So, um, who are you two anyway? We’re just a couple of quasi-anonymous bloggers! We never use our real names and insert pictures and videos only sparingly on account of how precious few in-real-life peeps are privy to our blogger alter-egos. Deal is, if you’re the news or a private investigator, you can probably pretty easily unearth our true identities (and maybe even our mailing address). We would, however, really like it if you didn’t. For more, see “About.”
Describe yourselves. Visual: Sally Fields. Circa Gidget. A wee little bit hipster-meets-Second-Wave-Feminist but who looks less the part because she’s in middle management. (That Amelia Earheart lapel pin = a small act of defiance.) Brainy. Hyper-logical. Dead-pan. That’s Mother. Daddy Dearest is that furry-looking dude you met that once at a Phish show and whom you remember because he smiled real big and mildly resembled David Schwimmer or a Hopi Kokopelli on E. He likes to cook and watch chick movies. Also, he’s hilarious.
How’d you decide you wanted to become parents? We had a series of meaningful conversations in which we assessed our finances, our career trajectories, our talents, our motivation, our individual and collective ideas about “family.” Conclusion: We had much to offer potential spawn apart from inevitable good looks. Not to mention, we were kind of jazzed about the opportunity and always sort of figured it’d come to this.
How long had you been trying to get knocked up before it happened? A long ass time. See “TTC Timeline.”
If you’re “infertile,” doesn’t that mean you can’t have biological kids? Not necessarily. Infertility is the diagnosis rendered when one under age 35 isn’t able to achieve a viable pregnancy after a year of unprotected intercourse or, over 35, after six months. Sometimes, like in our case, it means we’ll never be able to get pregnant by means of good ol’ fashioned intercourse. Assisted reproductive technology (more specifically IVF) helped us to achieve pregnancy using our own genetic material. We had a baby girl on June 22, 2012.
Since you managed to get knocked up, you’re no longer considered infertile, right? Wrong. See diagnostic criteria above. Pregnancy doesn’t actually change that. If you’re us, it just gives you a little hope that you’ll, maybe, get your “take home” baby.
Who’s got the “issue?” We don’t really like this question because it overlooks an important truth: As a couple experiencing infertility, it’s our shared issue. Ergo, we prefer, ‘Do you know what causes your infertility?’
Do you know what causes your infertility? Why yes. Yes we do. Pops has obstructions in the prostate/seminal vesicles, low testosterone, low volume and zero percent morphology. Classic “Male Factor Infertility.” Nobody really knows what contributed to these conditions, either, just that they exist. In his case, surgery isn’t recommended. Hormones help, but marginally.
So if there was nothing biologically amiss with Mama, how come she was a fertility patient? Two words: Optimum conditioning.
Shittiest fertility test/treatment you experienced? Hers: The hysterosalpingogram. Otherwise known as an HSG. His: Cystoscopy. Followed closely by The Transrectal Ultrasound. Enough said.
I read about that one fertility treatment you had and it sounded super sucky. Why not just adopt? Just?! Doesn’t elevate adoption to the preeminent place we do believe it deserves among family-expandin’ options, homes. Plus, for us, it was never a last-resort-if-all-else-fails kind of thing. It was this: If fertility treatments required a fair bit of emotional fortitude, adoption required…wow.
If you had banked all the money you spent on birth control before you knew you couldn’t actually get knocked up au natural, how would you have spent it instead? We’d – or rather she’d – be pushing around a Silver Cross Balmoral Pram. Duh.
What impact does infertility have on a marriage? It can make you or break you, but it’s going to leave you changed. If the real question is, ‘How does your marriage handle it?’ the answer is “ok.” Here’s why: Infertility had the unexpected benefit of strengthening our union by growing our emotional capital. We officially have killer communication skills. Not to mention, we keep our snark about us. Hey lover, let’s do it sans prophylactics – for the rest of our lives!
What was it like to be pregnant post-infertility? It was awesome, unsettling, surreal. The thing is, for much of it, we just celebrated the “double lines.” In other words, since it was hard to believe we ever had the baby in the bag, we celebrated the fact that we were preggers. And we celebrated the kid later.
What’d you name your daughter? Something awesome. But since this is the Internet (and, yo, we’ve seen To Catch a Predator), we reference her by her nickname, “Elbee.” Or “Kid.”
Hey, so what’s your birth story? It’s this.
Is parenting anything like what you expected? Hell to the no.
What’s different about it? For starters, we never imagined this kid. On the one hand, she’s about six thousand times more awesome than the stuff of our pre-parenting imaginations. (She’s been dancing like nobody – or absolutely everybody – is watching since she’s been four months old, hello!) On the other, in the early days, we parented a “medically-complex” kid and no parenting class or book or magazine can quite prepare you for that.
What does that mean? Elbee’s aspirated on breast milk at three weeks old. It was the tip of the food allergy/GERD/allergic colitis iceberg. Over the coming months, Elbee would, quite literally, gag and choke at every meal time and vomit multiple times every day. Docs prescribed a regimen of meds to help keep her stomach acid from eroding the esophagus. They worked. Nonetheless, that ongoing mealtime trauma spawned a pediatric feeding disorder. Elbee, who’s cognitively completely typical (or advanced for her age) refused most solid food for over two years. She struggled with texture aversion and chewing/swallowing difficulties, and subsisted on a bottle, which she had to work hard to self-feed. Her interdisciplinary treatment team included an occupational therapist, who’s probably to thank for the way it all turned out. Which is to say, just fine.
What’s the most awesome thing about your kid? That she’s ours. Also, one of her first words was “happy.” Which makes us ridiculously so.