I'm having A...? What sort of title is that? I'm having a what?
You could finish that sentence with a whole variety of phrases. I'm having a good day, a bad day, a crisis of confidence, a meltdown, a conniption, a turning point, a breakdown, a breakthrough, a revelation, a surf, a shit, a shave, a smoke, a toke, a cup of coffee, a piece of that luscious apple pie.
In this case, the "I'm having a" is paired with -- drumroll, please -- "a baby."
Now this news is really over-the-top exciting for me and my wife, but I realize it's not exactly earth-shattering, hold the presses, we're interrupting your regular scheduled broadcast type of stuff for the rest of the world.
That said, I do think it's worth talking about the "I'm having a baby" thing because my wife didn't just wake up one day, pee on a stick and say "hey, guess what." It's been a bit of a struggle for me to get here -- a journey if you will -- and we've all been down (and continue to go down) that road of twists and turns where life never quite turns out the way you plan.
You see, I'm no spring chicken. Sure, I still look young and virile (see pregnant wife above) but I hit 47 this past April and I never would have guessed it would take this long to get here. If you asked me right out of college when I thought I'd be having my first kid, I probably would have said some time in my early-to-mid-30's. That's certainly the age when most of my friends started popping them out. I can actually remember being around 32 and working with two colleagues who started having children late in life and thinking to myself "wow, those guys are f*cking old; no way that's going to be me."
Well, as they say, "man makes plans and God laughs," and God has certainly been having quite a good chuckle for the last decade and a half on this front.
I've been trying to have a kid, I really have; it just hasn't been as easy as I assumed it would be (notwithstanding those stern warnings from the abstinence campaigns). In my quest to find the "right woman" first, I dated a whole host of amazing candidates throughout my 20's and 30's (together with many residing in the "what was I thinking" category) but, as they say, nothing quite stuck.
At 35, a match finally got made and I got engaged. The woman in question already had three children from a previous marriage -- an "insta family," if you will -- and I felt like I had leaped to the front of the pack in one fell swoop. What a terrific gift that was. I got a sense of how awesome having kids could be. Unfortunately, I also got a sense of what it was like to get dumped, hard and quick.
I bounced back. Dated around some more, met someone, moved in together and then got engaged again at 42 (second time if you're counting). We talked about having kids, but it all quickly went south and ended quite miserably (mutual this time). I know what you're thinking -- 0 for 2 on engagements -- not exactly a poster child for how to get hitched.
Well, at the ripe young age of 43, I finally got together with the woman who became my wife. As luck would have it, we got set up by a mutual friend. Here's the kicker: We had actually met once before -- eight years earlier.
The story is a classic tale of "timing is everything." She was living in London; I was in New York. For two hours, our paths crossed in my office for a business meeting. There was an immediate attraction and not much talking about work -- it was laughing, sharing histories, swapping intimate details -- one of the most memorable conversations of my life. Problem was, I was engaged to somebody at the time (see "didn't quite make it" #1 above) and she was engaged as well (like me, it didn't take). It was a beautiful encounter that led to nothing until nearly a decade later when the stars finally aligned.
Once we married, I figured, "now I'm with the right woman; I'm 45; the moment to have the baby has arrived." My wife and I decided to try right away, and within a few months, we were pregnant (confirmation, my boys can swim, life is grand!).
We were so excited about the prospect of having a kid -- giddy really -- and talked and laughed about it all the time. We even started making up little nicknames for the baby-to-be -- "poppy" was our favorite, taken from a site that said "your baby is now the size of a poppy seed." At 5 weeks, we got the first photos from the sonogram -- pretty cool. At 7 weeks, we heard a heartbeat -- wow! Then, at 8 ½ weeks, the heartbeat had suddenly stopped -- miscarriage. It felt like a swift, punch in the gut that we never saw coming. Our breath was completely knocked out. We were devastated.
The bad news just kept coming. First, we found out that there was a complication with the failed pregnancy and we'd have to wait six months to try again. Then my wife was diagnosed with a medical condition that made getting pregnant and holding a baby tougher to do. We spent the next year waiting, and then trying; and then waiting and trying, over and over again. Each month came a new cycle; each month came a short window to try again and then another disappointment (teenage dreams of constant sex nowithstanding). Finally, we got pregnant for the second time at the end of last year. We were really excited but then we had another miscarriage. It wasn't quite the same punch in the gut as the first time, but it was still that loss of breath feeling.
My wife and I had established that we could get pregnant (that was good) but we were obviously having problems keeping the babies. On top of everything else, my wife was turning 40 and she was getting understandably worried about her age (that old ticking clock thing).
We went to this amazing fertility specialist and he suggested we try IVF. We could increase our odds by taking my wife's eggs and mixing them in the lab with my sperm and then transferring the best embryos back to my wife. The entire process is pretty awesome (aside from the slightly humiliating "here's a jar, now go back to that room and get us some sperm"), but there are no guarantees and it's expensive (each round costs about the price of a small-sized sedan). The first time we tried, it didn't take -- pretty deflating. e tried again a few months ago... success at last, success at last!
It took lots of starts and stops and 15 years more than I thought, but with my wife five months pregnant, looks like I'm finally here. Can't say it was easy -- plenty of heartbreak and disappointment along the way -- and there was a whole chain of events that I never could have imagined. I guess that's par for the course for all our lives. We make plans and life takes it's own path. In the end, I'd say the big lesson for me has been about trust -- trust that things happen when they're meant to happen; trust that we're being taken care of by a higher source; trust when our intent is grounded in love.
In my case, it's all been worth it because it's even sweeter than I imagined -- joyful really -- and metaphorically, I'm shouting daily from the top of the mountain "I'm having a baby, I'm having a baby." Oh, did I say baby? I meant babies... it's twins... a boy and a girl... how about that?
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