Based on the overwhelming positive response to Tiffany’s blog over the past few weeks (Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV), I thought it was a great idea to give a male perspective on such a personal issue that many couples go through.
Romans 5:3-4 says “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance produces character; and character produces hope.” We haven’t given up on our goal of having a child! Tiffany decided recently to write about our fertility journey and the struggles we have experienced trying to have a “little Echeverria.” The entire process has been a roller coaster of emotions for Tiffany and me but throughout these trying times, we have never given up hope. I love my wife dearly and, throughout our three-year marriage, my love for her has only grown stronger. I see the impact of our failed treatments taking a toll on her. She doesn’t deserve to be put through this. I see the way she loves our nieces and nephews, our friend’s kids and all children. She deserves to be a mom and share her love with our own child. It breaks my heart that she has to put her body through different medications, acupuncture, injections, and surgeries just for a sliver of hope that anything will help us in our struggle. She is my true hero for being so strong, resilient and willing to do whatever it takes. Can you imagine putting in a long day at work and then coming home to have to inject medication into your stomach (sometimes more than one shot) every night for 3 or 4 weeks? She is an incredible woman!
The day after our first date, I knew I wanted to be with her for the rest of my life. We had a whirlwind relationship. Engaged after eight months of dating and married within a year and half of our first date. Early on in our relationship it was evident that we both loved kids and were ready to start our family. The thought of us having kids made me so excited for our future and starting a family. Everything was falling into place. A few months before our wedding we decided to start trying. We had a great deal going on with the wedding planning, but did not want to wait any longer. I figured we would be pregnant within a year and have our little family. I was being overly optimistic but I had no reason to think otherwise.
After trying on our own, we decided to go see a fertility doctor. I won’t go into all the details of all the time we spent researching online, doctor appointments and various tests. After six IUI attempts, two failed IVF treatments and three years, here we are, starting our third and last IVF treatment. This is our last hope. Tiffany and I have decided that this is it. We have tried everything possible and it may not be in God’s plan to have our own child. I’ve heard Tiffany say “This our last hope” several times and a sense of helplessness sets in. Other than supporting her emotionally there is nothing I can do to take this additional stress away. I try to stay as positive as I can in front of her. This can be extremely difficult when you see your wife crying when the doctor tells us we only have a few low-quality eggs to transfer. I have to be her rock and be “strong.”
The last year and half has been extremely difficult and full of lows for my family. 2015 started with me transitioning into a new role with McDonald’s. Moving from one role to another is always stressful because you are learning a whole new aspect of the business. In late January, my father was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. I was shocked to get the call: Wait, what? He has cancer? No, not Dad! He was so upbeat and he was going to beat cancer. To show you what type of father he was, he actually apologized to me for having to put us (his family) through this. Can you believe that? Still. to this day, it amazes me how in such a life-changing moment for him, he was thinking about his family. He always put us first. The doctors were not in a rush to start treatment and we all took that as a positive sign in his diagnosis. I planned on going home the last weekend in February to help out with appointments and just spend time with him. My father passed away suddenly in February 2015, less than a month after his diagnosis. He never had any grandchildren and it breaks my heart that he passed without them. The feeling of failure set in more than ever! As a son I should have been able to give him the grandchild he so desperately wanted.
My Dad is now our angel in Heaven. A few months after his death, we were ready for another round of IVF. In my mind, this treatment was going to work. My confidence was sky high! The previous months had brought so much heartbreak and sadness for my family that I knew happiness was just around the corner. We were due for some good news. But we didn’t get it when we ended up having low-quality eggs and the IVF treatment failed. I was absolutely crushed. This one hit me so hard. The doctor and nurses at the clinic were crying when they gave us the news. I saw Tiffany’s heart breaking as the words came out of the doctor’s mouth. I felt helpless and only able to offer her a hug and kiss all while I felt someone had punched me in the stomach. You try to hide how you really are feeling. You don’t worry about your feelings: you just want to be there for your wife but I couldn’t breathe and just wanted to break down and cry. I started to question a lot of things in life. What did we do wrong during the treatment? Were we not aggressive enough? Did we choose the right doctors? Did we do the treatment too soon after my Dad’s passing? So many questions and so few answers.
I believe God has a plan for all of us. I really do but after the second failed treatment, I was emotionally spent. I couldn’t handle the sadness that had surrounded us for the last few months. I couldn’t sleep, wasn’t motivated to do anything, was just in a blah mood every day. The hardest part was seeing our family and friends having babies and starting families. Why couldn’t Tiffany and I have our own little family? Did we not deserve it? I just felt sadness, emptiness and a sense of failure. Every time I see a baby or child it stirred emotions in me that I had never had before. One day in Target, I saw a young child with his dad and grandpa walking down an aisle. Guiltiness overcame me and I just lost it. I started to cry and had to leave the store and sit in my car. No one would every call my dad “Grandpa.” The one thing that would have made my dad so happy and I had failed. My dream of going to a 49ers or Giants game with my son and dad would never happen. Again I asked, why? Why is this so hard? Why can’t we have the experience that so many of our loved ones around us are having?
The next few months were difficult for Tiffany and me. We were both very down. There was less laughter in our house, less happiness. Our faith was being tested and I was just plain sad. I knew that we had to pick ourselves up and move forward with our lives. What were our options? Another round of IVF or adoption. I see the love I have for my nieces and nephews (they mean the world to me!). I knew I could love an adopted child as much as if it was our biological child. Love is love in my book. Maybe our plan in life was to bring home a baby unwanted by someone else. Maybe all this was a blessing in disguise. We had a major decision to make. We decided to do one more treatment at the Reach Clinic in Charlotte. We are in the starting stages but we have so much hope and excitement that this is our time and the treatment will work for us. I have to stay positive and be Tiffany’s support system that she so desperately needs.
Little did we know that 3+ years after we started, we would still be “trying.” You can never plan anything in life. It’s all in God’s hands.
Throughout our journey, our family and friends have been absolutely amazing! My family in Guatemala is constantly sending me text messages to show their support. My mother has been amazing. She always has positive words and can be the person I call and break down. Tiffany’s family has been amazing too! God has blessed us with a great support system and this has helped us tremendously during this emotional roller coaster.
Thank you all for being there for us. It hasn’t gone unnoticed. We love you all!