The following is the story of how my wife Kolette and I went from making the decision to have a family, to finding out what that would require, and eventually successfully through the in vitro process.
In every life there are those days that stand out above the rest. Some you hope to remember, and some you’ll never forget. In my life, one of those days was a cold Sunday in October of 2007. For some reason, on this day, Kolette and I had our future family on the brain, and with the help of my PDA, went back and forth writing our current feelings about the subject during our church services.
It was a subject we’d broached before, but things were significantly different now. We’d gone through the process of artificial insemination on three different occasions between 1995 and 1996. Each attempt left its own scar on our hearts.
When you go through artificial insemination much of the work is trying to regulate the woman’s cycle. So we knew exactly what happened on each exact day. We knew that 14 days after insemination, Kolette would either have her period or be pregnant. The 14th day would mean our dream finally coming true or another heartache. I remember going to work on each of the three “14th days” praying that I wouldn’t get a call from Kolette. For, I knew that the only reason she would call was if her period had come. Each of the three times some time during that 14th day Kolette did call, distraught and disappointed would tell me she wasn’t pregnant.
It was a difficult and frustrating emotional roller coaster. But, we wanted children, and in the program we were a part of we had to do artificial insemination before we could move into in vitro even though our odds were decidedly better working in in vitro. Needless to say we were ready and excited to move into in vitro where we felt our chances would be much greater.
Then, in November 1997 I was involved in a serious car accident. The car accident caused me to be in the hospital for the following 13 consecutive months, which were followed themselves by another 10 years of hospitalization, surgery and therapy. During that time, although our hearts yearned for children, we were in absolutely no position to make that kind of commitment. I was ill for the majority of those 11 years and Kolette was responsible for much of my needs. We knew there was no way we could care for a child when I required so much help myself.
In late 2006 my physiatrist (a physician that specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation) recommended that I get an internal pump to offset some of the pain medication that my situation necessitated. This was the blessing we needed. The pump allowed the fog that the pain medication had put me in to be lifted. Kolette notice the difference straightaway. I think my first realization of the significance of the change was when I was sitting in church and a little boy turned to me and said, “Hey, your eyes are open.” I asked him what he meant, and he told me that usually during church my eyes were closed.
I had no idea that the change was as dramatic as it was. But with my mind finally clear, my ability to participate in a life substantially increased. Not to mention the help the additional energy was to my overall health. In addition, my surgeries began to subside and for the first time since the accident I was working to get better simply to get better versus getting better in order to be healthy enough to endure another surgery. Our lives began to change and I began to become more independent.
This brings us back to the conversation on that cold October Sunday. We drove home from church in silence. Both of us were thinking about the feelings that had been expressed on the PDA. We pulled in to the parking stall in front of our apartment. I put the car in park and turned off the engine. Normally, we both would have started getting out of the van. But we just sat there. The silence broke when we turned to each other and said, “I think it’s time to try again.”
Kolette and I were shocked and surprised at the other’s response.We both began to cry as we worked to inquire if the other was really sure. I was especially concerned about this. I knew that I felt ready, but I also knew who the brunt of this responsibility would fall on. I was dedicated to be supportive and doing my part, but because of my paralysis the day-to-day care was going to be Ko’s to take care of. We were scared but assured.
That cold Sunday in late ’07 sitting in my handicapped accessible van we made our decision. We would try and see if we could have a family.
…Continued in Part II