Why my husband rocks!

As we go through this infertility business, it’s easy to focus on myself – after all, I’m the one who has to take my temperature every morning, pee on countless sticks, miss work, strip from the waist down to get violated on a regular basis, check my panties every time I pee, overcome my needle phobia to give myself nightly injections, and on and on. But over the last few months, I’ve come to appreciate C more than ever before. Here are a few reasons why:

C has to put up with constant reminders of our infertility. I’m a college science professor, which means that the vast majority of people I interact with each day are either (a) 18-to-21-year-olds who haven’t started trying to make babies yet (not great for my body image, but an advantage nonetheless when it comes to IF), or (b) 40+ year-old men. Of the colleagues I come in contact with on a regular basis, only one is pregnant (to my knowledge), and two have a very cute children whom I welcome on the rare occasions when they bring them to work. C, on the other hand, is a pediatric dentist. When he’s not recovering at home from senseless injury accidents, he sees kids all day, every day. He gets asked every day whether he has kids and (when he says no) whether and when he plans to. The fact that he doesn’t have any kids yet is somewhat of a professional liability. (What kind of weirdo trains for a job that puts him in constant contact with kids but doesn’t have any of his own?!)

On top of that, C has to put up with his aunts who have no qualms asking about our babymaking plans and sharing their wisdom. (Incidentally, C’s parents have been awesome. C is Vietnamese, and wasn’t surprised when his dad sat him down after our wedding to impress upon him the importance of focusing on having a baby…preferably one born in the Year of the Dragon. Sadly, I miscarried that Dragon Baby while staying at their house; and C’s parents brought me heating pads and ibuprofen and said all the right things. Since then, they haven’t asked once about grandbabies, or given any family-building advice, or commented on my work hours or nightly glass of wine, or…)

C has been present and supportive through all this. He was with me at my first OB appointment last June, where we learned of the missed miscarriage. C held my hand through the appointment, walked me down to the lab for my hCG blood draw where I started crying (to the bewilderment of the phlebotomist), and later told me that he had never loved me more than in that awful moment.

C was with me at the first couple of RE appointments…including the one when Dr. Y informed us that I have diminished ovarian reserve. And since his accident in March, C has accompanied me to every single RE appointment, no matter how minor.

C is bankrolling our IF treatment. Yeah, yeah. I know. It’s ‘our’ money, not ‘his’ money, and infertility is ‘our’ problem, not ‘my’ problem. But that doesn’t change the fact that his choice of career and his success at that career make ART a viable option for us. Consistent with his Vietnamese heritage, C is very price-conscious. He’s willing to spend money when he’s confident of what he’s getting for it, but he hates to waste money. So, it came as somewhat of a surprise when Dr. Y was going over our protocol options and mentioned cost as one advantage of the particular protocol he was recommending. Without hesitating, C said,

“Price is not a factor in our decision.”

It turned out that Dr. Y thought this particular protocol was the best for our situation regardless of cost, but it was awesome to know that we were going with the option that Dr. Y thought had the greatest probability of success, not merely the one that would be easiest on our pocketbook.

Money has also come up a few times in our discussion of how long to try IVF with my (scarce, presumably crap) eggs before considering other options…namely donor eggs. Not surprisingly, C was a fan of the donor egg option; it has a much higher probability of success, allows C to have a biological tie to our child, allows me to carry and give birth to our child, and (perhaps most significantly) leaves open the possibility for siblings, since a donor ought to yield a greater number of viable (or, more precisely, vitrifiable) embies.

But C surprised me in a conversation a few days ago. He started out with his thoughts about donor eggs, then pointed out that he hadn’t been thinking about how I might be feeling. He said something to the effect of:

“I thought about how I would feel if it was my sperm that was the problem and we were considering donor sperm…

If we try IVF enough times, it should eventually work. At about $10K per cycle, if it takes us 10 cycles, that’s $100K. So what?! It’s the cost of a basement. I mean, if we can’t have kids, we don’t need a basement anyway!”

Now I’m not so cavalier about spending $100,000 on IVF – or with the emotional toil of ten cycles…yikes! (In truth, I’m sure he doesn’t feel quite that way either.)  But I knew what an amazing turnaround that was for him. I knew that he was working hard to empathize and understand what this must feel like for me. And I loved him SO MUCH in that moment, and told him so.

I could go on and on with reasons why my husband is awesome – like how he jumped through all the hoops to get married in the Catholic Church (he’s agnostic), and went with me to mass the Sunday after the ill-fated OB appointment; or how he listens to me talk NONSTOP about infertility (I try to come up with other stuff to talk about, but it’s like IF is all I think about right now!); or how he never asks me whether I think my job is the reason for my DOR. (I’ve wondered whether breathing low levels of solvent vapors throughout most of my adult life is a factor, and I’m sure he has too, but he’s kind enough not to say it out loud!)

