Monday, November 26, 2007

Thanksgiving

So we had an eventful long weekend with my in-laws. As noted in previous posts, I married well and thus have wonderful in-laws. My mother-in-law decided to have her entire 43-member Italian family over for Thanksgiving in their new home in Clarkston, MI. They have a beautiful home on 6 acres of wooded property ... perfect for shooting guns, playing a family game of football and breaking shoulders. That's right - one of my wife's cousins broke his shoulder while trying to return an intercepted pass for a touchdown on the last play of the game. His knees were taken out from under him by another family member, resulting in the demise of his shoulder as all 200+ lbs. came crashing down in an ugly, graceless fall (broken in two places) Ouch!

Anyhow, we had a nice time in spite of our worries about being bombarded by questions about starting a family and / or IVF. My wife and I decided it would be best to notify the entire family of what we had been through a few weeks ago after several awkward scenarios involving "So, when are you guys going to start kicking out babies?" so I'm assuming almost everyone there knew about our situation. These encounters didn't bother me as much as they did my wife, but I was somewhat relieved to be free of them for a while. I can understand why people would ask (we've been married for over 2 years now, I'm about to turn 30 - starting a family is what we SHOULD be doing!) If the topic of IVF ever came up (which it often did, although often times we would just play along and say "we'll let you know when we decide to start a family") I always took the opportunity to explain that we were going through it due to my misshapen sperm. I have chosen to do this for several reasons: 1. I know people will speculate about who's fault it is if I don't tell them (I know I would!), and odds are they'll assume it's my wife's fault, 2. I like to take the pressure off my wife and assume the burden of responsibility for our unfortunate situation.

This is a big issue that may warrant its own post - if you had the ability to choose who had the problem, you or your spouse, which would you choose? If it's you that has the problem, then you know you're responsible for dealing with the emotional/psychological effects of being deficient, but you will also have to worry about your spouse's feelings towards you (will they still love you, or look at you the same knowing that a huge part of life that is free and easy for most people may not even be possible for them?) If it's your spouse who has the problem, you will have little influence over how he/she handles the emotional/psychological effects, but you know you will love them no matter what and you have a great deal of control over how you prove this to them. If I had to choose, I would choose exactly the situation we have. My sperm are misshapen, but my wife's inner workings are all in perfect order. Knowing that I am deficient sucks, and is a blow to my self-esteem as a man, but I know I can handle it, and that there are worse things that could happen. I also know that my wife would never waiver in her commitment to me, and she has done an outstanding job of demonstrating this to me.

Anyhow, Thanksgiving ended up going off without a single question about our dealings with infertility. I was thinking that our situation made for a very large elephant in the room, but as I recall, my awareness of infertiliy prior to my diagnosis was completely absent. I had NO idea that this was as large a problem as it is, nor did I care. In fact, I have a cousin who went through IVF and successfully gave birth to twin boys, but I didn't' spend a single second comprehending the fact that they had to go through IVF to achieve this. In fact, if I recall, the only thought I gave to it was about her husband and how it was probably his fault, and what a bum he was! (turns out he's a very cool guy, as are all guys with misshapen sperm) So, I'm thinking the majority of people in attendance gave our situation little thought.

So, on the note of Thanksgiving - I am thankful for my wife, for my family, for my health and for my ability to earn enough to afford the IVF / adoption process. I'm confident that some day I'll look back on our trials in infertility and be thankful for what I learned from it. I'll let you know when that happens ...

Next up: What went wrong with IVF #1 and where we go from here ...

2 comments:

Trace said...

My husband was born w/a birth defect and is totally infertile. I have multiple sclerosis and after a failed domestic adoption we are pursuing donor insemination. No one knows about my husbands infertility, but everyone knows about my MS so I let everyone think we haven't tried to have a child because of my health condition. Plus, there are some minor risks for me so this means that it's a partial truth. I am a terrible liar ;-)

MamaSoon said...

I would prefer that my husband be the issue because ICSI can really help with that but having a hostile womb for any reason can really make this impossible. I would love my husband all the same, either way.