For many, becoming pregnant is as simple as not wearing a condom. For everyone else, it’s fucking hell.
As a parent of two children—a vibrant, sass-filled 4-year-old and a handsomely handicapped 2-year-old—that both came about via In Vitro Fertilization, I can tell you with certainty that getting pregnant can be torture on your soul, relationship and wallet. So, if you were thinking about waiting to the last second to dip your foot into the proverbial kiddie pool because you assume baby-making is as simple as every red-blooded Duggar makes it look, put your pants back on and get the hell out of here right now.
Seriously, leave. We’re all waiting.
Back when my wife and I were just two dreamy, 30-something morons without a care in the world, we had this idea; let’s create miniature versions of us! Needless to say—knowing how kids are made and all—we got right to work. And it didn’t take long for my colloquialism version of the word “work” to become actual labor-intensive, back-breaking, calculus–crunching literal work.
A week of wild romping turned into years of doctor appointments, calendar reminders, pills, clinic visits, swabbing, poking, reading, arguing, crying, hoping, arguing some more, giving up, trying again and eventually needles—lots of damn needles—to get us child number one.
I spent my whole life making sure I didn’t accidentally get a woman pregnant only to find out that I couldn’t get a woman accidentally pregnant.
I spent my whole life making sure I didn’t accidentally get a woman pregnant only to find out that I couldn’t get a woman accidentally pregnant. In strictly medical terms, my swimmers were like Ryan Lochte—lot of promise but ultimately let the whole country down.
One doctor actually said some of my sperm are ”retarded swimmers.” After I apologized for punching him in the face, he told me that term just meant not all of my guys take off as quick as he’d prefer. Proof that procrastination is genetic.
Besides for my fashionably late swimmers, doctors were never really able to pinpoint our reproduction troubles, as on paper we checked out fine.
We tried everything. First, we tried simple stuff like different positions, doing it at odd times of the day and black magic. Next, we stepped up our game to IUIs and Clomid (google it). Still no results. Eventually our desire to have children outweighed our financial intelligence, so we opted to start IVF treatment.
For those who aren’t familiar with IVF, let me explain this process in layman’s terms: petri dish baby. I’m kidding. That’s sure to offend a few people, but just know that my children, Sample RDR7 Weingrad and Sample R89S Weingrad, have no issues at all with that joke.
Truthfully, IVF is actually much more magical—and painful, emotional and exhausting, according to my wife who just proofread this—then any summary I can lay out before you. In its most basic form, a fertility specialist takes control of my wife’s menstruation cycle, instructs my wife to inject herself with needles for a month straight and then—abracadabra!—harvests all the eggs.
For what it’s worth, a sample of my sperm is also “harvested” but instead of the process being painful, it’s just—abracadabra!—creepy AF. Sparing you most details so you can sleep well tonight, they guided me into what I can only assume is a repurposed janitor closet, opened the door and said, “See ya soon.” And see me soon, they did.
At this point, I can only assume that the fertility specialist takes the most healthy, mobile and handsome sperms, and injects those jacked-up tadpoles into each retrieved egg. The two new BFFs hang out and get to know each other in more scientific-than-biblical sense for five days inside of a Petri dish. Then the embryos get frozen and stored for future insemination.
I’m skipping a million important details and legitimate science and facts, but the point is this: We really wanted to create life and we worked hard to do it. Twice.
I recognize that a majority of parents don’t experience these hurdles and getting pregnant for them is as easy as getting a regrettable Hip-Hop Looney Toons tattoo in your early twenties. I didn’t write this for those parents, I wrote this for those loving people out there struggling right now to have kids.
I can’t tell you what the end result will be for your journey or that IVF is what will ultimately help your situation, but I can honestly tell you that you aren’t alone as you try to figure this out.
I can’t tell you what the end result will be for your journey or that IVF is what will ultimately help your situation, but I can honestly tell you that you aren’t alone as you try to figure this out. There are thousands upon thousands of hopeful parents just like you, trying to get pregnant the old-fashioned way—in a laboratory. I also understand that some of you won’t be able to "figure it out" and people like me assuming that it always works out is cruel and hurtful. I get it.
In the end, we tried IVF twice and were fortunate to succeed both times. Our kids were born healthy and perfect. The moment each one of our children was born, we instantly forgot everything it took to get to that point. All the tears, the pain, the money: all forgotten.
Make sure to read my previous article, "Setting Up Your Child for Success: Repaying Their Birth Loan."