My relationship with my husband has been one difficult decision after another. It started as a summer fling, racing sailboats together the year after his painful divorce. I was already in my 30s, and knew I wanted kids of my own. He was sure he didn’t want to put himself in a position where he could be as hurt as he was by his former marriage, so he didn’t like the idea of marriage.
He also really didn’t like the idea of adding more children to the two he has. In the end, he made the decision to marry me and have his vasectomy reversed. I chose to marry the man I love, to become a step-mother to two fantastic kids, to help my husband battle his demons, and take my chances that his surgery would be a success.
And it was a success! At least, temporarily. For the next year and a half we tried to get me pregnant: from Fertility Awareness to intra-uterine insemination (IUI), from acupuncture to Clomid, and nothing happened. After a 6 month stint of trying naturally, we decided to try IUI again. I was to go in 90 minutes after my husband’s appointment, but got the phone call just as I was leaving the house: “There’s nothing moving. There are a few sperm, but it’s a very low count, and they’re not motile. Can your husband come back in to try again?”
Over the next few weeks we learned that my husband’s reversal had reversed on itself – scar tissue had likely formed and his body had re-instated the vasectomy, like it or not. What to do now? The doctor gave us several options, but the only possibility left for having children that biologically came from the two of us was in-vitro fertilization (IVF).
How far down this road can we go? We know this could get very expensive, very quickly, and we just don’t have the savings to pay for this more than once. Should one of us try to find a new job at one of the very, very few local companies that have insurance to cover an IVF cycle? Should we consider donor sperm? Should we wait, and save money before proceeding, playing roulette with my ever-ticking, 38 year old biological clock?
I don’t consider not having children of my own to raise an option that I want to think about, regardless of whether they’re adopted or come from donor sperm. I know that my husband has struggled with this. We both worry about the finances, about the effect more children could have on my step-kids, and about the heartbreak of deciding when to give up on this dream, and move on with our lives.
Is it something I would regret forever if it didn’t happen, if we didn’t go into debt to try to make it happen? Could I convince myself to be content with being a step-mom, seeing the kids every other weekend, and continue to enjoy the family I already have, right under my nose? My step-kids are so wonderful, I almost feel guilty that they aren’t enough for me. Being a step-mother is very fulfilling and challenging, requiring diplomacy and plenty of TLC, almost like being a real parent…but not quite.
I worry that our most difficult decision is yet to come – we are fortunate enough to afford two IVF cycles (they sell them in sets of two cycles), but I know we’ll be crushed if it’s not successful for us right away, and I’m not sure how we’ll know when it’s time to stop.