I was looking at some photos on my cell phone and I came across a few of my wife from the day of her egg retrieval. She's wearing a hair net, hospital smock and a dazed, anesthesia-induced smile. To think of how excited she was by the prospect of becoming pregnant, and how devastated she would be weeks after upon receipt of a negative result breaks my heart.
The day I asked my father-in-law for permission to propose to my wife, he told me that while he loves all of his children equally, my wife holds a very special place in her parent's hearts. Having been with her for almost 5 years now, and seeing the look on her face in these photos, I can see a glimpse of how her Dad views her. She is sweet, pure and vulnerable. She depends on the people she loves, and she is easily hurt. These photos say it all, and it breaks my heart to think of how optimistic she was in them. She was right on the threshold of one of her biggest life dreams - becoming a mother. To think that I even have video footage of her arriving at and leaving the clinic from the day of our embryo transfer - needless to say, we haven't watched it.
In any situation I can control, I have no doubt of my abilities to give my wife whatever she wants. Engagement ring? Bigger house? More money? No problem - I will do whatever it takes and go as far as I have to in order to make her happy. I don't mean that to sound arrogant - I mean only to demonstrate my dedication to my wife, and to our marriage. I think that is simply the cost of entry as a husband. In the world of infertility, however, one's control over the situation is completely stripped. You can take vitamins, stop drinking, procreate at the right times, but it all is still up to faith and chance. You can't "hope" for good sperm and have them magically appear. I hate this lack of control. It is a horrible feeling, especially when it has such a dire impact on the woman I love more than anyone in the world.
I hope my wife can one day have the same sense of optimism and hope that she had in the photos from the day of our embryo transfer. I can't make her feel that way, and it certainly isn't happening at the pace I would like it to, but I can support her, and do my best to be understanding of the way in which she handles this difficult process, for as long as it takes. At the end of all this we will be stronger as individuals, and as a married couple, and we will be parents. There are many hurdles to cross between here and there, but we'll get through it and I'll be there for my wife every step of the way, and at the end I'll take a cell-phone picture of my wife holding our baby.