Sunk Costs

I was nervous before I married Ryan.  At 28 I knew I wanted to settle down and start a family, and Ryan was far and away the only man I’d ever considered for the job.  Still, I had my cold-feet moments, and asked myself “If you and Ryan never had kids, would you still marry him?”  At the time, my answer was “no.”  Ryan’s selling point was what a great dad he would be, and we were otherwise very different when it came to money and lifestyles.  But not having kids wasn’t a concern, because I knew he wanted them and I wanted them and everything would be just fine.

Lately, I’ve had a couple dark moments where I wonder if perhaps I married the wrong person.  It’s a devastating thought.  I am thankful my pragmatic, accountant reasoning takes over.  Marrying Ryan is called a sunk cost in the accounting world.  It’s already been incurred, and should not be considered at all in any future analyses or projections.  The fact that Ryan is my husband, for better or for worse, is irrelevant, because it’s already been done.

This may sound cold and callous, but I’ve always taken great comfort in clear directions, definitions and instructions.  I love my husband, he is good and kind, and whether or not to stand by him is one less decision I’ll have to consider in life.

All that time on phone calls, applications, meetings at the bank to finance IVF is a sunk cost.  The emails and appointments at the doctor’s office is a sunk cost. The copays for blood work, semen analyses, the time, the tears, the hard conversations, everything leading up to this point, today, is a sunk cost.

Ryan’s fears of fatherhood and responsibility have manifested into one bargaining point: He would like to have 1 child, and see how it goes.  If the 1 child doesn’t totally make us go broke and put undue strain on our lives, maybe he’d consider having 2.

If we were any other couple, here we’d kiss and make up and move forward because 1 child sounds easy, even fun.  But IVF does not allow us this luxury.  Those potential extra embryos are the crux of our standoff.  I can’t in good conscience say “no problem Ryan, we’ll stop at 1 one if we want to.”  And Ryan in good conscience can’t say “I’m happy to have as many children as possible until we run through all our embryos.”

He doesn’t want to be the reason I miss out on having children, and he doesn’t want me to mope and mourn because technically, he’s giving the go ahead with a “let’s do it!” followed by “but just do one.”

We both want to have our cake and eat it, too.  I’ve said it before: am guilty of being a people pleaser of the worst kind.  Here, I thought is my grand stand to get what I want, to put my foot down, and fight for a family.  But more and more, as I’m feeling in my nauseated gut and aching heart, this might have to be one more thing I set aside for the greater good.


Bad Monday

It’s been an exceptionally hard Monday afternoon.  Physically I am nauseated and have cramps, due to birth control pills which I started last night and my period which started Saturday.

Emotionally the day started out with nervous excitement.  With my period officially here, Pearl sent over the final IVF calendar with dates and appointments. At lunch I went home and shared the calendar with Ryan.  We’d already discussed timing, working around his business trips, but here it was in black and white.  And you know what?  Ryan’s reaction wasn’t good.  He starting asking one too many questions.  He told me he was nervous, and didn’t think being nervous was the right reaction.

I had about 45 minutes at home before leaving to go back to work.  In those 45 minutes Ryan firmly switched teams once more and now stands on the “I don’t think I want to do this” side.  He asked all kinds of offensive and irritating questions (why do you even want to have kids, is it just because your friends are doing it?).  I cried.  We prayed.  All in the midst of our war-zone kitchen covered in tools and broken water heater parts. I told Ryan to make up his mind, TODAY, for good.  I don’t like giving him an ultimatum with such grave choices, but dammit I need to move on.  Forget the future picture of children/childlessness, I’m more concerned with the here and now.  I cannot continue dancing around our infertility treatment options.

Back at work, I’m emotionally drained.  Pregnancy has been so out of reach for so long that I’ve numbed myself to all hope until recently.  I started a list of baby names in my planner.  I looked at maternity clothes online.  I met with the bank and did all the paperwork for our financing, I set the dates with the doctor, I mean, I really believed we were on our way.

Today after work I’ll be heading to a winery where my friend works because she’s desperate for extras in her tasting room photo shoot.  At home, Ryan’s frustrated string of texts reveal the water heater is still not working and he’s about to lose his mind.  My contractor dad is coming over to bail us out, which is always a little hit to Ryan’s ego.  Running for the hills of the tasting room. At least there will be wine.

Is THIS the beginning?

Pearl, the RN at the office, gave me exactly the information I was looking for:

  1. Start taking prenatal vitamins and folic acid ASAP.
  2. Start taking birth control pills on Day 2 of my period, which should start in about 4 days.
  3. Clinic payment of $12,200 will be due about November 16th.
  4. Egg retrieval and transfer will occur somewhere in the weeks of December 7th – 14th. (2015 Christmas will be the best or worst ever.)

This morning I was so nervous my hands were physically shaking. But as I put one foot in front of the other and filled out the application for the Home Equity Loan, I began to sense a bit of relief.  I can actually do something.  FINALLY no more idling, waiting, thinking.  However, after months of prayer and thought and more prayer I still have many hesitations.  The Bible doesn’t exactly spell out a “thou shall not do IVF” for us in the 21st century. My prayer of late has been to tell God we are moving forward with this, and to change our hearts, convict our spirits or close this door if IVF is not in accordance with His will.  To be honest, I can’t say I’ve heard much back.

