Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Guest Blogger - The Hubby Tells All (or at least some)

Alright Lady Bloggers (& Paul), my sweet hubby went out on a limb here and shared his feelings (gasp!) with all of you so that maybe you could share it with your hubby or someone who is going through IF and might need a little company.   Show him a little love.  He'll be writing more very soon because he didn't really get to write much of anything he really wanted to write about.....how well we all know that feeling!  It's what keeps us coming back.  

So, without further delay, meet my fella, Rik.  

I love this man.


This article is geared towards guys who are going through the non-fertility experience.  My wife and I have been going through it for a while now, and she has asked me to write some thoughts from my perspective on the whole deal.  Not really sure where this will end up, by the way, but maybe something here will be useful.

First, I'd like to share a quick story.  My wife, Shannon, had to face one of her biggest fears very recently.  Namely, exploratory surgery on her girl parts (laparoscopy and hysteroscopy - Google them).  Yep, she was freaked out about it for at least 4 days prior (probably more, but she kept it bottled up pretty well if so) and we went through countless "what if" scenarios.  My job was to convince her that no, her abdomen will not explode and that yes, I will definitely still find her very attractive after it's all said and done.  But, to be honest, some of her fears gave me a little spook as well (although I kept that to myself).

So, anyway, after a few sleepless nights, we found ourselves sitting in the waiting room.  She was fully decked out in her hospital gown and kick-@ss hospital socks, kicked back in the chair and waiting to be taken back.  This was big. She was certainly terrified.  Terrified of being put to sleep. Terrified of what they might find - or, actually, what they might NOT find.  We wanted endometriosis to be in there because that would mean there was hope for us to get knocked up, and that it was the endo that was the culprit.  But still, this was big and pretty scary for her (and, ok, I was nervous as well).

In my mind, I figured she'd freak out when they came to take her back, throw some punches around, latch on to the arms of the chair and just refuse to go.  This idea couldn't have been farther from the truth.  She stood up when they came in, made some sort of joke about walking the halls with her backside exposed, smiled really big, kissed me as she walked by and said "See ya later."  That was it.  That was that.  Off she went.

Surgery was supposed to take between 30 to 90 minutes, tops.  I was prepared for this.  What I wasn't prepared for was the phone call I got from the Operating Room.  It had been a while since she'd gone back there, so I thought this was the call saying she was in the recovery room.  Nope.  This was a call to say, "Hey there this is Nurse Suchensuch from the OR...just wanted to give you a quick call...to let you know that it's taking longer than expected...due to poor visibility."  Poor visibility. Poor visibility?  So I asked the nurse, "Poor visibility?"  She said yes.  "What causes that?" "Hold on" she said, and put her hand over the phone.

I heard muffled voices and then she came back to restate, word for word, what she had already told me.  This concerned me.  I said, "Okay" and we hung up.  And now the mind starts racing.  You know that feeling you get when you know you're being lied to?  Yep.  Had that feeling.  Actually, I knew she had just lied to me, because why would she call to tell me something so meaningless?  I interpreted it to mean, "Hey, things are not at all what we planned for down here, and the doctor is still working and yes, your wife is still alive, we think, but we have some problems down here that we didn't expect and hopefully, if all goes well, neither you nor she will know the difference."  Not good. (By the way, she WAS lying to me. The reason it was taking so long was due to way more endo than the Doctor had expected, as well as some on an ovary...which makes it pretty serious. Poor visibility, my @ss).

For the next 45 minutes, I admit to you that I was scared.  What if she dies? Never considered that. What if they have to take out her ovaries? Never considered that.  What if she doesn't make it out of the OR?  I don't sit around at home on rainy days and think about these types of what-ifs, but a couple what-ifs were currently kicking my @ss in that waiting room.

Thankfully, the doctor came in a little later and first words out of her mouth were "She's ok."  I don't remember much of what she said to me from that point, but it involved photos and some pretty crazy stuff.  Truth be told, I was pretty shaken up.  Didn't expect that. Not at all.

And so, here are two points I'd like to make.  First, my wife is much more brave than I could have ever imagined.  Second, I'm not as bullet proof as I once thought.  What do these two points mean?  I don't know, probably, but I think recognizing both points are crucial to "the guy's portion" of the non-fertility process/experience/mind-bomb.

I have made progress on sharing my thoughts and feelings on things with Shannon, even though there is still room for growth.  But, recognizing and acknowledging to my wife that I am impressed how brave she has been through this whole cluster, and that she is showing strength that is truly admirable, can make a huge difference.  Think about it - think about how many different times you have said to yourself, "Man, I'm glad I'm a guy."  Women definitely got the short end of the stick, but they really, really, really, really get the short end of the stick (actually, make that the "sharp" end of the stick) in this whole non-fertility thing.  All we have to do is make sure we get as much as possible into the cup.  Damn, I'm glad I'm a guy.

