Marriage Makeover: Can Our Marriage Survive Infertility?
By Rebecca Davis
Even after years of infertility treatments, Monica and Steve Klein couldn't get
pregnant. And while they were busy trying to create a new family, they forgot
about the one they already had--with each other. Our relationship expert helps
this couple find their way back to the intimacy they once shared.
When Monica and Steve Klein married in the summer of 2003, they immediately
started trying to have a baby. But the Deer Park, NY, couple wasn't able to
conceive, so their doctor suggested they begin infertility treatments. Two
years and four in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycles later, Monica still wasn't
pregnant, and the roller coaster of hope and disappointment had become too much
for the couple to bear. "After so many IVF cycles, I said to Monica that it
was enough," says Steve, 40, a water district town worker. Then, two years
after they decided to stop treatments, the Kleins' doctor discovered that due
to a paperwork mix-up, they had one more frozen embryo left. "We tried to
go in levelheaded, but we thought this was the one, so we did it," says
Monica, 42, a sixth-grade teacher. "When it didn't work, it opened up all
the wounds that had healed over."
Their failed efforts to conceive drove a wedge between Monica and Steve,
both emotionally and sexually. "Sex became robotic instead of
romantic," says Steve. Flowers and candles were replaced by ovulation
calendars. Further, Monica was terrified that the treatments wouldn't work but
also hated being a human pincushion. She wanted to share her feelings with her
husband, but Steve avoided the subject. Now, in the wake of their final
unsuccessful IVF cycle, the couple can't agree on what to do next. "I want
to look into adoption, while Steve is satisfied with our life as is," says
Monica. But the Kleins agree on one thing: Both want to regain the openness
they once shared. The first step to overcoming their no-baby blues, says Iris
Waichler, author of Riding the Infertility Roller Coaster, is to face
the tough feelings head-on. "Steve and Monica need to admit to each other
that this has been one of the most traumatic experiences of their lives and
talk about how it has affected them," says Waichler. "Then they can
start to rebuild a post-IVF life together."
"WE CAN'T EVEN TALK ABOUT OUR FEELINGS."
MONICA: "I remember our first time doing IVF. When the pregnancy
test came back negative, I was a basket case. We went for a drive on the beach
and we both cried. But the other times, I never saw Steve get upset or heard
him speak about it. In a way I was like, Do you even want this? or What am I
doing this for? He doesn't talk about his feelings."