The world is a fucking weird place that is confusing, frustrating, beautiful, filled with irony, and sometimes rewarding.
This is the end of our infertility story.
February 21 – I had a shit day. After traveling on my holiday off on Monday, I spent three days in one of our field offices conducting a training, and training the trainers who would take it over from me. This was exhausting, and since I traveled for work on the holiday, I planned to take a comp day on Friday to even the score a bit.
Naturally, the universe had other plans. I got an email from one of our Senior VPs requesting my presence in a meeting on Friday. Because I gladly bend over for the long dick of corporate interest, I oblige. Then came a media request, then another. Before you know it, my Friday, originally intended to be a day off, became an absolute blazing tire fire of work. The meeting I had to attend ended up in a mountain of work that was all imminently due. My usual quitting time of noon on Fridays (standard company hours, not just me being some lazy bourgeois asswipe) came and went, and I ended up on the phone until 3 fucking o’clock, with several hours of work ahead of me over the weekend.
I left the office in a pissy, pissy mood to the point where I almost hoped for someone to talk shit to me just so I could tell them, “Fuck you.” That’s profoundly unhealthy, but whatever, it’s how I felt.
Since the day was pretty much hosed at that point anyway, and with Kristin off showing homes to some clients, I decided to bang out some errands. Even accounting for the generalized annoyance of upgrading my cell phone, I manage to calm down and meet Kristin at a tap house where we indulge in some craft beers. Ribs for dinner, and I started to feel better about the world.
Once back at home, I sensed something off in Kristin. The gravity in the room had changed in a familiar way. What’s happening? We hadn’t had an infertility disappointment in a couple of months, so I had no idea what to expect but feared the worst.
She told me she once again wasn’t pregnant and apologized all over herself to me. I didn’t really get it. We’ve spent two years trying very hard to get pregnant with the same results each time. Why the sadness over this one? I had basically mentally given up. I figured she had as well. More on that later.
But we spent some time dredging up more of those awful feelings and insecurities we’re all too familiar with. We re-asserted our commitment to each other, and due to the stress of it all, found an extremely old (and therefore wildly stale) pack of cigarettes and each smoked a couple on our front patio. The feelings are awful, but with enough repetitions, you become sort of unimpressed with them. The exquisiteness of the hurt never really goes away, but the pathways are so well worn, the net result isn’t nearly as poignant and you wonder if you’ll ever feel anything again.
The night ended and we went to bed.
February 22 – Our plan for the day was to wake up, head down to my mother-in-law’s house and sell her the crib and changing table we’d bought over two years ago which we’d grown to view as nothing more than a goddamn hex on our fertility. After that it was off to IKEA to buy a bunch of stuff to turn what would have been the baby’s room into a podcast studio/office, then to a birthday party of a friend’s 1 year-old daughter, and finally ending the night at Shanahan’s for Denver Restaurant Week.
Kristin slept like ass and coughed basically all night. I woke up to find her on the couch in our living room like she was a goddamn disgraced husband from a hacky 1980s sitcom. I sent her back in the bedroom to go back to sleep. When she awoke, I laid back down with her and Finnegan. Finn crawled atop her, and then suddenly stopped dead in his tracks to smell her stomach. He did that creepy cat thing where he sniffs, then opens his mouth and processes the smell that way for a few seconds. It looks weird as hell.
“Heh… Maybe you ARE pregnant and Finnegan can tell,” I joked.
Kristin took a pregnancy test anyway (there are no jokes in infertility, you know), and the result came out wonky. You see, on one brand, one line shows up if you’re not pregnant, and two lines emerge if you’re pregnant. So what did we get? One line for sure, and one line that sort of half showed up faintly. Thanks, test! I love having an ambiguous answer.
“I’ve got a different brand in the bathroom. I’ll drink my coffee and then head back in,” Kristin said.
I waited. She emerged from the bathroom and I couldn’t read her.
“Holy shit. It says I’m pregnant,” she said. I looked in the window, and just like that time she cheated, the little window read “Pregnant.” I had no idea how to feel. I was at once thrilled, terrified, confused, and most of all, guarded in my feelings because I’d been burned too many times to let myself feel anything too profound. So I asked what was next.
“Well, we probably shouldn’t sell the crib to my mom just yet.”
True enough. Nor should we embark on changing that room into a studio either. The day’s plans have changed dramatically. And since this development is literally BRAND FUCKING NEW, we don’t want to unnecessarily get the hopes up of our friends. But with seeing them right around the corner, we determined to make up a story about Kristin fighting off a wicked hangover from the previous night. That’s nothing new with this group, so that ought to suffice.
It worked brilliantly at the birthday party, and then with a strategically purchased club soda at the bar and a solo glass of wine at dinner, no one was the wiser. Surreptitiously, Kristin scheduled a blood test for the following morning.
At this point, I still hadn’t let myself feel much of anything and was worried I’d have no reaction whatsoever if this were the real thing.
The night ended and we went to bed.
February 23 – As Kristin headed off to take a blood test to confirm she either was or was not pregnant, I became overwhelmed with anxiety. On top of this stupid mountain of work I had ahead of me that morning, I was also faced with the tiny little proposition of either having my life irrevocably altered for the better in what would absolve the previous two years of anxiety and misery, or getting closer than we’d ever been only to see it crumble before us yet again and go further down the rabbit hole of depression and resentment for the universe. No big deal.
