Archive | Fertility RSS feed for this section

Back to One

4 Jun

ME: Days off are hard to come by. I was hoping for a little more fun and relaxation when I put in to take today off for my birthday a couple of weeks ago.

CAREY: I know, but Little Man is sick and can’t go to school. That’s the way it goes.

ME: I’m not trying to complain, it’s just a bummer. Stuck at a Pediatrician’s office.

CAREY: Well, maybe later this evening we can do something fun.

ME: Really?

CAREY: Yeah. We can all watch a kid’s movie together. Then we can play that owl board game he likes so much.

ME: …

CAREY: What.

ME: Nothing.

CAREY: What.

ME: Well, those things aren’t fun.

CAREY: I know, but Little Man is sick. That’s the way it goes.

 

She’s right. That’s the way it goes these days. When you have a four-year-old living under your roof, your schedule is more or less spoken for.

You know? I should rewind a little.

My triplet blog has become a reliably annual affair. It’s not that I don’t think about it throughout the rest of the year. It comes to mind often. Six years ago today, we met and lost our triplet sons Rudyard, Desmond and Oscar. I think of them every day and even now I’m occasionally hit with a surprise pain, almost no warning. Gut shot in the middle of a meeting or during my morning commute. You grit your teeth and ride the red wave. You get through it.

And even though grief is never really, truly over, a few years ago we made the decision to move ahead to the next thing. We’d try again. We weren’t, as they say, getting any younger.

Admittedly, my heart was only half in it. And maybe nature knew, because, after about a year and a half, it became clear that our prime fertility years were behind us. Specialists assured us we were ideal candidates for all manner of treatments and procedures and Just say the word, you’ll be in Healthy White Baby Country lickety split.

But on that issue I was firm. My personal philosophy was such that expensive, medically heroic measures in the name of fertility were difficult to justify in these troubled times. Literal millions of children are in desperate need of loving homes inside our own borders, not to mention the profound need overseas. Understand, that sentiment isn’t meant to indict or alienate my good friends who have participated in fertility treatments (all great, loving parents). In fact, the vast majority of triplet parents in the world partly owe their full quiver to advancements in fertility science. But for me, personally, I couldn’t do it.

So, then… what? Overseas adoption? Foster care? Maintain our DINK status and run out the clock, insulated by disposable income?

I’ll spare you the blow-by-blow of the months and years of vacillation, the tears, the arguments, the starts and stops. In November, we completed our certification and became foster parents to the coolest kid I’ve ever met, a tow-headed four-year-old. I wish I could share his name, his face and his story, but alas. Here’s the best I can do:

Christopher back of head

Carey and I love him. Truly and honestly. When I looked at the remains of my boys six years ago, I remember my own heartbreak about the fact that they’d never grow to become strong, healthy men with big hearts and wise souls. But I look at this kid each morning and it’s my continual prayer for him. “Create in him a clean heart and renew his spirit.” My biggest priority is helping him become the sincere, confident adult my own boys never had the chance to be.

But here’s the thing, and this shouldn’t go unsaid: when we mention our Foster Parent Adventure to people who know about our story, they’ll often give us a satisfied smile and a knowing nod that seems to say, “Yes. That makes sense.”

I promise. It doesn’t.

This journey is the exact opposite of intuitive. Take two reasonably intelligent adults who met and lost their three children on the same day and offer them the chance to involve themselves in a situation that will almost certainly end in tears and heartbreak. A situation fraught with added stressors in the form of court dates, mysterious behavior issues and government accountability. And that’s not even mentioning the surreal experience of saying the word “yes” on a phone call and, two days later, having a four-year-old you’ve never met with issues and traumas and stories you have no idea about dropped off at your house.

“Thanks for parenting him. We’ll let you know when it’s time to give him back.”

It’s a beautiful and difficult thing. I always wondered what sort of a father I would be and I’m finally finding out.

(On a scale of Awful to Awesome, I’d rank my current dad skills at an “Iffy” with signs of slow improvement.)

Again, though, this kid is amazing. I could go into detail, but to sum up: his life is difficult, but he loves it anyway.

Six years ago, I wondered what my future life would be. Could we find or build a situation that would replace what’s lost, that would fill the hole?

Nope. No dice. But maybe that’s okay. This is a whole other thing. A scary, weird, unnatural, fun, frustrating, exhausting, hilarious, ridiculous other thing.

Places, everyone. Back to one. Let’s change things up a bit, try some improv. Everybody set? Still rolling? Sound speeding. Quiet, please. And:

Action.

Sketch: Flowering Triplets

7 Apr

Sketches of babies have started infiltrating my notebooks for several weeks, which I guess is no surprise.  Half the time, I really don’t know exactly what I’m going to draw when I start and I’m almost as surprised as anyone by the end result.

Anyhow, this was doodled today at the office and, for some reason, it felt appropriate to post.  Not a great likeness of my wife, but I was drawing without a reference, so I guess that’s the way it goes.  Hope you like it:

Going Public

28 Mar

We’re looking at 13 weeks in a couple of days, which is more or less the close of the first trimester.  And a couple of days ago, I saw Carey and it took me by surprise: “You kind of look like a pregnant lady.”

We decided early on to do the prudent thing and get a whole trimester under our belts before openly telling people our news.  What was a tiny handful of immediate family and a few local friends has started to expand.  We’ve made a few calls, sent a couple of emails, particularly over the last several days.  It couldn’t be helped, we’re starting to spill it.  Up to now, most of the people who know about our biggest life event are strangers we’ve never met who happened across our still-secret blogs.

It’s a little like walking off a cliff.  We know intellectually that whatever happens with these three… all our fears and anxieties and excitement and confusion… has nothing to do with who we do or don’t tell.  The three gnomes don’t care how ready we are, they’re moving forward with their own little plans.  But, even still, with each new person that knows our news, it feels like we’re committing to something a little bit more.

But it’s fun, dropping the bomb on people.  Assuming all goes to plan, it’s our once-in-a-lifetime chance to make an announcement like this, because ain’t no way we’re having any more. We’ve settled into a sort of rhythm with it: Carey and I are beginning to perfect the “hand off.”  If we’re in-person with someone who we feel good about telling, one of us will announce the pregnancy and we enjoy a minute or two of hugs and handshakes.  Then the other will drop the Triplet knowledge and all chaos ensues.

No surprise, nobody believes us immediately.  We’re getting used to slack jaws.  It’s weird, we know.  Those we’re close to have a hard time picturing us going the IVF route and, of course, they’re right.  When we tell people there was no IVF, no fertility help, it makes it all the more incredible.

Carey’s even taken to packing the ultrasound printouts with her as “proof”.  Of course, once or twice, we’ve even heard, “yeah, but hang on.  Jer knows photoshop, right?”

As much as we’re enjoying having friends and families celebrate (and sympathize) with us, we’re also trying our best to treasure these final moments of Our Big Secret being, well, a secret.  We’ve read too many triplet blogs recently to have any illusions: triplets draw attention.  Stares and questions quickly become an everyday part of life.  Not that I’m complaining.  I’m kind of looking forward to fielding questions about our little veggie nuggets. And I’ve done my best to prepare an anticipatory FAQ to help things.

But for now, it’s still, kind of, just the two of us.  And we’re waiting on our beach chairs, watching that wave on the horizon grow taller and greener by the second.

Won’t be long.  $#&%’s about to get nuts.