We’ve been silent on the blog for four months. But we have a good, though not quite a happy, reason.
When Addison and I moved back to South Carolina and left behind our beloved Denver, we had clear plans. Get settled back at home — in our jobs and in a house — then begin the process of starting a family.
The plan started out strong. Addison and I were both quickly situated in good jobs, and we bought a delightful house in a wonderful neighborhood.
Our four months of blog silence represent four of the toughest months we’ve ever weathered as a couple — the months where we were trying to start a family.
Because I’m transgender (for blog newcomers, that means I was born a girl but transitioned a few years ago to become and live as the man I’ve always known myself to be), starting a family isn’t simple or easy for us. My body doesn’t function like a biological male’s body so we can’t try to make a baby the traditional (read: fun, sexy) way.
Instead, Addison and I worked with a doctor to try a procedure called intrauterine insemination (IUI). We searched for and selected donor sperm from a trusted and well-regarded cryobank, and a doctor inseminated Addison with the donor specimen. We tried the procedure three times over three months, spending every penny of the $5,000 we had in our savings account.
It breaks my heart to tell you that our three attempts to get pregnant failed. We don’t know why.
According to our doctor, we did everything right, and she has no clear reasons to explain why we aren’t pregnant (though infertility is more common than you think, impacting 1 in 8 couples). After each failed attempt, we cried and screamed and cried some more. Addison blamed her body for failing to get pregnant; I blamed mine for making us go through an expensive, painful process.
It was the most difficult thing we’ve ever overcome. Not just the failure but the process itself.
I never imagined how challenging the process would be, and compared to an array of other options that are available, our process is considered one of the easiest ways. And still, it was terrible for us.
Addison’s body was put through hell. The hormones, the ultrasounds and other procedures. The pressure and the stress as she tried to do everything she could to encourage pregnancy, changing her diet and her exercise habits. It tore her apart; every minute of every day over the course of three months, she was thinking about whether or not she was pregnant.
Although my body was spared any difficulty, the process threatened to destroy me, too. The stress and pressure we were under was crushing. I was watching Addison struggle, and I could do nothing to protect or save her.
Unbearable stress and pressure. Deep heartbreak. Three failed attempts.
I had no idea how hard it would be. And although the process was devastating for us, I know many other families go through even more than we have.
Now, Addison and I have a decision to make. We can continue trying to get pregnant — with different procedures and more hormones. Or we can figure out another way to create the family we’ve been dreaming about for years. We have a lot of thinking and some continued healing to do.
But a silver lining does exist amidst the struggle. This process made us even more sure that we want to be parents.