I lay in the hospital bed, wondering what the day’s turn of events meant for my husband and me.
Would we fail? Would the pressure be too much for us? Was this the beginning of the end? What was wrong with me? Why did this keep happening?
Is he still going to love me? I silently wondered.
I was pregnant for the third time, and I had started to cramp at work that morning. I feared a miscarriage was beginning, so I went home and immediately called my OBGYN, who arranged to have me in the ultrasound room in twenty minutes. I then went to her office and heard what I somehow already knew: This pregnancy wasn’t viable. What I didn’t expect her to say was that it appeared I had an ectopic pregnancy.
I called my husband Jaime in tears and told him what was going on. He was across the country at a conference and would not be able to get on a plane to make it home for surgery the same day. We ultimately decided that he would keep his flight home two days later, and I would ask other family and friends to help me until he arrived.
The surgery was successful, though the surgeon was not able to save my fallopian tube. During my recovery, my husband was helpful, kind, caring, and sensitive. But in the back of my mind, I started to wonder if he would keep loving me. This was not just a one-time thing; this was the third time we had lost a pregnancy.
Doubt started to fester in my mind. Our life together might not be at all what we had envisioned. Infertile couples are three times more likely to divorce than their fertile counterparts; I feared our marriage would fall victim to this. What if he left me for a woman who could have his children?
Being a mother was something I had wanted my entire life. Jaime and I were very eager to have children, and we both wanted a large family. I fell into a depression. Throughout the summer and into the fall, we had many conversations where my husband assured me we would do what we could to build a family.
One night, after he had said this again, I asked him what would happen if we didn’t have any children, through birth or by adoption.
“If we don’t have children, it will be okay. I love you no matter what,” he said.
“I want to believe that, I really do,” I said. “But I have a hard time believing that you will love me without being able to have children.”
He moved close to me and pulled me gently to himself. “I didn’t marry you for your ability to have children. I married you because I love who you are. Having kids would be wonderful, but you—just like you are—are who I fell in love with. I want you and only you. It isn’t about what you can or can’t give me.”
For the first time, I felt as though I heard his promise that he would love me through anything. I let myself believe that these words were true. I felt as though a weight was lifted. I felt free for the first time in a long time. I allowed myself to believe that I was worthy of love on my own, and not worthy of love based on what I could give or do for others.
We don’t know where this journey will take us, or if we will ever have children. All we know is that we stand together against any difficulty, sorrow, or roadblock that comes our way. We embrace each other with joy, knowing we will face everything together.
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