Editor's note: TODAY's Dylan Dreyer is blogging about her experience with secondary infertility. This week, her husband Brian Fichera is sharing his perspective. You can see here past blog posts here and here, and follow TODAY Parents on Facebook for regular updates.
December 17th, 2016: Our son Calvin was born.
We had a textbook 10-month pregnancy. Oh, you read that right. Ten months! I don’t know where this whole 9-month fairy tale came from. Maybe it’s the doctor equivalent of a pilot telling you that you will be delayed about 20 minutes and then two hours later you are finally in the air. Our lives changed at exactly 11:52 a.m., when Calvin Bradley Fichera came into this world via emergency C-section weighing 8lbs 3oz., and our hearts have been growing every day since then with pure love for our family.
The plan now is to have more. A lot more. Why not? It’s so easy, right? You start “trying,” you take a pregnancy test, it’s positive and you begin the 10-month (10!!!!!) process all over again!
You take your first test: Negative. We probably just timed it wrong.
Second test: Negative. Maybe you ovulated earlier today and we just missed it by like a second!
Third test: Negative. Honey, I think we were facing east last time. That’s it!
Fourth test: Negative. It’s doctor time.
I am convinced it is all my fault. I have one job to do. I have one day of the 10-month (10 months!!!) pregnancy plan where I have one job to do and I can’t even do it.
There was already enough guilt seeing how much pain my “one job” caused her while she was in the delivery room pulling off life’s greatest miracle. Why can’t I get this done for her?
Semen Analysis. I couldn’t even muster up the courage to make the phone call. Call me immature, tell me to grow up, fine. The truth is, as I suspect is the truth for a lot of men, there is a certain “stigma” surrounding making that phone call. It took a while, but I finally realized that this was bigger than any social anxiety I had and bigger than my immature fear of saying the word “semen” to a total stranger. I decided in that moment to declare, with confidence, “I am Brian Fichera and I need to make an appointment for Semen Analysis!”
“Mr. Fichera, this is Calvin’s pediatrician’s office.”
After Dylan gave me the actual number, I was on my way to the doctor’s office 5 days abstinent and ready to receive my cup with confidence. Success, now we wait for our results.
At Dylan’s appointment, she received news that shed some light on our troubles. As it turns out her “last minute unplanned C-section” left a significant amount of scar tissue that was not only causing issues with our getting pregnant, but causing issues with her menstrual cycle. There would need to be a procedure done to clean up the scar tissue, further delaying us being able to grow our family. Our window was closing. We both started to feel the pressure. Our biological clock went from a tiny quiet pocket watch to Big Ben’s deafening tick.
Fifth pregnancy test: POSITIVE! Right after we were medically cleared to try!
I came home from work to Dylan waving a pregnancy test in my face that was clearly positive and we both jumped for joy and cried in each other’s arms as quietly as possible. Our 2-year-old was sleeping in the next room and we didn’t want to wake him, even if it was news that his sibling was just 10 months (10!!!!) away from being born. Weeks go by, and this wasn’t going as smoothly as the time she was carrying Calvin. She was in constant pain and bleeding just enough to get us worried but not enough for us to assume she was having a miscarriage. She had an ultrasound to confirm everything was OK and there it was! All is well.
4:45 a.m. on a Saturday: Dylan comes running to me soaking wet out of the shower. “I lost the baby.” She’s sobbing. I’m heartbroken. I told her immediately that she didn’t lose anything. Her body was doing exactly what it was supposed to be doing. Clearly there was something wrong and her body did exactly what it was meant to do to protect itself.
I held her in my arms, knowing there was nothing I could do but cry with her and be there with her through all of it. I can’t fix these problems, there is nothing to solve, and there are no options other than to surrender to the actual miracle of birth. After what seemed like a lifetime of crying on the floor of our bedroom, she had to get up and get changed and head into work. She looked absolutely beautiful as always, smiled ear to ear, and went on with the show.
Secondary infertility is very real. We had a false sense of security after we have our first child. We get hooked and we immediately want to start trying for another one. My advice to anyone whose partner has gone through the ringer trying to have their second child or even their first is to please talk with each other. Please be each other’s advocate.
I felt like I needed to be strong for Dylan. I felt guilty putting my head on her shoulders and crying after she had gone through absolute hell. But remember you are partners. You share everything together. The more open you are with each other, both emotionally and physically, the more you will be able to get through anything without any added stress. I’m not saying it won’t hurt, but pain is infinitely easier to deal with if you have someone to hold on to. Share each other’s joy. Share each other’s pain.
Sixth Pregnancy Test…….