Marital Status: Married, No Children
Hometown: Fullerton, CA
Profession: Graduate Student
Trying to Conceive: Just started
Wendy and her husband have been married for 19 years. Both of them grew up with parents who struggled financially, so they made a conscious choice to go to school and put their careers first. Their plan was to become extremely successful and financially stable before they had children. They have done everything in their power to NOT have children. Now, Wendy and her husband live in affluent neighborhood, have the careers, have all the toys, but feel there's something missing -- a baby.
Wendy: My name is Wendy. I am a descendant of European, Asian, and Latin American parents. My parents moved to the United States from Peru in the early 70s when I was an infant. We lived in an apartment in Anaheim through my years as a child and adolescent. We never had much but a lot of love. I was raised in a traditional Latino family, where my father worked and my mother was a homemaker who sacrificed her career to raise me and my older brother and younger sister. I came out of the womb knowing and hearing my mother insist that I get my college degree because that would open unlimited opportunities for me. She always said to me, "Be better than me, you can do whatever you set your mind to, and when you are married, take as much time as you need to decide to have children because once they come along, it's a whole different world of commitment."
So, as early as I can remember, I was a competitor for anything & everything -- board games, speech contests, spelling bee contests, talent contests (I am not a good singer but I jumped in there anyway), getting a part in school plays (not a good actress either), running for student council, playing sports, trying modeling and pageants ... the more trophies, ribbons, certificates, and accolades, the better. It made me feel like I mattered. I had even more to prove because I was the short, dark, and not-slim girl in public schools full of mostly Caucasian kids. I also had much more to prove with my academics because my brother was the straight "A" honors student all through school. I had to work that much harder to make the grades, but I did it.
As early as my junior high years, I thought of enlisting in the Air Force as an officer, because I would be able to get my degree paid for and see more than just Anaheim, CA. But when I graduated from high school, I had the whole world in front of me and was accepted to the local university, where I started full-time, while working full-time for a veterinary lab with my brother -- the military had to wait. After several months of doing the daily grind as an adult, the point came in my life when I was juggling everything, and I didn't like it. I started skipping my classes because I didn't feel like going. Next thing I know, I had enlisted in the Air Force and found myself on a plane headed to Texas for boot camp. I was completely exhilarated, but scared, and I cried the entire flight because I finally realized what I had done -- I was on my own.
In boot camp, enlistees are not allowed to communicate with family until the military decides to send a letter of confirmation from the base saying that you are OK. My boot camp experience was great and I loved it, the yelling in my face, the physical training in the pouring rain, and just being challenged mentally as I had never been challenged before. From boot camp, I moved to technical training for my career, and then to my first base in Arkansas. I was new in town and everyone in the military community was very friendly and embraced me as one of their own. I worked in an office with mostly men, of course, so I had a lot to prove because I was a female. One guy, Kenny, introduced himself as all the fellows did, but there was something special about Kenny. We became friends because he was just nice and quiet. Remember now, I went into the military to get my college education and good career foundation. I didn't want or need to be sidetracked, as I had goals. Anyway, everyday after work, Kenny would ask me if I needed a ride home ... how funny, as the dorm was literally across the street from where we worked. Cute, huh?
Finally, after a couple of weeks of asking me (but not like in a creepy way), I finally said OK and that's when the fireworks flew. We were inseparable. We had a lot in common as our upbringings were similar, working-class families making it. We also had similar goals, but not too similar, as I was already taking college classes to get my degree on its way. We would go play softball games and tournaments on the weekends. We would travel to Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama to play in tournaments rain or shine. We had so much fun. Eventually, Kenneth started his college classes, but I don't think he would have pursued college if I didn't do it.
We're married!!! We got married September 28, 1990, at the county courthouse in Arkansas, and didn't give any of our families much notice so no one was at the ceremony except the Justice of the Peace, who performed the ceremony. Obviously stunned by the news, our families were supportive and we were able to visit them occasionally. Operation Desert Storm had already started and we were uncertain about getting sent to a "classified" location. In the military, you always have to have your bags packed, ready to deploy.
