Sunday, July 12, 2015

Infertility and Fatherhood

Author:     Jose G. Barr

When Ruby and I first got married, our dream was to have 3 children to fill our home and hearts with love.  About a year later we got the good news from her doctor, we were going to be parents!  Six weeks later, as we were driving back from a trip to Mexico she started having very bad cramps.  They were so bad that I rushed her to the emergency room at the local hospital.  A few hours later we received the devastating news, we had lost the baby to a miscarriage.  We were grief stricken, Ruby had heard our babies heartbeat just a few days before and now there was nothing but silence and an emptiness where our baby had been.

Over the next few years we would keep trying with the same heartbreaking results each time.  Our doctors tried everything they could think of, but nothing worked.  After the last pregnancy, which turned out to be a "Blighted Ovum" (an empty fluid filled sac with no baby inside), the doctors had to do a Dilate and Curettage (D&C) to remove the empty sac.  I nearly lost the love of my life on that one. She developed an infection and had to be hospitalized for a week.  The situation had become much worse and our chances of having a successful pregnancy diminished. 

We eventually turned to an infertility specialist for help.  He talked about in vitro fertilization as our best hope for having a baby.  We dove head first into this chance at being parents, ignoring the warnings about the possible side effects from the medication.  We went through all the medical exams and finally began the course of treatment that would allow the doctor to harvest eggs to fertilize, and eventually, implant in her uterus. 

Giving Ruby the daily shots was probably the most difficult thing to do. The medication was thick and required a very large needle.  My amazing wife didn't flinch or say a word when I would inject her. The only sign of the pain she was in were the white knuckles I could see on her clenched hands.  We would do this procedure two times, draining our savings account in the process.  At the end of all of this pain all we had was heartbreak once again.

I was very worried about the effects this was now having on Ruby's health. We had long talks about the future and what we would do. We eventually gave up on ever being parents and decided to just enjoy being husband and wife.  We would travel and see the world, enjoying our time together.  But, no matter how we tried, there was always a huge hole in our lives. Deep down we knew that God had a plan for us, we were meant to be parents. 

We slowly began to explore the possibility of adopting a baby.  I was extremely nervous of this option, I had seen too many news reports about courts reversing adoptions years later and ripping the child away from their loving adoptive parents. I was afraid of something that realistically would probably never happen, but it was a significant fear for me.  Ruby was always the optimistic one. She knew what we needed to do and pulled me along, sometimes unwillingly, to all the classes and the interviews with the social worker. All the pain and suffering was worth it in the end. We are now parents of a beautiful little boy, who is and always will be, my little buddy.

Infertility is one of those rare things that far too many couples must deal with. Those that have not had to struggle to become a family will never understand the emotional pain and heartache that infertility causes.  Personally, I believe that having gone through all that we did has made us much better parents. I realize now how precious and fragile human life is.  It makes me sad to think that society embraces the practice of ending a beautiful little human life rather than making adoption the better, more prevalent choice for unwanted pregnancies. There will always be more than enough loving couples to accept these unwanted little lives.


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