I have no idea how, after four weeks on Match.com, I met this gorgeous, brilliant, rich, generous, stylish and fun guy, who, inexplicably, has a thing for uber-geeky, clutzy, introverted girls. (On our first date, I used the expression ‘rate-limiting step’ in a conversation.) It’s sort of like when Dermot Mulroney’s character on the New Girl fell for Zooey Deschanel…except that I’m no Zooey Deschanel! In terms of cuteness-to-dorkiness ratio, I’m closer to Alyson Hannigan in the first American Pie movie (not in How I Met Your Mother; she’s adorable on that show), just substitute her sexual worldiness and flute skills for some old-fashioned Catholic guilt and chemistry knowledge…

I was already amazed to have met and married C, and I am even more amazed to see how this man – who up until last summer led a charmed life – reacts with grace and humor in the face of shitty circumstances. C has missed the past 9 weeks of work due to excruciatingly painful injuries caused by a cop’s reckless behavior, and he calls this time his “sabbatical”, and spends it taking online classes to improve the efficiency of his business, practicing on the guitar, and designing our future home (hence the basement comment above)!

As much as IF sucks, I’m grateful to be going through it with an amazing man at my side. And the past year – including a miscarriage, infertility, and a car accident that almost took him from me – has only made me appreciate that fact even more.


The two of us on our wedding day, bowing to request our ancestors’ blessing during the traditional Vietnamese wedding ceremony.

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  1. That’s an awesome photo, and your husband sounds like an equally awesome guy. Having someone to support you throughout all this is so important! I’m glad he’s there for you.

    • Thanks. 🙂

      Your hubby sounds pretty cool too. I laughed so hard when I read about the chicken fingers…

  2. stupidstork

     /  May 21, 2013

    1. My gawd you have like real grown up jobs your fanciness is astounding. (Whereas my husband is a professional computer nerd and I give people something to read/watch when they want to waste time).

    2. Your husband sounds amazing. AMAZING. And so are you.

    • Aw shucks! Jenny thinks I’m fancy! [blushing]

      I just noticed how much your avatar Jesus looks like Will Ferrell. Coincidence?

  3. He sounds like an amazing man and he’s probably with you because you are just as amazing a woman.

    What a great post. Makes me want to reconsider Match.com.

    By the way, I’ve spent $100 K on IVF. It kind of just happens when you’re failing and miscarrying. I have the same attitude about a house as you do about a basement. Do I really need one if I don’t have kids?

    In retrospect here are some things I wish I would have done when I started IVF:
    – A few egg retrievals on consecutive cycles rather than retrieval, transfer, fail. I can’t help but thinking my egg quality was diminishing while I was failing cycles and waiting for my HCG to get back to 0.
    – Genetic testing early on. I might have moved to donor eggs faster if I knew what I was working with. I did polar body testing on my second last cycle with my own eggs. I wasn’t satisfied with this because I had a couple normal eggs; it doesn’t really tell you about egg quality. I wish I would have/could have had the embryos tested. It’s expensive but potentially would have saved me a bunch of money and helped me become a mother.
    – More extensive testing on my uterus. 11 or 12 cycles later I found out I do have a problem that can impact implantation. I wish I would have known that on the first cycle.

    • Thanks for the kind words and for the advice. I never would have thought of that, and will definitely keep it in mind as we go forward!

  4. Such an awesome post! You two sound like such a complete couple -two of my colleagues met their spouses on match.com. Love that you used the term “rate limited step” on your first date! That would be my litmus test -to see if he knew what it meant! Also, American Pie is one of my all time favourite movies! While I don’t have the heritage in our family that values the Chinese calandar, as I’m born in the year of the dragon I was really hoping for a baby in 2012 who would be born under the same sign. Now I’m out for year of the snake. What’s up in 2014?

    • He did know! I’m actually amazed at how much chemistry he remembers from college. 🙂

      Crossing our fingers we both get Horse Babies! (I’m a horse myself.)

  5. Beautiful picture! And wonderful tribute to your husband. We are lucky ladies to have such amazing partners.

  6. I love that picture! It looks like you wore some crazy-awesome wedding day attire too!
    This is a beautiful post. It’s so important to have this kind of support while going through infertility. And to appreciate how lucky we really are to have such amazing partners. (Secret disclosure: My husband & I met online too!)

    • Thanks! Yes, one of the perks of marrying a Vietnamese guy is that I got to wear an awesome dress (ao dai) and hat (khan dong)…another perk is the food!

      And online dating is the way to go! 😉

  7. OH OH OH! I can’t even begin to express how much I love this post. I am so happy that you have such a fantastic man by your side during this trying time. This is going to come out strange, but I keep telling my husband that infertility showed me that I definitely made the right choice when I said yes to marrying him. You obviously made the right choice too:-)

  8. Awww what a beautiful post and a beautiful picture too. ❤

  9. Hi from ICLW! What a great post! How awesome to have such a great man in your life. The wedding photo is so beautiful!

  10. Hi from ICLW. So many well meaning comments and questions hurt when asked and said to the wrong people. Hoping you get some wonderful news soon.

  11. Awww… what a lovely and thoughtful post about your wonderful husband. wonderful husbands help to make this journey so much easier.


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