Family Planning…and So It Begins!
By: Tanya Dodd-Hise
As 2010 came to a close, we had already experienced so much together as a couple and as a family. We had, in the first year and a half of marriage, gone to protests and rallies in support of marriage equality and the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. We had experienced the oldest boy moving out, a custody suit, and the oldest boy moving back in. We had celebrated high school graduation, and grieved a death. As Christmas rolled around in the Dodd-Hise household, malaise struck and our holiday celebrations were postponed until the New Year. What would be next for our special little family?
Early in our relationship, Erikka and I began discussing the possibility of adding to our family. I had had two children and lost three –and turned forty in 2010, so there was no way that I was up for the task of carrying a baby. Erikka had not had children herself and had always wanted this, and had only turned thirty-five; so if it was going to happen for us, she was for sure going to have to be the one to do it! As we went through 2009 and then 2010, the discussions would come up and go away, usually as an “I wish” kind of thing. Once I turned forty, the discussions became more like, “Um, I’m getting old. If we’re going to do this for real, then I think we need to get on it!” So by December, upon the recommendations of friends who had gone the fertility and conception path before us, we made the appointment and went to find out what was in store for us – Erikka particularly – to make it down the path to making a baby.
She went through a number of tests initially, along with a sonogram, which ultimately gave us great hope for a non-complicated journey to conception. The only glitch was a fibroid that was found on Erikka’s uterus, and would need to be removed before we attempted any kind of insemination. Other than that, the doctor had great confidence that Erikka was in good shape physically, and that the tests indicated no other reasons to believe otherwise. We were very relieved and hopeful that it actually might happen for us and not take a long time and loads of money. (Of course, doesn’t it ALL take loads of money?) After the initial testing, we went ahead and scheduled her surgery, determining that it was best to just plow ahead and do what we needed to do, rather than wait, now that we had the knowledge. It was settled and scheduled for mid-January, which left us with weeks of waiting, knowing that proceeding was being delayed even longer than we had initially hoped.
Surgery was to take place at the fertility clinic and was supposed to be routine and short. We arrived early, she got right back, and I sat in the waiting room with other spouses trying to occupy myself while she was put under anesthesia and taken back. One of the things that we loved about this fertility clinic is how they treat all of their patients the same, as well as spouses, partners, and significant others. I could breathe a sigh of relief that I didn’t have to fight for my position as her wife, not once. Soon the doctor came out and got me, and explained how the procedure went, and then took me to recovery to sit with Erikka until she was ready to go. By the afternoon, we were headed home, where she took a couple of weeks to recover fully. When we went back in for her post-op visit, the doctor said that everything went well, and we could start the process for insemination on her next cycle – which meant we could start that day because it was already almost done! THAT was not something we were expecting to hear at the post-op appointment! Oh my goodness, this was really going to happen! Next thing I know we were shopping donors and figuring out which credit card we were going to put different drugs and specimens on. By the time we left that day, we had prescriptions and shots in hand of optimal ovulation, and an appointment date for our first attempt at insemination. Wow. It was happening fast, but after all, I wasn’t getting any younger, right??