Our journey to parenthood is unique in that in my previous marriage I went through two public adoptions only to realize that my spouse at the time did not want to be a parent. So that failed to materialize. I’ve always struggled to conceive. Jenn had always wanted to be a parent but never met anyone she felt connected to enough to start a family. I was 39 when I decided to leave my first marriage. At the time Jenn was dating but nothing ever felt right. At the time Jenn was 29 and once we became friends we realized how connected we were as best friends and also fell in love. Jenn never viewed herself as being with a woman but it felt natural and right for her. Although I never saw myself as being with a woman it’s been extremely natural for me. This is especially true when you find the right person to share all of your life goals with and connect with on so many levels.
Because she was over 30 by the time we connected as a couple, we knew child bearing had a timeline. Neither one of us had any hesitation to begin realizing the dream of becoming parents and we also explained to each other if making babies did not work that we would feel comfortable exploring possible adoption or simply enjoying life together. The journey was difficult in that we had no savings so a lot of our journey went on a credit card and we chose fertility over vacations and fertility over a lot of the creature comforts of life at the time. But because we were on the same page it made the choices easy. Both children came through on lucky number seven in that both children were conceived after seven tries!!! One child on the seventh IUI and then the second child on the seventh try after six IUIs and an IVF as well. We questioned whether or not we wanted another child after it was so difficult to conceive the first but we knew in our hearts that we were not quite finished and I can remember the conversation driving home from errands and we just looked at each other and said we need to buy three more vials. The journey into parenthood was probably more taxing for us than actually being parents! This is number one, because we’ve been blessed with wonderful children whose temperaments have been manageable. And my wife as an educator and I as a psychotherapist have been able to manage most of the challenges of being parents! I’m not going to lie, fertility almost did us in between working opposite schedules, the stress of appointments, shots, medicine, and how much changed us chemically. But even after all that we would actually not change any of it not just because we were able to create two amazing children but also the journey we took ourselves in finding ourselves and our capacity to handle it!
How was your experience at Main Line Fertility?
So this is where our story gets really wonderful because if it weren’t for the Main Line Fertility doctors and care team and their ability to bring us comfort, support, and professionalism at a time when we felt like we had no idea what we were doing we would not have gone through this process. I can’t tell you how many appointments we had between the several years we made our children but they were in the hundreds when all that was said and done. And the respect and regard that we both felt as a same sex couple was amazing. We were treated as a couple who wanted to make children. Both my wife and I are professionals and know exactly what we were doing in our fields. But when it comes to using fertility to make children it brings us right into a very vulnerable and ignorant spot because we simply didn’t know a lot about the process and Main Line Fertility care team were able to put us at ease when we had questions encouraged us when we were discouraged, and just rooted for us when we needed it the most. Dr. Orris was our main doctor. And we will never forget sitting in his office and feeling discouraged when we were on our fifth try making our second child and he just looked at both of us and very calmly said “I just don’t believe you are done yet and I want to figure out how to make this happen.” It was exactly what we needed to hear to buy those last 3 vials. Chase just turned 6 and Brett will be 4 in January and it’s been a beautiful ride!
What advice would you give to other members of the LGBTQ community who are thinking about starting a family?
My advice to another member of the LGBTQ community trying to conceive and create their own family is this. You are trying to do something that will require a bit more help than just naturally conceiving and that the choice to be a family is yours and it is something that is within your reach. While not everyone can conceive you deserve to try. Another really big piece of advice would be in the attempt to try and corral people to understand where you’re coming from or your plan as far as creating a family my wife and I kept our support system small between Main Line Fertility and a few close and supportive friends and family. We knew right away that not everyone was going to be on board with our relationship let alone our plan to create a family and we were resolved and understanding that that was one of the losses that we were going to experience and that to were OK with that.
Maybe one last piece of advice would be no matter what is going on in your life that your self-care and the relationship you have with your partner is of upmost importance and deserves the time and needs to keep it healthy. My wife and I do a lot together as a family but then also carve out a healthy amount of time no we do what we need to do to keep ourselves happy individually.