through fertility issues.
Five (or more) years in the future …
On a nice sunny afternoon, a father is sitting on his porch enjoying a drink and reading a book. He is starting to doze off when his lovely ten year old daughter bounds in from playing in the yard and promptly plops down on his lap.
Daughter: “Daddy… “
Daddy: (still half dozing) “Yes honey?”
Daughter: “Where do babies come from?”
Daddy opens his eyes warily. Uh oh. It’s _THE_ question. Daddy straightens up and smiles down at his daughter.
Daddy: “Well honey, that’s a good question. Let’s see… well, first two people fall in love and then decide they want to start a family….”
Daughter: “Like you and mommy! Right?”
Daddy: “Yes honey, your mommy and I love each other very much. Anyhow, so two people decide they want to start a family. They first start trying the ‘natural’ way….”
Daughter: “What’s the ‘natural’ way?”
Daddy: “Umm.. Never you mind that now, we can talk about that later. Moving on quickly now. Since that didn’t work, they then start trying other ways. In this case, with a doctor’s guidance, mommy starts taking drugs to stimulate her ovaries and then daddy goes into a special room with a little cup…”
Daughter: “Little cup?”
Daddy: “…and then there’s this big turkey-baster looking thing the doctor uses to put into mommy the ..ermm..contents of the little cup..”
Daughter: “What’s in the little cup?”
Daddy: “Never you mind that now. Moving on. So since that didn’t work either, the mommy and daddy start trying even more advanced methods where mommy has to take even more drugs to overstimulate her ovaries followed by mommy having surgery to extract her eggs…daddy then goes again into a special room with a little cup …”
Daughter: “Daddy, this doesn’t sound right..”
Daddy: “And then after that also not working, with the mommy and daddy still are wanting to have a baby, the daddy takes a few more tests and from the results they see that a certain surgery may help the situation. So the daddy has the surgery, but they have to wait a year or so before they can try again..”
Daughter: “A whole year?”
Daddy: “Yes honey, a whole year. But it’s okay because when mommies and daddies go through this sometimes they can find other things to keep themselves occupied. For example, they might decide to run a dance team…”
Daughter: “Like The One2Swing Jitterbugs! Right daddy? O2SJ!!!”
Daddy: “Yes Honey, O2SJ. In fact that’s how we became close friends with so many of your favorite aunties and uncles like Uncle Sam, Auntie Delphine, Auntie Vicky, and ..”
Daughter: “And Auntie Shortie!! Right?”
Daddy: “Honey ..call her Auntie Kennly please….”
Daughter: “Auntie Shortie! Auntie Shortie!”
Daddy: “Just because you are taller than her now doesn’t mean you can call her Auntie Shortie..”
Daughter: “Ooooooh okay…”
Daddy: “So anyway…”
Daughter: “Daddy, this story is getting kinda long isn’t it?”
Daddy: “Well, honey, it was quite a long story for this specific mommy and daddy. There were years of natural attempts, IUI attempts, IVF attempts, not to mention attending adoption seminars, and then the daddy getting surgery and going through a year of recovery. During this time, though, the mommy and daddy found a new doctor with a lot of new ideas and became very hopeful on their third attempt. Though one of those new ideas from the doctor included daddy having to give mommy shots in her butt cheek every night for like three WHOLE weeks… with a big two-inch long needle.. This daddy couldn’t even poke a boba drink with a straw properly and here he was having to give shots into mommy’s butt… but I digress…because finally the big day came for mommy to get her eggs extracted again, so mommy had the surgery again …”
Daughter: “And then daddy went into the special room with a little cup?”
Daddy: “Umm.. yes, honey. Daddy then went into the special room with a little cup. This was followed by days, weeks and even months of prayers as six little teeny weenie super tiny babies were transferred back into mommy. Then mommy and daddy prayed and prayed that hopefully just one of those teeny tiny babies could latch on and claw on to mommy’s uterus and hang on like there was no tomorrow. And then their prayers were answered …because nine months later this mommy and daddy were blessed with a little miracle.”
Daughter: “A miracle?”
Daddy: “Yes, a miracle. And we named that miracle Kayla”
Daughter: “Hey! THAT’S ME!!!!”
Daddy: “Yes honey. That’s you.”
Well, it’s not your traditional birds and the bees talk of where babies come from, unless the birds and bees need a little help from technology, hormone stimulating drugs, shots, needles, surgery, special rooms with little cups, and other adventures.
But it is still one of the many stories that could be told today about where babies come from and how families are started. The above version just happens to be our story.
I find it interesting that even though I “knew” that there were many different ways to start a family, I didn’t really truly “KNOW” this until after our own fertility challenges. Meaning being truly aware of the various ways families can be started besides the “traditional” way of boy meets girl, boy marries girl, and the-birds-and-the-bees happen and the baby arrives. These new stories include IUI, IVF, adoption, and maybe even other ways I’m not exposed to. I just know after our own “adventures” the one thing I have to come to realize is that no matter how families are started, it definitely is a miracle.
It wasn’t always that way, my thoughts about miracle families or even my total love of being a dad weren’t always like this. There was in fact a time where I was quite hesitant to be a dad and to start a family. Which brings me to this: the point of this article (or articles) is not so much about being a dad, but rather the challenges of starting a family and the miracle of becoming a family, and for me the miracle of BECOMING a dad.
Again, I’m not sure WHY exactly I’m going to be writing these articles. Just that I want to. Maybe the “why” will come to me before I reach the end of this writing. Maybe not, and I’m not sure that it matters. But I’ll say I’ll be excited to see how this finishes and I hope you are too.
End Part 1 …..