I got to be a care-free newlywed for one week shy of six months. Married in May 2010, Mr. Husband and I embarked on what we hoped would be three blissful years of selfishness. Three years of sleeping late, of taking trips, of drinking wine and eating cheese. Three wonderful years of just us and then, drum roll please, we would reproduce.
Just like that.
After five months and three weeks of marriage, I got sick. The sickness lasted months and was incredibly scary and emotionally taxing. It tested our marriage.
In January 2011 the doctors urged we consider children now, in the event I later require immune suppressing drugs. Were we ready to give this a shot? Were we really committed to the idea of starting our family so soon? Our marriage was tested.
After three months without a period we see a fertility specialist. After more tests, several doctors and gallons of tears we get a diagnosis of ovulation disorder, possible Thin PCOS. I am devastated and feel like a failure. I loathe my body more than I ever have. I have alarming thoughts. Our marriage was tested.
As we struggle through IVF and the nightmare that is infertility, Mr. Husband begins preparing to graduate. He starts looking for a job in January and after months of searching, he comes up empty-handed. He is tense, angry and unresponsive. He is depressed and he has every right to be. Our marriage was tested.
To say our marriage has been “tested” can seem like an understatement. Some days I feel the universe waltzed up and took a gigantic shit on it. Lately we have been sleeping in separate bedrooms. We are tense and snap at each other. Some days I can’t stand to be near him, and some days he can’t stand to be near me. We so rarely have anything good to say that it has become a chore to have a conversation. All questions lead to infertility or unemployment. All responses lead to swearing or tears.
This is not what I thought marriage would be like. We wrote our wedding vows and left out the traditional “in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer.” At the time it did not matter. We wrote vows that spoke to the people we were then. How much could that change? A lot, evidently.
During our two years of marriage we have seen sides of one another we never expected. I am ashamed of the weak, hopeless woman I have let myself become. I have seen a depressed and child-like stubbornness in my strong husband that shocks me.
I worry we are frantically clinging to the idea of a baby in hopes it is the magic bullet that will right everything.
Over the weekend I said, for the six millionth time, “I hope this transfer works… All I want is a baby.” Mr. Husband responded, saying, “Me too. That would make everything ok.”
Since then I can’t shake the feeling that a baby won’t solve anything. That maybe we are so broken there is no repairing. Can infertility do this to you? Can it rip you and your relationship apart so much that you are no longer fit for the thing that caused all the initial turmoil?
What do you do when your vows have been broken? Today is CD8 and I am overwhelmed with uncertainty. Can our fragile shell of a marriage handle the devastation of a failed transfer? Or worse, are we ready to embrace new life if it succeeds?
Is it possible to fix the damage infertility has caused?
Mr. Husband, today I take you to be my husband and companion for the rest of our days.
I promise to love, honor and adore you.
To communicate fully and fearlessly while listening carefully.
To encourage you during times of doubt,
and rejoice with you during times of triumph.
To be slow to judge and quick to forgive.
To trust you and be trustworthy.
To always seek adventure.
But, most of all, I promise to always love your jeep no matter how smelly and loud it may become.
In all things that life may bring us, my love and devotion are yours.Belle, today I take you to be my wife,
fellow traveller through all life’s journeys.
I promise you my love, honesty and patience.
I promise to bring calm to turmoil.
I promise to speak gentle words to uncomfortable silence.
I promise open ears with sealed lips.
I promise loud laughter and celebration of success.
I promise fearlessness and faith for the future.
I promise new excitement and clear memory of the past.
But, most of all, I promise to love your cat no matter what time in the morning it is.
You have my love, my trust and my faith in all matters big and small.