First comes love, then comes marriage and then comes a little teeny baby carriage.
W hat about that whole year of trying to conceive? Where does that fit in? I never imagined I would have trouble conceiving, but who really does? I was so naive and figured we’d get pregnant a month or two after trying and that the first time I peed on that stick I would see two tiny pink lines looking back at me, not some menacing blank space or sad face.
My husband and I were always planners, we had schedules on schedules. That’s probably why we were lead down this road, to teach us something about patience, faith and trust. We started trying to conceive and were eager about starting our family. The first few negatives didn’t feel great, but certainly not something that worried us. When we hit the eight month mark, I started to get anxious and worried that maybe I actually did have some underlying fertility issues. We were supposed to be pregnant by now with a bump peeking out under my shirt and a beautiful glow to my face. The universe had little interest in my plans, obviously.
We decided as a couple that it was time we get in touch with a fertility clinic just to meet with them and see if everything was working the way it should. Of course, I was certain we were both fine and that maybe we just weren’t quite hitting our peak ovulation dates. Much to my surprise, when we arrived my husband also underwent some testing for mobility and quality of his sperm. When our clinic called us in to discuss results, I was relieved to hear that my HCG, follicle count and SH came back perfect. In the five second break the doctor took before beginning to speak again, I had already planned out my family and dreamt about how I’d be pregnant in a few short weeks and back on track.
Then she dropped a bomb of nuclear proportion on us. My husband, my sweet, intelligent, funny, artistic and handsome husband, was sterile. He would never make a child of his own. He would never add to the genetic makeup of our children. He would never pass on all those amazing characteristics that I fall in love with every day. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t speak, all I could do was shut my eyes and weep. I mourned the loss of the beautiful future we had planned together.
The next couple of months were some of the most trying times in both our marriage and our lives. We had to face a lot of ugly truths and do something we were not good at; changing sail. We had to accept that our dreams of biologically creating a child together was never going to happen. We talked a little about adoption, but ultimately he decided that he wanted nothing more to look down and see me in the face of our children.
So we were on the hunt for a sperm donor. We devised a list of things that were important for us and what we wanted our donor to look like and what values we want him to hold and ambitions we would want him to have. We looked at some agencies and sperm banks. At times, it felt incredibly overwhelming. When you meet the love of your life and you decide to have a child with them, none of the little things seem to matter. He has history of depression in his family history? Oh well, let’s make sure to keep an eye on that. His great grand-father had diabetes? Well, It is what it is. Those are things you don’t pay much attention to, but when you get to pick your donor? It feels impossible. It feels like everything is a big deal and there’s always a better option out there. Oh no, this guy got a ‘C’ in science. Sorry, but I want my baby to be an astronaut one day if he is so inclined. Your aunt was only 5’2? I want my son to be tall so he can play in the MBA. All these little insignificant things seem like a big deal. It’s as if all the ingredients to the cake need to be perfect. It’s hard enough to accept the fact that you need another person to help build your family, but picking the perfect one is exhausting. It took us months to decide, there were a lot of tears, mostly from me, but a few from the hubby too. We finally decided on a donor. After that, things moved quickly. We were inseminating three weeks later and waiting on that 2-4 minutes for the test to show. Wouldn’t you know it, the faintest pink line I had ever seen. We were pregnant with another man’s baby and we were thrilled!
We waited patiently as our little babe cooked. The nine months leading up to your child’s birth are always’s filled with thoughts and questions about what your child will be like. What their personality will be like or who they’ll look like more. For us, it was amplified by thousands. What would our baby look like, will we stare down at a stranger’s child? Will my husband connect with a child that is not biologically his?
Thinking about our donor is not something we do in our everyday life. My husband is the father of our crazy 18 month old son and it feels every bit of natural as any other family. There are definitely times were I look upon his beautiful face and see that he has his donors lips, but they are beautiful and we both love to kiss them all the same. This is all part of our story and what makes us unique as individuals and as a family.
Using a donor to complete our family was just our first lesson in the unpredictability of life and parenthood. We learnt how to have faith and trust that all hard times will pass and everything will work out in time. Our latest challenge? Trying to wrap our heads around the fact that in six months were going to be bringing home baby #2!
– Jenifer F.