Ariel and Neil were already in their 60s. Both their children were married and starting their own families. But Ariel felt that something was missing, and she decided to visit their old fertility doctor to see if they could have another baby. Something shocking happened, and her husband did not react well.
“Being grandparents is going to be way more fun than being parents, don’t you think?” Neil asked his wife, Ariel. They were both in their 60s, and their eldest child, Christina, had just had a baby. Meanwhile, their son, Derek, was expecting a baby with his wife, so they were about to be swimming in babies.
“Yeah, sure, I think so,” Ariel answered, pursing her lips and thinking about something she had done. Of course, she was excited about her grandbabies, but she thought about having another child of their own. It sounded insane even to her, but she hadn’t gone through menopause yet and it was still possible, although she knew society would judge her for it.
The fact is that they had Christina and Derek in their late 20s, and they always wanted more children. They went to fertility doctors and underwent treatments to no avail. Nothing worked, so they tabled the idea and forgot about it.
“So, you’re taking her side?” Neil demanded to know, his voice dripping anger.
When Christina announced her pregnancy, Ariel felt almost envious of her daughter. It was wrong, and she knew it, but she had been craving to become a mother again. Raising children had been the best experience of her life.
So as her husband talked about being a grandparent, Ariel remembered what she had done three months earlier. She went to a fertility doctor she found online, Dr. Emilia Carrigan.
“Mrs. Fernandez, you’re 60 years old. While you are technically still able to conceive, it’s not recommended,” the doctor said gently. “We can use donor eggs and sperm, but it’ll be such a long shot, especially if it didn’t happen in your 30s.”
Please, can we try?” she begged the doctor.
“What about your husband? What does he think?” Dr. Carrigan asked.
“Isn’t it my choice?” she countered, feeling almost offended at having to ask permission to have children. Although she did feel guilty, she was sure that Neil would be happy about it.
The doctor nodded. “You’re right. Well, we can try.”
Nothing seemed to happen after one round of IVF with the donor egg and sperm, so Ariel was sure it didn’t work. She started to feel worse about not asking Neil for his input and decided not to return to the fertility doctor again. Maybe she was just baby crazy, and luckily, her kids were starting their families, so she would be having plenty of babies to get over that temporary fever.
However, she started feeling awful a few weeks later and visited her regular primary doctor, Dr. Ferris, at his practice in Florida, thinking it might be food poisoning or a stomach bug.
“Mrs. Fernandez. You are not going to believe this, but you’re pregnant. This must be some kind of miracle,” he said, reading the charts and shaking his head in disbelief. He referred a gynecologist, and the ultrasound revealed that she was pregnant with triplets.
Dr. Ferris was surprised. “There are options for this, you know. Adoption or even termination. At your age, this could be a risky pregnancy.”
No, we want these children,” Ariel assured her, although she was still shocked about having three new babies. It would be hard to tell Neil, but she was sure he would be happy after the initial surprise.
“WHAT?” Neil bellowed, getting up from his seat at the kitchen table and holding his chest with one hand.
“Neil, sit and calm down. I know it’s a surprise—”
“A SURPRISE? ARIEL, YOU DID THIS WITHOUT MY OK OR MY INPUT? WHO IS THE FATHER?”
“Neil, I just used donor sperm and eggs, but you are still the father! These are our children!” Ariel responded, getting angry at the insinuation.
“NO, THEY ARE NOT! THESE ARE YOUR KIDS! I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU WOULD DO THIS TO ME!” he shouted some more, but he had to catch his breath and sit back down on the table. When he calmed down some, he spoke up. “You need to get out of the house. You are not the woman I married all those years ago. I can’t even look at you.”
“You can’t be serious! I’m your wife, and I’m pregnant!”
“I don’t care. Get out, Ariel. I’m serious,” he stated quietly and stormed out of the house.
Ariel didn’t know what else to do, so she packed a small suitcase while crying and went to Derek’s house. She explained everything to him and his wife and he was understandably upset.
“Mom, Dad is not entirely wrong. You did this without him. It was wrong. But his reaction is even more shocking,” her son said after she finished explaining everything through heavy tears.
“I know. But it’s done. I can’t believe what he said to me,” Ariel wailed, and Derek’s wife, Melissa, held her hand.
“Don’t worry. I’ll talk to him, and you can stay with us for as long as you need,” Derek reassured her.
Despite his efforts, Derek could not convince his father to forgive Ariel, and eventually, Ariel herself became angry at her husband. She went to a lawyer and started discussing divorce. Christina tried to mediate with her parents, but she didn’t have much time with a newborn baby.
Eventually, she and Derek accepted that their parents were separating for good, and Derek and Melissa moved Ariel permanently into their house. They went through pregnancy together, and eventually, four kids were born in that house.
It was loud and hectic, but Derek hired two nannies, and he loved the idea of so much family under one roof. Since his father was not going to step up for his triplet siblings, he would be there for them every step of the way. He loved every moment of being a parent and being an older brother to those babies.
Christina and Derek only talked to their dad sporadically. They realized that both parents were wrong in many ways, but their mother had just delivered three children at 60, and those babies were miracles.
During their last phone call, Derek told Neil. “Dad, once you see those babies, you’ll understand that family is all that matters.”
“So you’re taking her side?” Neil demanded to know, his voice dripping anger.
“It’s not about sides. It’s about doing the right thing. Mom and my siblings need us. You would change your mind if you just met them too,” Derek replied, exasperated and thinking his father was losing out on this experience.
A few months later, Ariel was pushing her three children on a special stroller through the park and Neil had been reading the paper on one of the benches when their eyes met, and he looked at the stroller. She couldn’t move. Their divorce was moving along, but it was not final yet.
Finally, Neil stood up and walked to her. “Hey,” he said, folding the paper in his hand and looking at her sincerely. “So, these are the kids?”
“Yes,” Ariel whispered, too emotional for words.
Neil knelt a bit and looked into the babies’ faces. “They’re beautiful, and they oddly look like Christina and Derek.”
I know! Isn’t that weird?” she responded, tears coming out of her eyes. But she was smiling at this pleasant exchange.
Neil said goodbye, and Ariel thought that was it. At least, their relationship could end cordially, she thought. But Neil started calling more and he began to send her money, and eventually, he came to Derek’s house to beg for forgiveness.
He wanted those kids. He wanted to be their father because he still loved Ariel dearly. She apologized, too, realizing she should’ve asked him before deciding on the IVF treatment.
“I didn’t treat you like a partner. I was selfish,” she stated, and Neil hugged her tightly.
They reconciled much to the delight of their children, but they still needed tons of help with the kids. Fortunately, Derek and Christina were happy to help despite having their own babies.
What can we learn from this story?
Never do anything behind your partner’s back. Ariel shouldn’t have gotten the procedure without her husband’s input, and she learned that the hard way.
You have to take responsibility for your actions at any age. Both Ariel and Neil wronged each other, but they took responsibility, apologized, and made things right.
Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.