Editor's note: VICE has been around for almost 20 years now, and a few of us are getting a little long in the tooth, you know? Some people around the office are starting to shift their attention from open vodka bars to turding out little annoying kids, and we're a little nervous, to be honest. Amit Wehle’s years of infertility treatments and recent lease of a 2013 Honda Pilot LX make him an early childhood development and parenting expert, so we asked him to document his experience to find out what having these weird little things is like. Welcome to our new parenting column, "How To Raise Fucking Twins."
Last fall I found myself butt-naked and spread-eagled on a tissue-lined recliner in a fertility clinic, pounding off to Asian Honeycums Vol. 2 with a lubricated test tube lodged firmly in my ass. The test tube wasn’t just a lucky rabbit’s foot; I truly believed that anally stimulating my prostate would procure the freshest and most fertile sperm I could spurt out. Pie in the ass thinking? Maybe… I just wanted to have a baby.
Ask your average third-grader or 34-year-old man where babies come from and you’re likely to get the same response: Daddy sticks his boner into Mommy’s fun hole and nine months later she dooks out a child, followed by afterbirth and insufferable Facebook posts. That is the case most of the time, and (until three years ago) something I wouldn’t have questioned. After all, making babies is the most fundamental of things—the miraculous simplicity of nature repeating itself over and over and over again.
My wife and I, being mammals, shared this to drive to procreate. Even though we had lives before wanting children, we were happily married, and we had an impressive Time Warner cable package, we always felt something was… missing. We wanted the next step, to evolve, to celebrate life. In short: to raise little people.
But several months into the process we realized we couldn’t just have one. Unlike paying taxes or being invited to a game of Farmville, giving forth life is not a birthright. So despite us owning a penis and vagina, and despite us living in Brooklyn’s fertile crescent (the insufferable stretch of land made up of Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, and Park Slope, where every halfwit beardo and his NPR-mainlining boo stroll about pushing their newborns) we found ourselves in the land of the infertile. A barren shit hole. Isolated and angry.
Our drive and determination led us to various cutting-edge fertility clinics, where we mercilessly toiled for three-and-a-half years. Infertility drove us to terrible depths; to puncture, prick, and pull at our body parts in ways we never could imagine. Over the years it led my wife to endure round after round of medications and invasive procedures.
Let me explain something: In the land of infertility and IVFs and IUIs (intrauterine insemination), the essential rules of reproduction still apply—the marriage of sperm and egg. It’s just the process of getting it done is less, shall we say, "Wham-bam," spontaneous or natural. It is, in contrast, the epitome of intentional, micro-managed and manipulated at every turn. Just one round of IVF (let alone eight) takes several weeks of brutal monitoring, constant tweaking, and re-calibrating by a sizable team of doctors and embryologists whom you find yourself praying to like the 86 Mets up against insurmountable odds. They are ultimately your friends, but friends you never wished you needed. And, incidentally, friends who charge upwards of $22,000 a pop to work their laboratory magic, magic that might ultimately fail.
On the other hand, those in the same boat as you—the other couples you see in these clinics going through the assembly line—are not really your friends at all. They are competition. Not outright competition, but physical reminders of actual statistics. Not everyone here will get pregnant, that’s a fact. So my wife and I spent much of our time in the DMV-like waiting area handicapping our opponent’s chances versus our own. It is survival of the fittest within a population that is already assuredly not fit, and it makes you do things like pray the couple across from you has irreversible fibroid damage or a laughable sperm count. With any luck, both. You see, infertility is, by its nature, a couple’s sport, and while there’s usually someone at fault when a couple can’t conceive. In my case, it was my wife—I swear I’m not here to single her out, even though it was her fault. We learned early on that the sooner we tag-teamed the issue and approached it as a group project, the better off we’d be. "Babe, I love you. I couldn’t do this with out you," my wife would repeat like a mantra to me over these years. I would stop her, touch her head with love, and simply say, "I know. I love you. And I wouldn’t have to do this without you."
Like every person hoping against hope for something out of their reach, you start looking for signs, divine messages where nonesuch exist. If she wears my dead grandmother’s ring in the embryo-transfer room, it will work this time! If the doctor calls us on an even-numbered hour he has good news! If I rub this African fertility goddesses' belly 34 times before we take a pregnancy test, throw just the right amount of rocks into the ocean on New Year’s Day, or give one of those kids on the subway some money for their “sports team,” the universe will reward me.
My wife and I were at the end of our rope. We were physically, financially, and spiritually tapped out. If this failed, we had several options. We could continue our dealings with a fast-talking Upper West Side Yemenite who specializes in providing eggs from attractive, Army-aged Israeli chicks and sells them to the infertile. This seemed like a terrible option, because the child wouldn’t have my wife’s DNA and I wouldn’t get to bone the Israeli army chick from Portnoy’s Complaint. The second option was adoption, and while that’s probably the best thing you can do for the planet, I just couldn’t wrap my head around circumcising a 15-month-old Korean boy. The only other option was to convince ourselves we were dog lovers and let my glorious bloodline die with me. With any luck we’d be sending pictures of us with half-smiles from the Tivoli Gardens in no time.
But, this wasn’t in the cards for us… The test tube in my ass worked. (I know, I know, I should be an embryologist). Our pre-implantation genetic diagnosis-tested, double-A grade, frozen blastocysts were transferred into my wife on January 28, 2013. And just like that we were pregnant people. Pardoned. Expectants. Free to join the land of the living. Free to walk the streets of our yuppie neighborhood, the way God intended. One hand on my wife’s belly, the other directing traffic. "Watch the fuck where you're going, asshole! Can’t you see my wife’s pregnant!?"