Tag Archives: dream of having children

Maybe This is How It Is Between Husband and Wife

Alex went in the bedroom to get dressed, pulling on jeans and a button-down plaid shirt. It didn’t take him long to get ready as he had no hair to contend with and showers were only five minutes tops. He was a roll-out-of-bed and go kind of guy and he was quite content with it. Shaving was the only concession he usually made since he would end up a wooly mammoth in two days if he didn’t keep it under control. It was bad enough he had to shave his back and chest hair so it didn’t pop out of his shirt. He glanced back at the bed. I was still curled up in a ball. He shook his head, wondering if he should even bother me.

“Alex? I don’t feel so well,” I mumbled. I looked at him through pain glazed eyes. Alex walked over and put his hand on my forehead.

“You don’t feel like you have a fever. What’s wrong?” Alex brushed my bangs aside gently as he felt my forehead.

“My lower back and stomach are killing me. I can barely move my legs and I’m bleeding like a stuck pig,” I whimpered as I cradled my stomach. “I think there’s something wrong.”

“Maybe you should go to the doctor?” Alex eyed me skeptically.

“I probably should. Will you call and schedule the appointment with Dr. Lee? Can you take me? I don’t think I can drive.” I attempted to push myself up in bed, but another gut-wrenching convulsion sliced through my lower back. “Ooohhhhhh!” I cried as I fell back in bed.

“Can’t your mom or dad take you? Is there someone else you can call? I have to work. You know how important it is that I be there. I can’t afford another day off to go to the doctor with you.” Alex huffed and straightened up. He knew there was no way he was missing another day of work to go the doctor again. He had already missed a few days because of the fertility tests and consultations. I would just have to do it without him.

“Come on, Kat. Maybe you’re just having a bad period. It can’t be as bad as you’re acting. I’ve got to go. You’re going to have to do this without me.” Alex rolled his eyes and went out to the kitchen, packed his lunch and got ready to leave for work.

I laid there, silent tears leaving a silver trail down my cheeks, feeling incredibly alone. I couldn’t believe that Alex would just walk away like that from me. Didn’t he love me anymore? Didn’t he care? Couldn’t he see I was in so much pain? I heard the front door slam shut and the car drive away, leaving me abandoned on the bed.

Maybe I deserved it. Maybe this was how it was supposed to be between a husband and wife. I scrabbled for the cell phone on the end table, knocking off a book in the process. Nittany, the three-year-old grey tiger cat, took off running from the bedroom, startled by the loud thud. I made an appointment with Dr. Lee at 2:00pm. I dropped the phone over the side of the bed, curled up into a ball, and tried to fall back asleep. I hoped the crushing pain would ease as I sobbed quietly into the pillow.


The M.R.S. Degree

The pressures to marry and raise a family can be enormous — to the extent that women who are unable to do those things can feel as though something must be deeply wrong with them or sorely lacking in their lives. Men are not pressured in the same way to become fathers or to marry. And many men are brought up to repress their feelings or at least keep them to themselves.

I used to think something was wrong with me because I dated so little in high school. Never mind that my limited choices were farmers or military kids, neither of which interested me at the time. It didn’t help that my father was a pastor as well as a substitute teacher. And yes, he substitute taught some of my classes. I remember one young guy who I flirted with incessantly, but I could never get to go on a date with me said, “I can’t date you! God would strike me dead with lightning because of your dad!” And they meant it.

Another time, two girl friends of mine were sitting next to me in a floral design class (one of those easy electives to get out of actually working in school). We were chit-chatting, mindless banter, when they got quiet and looked at each other. I’ll never forget her long silky dune-colored hair that curtained her face when she leaned over to me and asked, “Are you gay?”

The color drained from my face and my mouth gaped open. “What? Why are you asking me that? Absolutely not!” She apologized, but wanted to know why I wasn’t dating anyone in high school and that she had never seen me with a boyfriend. “None of your business, that’s why. I can’t believe you asked me that. Besides, there’s no one here I want to date.” I brushed it off with the supposed nonchalance of youth, but the barb stung deep. The social stigma never truly faded. It was always an undercurrent when people talked to me, noticed me in the hallways, reached out from the silence as I walked by. It reminded me that I was a failure when it came to boys and dating.

College considerably expanded the dating realm, but it became a competition. Some women went to college for a very different type of degree – their MRS, earned by finding their future husband in the hallowed halls of a university.   The logic was simple – if a woman had no particular career aspirations but wanted to get married, she could meet scores of smart and successful men on a college campus. So to college she went, flirting with boys in her classes and dating as many men as possible, all to have a ring on her finger by graduation.

