Dad-to-be pens Facebook post about infertility and loss from his perspective
In the past, we didn’t hear a lot about the struggles of couples having difficulty conceiving or going through a miscarriage. With the advent of social media and blogging, more and more women have written very honest accounts about what their journey to get pregnant. Or what it was like to lose their baby. However, it’s still rare to hear these stories from the perspective of a man.
Dad-to-be Dan Majesky wrote a heartfelt Facebook post yesterday telling the story of what he and wife Leah have endured to get (and stay) pregnant, entirely from his point of view. It’s heartbreaking in its honesty, and thankfully, has a beautiful ending.
He opens with, “Do you have a minute? I’ve got kind of a long story.” And yes, it’s long. But well worth the read.
Majesky details from start to finish what it took for he and his wife to get pregnant. He explains that it took over three years in total, and that due to their ages, they used all the advantages they could. “So, three years ago, we started using apps and calendars to track this and that. Ovulation test sticks. Old wives’ tales of positions and timing. We got some late periods. And some periods that never came! But we didn’t get pregnant.”
He goes into their eventual conclusion that they might need medical intervention, sent off for “his and hers” appointments to try to find the possible source of their inability to conceive. The doctors couldn’t find a concrete reason, so his wife started hormone therapy.
Majesky acknowledges that the couple is in their late 30s and that biology may not be on their side. The doctors informed his wife that her egg supply may be dwindling, to which he says, “There is nothing you can tell a woman that will make her feel more young, beautiful and vibrant than, “You have a dwindling egg supply, and it is time to pick up the pace.” You should try it. Maybe at a bar.”
Of the hormones Leah needed to take, he writes, “Are you aware of what happens to people when their hormones go out of the norm? They are not happy. Unless they are happy, in which case, they are very happy. There is no mild. There is no average day. Her job was to feel like her brain and soul were on fire.”
A job exactly no woman would sign up for if she had a choice.
And for his part? “My job was to try and not say anything dumb, because she also needed to be calm. I tried to avoid triggering phrases like “Hey,” or “Good morning,” or “I love you,” but I kept fucking up, and opening my mouth, or allowing Leah to see TV programs, or commercials, to read books, and interact with the world in any way.”
And of course, he says the worst was when anyone asked his wife if the couple were planning to have kids.
Seriously. Why does anyone ask that?
He talks about the indignities of his end of the deal — visits to provide sperm deposits for testing and the IUI procedure the couple was planning to undergo. He describes in detail what it’s like in the office and the room where he’s expected to make his “donation.” Spoiler alert: it’s not exactly comfortable.
“Under the table were four or five magazines that I didn’t really want to touch. Usually two Playboys, a Penthouse, and a Swimsuit Issue. Across from the couch was a TV/DVD combo with a DVD preloaded. I didn’t want to touch the remote either, really. It sat on a wicker chest. Wicker struck me as the worst possible material for a room designed for male masturbation. Everybody’s aiming for the cup, I know, but I also know there have been enough accidents in that office that it required a laminated sign about what to do in case of an accident.”
And after all that, you might not be pregnant. So you try something new. And in the meantime, grow increasingly fearful, frustrated and bitter. “So you wait. And it’s negative, but you hope, and you see your friends getting pregnant, and you get a little sad. But you get mad at yourself because you want to feel happy for other people, and that’s not fair to them. And then the 17-year-old across the street gets pregnant, and you get a little sadder. And your cousins get pregnant, and you get a little sadder.”
He says, “You don’t want to hate people. You don’t. I think babies are beautiful. I think kids are awesome, but you can’t help the jealousy. The envy. The resentment. It really creeps up on you.” It’s easy to imagine why.
Eventually, the couple did become pregnant through another IUI cycle. Only to lose the baby shortly after. After a few ultrasounds and blood tests, they began to get their hopes up. But it wasn’t to be.
“But they told us to relax. Everything looked great and we were on track, so when we went in for one final scan before being released to our obstetrician a couple weeks later, we were all smiles and jokes. “I’m so sorry. I can’t find the heartbeat.””
Of the aftermath of their loss, he writes, “When a family member dies, you can share your grief. With a miscarriage, you would have to tell people that someone who will never be born, who they had never heard of and will never meet, but who meant the world to you, is gone. And you don’t have the strength to get into it. You tell your parents, maybe a close friend, maybe your boss.”
Leah opted for a D&C instead of waiting for the baby to pass naturally and Majesky shares a perspective we don’t often hear about with stories of pregnancy loss. He writes of his wife undergoing the procedure and his thoughts after it began. “It wasn’t until they took her back that I let myself break down. Alone with my worst thoughts and the sour coffee of the waiting room for several hours. God, I have no idea how long. One more forever.”
We assume pregnancy loss might be harder on the mother, but obviously it hurts dads too. Only they might not feel they can talk about it, because they’re trying to support their partner in her own recovery and grief. Majesky’s story sheds light on a point-of-view we don’t hear much. And it’s such an important one.
After a break from treatments, the couple tried a few more times through IUI and finally, the news they were hoping for. “Through this process, and through both of our lives, neither of us have ever had a home pregnancy test come out positive. Even when we were pregnant before, it was the doctor who did a test. This last one, Leah couldn’t bear to look at it herself, so I looked at it while she was in the shower, and told her no, that it was negative. While she stood there, crying, I googled “pregnancy test faint line.” As it turns out, even the faintest fucking line in the whole fucking world means you’re pregnant. So we’re pregnant.”
Is anyone else in tears now, or just me?
Majesky goes on to say that the couple have now heard the heartbeat, “like a hummingbird,” and that they’re expecting a baby girl in November. He writes, “Some people have found out, or have guessed, and have been very kind to share their own stories with us, and it has helped tremendously to not feel alone. Many thanks to all of them. I hope that maybe this helps someone else feel less alone.”
We have no doubt it will. The thoughts of a dad during this long and difficult process are not often heard, and Majesky put words to them perfectly. We wish he and his wife the very best of luck and a happy and healthy pregnancy.