I was in line at the grocery store yesterday and I had both of my kids with me. Lydian was strapped to my chest in a baby carrier and Dorian sitting in the cart facing me. The gentleman behind me heard me tell the cashier that we weren’t going to have anymore children. He said, “Yeah that’s what they all say”. I told him I was getting too old to have children. He said well you can’t be that old. I told him I’m 38 years old and I’m not into doing this again in my 40s. Then he told me I should have planned to have them earlier. I said, “I did, although, I can’t control my uterus and when it decides to hold a baby.” He wasn’t saying it to be mean. I think it’s just something people say because they don’t realize how hard it can be to conceive a child. It took us eight years to conceive our first child. So by the time we had him, we weren’t actually planning on having him. And with our daughter, we thought, it took us so long to have Dorian that we weren’t sure it would even happen again. Well it did, and a lot faster than the first time and now we are blessed with two beautiful children. With that said I bid the cashier and the gentleman behind me a farewell and made my way to the car with my groceries.
As I was loading up the trunk I saw the gentleman come out of the grocery store. He’s an older man and he told me that his son and daughter-in-law were trying to have kids. He said they were having a hard time conceiving. That if they were going to try in vitro fertilization then it would cost them somewhere around $20,000. Then he asked me what I did to be able to conceive. So I told him the short, short version of our story; we moved to California and adopted a dog. I told him I accepted the fact that I might never have kids and decided to enjoy what time I had with my husband. He sincerely thanked me kindly. It was really nice to be able to just give a little insight to someone else on a subject that could really be heartbreaking for everyone involved, even the grandparents.
Here is the whole story. You see, we started trying to have kids right after we got married in 2005. I was 28 years old and had no idea it would be so hard, emotionally and physically. All of our friends were having kids and after about a year of trying we started to wonder. So I went to the doctor to figure out what was going on. I started down the path of some “oh so fun” tests they give you when you are trying to conceive. And by fun I mean they stick a special wand up your hooha to see the uterus from the inside. The first test the doctor ordered was a sonogram. As it turns out I had a very large fibroid in there that decided to set up shop. It was 10 cm large and when I spoke to the doctor about it he said it’s no big deal and it shouldn’t keep me from getting pregnant. I really had no idea how big that was. And if the doctor says it’s no big deal then it shouldn’t be a big deal right? So we just left it there and kept trying.
As time went by it became more and more heartbreaking every time I found out I wasn’t pregnant. My doctor then suggested that my husband get his sperm tested. That test came out normal so we kept trying. At this point many of our friends already had at least one kid. Some of them even had two or three kids in the time that it was taking us to try for just one. As if this wasn’t stressful enough during one of my joyous monthly visits from aunt Flo I leaked all over my bedding. In the moment, I was having a bit of a meltdown. This spurred an unforeseeable argument with my husband. While I was going through my own emotional battles I wasn’t taking into consideration how it was affecting him. He was so supportive of how I wanted to handle the situation that my intuition failed me where his feelings were concerned. He told me he couldn’t stand by and watch me get upset every month that went by and not get pregnant. It was slowly tearing him apart also. So with careful consideration I decided to go for one more test.
This time to see if my fallopian tubes were blocked. This one was pretty invasive. I had to have a small tube inserted into my uterus where they expanded a balloon and released dye into it to see if my fallopian tubes were blocked. As I lay there on the table I looked around to the 4 other people in the room. All doctors and nurses. Four strangers all there taking a look at my anatomy and having casual conversation while they worked. I always kind of knew I didn’t want to go in the direction of fertility treatments but this experience solidified that for me. It just didn’t feel right, physically and emotionally for me. The results of the test were that my right fallopian tube was blocked. They didn’t say by what exactly but when my doctor saw that he didn’t seem too concerned about that either. When we discussed the results he said, “You only need one fallopian tube to get pregnant.” Now that I think of it, he really didn’t seem too concerned about my body’s obstacles. As a matter of fact, when I finally did get pregnant my current doctor (the one who delivered both of my children) said he was surprised I got pregnant at all considering the size of the fibroids. But I digress.
