A few days after our fourth (unsuccessful) round of IUI, we met our friends’ new puppy. She was cute, and spunky, and completely loveable. As he played with Freddie, I could see the wistfulness in my husband’s eyes. For years, I had been adamantly anti-dog. I had no pull, no interest, none of that distinct yearning that people seem to have for a canine companion. We had cats, and that was good enough for me.
We’d lost our older cat the year before, and in the months that followed, our thirteen year old cat was joined, one after another, by two male kittens. J kept mentioning a dog, and I kept laughing it off, saying maybe after we had a kid. Which, to my frustration, was not happening. All around me friends were getting pregnant, and all we had to show for our two years of trying was a miscarriage and a bunch of disappointment. We started looking into what could possibly be wrong with us, frustrated and hopeful. I remember bursting into tears at the very idea of any kind of artificial process that might lead us to a child, simply because I just wanted a normal shot at making a baby. It seemed unfair and possibly futile, and of course, expensive.
Driving home from meeting Freddie, I was feeling kind of hopeless. I mentioned to J that the boys were getting to be about a year old, and if we had any chance at them bonding with a dog, it would be best to introduce a new puppy right away. My husband was in shock. He kept glancing at me as I stared through the windshield. Finally, he said, “I thought we were going to wait until we had a baby”. Somehow, I smiled, even though I felt like screaming. It had been three years, countless tests, that miscarriage (and who knows how many chemical pregnancies), hsg, IUI… it was enough. Calmly, without crying, I told him maybe kids weren’t in the cards. It was time to get the dog.
He was elated, of course. Hesitant, and then quickly obsessed. Within a few weeks, everything was planned. The breed was chosen (goldendoodle, due to his allergies and my love of standard poodles), a breeder found, a weekend set aside, and the dog selected. He was stoked. I was miserable. Anytime I referred to the dog to anyone other than my husband, it was the “damned dog”. As the date drew closer, I became more despondent, then more angry- at myself, at him, at every part of the situation. I couldn’t just take the dog away from him now. He was over the moon.
It wasn’t his fault that I had given up, so to speak, I just wanted to move on. We were nearing the date for the fifth round of IUI, and I was trying to detach from the inevitable disappointment I would feel when I got my period once again. It was crushing me. We’d discussed doing five rounds, then having the discussion about drugs and about IVF. We couldn’t possibly afford IVF, and I was terrified of what Clomid or similar drugs would do to me. We really couldn’t even afford to get the dog, but he’d been such a champ through all of the baby hell that I wanted him to have exactly what he wanted when choosing his dog. HIS dog. I couldn’t even accept the dog as mine.
On the Fourth of July, we had a wonderful night. For the first time since we had been together, he took me to see the fireworks, one of my favorite things in all of the world. The next day, I woke up to the Ovulatron $150 (better known as the Clearblue Easy Fertility Monitor) giving me the sign that it was time to make my IUI appointment. When he woke up, I’d set the time for the procedure the following day. He was thrilled that the timing was good, and we would still be able to pick up the dog over the weekend. As soon as I heard him say that, I sat in tears. I told him I didn’t want a dog, I wanted a baby. He held me while I cried, said we could still back out, said of course we could wait. And I cried harder, and asked him why he should have to wait for something so easy, after waiting so long for something that was proving to be so hard.
The drive to get the little guy was pretty long- 7 hours. He was so tiny, and was able to sleep between my feet on the floor of the car the whole way home (though sometimes I held him in my arms, let’s be honest). J drove the whole way. I think he wanted me to bond with Ernie. And boy, did I.
We’d read whatever we could get our hands on about training, watched dozens of Cesar Milan videos, amongst other trainers, and did everything we could to prepare, but we really had no clue what to expect. He was just a tiny, scared little puppy who’d only been in a house once, and had gone up his first stairs just that morning. His crate was huge, and the space we had gated off for him in it was only about six or seven inches. He looked so wee and forlorn in there when we put him down for the night that I didn’t want to leave him alone. It seemed cruel. He was just a baby. And then I realized that he was our baby. Maybe the only baby we would be getting for a really, really long time.
A few days later, my period started, but I was so preoccupied with the dog, there were minimal tears. Then it stopped. And I took about ten tests, and wouldn’t you know it, I was pregnant. Wouldn’t you just know it. Our sleepless nights and early mornings were already starting, and all I could think was maybe, somehow, the damned dog had brought us some luck.
He’s such a good dog, by the way. My dog is just the greatest. Aren’t dogs swell? A few months ago you couldn’t have convinced me I’d feel this way, but I now sure think so.
I wouldn’t trade my little Tostito-burrito-Frito-cornchip Ernie puppeh for all the world.
Go figure. I’m pretty thankful for my little family.