As we started our lives as husband and wife, we knew immediately we wanted to have solid careers to establish a stable and somewhat predictable future. Kenny is conservative and I was a conformist, so we were successful in the military and considered 20-year careers. We took one day at a time. We moved 4 times while in Arkansas until we were able to get onto base housing, which was cool. Then we received orders to relocate to Tucson, AZ, where we moved and bought a home (at the ages of 22 & 23). We re-enlisted, but then had second thoughts about whether we wanted to continue living the military life. Just as we were contemplating separating from the military, we received orders to Japan. After serious consideration, we decided that the civilian life fits us best, so we applied for separation, sold our home, packed up our stuff, and flipped a coin to decide whether we were coming out west or headed to the East Coast. We also decided that we would give the West Coast a year and if it didn't work for us, we would move back east, but we've been fortunate that it has worked out here in California.
We rented in Huntington Beach for one year, then bought a home in Anaheim. We were working hard during the day and finishing our studies at night. We sacrificed not seeing each other during the week because either one or both of us was in college finishing up our degrees. Being a non-traditional college student is not easy work and takes a lot of discipline. Family and friends would ask us about having children, but we would insist that we weren't ready and we weren't sure if we wanted any at all.
In 1998, I woke up one day and felt horrible. I was cramping a lot and something wasn't right but I just ignored it for a couple of days. After feeling crummy, I went to the doctor and they did tests and asked me if I was possibly pregnant and of course I said, "No, I am on the pill!!!" One day later, the hospital left me a voicemail to call the doctor ASAP. Well, I was pregnant, and I needed to get back to see the doctor to get a blood count, so we went in and Kenny was floating around, so excited ... I mean, obviously this wasn't planned, but I already knew that something was wrong ... it just didn't feel right. So I went to get blood drawn and was instructed to come back in 72 hours to see if the count increased.
Well, I couldn't wait 72 hours because I was in excruciating pain, so we went to the emergency room -- I couldn't even sit up anymore, it was so painful. So when the doctor finally saw me and did tests, he notified us that we had an ectopic pregnancy, and that if he didn't operate in the next hour, I could be dead because my stomach was bleeding. WHAT?!?!? Just a day ago, I was pregnant, and now this ... I was scared, but dealt with it and asked Kenny to go home and make sure the dogs were OK and to call my parents just to let them know what was going on. I fully recovered from my surgery, but my right fallopian tube was removed. My doctor assured me that getting pregnant would be no problem because I still had my left fallopian tube. I wasn't worried about it at the time, and I knew that this pregnancy was not meant to be. After all, we weren't planning it and we were focused on work and making money and building up the work ladder. We already had two dogs, Redd & Kay, but I wanted another dog, so we got Bundy as a puppy. That may have been my way of satisfying a maternal instinct at the time.
So working 40-plus hours a week was the norm. Being on call all the time for work was nothing new. We decided to upgrade our house, so we moved to Fullerton because it was my dream to live in the Fullerton hills since I was a teenager and used to cruise the residential streets with friends admiring the homes. It reminds me of Hollywood Hills in Orange County. So of course, we had to get one and we accomplished that.
Family members would bug us about having children, but we've been in denial about it for years and changed the subject every time it came up.
And the cycle of work, work, work continues. You keep your nose to the grindstone and before you know it, 19 years have passed and you have a great life but you wonder if it could or would be greater with babies. I think for me, the unpredictability of the future scares me the most. Would my expectations I set for my children be too high? What if they do the wrong thing, knowing there was a right choice? Am I going to be able to live with mistakes?! Oh my gosh, I am absolutely terrified. Am I too old? The biological clock is definitely ticking....Connect with Wendy in the momlogic community.
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