Once you’re on board this couple’s pregnancy journey, it’s hard to get off the rollercoaster. Dan Majesky’s refreshingly honest account of a three year struggle to become a father is at times hard to read. But it’s beautiful and raw – and you’ll be so happy you went along for the ride.
From the outset, Dan is upfront, letting us know the story he’s about to tell is a long one – as so many pregnancy journey’s are. He recently posted on Facebook about the road he and his wife Leah have been on, as they tried to get pregnant.
“Leah and I have been trying to get pregnant for over 3 years. I’m not sure when, exactly, we stopped the birth control. Like all our plans, we didn’t start with a plan, but instead decided that if we got pregnant, that would be great,” Dan writes.
Initially, like so many of us, there was the expectation that it would all go swimmingly, and they would be with child in no time. Until they weren’t.
“We’re in our 30s. Things are probably a little bit dusty, and a little bit rusty. So, three years ago, we started using apps and calendars to track this and that. Ovulation test sticks. Old wives’ tales of positions and timing. We got some late periods. And some periods that never came! But we didn’t get pregnant.”
They had a heap of tests, which all came back pointing to everything being fine, and that they should have no trouble getting pregnant. But still, it wasn’t happening. The next step was for Leah to go on hormones. But still no baby. And then came the realisation that the clock was ticking. Loudly.
“The doctor told us that certain hormone levels were low, lower than they should have been, and that meant our egg supply was dwindling,” Dan writes.
“Let me tell you something. There is nothing you can tell a woman that will make her feel more young, beautiful and vibrant than, “You have a dwindling egg supply, and it is time to pick up the pace.” You should try it. Maybe at a bar.”
The couple then try intrauterine insemination (IUI) – which Dan colourfully describes as the ‘turkey baster method’. What ensued was hormone boosters for Leah, and Dan walking on eggshells: “There is no average day. Her job was to feel like her brain and soul were on fire. My job was to try and not say anything dumb.”
It continued with painful injections for Leah, and of course, Dan played his part…
“Over the last couple years, I became pretty professional about my sperm deposits… Man, is it ever weird. You can do it at home if you want, but then you are under a clock to get your sample to the lab on time. I don’t need that kind of stress. I don’t talk about it much, but I like to think I’m pretty good at taking care of business in the art of sperm production, but I had never entered a room designed specifically for masturbation, while people waited outside, hoping my masturbation went okay. Perhaps that is what Eddie Murphy’s life was like in Coming to America, but I was less familiar with it.”
The procedure completed, the couple waited. And the wait didn’t end well. So they tried again. All the while, swallowing bitter pills of sadness as the world continued on around them.
“You see your friends getting pregnant, and you get a little sad. But you get mad at yourself because you want to feel happy for other people, and that’s not fair to them. And then the 17-year-old across the street gets pregnant, and you get a little sadder. And your cousins get pregnant, and you get a little sadder,” he writes.
“And you see people scream at their kids…and you just want to die because you would give anything to have a child throwing a tantrum in the cereal aisle.”
Dan describes emotions that he doesn’t want to have: jealousy, envy, resentment. He wants to be honest about it, even though people don’t want to hear that this is what it feels like. And then this happens:
“While you’re in Kansas on a road trip with a friend, your wife does the IUI with a frozen deposit you left behind.
“And you get pregnant.”
But, that’s not the end of the story. Because at their ultrasound, their dreams come crashing down when there is no heartbeat.
“I’ve felt time stop before. Car accidents, falling off a fence, a mountain bike jump gone wrong. I have not felt the vertigo of infinity like when we were told our baby was dead,” Dan says.
The couple then tried IUI again. And this time, they decided to try a home pregnancy test (even though they were advised not to).
Dan thought it was negative.
“As it turns out, even the faintest line in the whole world means you’re pregnant. So we’re pregnant.
It’s a beautiful story, that will make you hug your babies even tighter. While we all have incredible journey’s to parenthood, some of us have a much longer road. And if you’re wondering, Dan and Leah are having a little girl.