Monday, October 06, 2003

Keep the faith.

There was to be a book. When I received the book, a gift, I would realize that our prayers had been answered, that we were pregnant.

But things didn't quite go according to plan. When we began trying, we had just learned that our friends were three months along. "Dang them," we thought. But no matter, we were only a few months behind, right? Their announcement pushed up our time-table by about a month, but, there was that plan thing.

After several months without any success whatsoever, we were referred to a reproductive center. It was a scary thing. It felt like failure. We began to ask "What if..." You go to the worst-case scenario pretty quickly. You pray every night and every morning and many, many times throughout the day, but between the prayers in the harsh light of day, you go to the worst-case. And you keep going back to the worst case. Why would God do this? He doesn't punish, so we couldn't look for something we were doing wrong in our lives to try to correct. But why would God allow me to grow up thinking even from a very small child about how special and unique a child was, a creation of just you and one other person, something no one else could duplicate. Why would I be wired to dream of this only to see that door shut in my face? I mean, I was pretty sure that over the years I had given more thought to that than most guys. I knew it wasn't normal, but it was just always there. On my checklist, if you will. Get married. Buy a house. Own a new car. Have a baby, or babies, with my wife.

But now, the fear was setting in. What if this wasn't possible? Why? Why? Why?

The doctor at the clinic was very thorough and very confident. Our age and how quickly we had been referred after experiencing nothing counted in our favor, he said. He outlined three things they would try. First fertility drugs in three rounds of increasing dosage. Second three attempts at intrauterine insemination (IUI) -- each attempt consisting of two IUI's 24-hours apart and finally three attempts at in vitro fertilization (IVF).

It's really tough, having to go to an infertility clinic. You ask "Why us?" We've been relatively healthy. Maybe we're a little overweight, but The Wife's never smoked or even had alcohol. It's been years since I've had alcohol or even partaken in a cigar. People all around us having babies. Some by accident. All to loving homes, to be sure, but we're ready to provide a loving home. It should be our turn. Why do we have go to see a doctor? Are we some kind of failure? Will they be able to help us? What will they say is wrong? What if we can never have children on our own?

But the tests kept coming back negative. The fertility drugs had no effect. The first two IUI's were several weeks ago. I had to provide samples in a cup two days in a row. A technician would select the best swimmers from each sample. Then they were delivered directly to the close proximity of the waiting egg via a syringe and a flexible tube in a very invasive procedure. The success rate for IUI was listed at anywhere from 10-25% depending on which website and which pamphlet we read. The doctor reminded us that 'it only took one.' She let me depress the plunger and dispatch the troops. For good measure, we had sex that night, too. The next day, the doctor depressed the plunger. For good measure, we made an old-fashioned attempt that evening as well.

Our best friends' baby was born a few weeks ago. Beautiful, healthy, two weeks early. A pure bundle of life-changing joy. You have moments where it's tough to be happy for them. But you want to be. You don't want to be selfish. I think in the end, our own confidence that our prayers would be answered allowed us to truly celebrate with them.

A dinner the other night, other friends announced they had completed the first trimester. We smiled and I thought to myself "It's our turn." and believed it. Not because I wanted to believe it, but because I did believe that we were next.

This morning my wife showed me a white stick and said "Does this look like a blue line?" It did. This evening, a stick with two pink lines. It said that one of the lines could be faint and it would still read positive. Well, let me tell you, that second pink line couldn't have been any pinker.

I have not really come to term with the whole concept yet and I know that it's still really early on -- a more comprehensive and foolproof blood test tomorrow at the clinic. The baby is about half the size of the dot in the letter i. But I've teared up several times this evening. Mostly because I've felt like a real failure tonight for doubting God. I suspect that anyone who's gone through, will go through, or is still going through what we've gone through -- or much more -- will have many moments of doubt.

So, now there's a new House, a Puppy, and the book is lost somewhere in one of the still packed boxes.

Keep the faith.

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