The sky was a dark grey with rain drizzling down the subway train windows as we emerged from the subway tunnels onto the above ground tracks that lead us to Van Cortland Park in the Bronx for the 2018 New York City Walk of Hope
It’s been 21 years since our infertility journey, but the memories of those six years still find a way into my life. I’m glad Lisa is coming with me—for her, infertility is a distant memory, but lately even she runs into new friends and people in our new life in New York City that went through some type of infertility procedure to become parents.
When I’m asked how many kids I have, I’m annoyed by the typical response when I say we have one daughter—“Oh…you only have one?” If ONLY they knew how insulting that “only” is considering the lengths we had to go to get that ‘one’ into our world.
I thought I was done writing about infertility. I am immersed in fatherhood, doing my best to revel in every single day that I watch our formerly frozen embryo grow and change and terrorize and delight us.
Something drew me to that Walk of Hope, even on an awful, cold dreary, rainy day. The urge was strong to just stay dry and warm in our apartment.
We got lost getting off the train, and Lisa noticed a couple wandering around too. Her infertility radar immediately went off. I didn’t see it at first, and told Lisa they didn’t have ‘the look.’ I was wrong, because by the time we got to the event we saw the couple with their representative necklaces—one for loss and one for warrior.
The woman had the sad eyes of someone who still hoping, searching for a sign, an answer that it would come. The man with her looked uncomfortable, and held her hand and watching her face, looking for signs of shifts in her emotional temperature.
When we finally got to the site most of the crowd huddled under event tents to stay dry, and I watched the faces of the people coming in and out. I spoke to one woman who was in her 10th year of infertility, and for a second I felt a fraction of familiar desperation—that feeling it was never going to happen—and it hit me in the solar plexus.
I ran into Resa Levine, and although it’s been three years since I attended Resolve’s Advocacy in DC she remembered me (or at least she was nice enough not to say she had no idea who I was). Her commitment to the infertility community made me feel bad about not staying in touch—not continuing to fight the fight for other couples—not offering something to other couples who hadn’t resolved yet.
During the walk, the rain blew in sideways, rendering our umbrellas useless. We caught up to the emcee and talked to her about where her infertility journey was leading her, and again, I was impressed by her fortitude—her conviction led her to continue to be a part of the Walk of Hope as she continued to find a path to parenthood amid one piece of bad news after another.
It reminded Lisa and I that we’d been told at one point to take ourselves out of the equation. I’ll never really know that’s because we presented ourselves as desperate. Or the doctors truly believed our biology would never work together to create a child.
If you’ve read this blog before you know the end to this story; two very poor looking embryos—our 48th and 49th transferred embryos—ultimately made us parents.
We tried to comfort our new found walking friend with our story, but she couldn’t hide the skepticism even with her sunny smile and disposition. The doctors made it clear she would need to make hard decisions.
As we walked away from the Walk of Hope, I realized how much I miss being around people striving so hard to become parents. How much I admire them. And how much I want to help them in any way I can.
I wrote Almost a Father really as a tribute to my wife to provide a glimpse inside the male psyche during infertility. I want Almostafather2.com —the newest iteration of the old blog—to be more about your stories—your wishes and hopes—and a one stop source for everything having to do with male infertility and the male psyche.
I’ve compiled stories by other men and featuring them here—infertility books written by other men, and articles about male infertility. Anything I can do to make this a site a place to help men through the process and gives women the place for research on male factor—since it is an issue in nearly half of the infertility cases out there.
You are not alone—and I will provide any information I can so you can ultimately tell your success story about how you finally found the path to your parenthood—or a path to peace.