When Mr. T and I got married, I gave him the task of deciding our first dance song. There were the usual choices, but in the end he went with Worried Eyes by Eagle Eye Cherry. He had sung it to me early in our relationship to make me stop worrying about something- I can’t even remember what kind of silly worry I had back then- and it stuck as our song.
Not the most appropriate wedding song- but it was sadly ironic given what worries we’d face together in the future and he was wiser than I gave him credit for. As we’d learn, marriage is about facing those worries and helping each other through them.
Worry has been a constant companion in our marriage over the past few years. The uncertainties of IVF and if it would even be an option for us, the stress of each step of the process, the fear of loss after loss. Then this pregnancy with the potential of joy balanced tenuously with my my fear of heartbreak; at each milestone I’ve promised Mr. T that I’ll stop worrying at the next milestone.
A few times he dared to believe I was over my worry, and ventured to read my blog. (Typically he respects this as my private space to write what I feel.) But after reading my confessions about the fears and sadness that linger, he would look at me with his own worried eyes- and promise me that he wouldn’t read my blog again.
Now at 26 weeks, something has shifted. Last week I had series of business meetings in New York and Boston- a long cross-country flight away. I had been so anxious about baby being ok through the rigorous week of travel and stress and being so far from my doctor. But baby was a champion. As I navigated my stressful week, baby would reassure me with kicks so hard that I could see my tummy move through my shirt. Mr. T wasn’t there to tell me not to worry, but baby was doing the job for him.
Two days after I got home, Mr. T left for his own business trip, so I had to go to our first childbirth class alone. I was surprised to find I was the only one there without a partner. After all Mr. T and I been through together, it was strange to be in this class alone. I looked around the room at the eight other couples, and wondered- as I always do- if anyone else had struggled.
After some introductions, the instructor had the guys go into another room to discuss how pregnancy had changed their relationships, while we did the same. If you think pregnancy changes your relationship, you should try infertility! (I thought but didn’t say.)
Then there were a few odd jokes about “Well, that’s how we all got here!” referring to sex-(Me in my mind: Not if you do it in a test-tube!) But I was so happy to be there, to believe that I too might give birth to a healthy baby, just as millions of others have been doing throughout time.
The instructor wrapped up the class telling us how important it was for our significant others to be partners in this process, and I realized that all these people must assume that since he wasn’t at the first class, my husband must not be supportive.
I wanted to tell them they couldn’t even imagine what our story had been. My husband had his private parts cut open so we could have this baby! He gave me every painful shot and was there for every ultrasound and doctor appointment through three cycles of IVF! He comforted me after two miscarriages, and through long tearful days and nights that followed.
But I don’t have to prove anything to these people. If anything, I feel a little bit sorry for them. Infertility has tested my relationship with Mr. T and our commitment to having a child together- in a way that fertiles can’t imagine. I’m grateful for it all.
So, Mr. T- if you are reading this post, thank you. You can stop worrying about me now. I really am relaxing into the strange and wonderful idea that this is the happily ever after I’ve been waiting for. That I’m going to be a mama.
And that you are going to be the most amazing daddy.