I suppose the bottom line is we have free will and free choice on this Earth, and pursuing IVF (and all the potential consequences) is totally up to us.  It’s like Corinthians says “Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial.” Will IVF be beneficial?  I think so, as long as I lean heavily into Jesus EVERY STEP OF THE WAY.  There will be ethical questions (extra embryos?) and hard conversations (we know Ryan doesn’t talk about feelings) and I do not pretend to have a great game plan, here at the beginning.  I do have faith God is good, He’s leading the way, and will not give us more than we can handle.  Following His lead, I believe this whole experience will yield better results than I could have hoped, regardless of what those results will be.

Let’s get this show on the road!

I planned a mini road trip for Ryan and I to visit Gold Country this weekend.  We left Friday, drove a leg of Highway 49 checking out little historic towns and abandoned gold mines and ended the day wine tasting in an 1860s house.  Saturday we did more sightseeing before heading home. We had a great time, reenergized, and reconnected.

I’m not going to lie, part of the reason I planned this little getaway was to corner Ryan long enough to get him to relax and talk logistics.  I’m learning less-is-more with my husband. He doesn’t want details or play-by-plays.  He wants a brief, an executive summary or a bottom line.

So over fish tacos on the side of the highway I asked him exactly 3 infertility questions:

  1. “If money was no issue and we had cash in the bank, when would you want to start an IVF cycle?”  Ryan’s answer: as soon as possible, no time like the present
  2. “Do you want me to include you in all the financing decisions, or would you rather I just do it?” Ryan’s answer: just do it, it’s usually best when he’s spared the details and just hands over a dollar amount every 2 weeks.
  3. “Do you want to know where the money is going to come from?”  This got Ryan’s attention.  So I told him my grand plan to cash out part of my IRA and also open a home equity line of credit.  Between the IRA and the home equity loan we will have enough to pay for the IVF, pay off my student loan, and repair and paint the exterior of our home.

You see, I want to move.  I love our 1918 craftsman, but it’s drafty, damp and it’s bones are OLD and hard to work with.  We’ve done major upgrades over the years, and the exterior is the last big hurdle.  Wood work and painting will have to happen eventually, and and paying off my student loan will majorly improve my borrower profile.  Oh, and while we’re borrowing, we might as well scoop out enough cash to buy a pregnancy, too.

Ryan had some irrelevant questions and requests (like re-tile the bathroom, too? No dear, not enough ROI) but otherwise just nodded.  So that’s it; I have the ok.  And fish taco conversation went back to lighter matters.

Our original plan was to pursue IVF next calendar year for insurance purposes, but when I really crunched the numbers I realized timing doesn’t make much of a difference.  So I just sent an email to Pearl, the RN at the Infertility Specialist’s office, and told her “We’re ready when you are.  When do we start?”

A great weekend, but glad to be home.  Just two days away and I missed my little furs terribly.20141017_100239


…And the clinic called me today with profuse apologies, taking total responsibility, and regretfully informing me they made a mistake when testing Ryan’s sample.  He will need to come back and give another.

It felt good to have a laugh with the RN, who hears all the bemoaning excuses from sample-producing men.

Ryan didn’t find it so hilarious.

Man Talk

Today Ryan and I FINALLY had a decent conversation about our decision.  I learned he wants to do IVF! Unsurprisingly, he vented quite a bit of frustration with Dr. Mean’s request for ANOTHER semen sample, because it’s always awkward and always bad news.  Naturally, Ryan has also felt uneasy about money. I learned all these great insights into my husband’s mind over text messaging.

A little ridiculous and frustrating that Ryan can’t just talk about his feelings to my face like any female, but I’ll take whatever medium of communication I can get.

Ryan’s reluctance to talk about this decision has been very vexing for my inner People Pleaser.  You see, if there were a personality scale to measure the People Pleasing quality, I’d be off the charts. It’s bad how much my desire to please dictates my actions and emotions, and I’m working in it.

Still, when I see Ryan’s obvious discomfort, the people pleaser within wants to shout “I’m sorry, forget it, let’s drop the whole thing!”  But I just can’t.  Thank goodness for my tremendous work ethic, which somehow summons the courage and effort to coax Ryan into a this dreaded conversation.  I constantly wonder if it’s worth it- is this uphill battle a sign I should back off? I told Ryan I will, I will drop the whole thing and back off, but he will have to tell me to do it.  Firmly.

And he hasn’t – he says “let’s move forward.”

So I say “ok, go give your semen sample.”

Argument ensues.  The people pleaser cringes, but the workaholic presses on.  I compose a ballet, 140 characters at a time, and keep him talking.

In the end he did it- he went to the clinic, paid $125 and provided a semen sample.  He griped about a great many things along the way (hot receptionist, hot new girl being trained, the “attic” room he had to do the deed in, etc.), but he did it.

You see?  The salesman in him must be wearing off on me after all.