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Conception Diaries: Meet Wendy

Sunday, May 3, 2009
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WENDY, 38
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....

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previous: Let Me Just Tell You ... We Held Nothing Back
next: Conception Diaries: Meet Anh-Chi

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39 comments so far | Post a comment now >>

 
What a great essay! I’ve learned more about you that I have over the last 12 years working with you and I love you even more. Good luck with this project. I pray that it brings the break that you have been working towards.
- Elizabeth
Posted 04/28/09 09:35 PM
 
You forgot to say how wonderful it was growing up w/ me!!! I love you very much and Good Luck!
- adriana
Posted 04/29/09 12:42 AM
 
You don’t know how much your support means to me. I am excited for the future. If you have any suggestions on conception, I welcome all. Love you. Wendy
- Wendy
Posted 04/29/09 06:08 PM
 
You don’t know how much your support means to me. I am excited for the future. If you have any suggestions on conception, I welcome all. Love you. Wendy
- Wendy
Posted 04/29/09 06:08 PM
 
Oh my goodness, Tía Wendy! We are so happy for you! We wish the best of luck, and we will praying for you and Uncle Kenny. Congratulations for taking the first step … Love, KK, Kami, and Sylvia
- Sylvia, KK, and Kami
Posted 04/29/09 10:18 PM
 
what an amazing story, you guys seem to be so in love and i love your bully :-). good luck!
- teemah
Posted 04/30/09 03:31 PM
 
thanks Teemah. Thank you for your support ! All the Best..
- Wendy
Posted 04/30/09 03:53 PM
 
thanks Teemah. Thank you for your support ! All the Best..
- Wendy
Posted 04/30/09 03:55 PM
 
This was an interesting story! There’s nothing wrong with waiting until you are financially stable to support a family. However, I do feel as though there is a degree of selfishness when all you think about is your career..and then, well your almost 40 yrs old and your chances of conceiving are waaaaaay down then when you were in your 20’s..I hope no one on this board feels sorry for you because I sure don’t..
- Jessica
Posted 04/30/09 08:10 PM
 
I think Jessica is way, WAY off. There’s a reason they’re saying “40 is the new 20”. Years ago, when you were 40, you were considered old and off the radar. Now, people are taking the time to establish their own lives and get themselves sorted and straight before they have kids. And because secondary education is so much more important to having a stable career, people are pushing their timelines back. There’s no way you can grow up, go to college, have a successful and stable career with a kid when you’re 20. I honestly think having a child in your 20’s is more selfish. When you’re 20, you’re too young, and you SHOULD be more concerned about your own life as opposed to bringing in another. I would rather be selfish to my own career, than be selfish to bring a child into this world only because I am young and fertile, not because I have a great and stable environment to bring them into. Look around you, the only “old” 40 year olds are the ones that had their kids too young, and they’re worn out. People who wait have a great sense of who they are, who their partners are, and where their life is going. You have your own mental and emotional stablity more in check the older you get. Tell me why all of this isn’t a better environment to raise a kid into? So the kid will be 20 and she’ll be 60? What the hell is wrong with that, even 60’s not that old when you consider the child will be 20. Jessica, it sounds like you didn’t wait for your babies. Just because it didn’t work out for you doesn’t mean you need to rain on her parade for doing the smart thing and waiting. I honestly think she is so, so smart for getting her own life in check before starting someone elses. mad props wendy and the best of luck!
- abbi
Posted 05/02/09 10:10 AM
 
Wendy, I’m 38 and I got pregnant this year so it’s never too old. My only advice is to monitor your ovulation month by month. It’s not going to happy as often as you think it does. I went two months w/o ovulation. It wasn’t until after a few month that I hit the baby lotto. Good luck and baby dust to you.
- Gigohead
Posted 05/02/09 12:16 PM
 
maybe she waited too long
- Anonymous
Posted 05/02/09 01:42 PM
 
Hi Wendy, I was reading the paper this morning and saw your story. I worked at the library when you did, and am glad you are trying to have a baby. I started very young (20) and had my 4th at 29. I thought I was old enough, getting married at 18. The good thing is I got to be a grandmother at only 48 and enjoy my grandkids. It’ll be fun following your story on you blog..Good luck!!!
- Dottie
Posted 05/02/09 02:01 PM
 
Hi Wendy, I worked at the library when you did..good luck on your quest to have a baby. I had my first at 20 and 4th at 29. Too young, I now realize, but the up side is that I was a grandma at 48 and was young enough to really enjoy my grandkids… My daughter in law had her first at 38 and 2nd at 40, so you should have no problem… I wish you all the best
- Dottie
Posted 05/02/09 02:05 PM
 
I think the point that Jessica was trying to make (although she might have been a wee bit nicer about it) is that the odds of conception go down with age, and the odds of birth defects tend to go up. But with the medical technology available these days, having a baby in your late thirties or early forties isn’t the risk or anomaly it once was. Good luck, Wendy! :o)
- Jill (the other one)
Posted 05/02/09 07:13 PM
 
Jessica, thank you for your feedback and encouragement. Kenny & I are so very proud of all of our accomplishments and most proud of our marriage and our ability to remain devoted to one another and continue to learn and grow together. We have always worked as a team and because neither one of us were born with silver spoons in our mouths, we have made and continue to make sure that our work ethic remains one our core values. Our life together is no fluke nor is it luck that we have been together for so long. We make no apologies for taking as much time as we needed to decide to try to conceive because we don’t take parenthood lightly.
- Wendy
Posted 05/03/09 12:49 AM
 
Gigohead, for a while there I was feeling like I was the only 38 year old frustrated with the daily ovulation tests, they are monotonous and right now very discouraging. I just want there to be an LH surge already so we can go on to the next step. I know every women is different, so we’ll continue the daily monitoring. Were you given a medical reason (or any reason for that matter) on why you didn’t ovulate regularly? Thank you for your support.
- Wendy
Posted 05/03/09 12:56 AM
 
Dottie!! I am so happy to hear from you. Thank you so much for communicating with me and letting me know that you are here. All the Best!
- Wendy
Posted 05/03/09 01:00 AM
 
Jill,thank you for your words of encouragement. I realize that statistically our odds of conceiving go down as we age, so we’ll just have to see how the next few weeks go.
- Wendy
Posted 05/03/09 01:05 AM
 
Abbi, Thank you, thank you, thank you for your support and encouragement. Kenny & I are so very proud of all of our accomplishments and most proud of our marriage and our ability to remain devoted to one another and continue to learn and grow together. We have always worked as a team and because neither one of us were born with silver spoons in our mouths, we have made and continue to make sure that our work ethic remains one our core values. Our life together is no fluke nor is it luck that we have been together for so long. We make no apologies for taking as much time as we needed to decide to try to conceive because we don’t take parenthood lightly.
- Wendy
Posted 05/03/09 01:18 AM

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