Post by John:
It’s June 2016 and we’ve just shared our story with the world. The internet is forever, right? Well how did we get here? Below is a recap of my life before infertility.
October 2003 – I’m a sophomore at Aurora University. We just got back to the dorms after a party at our local baseball house. My roommates and I invited people back to our dorm room for a dance party where this girl, Jenna Duffy, attended with some of her girlfriends. After everyone left, my roommate took a liking to Jenna and asked me to send her an AOL Instant Message (you all remember AIM right?) to see if she wanted to come back to the room. Well maybe it was the alcohol but I didn’t necessarily have the capability to type coherent sentences, so Jenna told me to come up to her room to talk. “I’ll bring her back” I say to my roommate. Spoiler Alert…. I never came back! The story of what happened in Jenna’s room is PG at best, as we started talking about life and what we want out of life. This girl is perfect: she’s gorgeous, has all the same interests as me, wants to start a family, and I just can’t get enough of her. (OK I lied, she’s not perfect, no Cub fan can be considered perfect! Ha). All of a sudden the sun is up and we’re still talking, maybe it’s time for bed. The next night I went back up to Jenna’s room and we again talked until the sun came up. A few more nights of that and next thing I know we’re dating.
Fast Forward to June 2008 – Jenna and I have spent the better part of 5 years dating, we’ve both graduated college, gotten good jobs (Jenna as a 5th grade teacher at Serena Grade School, me as a Logistics Engineer at Caterpillar), gotten engaged, bought a house, and are getting married. Sure, there were some bumps along the way, but what relationship doesn’t have its bumps and bruises? The important thing is we always got through everything and were really happy together. Our wedding was a blast, and happened to coincide with a White Sox vs. Cubs series. Being huge baseball fans, we themed our wedding as a baseball theme. The tables were named after baseball terms, everyone received peanuts and cracker jacks, we had everyone autograph a bat to commemorate the event, and we even wore baseball jerseys when introduced at the reception. I can’t remember who won that weekend, I remember one team swept the other; you will have to ask Jenna which team came out on top.
Fast Forward to November 2009 – I received a job opportunity to join a Logistics Development program in which my first assignment will be in Miami, FL. We’ve both spent our entire lives in Illinois, and moving to Miami was an experience that we both were looking forward to. Jenna had to stay back with her parents to finish her Master’s program and her school year, so the first 5 months I lived on my own in Miami. I was working crazy hours and on 3rd shift, so I didn’t have too much time to myself to enjoy the experience in Miami. In June, Jenna was able to move to Florida and I changed to 1st shift. We were able to live up our South Florida experience doing everything from baseball and football games to trips to Orlando to airboat alligator rides to the Florida Keys to swimming with dolphins to a Caribbean cruise. Oh yeah, and there was Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, and South beach. Nothing is better than being 15 minutes away from the beach that you can go to all year round. We were still young and had our whole lives ahead of us. We knew we were moving back to Illinois at some point (all Caterpillar roads lead to Peoria, IL) and figured once we got settled back at home we’d start a family.
Fast Forward to January 2011 – My next rotation moved us to – you guessed it – Peoria, IL where we still reside today. It was at this point where we really started thinking about having kids. We were both 26 years old, married for 3 years, so it was time. That’s what married people do, right? So we tried – we didn’t do anything crazy, we just stopped “not trying” if that makes sense to you. Each month as we didn’t get pregnant, we figured it would happen at some point. In July 2012, I accepted a more long-term position in the area, so we purchased a house in Peoria. We love our house, we were able to build it and got to pick out most of the features to go along with it. Although it’s probably too much space for two people, we bought it planning on having children. Better to grow into a house than buy a smaller house and have to move in a couple of years, so we thought. After moving in, we tried a little bit harder to have children, but still no luck. Jenna went to her OBGYN to get tested and everything looked to be in order with her. It couldn’t be an issue with me could it? I have ten siblings, and a ridiculous amount of cousins. Cousins of mine on both sides have had kids – so it would seem like my genes wouldn’t have any problems. I figured it must be a timing thing and it would happen according to God’s plan for us.
Finally, in January 2014 Jenna convinced me to go get tested. For those of you who haven’t ever had to give a semen analysis, let me let you in on a little secret….. it’s really awkward! I go to the hospital and they bring me back to this waiting area. Finally they call my name and this woman gives me a cup and tells me they will take me back so I can give my sample. I envisioned some sort of room with some privacy, and I also joked with Jenna that there would probably be all sorts of videos and magazines and probably a really attractive nurse to lend a hand if I needed it. But that wasn’t my luck, they stuck me in a bathroom that was roughly 3ft x 3ft and sat right outside the nurse’s break area. So I’m sitting in this really tight room and I can hear the nurses gossiping and chatting about their day like there wasn’t even a closed door between us. If I could hear them so easily, I assume they could hear me just as easily. So there I sit with this empty cup, and well you know the rest. Let’s just say it wasn’t the most fun experience I’ve ever had.
A few weeks later we get the results and it’s not at all what I was expecting. Our journey towards infertility was about to begin….