Christian colleges have been notorious for “pushing” marriage and family, suggestively or outright. I felt like I would be a failure if I didn’t find a man to marry while attending a Christian college. Of all places, I should be able to find a good man here, right? I dated a few, but never “the one.” As my roommates and friends, one by one paired off, I sunk lower and lower into a self-pity party – “No one wants me! I’m going to be all alone! Oh woe is me!” It was pretty pathetic looking back at it now.

Then I met Alex…well, sort of. The first time we met, we didn’t meet face to face. He was at the bottom of the stairs in my apartment, I was at the top of the stairs hidden from view. I was sick with bronchitis and he had stopped by to visit some of my roommates who were old friends of his. We half-shouted back and forth, introducing ourselves. Unbeknownst to me, my friends were gleefully rubbing their hands together and appreciating their scheming minds. They gave him a picture of me, my phone number, and my e-mail address and told him to contact me for a date. Yes, you heard me…my friends were setting me up.

That night, Alex didn’t hesitate and e-mailed me right away. He told me about the picture, thought I was beautiful, and wanted to take me on a date. A what? Seriously? I thought he was moving too fast. But then I decided, what the hell have I got to lose, and took him up on his offer. We e-mailed several times more – long, mushy, tell-all missives that could have filled a book. Technically, our first date was a blind date considering we hadn’t actually met face to face, yet. It was all that I had imagined falling in love would be like and more. I was  like a leaf cavorting on a caressing breeze, smitten and floating in wonder.

Feverishly, we dated – always together to the point of avoiding our friends. Every waking moment was either spent talking to each other, thinking about each other, or being with each other. There was no room for anyone or anything else. We believed it was true love. He had just left another relationship where he had proposed to the girl and she said no, but he said that he was ready to date again and find “Mrs. Right.” Somewhere in the back of my mind, I acknowledged that it can’t be this easy, but who ever heeds the little voice in the back of their head? I shoved it aside because life was too much fun and I insisted I knew what I was doing. I finally was going to achieve my M.R.S. degree and fulfill one of my goals.


Our Dream of Having Children

Alex and I talked often of our future and children, as young couples tend to do. We both wanted little ones someday, a lot of them, so we decided to pursue our dream of having children.  I stopped my birth control thinking this would be easy. He said it would be fun with all the racy and wild sex we would have. It was good. The sex, I mean. Alex was game for most anything I wanted to try. But months turned into one year, then two years, and still no child. It took convincing, but he agreed to go with me to see Dr. Kim, the fertility doctor.

We had to decide how far we could go in the fertility treatment process to realize our dream. I wanted to do whatever it would take. Alex was a bit more hesitant. There are so many choices, my first impulse was to go straight to in vitro fertilization(IVF) thinking I would get pregnant faster. But according to Dr. Kim, cheaper therapies, such as fertility drugs or surgery,  were often very effective. I learned that about 90 percent of couples with fertility problems who have children were treated with drugs or surgery only. We agreed on medication trials for now.

They needed a sample from Alex. I laughed until I cried at his embarrassed indignance to fill a cup. They offered magazines or movies, but he said that all he had to do was think of me. I was touched and proud. Later, we learned the results that his swimmers were valiant and plentiful (much to his relief). I endured the multitude of tests and painful ultrasounds. Alex held my hand during the internal ultrasound where they lit me up with blue dye. I never knew a simple, straw-sized tube could be so painful as it traipsed around inside my uterus. He wiped my tears as I grimaced and whimpered. The verdict was a tilted pelvis. No reason for not being pregnant, but it explained the occasional painful banging during some of our rowdier nights. I secretly suspected it was still my fault I wasn’t pregnant yet. There was something wrong with me. But nothing seemed conclusive, until Dr. Kim discovered I rarely ovulate. Well, that could be a problem since you need to ovulate to get pregnant. Biology 101. We agreed to the Clomid, a fertility drug that was supposed to help. I’ll spare you the scientific details.

We began to live in month-to-month cycles of hope and disappointment that revolved around ovulation calendars and menstruation. As we navigated a tight schedule of tests and treatments, our lives were placed on hold — postponing vacations, putting off my education, and short-circuiting our careers. What the doctors don’t tell you is how the anger, frustration, depression, and sorrow that go along with fertility treatments can invade and affect every aspect of your life, strain friendships, and erode self-confidence.