We have three wonderful children, so our story has a very happy ending–which is a spoiler alert to this story. (So laugh with us here, no sadness needed.) But at one time we had reached a fork in the road, and our road appeared to continue on as a childless couple. But, our path to parenthood, even in our darkest hours, was still unexpectedly funny.
Over a five year period, without medical intervention we found ourselves expecting many times, but we never made it past the first trimester. After several surgeries, one of which was emergent in nature, and a lost part or two (apparently having two of some things isn’t just the heir and a spare!), our ability to even become expectant appeared to have ended.
So we embarked into the strange new world of fertility treatments. We were highly probed, tested, and watched scientific specimens (all under the care of very kind and thoughtful medical professionals). All of the non-invasive options didn’t work. And we still didn’t have a clear reason for our struggles. Our final option was in-vitro fertilization.
This decision meant I would have to overcome my extreme anxiety over shots. And a lot of them–some of which I had to give myself and some which required Joel. The doctors’ office had an in-house pharmacist. We were directed down the hall to consult with her and to learn what to do, how, when and where…and by where I mean in my upper buttock / backside of the hip—an impossible location for do-it-yourselfers.
I sat on a stool while the pharmacist laid out the instruments of torture. I blinked back tears of fright but tried to act cool and non-plussed. She demonstrated with practice vials and syringes. The process involved mixing two vials together, then using one needle to draw the goopy mixture into the syringe and then changing the needle tip for the actual injection. The needle length for the actual injection was as long as, say, my entire pinky finger. But, it was as thick as, oh say, a drinking straw. Okay, maybe not a drinking straw. But, it sure looked like a drinking straw. And, you think that is going to be willingly inserted where? Nuh-uh. Over my dead body. And death was imminent if my heart raced any faster.
Joel took all of this in. Calmly. Studiously. After all, it wasn’t his butt on the line….it was mine! And, upon the anatomical description of the correct insertion point and the proper technique for skewering me intramuscularly, he said confidently “I raised cattle. I used to give them shots all the time. This is just like that.”
Did he just compare me to a bovine’s backside? Yes, he did. The miracle in this story isn’t that we had children. It is that Joel lived to parent them.