So I went home that day prepared to tell my husband that I didn’t want to be poked and prodded until we made a baby. I really didn’t think I could handle spending an insane amount of money to go through this process that wasn’t a guarantee anyway. See, while I was on that table I really thought about it. I knew people going the way of IVF. It worked for some and didn’t work for others and I really didn’t even want to chance it not working for us. I chose not to have to deal with the added emotional stress that comes along with the process. And it seemed my husband was relieved to not have to deal with that stress as well. So that was it. The end of the line for us. I went home that day and we decided to let the Universe take care of it.
Over the next few years I came to terms with the fact that I might never have children. And when I really thought about it, it was ok as long as I had my best friend with me for the rest of my life. The man I said, “I do” to. At this point five years had gone by. Five years of hearing some of my friends tell me they would have been pregnant a bunch of times already. And they would say, “Does he… you know?” and I would say, “Every single time.” The look that followed my answer was always shock with a side of sympathy. Five years of hearing the question, “When are you and Mark going to start having kids?” As if we had been holding out all this time. I mean I even did headstands after sex for a while and nothing. Five years of witnessing the joy and wonder having kids brought to my friends but not being able to be a part of it because we didn’t have any ourselves. But I have to say, through this whole process, I was grateful. Grateful that I hadn’t lost a pregnancy. I just wasn’t even getting that far. There are so many women out there that have miscarriage after miscarriage while they are trying. Then go through IVF and have it not work. Or have late term miscarriages or even worse scenarios happen like deliver a stillborn. And I was grateful. I had a wonderful husband and a good life and I slowly let go of the dream of having children with him. I don’t think adoption was completely out of the picture but we just weren’t thinking about that yet.
So, we decided to do something for ourselves. We thought hey, if we aren’t getting pregnant then what are we still doing in New York with all this crappy weather? And so it began. The big plan to move to California. We did it. Five years, no kids and we rewarded ourselves with a move we always wanted to make. We decided to live the dream. Palm trees and sunshine. Beaches and 70 degree weather in February when all of our friends and family were freezing their asses off. And nobody asking me when we were going to have kids. Mainly because nobody cared. I mean people don’t move to LA to start a family. So we went about our lives.
Two years after we moved here we lost our dog Sadie at 14 years of age. She was a great dog and hated getting old anyway. I was heartbroken but not shocked. She lived a good long life and was my copilot before I met Mark. A few months after she passed we decided to adopt another dog. There are so many dogs holed up in LA shelters so together we went to a couple and found a winner. We ended up adopting the first dog we connected with right out of the Santa Monica shelter. A Chihuahua/Jack Russell mix named Diego. When I put my hand up against his cage he leaned into me and begged me with his eyes to take him home. Super cute and lovable. Turns out a couple of days after we adopted Diego, Mark’s little swimmers actually found their way to one of my eggs. Surprise! And almost 9 months to the day we had our son. We couldn’t believe it and really we still can’t. We often look at our children and embrace the emotion and shock we still feel after having them.
We often wonder how we got to be so lucky and blessed with each other and then with these two beautiful beings.
I have gotten a few heartwarming responses to this blog site. I really touches me because every day I have to convince myself to work a little bit on it. I have to tell myself that someone will want to read my stories. Maybe a lot of people will want to read my stories. But no one will if I don’t work on them. So THANK YOU to all the people who have sent me words of encouragement.
I love the sisters that live across from me. They are always so kind to stop and chat when I see them. They not only chat with me but with the kids as well. They always lend a helping hand when I need it, like bringing my groceries or laundry upstairs for me. Looks like being neighborly isn’t completely lost in our society.
I was reminded by a stranger recently that the present is the most important time. Because you can’t look to the future as there is no guarantee there. Anything can happen at any moment. Even if the present moment is painful, things change. Breathe, learn, be grateful.