Saturday, April 24, 2010
Wayne and I will celebrate our 30 year anniversary very shortly. We dated for 7 years before tying the knot and cherished the day we would spend our time as a couple. Being the eldest of 8, I deferred having my own family until I experienced life on my own a bit. This included pursuing a career, owning a home, travelling, playing groupie to Wayne's band and completing a college education. We were busy living life when all of a sudden I was lambasted with maternal instincts. My world was filled to the hilt and every spare moment was spent studying and remaining on the dean's list at Northwestern. Honestly, I fought these feelings, but eventually found myself reading How to Get Pregnant books instead of mastering my Logic and Statistics classes. It began to consume me. Wayne was clearly not at all ready to settle down and we casually let nature take its course; and if we were to be blessed, we would embrace our fate. After over a year, I started to panic and since my Ob-Gyn was already a fertility specialist, we began treatments. Anyone who has ever undergone fertility regiments will agree this is not a pleasure cruise at all. You have to make love when cycles dictate, take temperatures to see when ovulation occurs, run to the clinic with sperm in a cup, get probed with god-awful needles for biopsies that made me faint from the pain, try invitro insemination and pray Aunt Flo doesn't come for a visit every month. I spent loads of time in St. Peter and Paul's Cathedral downtown offering masses and novenas to St. Anthony, St. Francis and St. Jude. St. Gerard is the patron saint of mothers, so I kept him in my prayers daily. St. Therese is my patron saint so she was honored. St. Anne is Mary's mom, so I prayed to her as well. Heck, I prayed to everyone. Still, no conception after 3 years. We argued the fact to God that we would be great parents who would love our children and take good care of them. Financially we were in a good position to raise them in a healthy environment. We were so often surrounded by people who were having babies all the time and some didn't even want them. This just broke my heart.
I vividly remember my sister Marilyn phoned me one morning and offered the suggestion that it will happen when God wants it to, not on my timeline. Huh. That day I literally burned my How to Get Pregnant book and just accepted my life with Wayne and enjoy being together, come what may. Shortly thereafter, I was visited by St. Jude, who told me to build our home in Darien where we often visited model homes. This was such a jolting revelation, and things were extremely stressful with other family members at the time, that we did not hesitate, but went ahead and began the move to the suburbs. We settled in on August 17, 1984 and Aunt Flo did not visit the very first month we arrived in our new dwellings. We let go and let God take over. Mike was born and I got pregnant with Dan immediately afterward; and after a break, Steve was born. Three sons.
I often pondered why we had to endure this painful experience. I came to the conclusion that I may not have appreciated my children so much had I not ached for them the way I did. Being a parent is the most difficult thing in life. Being a parent is the most rewarding thing in life. Once we became parents, we never let go of that privilege. As a team we did our best to raise them in a loving, nurturing home. We did our best, made mistakes, but gave them the foundation to become the magnificent men they are today.
Because of my experiences, I was able to share it with 3 other couples who were infertile. I described what we had to go through and strongly urged the guys to see a urologist because most times when a couple is infertile, it is not only the female who has issues, but many times the male has something going on as well. There is this thing called a varicocele vein that 35% of men have that inhibits their sperm's motility. They could have plenty of little guys at the ready, but this vein inhibits them from moving fast enough. These 3 couples had exactly the same thing Wayne and I had - the girls had endometriosis and the guys the vein. After treating the women's condition via laparoscopy and the men having the vein snipped, all 3 of my friends conceived and all 3 couples had 3 boys. Notice a pattern here? I really believe I was supposed to help them with their journey by encouraging them to do what we had to do. So many people take conception for granted. It is painstaking for an infertile couple to be around families with lots of babies, until you accept fate and realize what is meant to be will happen. We attended support groups to withstand the emotional aspect of infertility. I was lucky to have two nieces born while my maternal inklings needed release and doused them with all the love I could when they arrived. They don't remember, but I do. It is amazing how babies can be so healing in the world. I will always remember those days. I carry the thoughts that I may never have had the joys of my own sons and we were blessed with three. I never take for granted their existence and have counted my blessings and offered my gratitude more often than not. There is always this extra ounce of appreciation when it comes to them, and for my husband for enduring the initial ordeal. It takes courage and persistance to overcome infertility. Those feelings of being infertile never go away, they just remind me to rejoice in overcoming the hurdle.
This was taken less than a year ago and very soon we will capture more memories together when we take our celebratory vacation in Punta Cana. xo
One joy scatters a hundred griefs. Chinese proverb