Saturday, February 27, 2021

The Good Fight

When we last left off, I was supposed to have a calm, mature conversation with my husband about his feelings and fears regarding the embryo transfer.

I’ll spare you the suspense: I fucked it up. Despite talking through the strategy with my therapist beforehand, I came at my husband guns a-blazing. Instead of listening to him, I spewed all my anger at him. I spat dark predictions of what would happen to our marriage if we canceled the transfer. I swore. I made him cry. (Though to be fair, he’s a crier. It doesn’t take much.) I didn't comfort him. I didn’t want to force his hand, but when I thought about calling California IVF to cancel the transfer, hot tears pulsed in my eyes.

After expressing his fears (“I’m staring down 50. I don’t want to be ‘old dad.’”), he tried to smooth things over. He hugged me, said he loved me, and reminded me that we were a team. He tried to be cute and asked our daughter if she would be kind to a little sister.

This did not assuage me. Strangely, it made me angrier. I wanted him to want another baby, and it was so obvious he didn’t. The desire was just not there for him. That’s not to say he wouldn’t love another little girl once she’s here – in fact, he said exactly that. But was that enough?

We weren't getting anywhere (surprise, surprise) and it was getting late so I said we should just stop for now. I needed a moment to process. Questions I asked myself: Am I being unreasonable? Do I secretly want to abandon this dream, too, but I'm making him do the dirty work? Is this an “opportunity” for me to be the bigger person and stop pushing in order to keep the peace? Do I have it in me to do that? Or is that just another form of ego? How do I let this dream go and not expect him to "make it up to me"? Could he ever do that? Why am I wrestling so hard with this? How do I "solve" it without blowing everything up?

I tried to meditate and pray my way to clarity, but I couldn't feel God in this situation at all. I felt abandoned and stuck. I Googled “How to discern God’s will with having children” and came across one helpful blog post by a mother of eight(!). She wrote about how people do not choose how many children they have. God does. Even if you try to take control from Him (i.e. use birth control or the rhythm method or have a vasectomy), He finds a way around it if you are really meant to have a child.

This advice resonated with me. We were not deciding whether or not to have a child. We could try our best by going forward with the transfer, but God would determine whether or not it was successful. We could also opt out, and who knows? Maybe we would get pregnant spontaneously. (Is there an infertile couple out there who doesn’t indulge this fantasy? I doubt it.) Or maybe we were not meant to have more children and no matter what we did or didn’t do, there would be no more children.

In that sense, there was really no “right” or “wrong” way to go about this. No matter which path we took, God would decide whether or not another baby would come to us. Reframing the issue this way lightened the load.

In quiet moments, I kept coming back to wanting to try, at least once, because I didn’t want to regret not trying five or ten years down the road, when it would definitely be too late.

After a cooling-off period, I asked my husband if there was room for compromise. Could we agree to try once and then give up if it doesn't work? He seemed amenable to that. But that would put a lot of pressure on the impending transfer. What if it failed and I wanted to try again? Could I just leave those two unused tries on the table? The gambler in me had her doubts.

I huffed and puffed and stewed and silent treatment-ed my husband for a couple of days. Then, I don’t know what changed exactly, other than I became convinced that the transfer was happening and my husband didn’t resist. There wasn’t one conversation where we “decided” to move forward; it was more of a silent acknowledgment that the decision had already been made, maybe months ago, and we were finally just submitting to the decision.

Two days before my departure date, my treatment coordinator called my husband to get his consent for the transfer. “You have it,” is all he said. It wasn’t as effusive or excited as I would have liked, but it was enough.

So that was that. I was going. Now I just needed to get to Sacramento

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