I just finished speaking to a mom who delivered in April and is now wanting to plan for another transfer. Actually, it is her husband who is “just so excited to have another one.” She is on board too, but she is tickled about how excited her husband is to have another child. I am blessed to work in a field where I get to see a reality that does not seem to fit the common narrative about fathers.
I see men who care deeply for their “mothers-to-be”; who would themselves take on the emotional and physical discomfort of infertility treatment if it would relieve their partner – and grieve that they cannot, who stand up to protect them from anything and everything they see as a threat, who are at every visit and hold back tears when they see the barely visible flicker of a heart beat at their 5-week early OB ultrasound, who come into my office with their baby in their arms and say that this is the best thing that has ever happened to them.
My journey to fatherhood
This August the last of my four children leaves for college. There is so much I wish I had done with them and for them. There is so much I have missed because of what I do. But there is so much that I was able to experience because my wife and I chose to become a mother and a father. I know what it is like to do the ovulation predictor kits over and over (back then they took 30 minutes to get a result). I know what it is like to get the negative home pregnancy test again and again and have my heart ache for my hopes and the tender feelings of my sweetheart. I know what it is like to hold your partner’s hand while she goes through an egg harvesting procedure for IVF (back then it was done with the woman awake!) and because I am a doctor, I know what it is like to be in the operating room watching a surgeon operate on your wife and try to stop internal bleeding. And I know what it is like to see that little heart flicker on the ultrasound screen after a long 5-year journey with infertility.
My calling: helping others become fathers
But most of all I know what it is like to hold those babies in my arms. To change their diapers, to buy them presents at 11:00 Christmas eve, to try to teach them right from wrong and the value of doing the dishes and making their beds. To comfort them when their little hearts are breaking and triumph with them in their victories. It is so hard to see them go and yet so wonderful. I can honestly say that being a father and helping others become fathers is the greatest thing that has ever or will ever happen to me. Happy Father’s Day to all fathers and especially my fathers-to-be. Been there. Done that.
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