On the verge of a panic attack, I smoked another one of those stale ass cigarettes, which sort of helped but somehow also put me even more on edge than before, which doesn’t make any sense. With no idea what to do, I thought like a methhead and buried myself in tasks. I banged out PowerPoint decks, wrote talking points, combed through data, and compiled it all into one giant email that will surely serve as the equivalent of a jack-in-the-box-holding-a-butcher’s-knife for a lot of people’s Monday morning when they read it and realize they too get to join me in dropping a grenade in their calendar.
I unloaded the dishwasher. I washed the dishes in the sink. I tidied up the living room. I kept moving for fear of stopping for one second and letting the anxiety dissolve my very being into sand piled onto the floor, blowing away in the Colorado wind.
Kristin returned home and it would be a couple more hours before we’d know what her levels were and if she was pregnant. And those hours crawled by. I finished my work for the morning (only 3.5 hours – what a great Sunday!), and turned to the last refuge of all procrastinators, time killers, and otherwise bored people – your computer’s built-in card games. I played Free Cell, and I fucking hate Free Cell.
Finally, the nurse called Kristin. This was it. I braced for impact. Kristin absorbed the info, and then turned to me her mouth going from neutral to giant grin with tear-soaked eyes. She nodded up and down and my heart began to race. Was this real? I had dreamed of this moment, seen it portrayed in movies, and never was the guy wearing a hoodie sitting in front of his laptop playing fucking solitaire.
Kristin got off the phone and explained the numbers to me. They were all good and all indications were that we were pregnant.
We. Were. Pregnant.
No fucking way. NO FUCKING WAY. This doesn’t happen. I mean, this doesn’t happen for us? I had resigned myself as the representative voice of infertility who hopefully helped others deal with the heartbreak and the pain. I had relegated us to the failure pile. I was convinced deep in my bones we’d never be able to have children.
We were pregnant.
We hugged each other and cried. We told each other we loved each other. We smiled. We didn’t know what to do with ourselves, but all I knew was I had a huge rush of good feelings wash over me in a way I’d only experienced one other time. It was when I proposed, and I remember what happened as soon as we closed that deal… we closed a different deal, if you know what I mean. And that happened again. Aw yeah. Giggity. We thanked each other’s pertinent anatomy for a job well done, and then let them thank each other. It was fucking cathartic.
In the afterglow, we talked a few associated things. How would we tell the parents? How would we tell her sister? How we would keep this from our friends? Etc. And as we chatted, it occurred to me how bizarre the world is, and how beautiful it can be.
1. We took that trip to Cabo largely because our last IUI failed and we had to escape. We had decided to pay for the trip by selling the crib and the changing table, but couldn’t get anyone to buy them.
2. On the day we were to finally unload the baby furniture, thanks to the prospect of drinking all day, and possibly because the cat decided to smell Kristin’s stomach for whatever reason, she took another pregnancy test. It came out positive. I’m no fatalist, but it’s pretty goddamn amazing that we couldn’t unload this baby furniture, and that the day we finally were, we actually couldn’t for an entirely different reason.
3. I told Kristin how much I hated all my friends and acquaintances who knew our story that told us “we needed to give up and just relax” because goddammit if they weren’t ultimately right. Kristin said, “I never gave up. I always knew when I was ovulating and I made sure we had sex on those days. I just didn’t tell you.” Gents, the women in your lives are operating on a whole other level.
4. The projected due date of this baby: October 31, 2014. Exactly one year after I lost my mind over how Halloween will depress the shit out of you when you’re dealing with infertility. And more importantly, exactly 10 years after Kristin and I had our first real relationship talk outside the garage of my college house and determining “what this was.” It’s the day we count as the start of our relationship, and it’s a day I always look back extremely fondly on.
And now, hopefully I will forever.
I wrote the above pretty much all in one vomitous session on February 23 because I didn’t want to forget how I felt those three days. It is now six-and-a-half weeks later, and things are remarkably amazing.
We got to go in for our first ultrasound at least a month prior to when most people get to on account of our relationship with the infertility clinic. The little one was only 6 weeks old at that point, unbelievably teeny, but, astoundingly, still recognizable more or less as a human baby.
“And you see this little flutter right here? That’s the heart beating,” said the technician running the ultrasound.
I had never experienced seeing another heartbeat that caused mine to stop.
I’ve since seen the heartbeat flutter on two more occasions, and it never gets less marvelous.
In some ways this doesn’t seem real. After two years of a mostly unpleasant rollercoaster ride of emotion, I’m worried somewhere there’s going to be a punch in the face. Each day that it doesn’t, I become more comfortable that it won’t and get more excited.
Helping that has been the drip-drip-drip of reveals we’ve released to people letting them know that we finally did it. That’s been a lot of fun. It’s been especially fun considering most people know the story through the lens of reading about it here, and needless to say, that’s been some fucked up reading. So to watch the surprise, the shock, the recognition, and then ultimately joy.
The response to our broad announcement on Facebook has been absolutely overwhelming.
On a personal note, I’m happy I finally get to write one of these long ass articles that doesn’t make everyone cry and feel compelled to send me sympathy texts afterward.
You can rest assured there will be more essays about the pregnancy in the weeks to come, and I’m happy to, at least for now, put much of this infertility stuff to rest. What I will always carry with me is your warm feelings, your thoughtful comments, texts and messages, and the love you’ve shown Kristin and me throughout this entire process. You mean more to me than you’ll ever know.
And I’m thrilled to provide you a happy story for a change.
Thanks for letting us share this journey with you. And thanks for sticking around. I had no idea if it would ever take a turn for the better, but it has.
Pregnant… No way. Awesome.
2 comments on “Breakthrough”
I can do nothing but smile while reading this. Enjoy your happy story, it’s an amazing one.