To the second point (I ain't bullet proof), it probably is important to avoid the whole Macho Man Randy Savage (RIP) approach.  You can't bulldoze your way through this.  You can't put on that stone face and hit the mute button.  You need to acknowledge, to your wife/pincushion, that you aren't immune to the left field emotions that crop up during this stuff.

Combining these two points will bring you and your wife closer together in that she is getting stronger and you are getting...well...more open to being, well, less of a robot, I guess.  At any rate, it will help you both feel like a stronger team in this, and it does make it easier - on BOTH of you.  You still have to man-up and pick her up when she's freaked or worried or emotional or just pissed off at you in general.

Now that this article is ending, I had a ton of other things to say but...it is what it is.  Good luck and go kill some rabbits! (that means go get her pregnant, by the way).
- Rik


  1. Ahhhh! I love it! I hope Rik comes back and posts more. It reminds me of The Boy when I was diagnosed with Melanoma. He was all "You'll be fine! This will be over in no time!" to my face and then when I finally went into surgery he teared up, turned to my mom and said very quietly, "What if it spread? What if we lose her?"

    My mom told me this story of course, not my husband. But it helped knowing that while he puts on his big strong man face, he's actually as scared as I am.

    A few short months later we went in for our lap/hyst surgery which honestly felt like small potatoes at the time until afterwards when I thought the bloat would kill me. Fucking air in my shiz.

    Anyways, I am off track. Thanks for posting Rik!

    Nice job on getting a good one Shannon!

  2. Thanks Rik for sharing!! Far too often we lose the men in these journeys and how they are dealing. Last night C said while I am going through the emotional and physical part, he had double the emotional (which he sorta made seem to be the short straw, but I still disagree). Either way, thanks :)

  3. Welcome Rik! Nice post :) I just had that surgery in June so it brought me back to the exact feeling my husband and I had! I was FREAKIN TERRIFIED. He tried to play the "strong husband card" and later admitted he was freaking out as well. You seem like a good man! Keep doing what your doing and we hope to see you post more. Wishing you and Shannon all the luck in the world with getting "knocked up." :)

  4. Sheesh, Rik is totally ready for his own blog!! Great post for sure. I think what I liked the most was his ability to single out two things that guys really need to consider about the IF journey, and where their thoughts may go. With my recent hospital stay, I was so shocked with how strong my husband was and that he really acted as if it wasn't anything too serious. At the time I found it very calming, but as I was getting discharged and we were on our way home, he totally broke down and said he had never been more scared in his life.

    We have some good men in our lives ladies! Rik, thank you so much for sharing your perspective. I hope to see more posts from you!

  5. This was awesome. Good for you for putting the male point of view out there. I plan to hold you up as an example to my husband. :)

    You're a keeper!

  6. What a keeper! So glad Shannon has you in her life to go through all of this with you. Communicating about IF is hard and my husband and I struggled with trying to share our feelings about it all. Glad you guys seem to be doing a good job. Come back again soon!

  7. Nicely done. I agree with you on many points...not the least of which is, if you can get through IF, you'll end up a much stronger couple. It's not normal or easy for us guys to admit that we're not in complete control of every situation. The truth is, with IF, it often ends up to be completely out of our control. Sometimes, even the doctor doesn't know what's wrong or how to fix it. It just IS... If it happens to be the guy that's not...um...pulling his weight? Well, in that case, it's a double whammy. Not only can't you control it...it's your fault. That's a very charged word, though...fault. My wife is quick (or was quick...we've kind of moved on to adoption now) to jump on me when I said it was my fault. She's right, I wouldn't have chosen this route, had I any say in the matter. It still rankles though. Especially when you are, in all other respects a manly type guy.

    As I said earlier, your post was nicely done. Well thought out and expressive. You should do a series and finish fleshing out your thoughts. Writing is like that. The only way you can assure you'll say all you want is to provide yourself with a forum that doesn't really have an ending...ie, blogs.

    Now, let's see if this silly blog will let me post with my Google Account this time...

    Nope. Says I don't have access to view this page. Has your lovely wife changed this to a private blog recently and not given me access??? If so, I can take the hint. And by now you should have realized this is Doc.

  8. I like you.

    I try to get my husband to talk, but really he just tries to make me laugh. Or he will say something like, "If we don't get to have kids, I will still love you" which then makes me say, "Do you think we won't have kids?" and then I cry.

    It's a crazy journey, right?