How to Be a Dad

How to Be a Dad

IOUD, Part One

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I said, “I want to go beat things and run fast.”

She said, “I just want to cry and go to sleep.”

Growing up without a firm handle on my emotions was tough. I couldn’t put a saddle on them and ride them until they tired out. I didn’t know how to burn them into paper and let them bleed for me. And I certainly didn’t learn to paint with them, on the canvas of a stage or in front of a camera, until much later.

But, I’ve been confronting something for the past few weeks now and I don’t know where to put it.

I guess it should go here.


Did I mention it was a bagifidaizillion degrees in Texas?

We packed our bags and grabbed our Finn, and left for 1000Β°-degree rural Texas for a few days to visit family. We killed two scorpions the first night, and subsequently captured a jumping spider that was surely named for the effect it has on its prey. And human captors.

Avara lay next to me, on her side as always, trying to sleep. The hour was late. Since our son’s birth, sleep hadn’t exactly been something we were good at anymore. We longed for it but knew it would never greet us again the way it did when we were young.

Avara sat up in bed and walked to the bathroom. I’d gotten used to pretending that if I laid still enough, sleep might come for me. But it never did. She returned to our blow-up mattress and spoke softly, as friends do and as we’d always, talking about anything, but this time she told me she felt some cramping and pain in her abdomen. It was undeniably ambiguous.

We let it go.

But a couple nights later, at the witching hour, the sweat on Avara’s brow dictated getting her to a hospital. She wasn’t one of those soft characters when it came to pain. She muscled through it. She ignored it like a T-Rex dealt with a gnat. Hell, she pushed our son out in four hours with no help.

Her father drove her, as only a father can and would, to the local emergency room, which wasn’t saying much being in a town of less than 4,000, and I stayed with Finn. So began our text discourse for the next four hours…

She started with needles, first and foremost, then scans and sonograms over her abdomen to make sure her IUD didn’t puncture the wall of her uterus or something horrific like that. Her texts were short, almost curt. It was almost 2am by this point, so the fact that she was awake meant to me she was either in a ton of pain or scared enough to forget about it. But, in the next moment, she grabbed me through the phone like my collar was bunched in her fists.

“Positive pregnancy test. Whoa.”

The whole world could go down in a sea of text messages.

They weren’t equipped to assess anything transvaginally. God, I hope that’s the last time I use that word for a while because unless I’m quoting ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ or telling someone to televaginally send me some pizza, I don’t want to hear that word again for a long while. They couldn’t even take out the IUD if they had to.

I didn’t know what to say. Didn’t she have an IUD, which, for those of us who are less familiar, is something with a 99.9% effectiveness rating for preventing pregnancy? I should’ve been there with her. I knew her hands were shaking just typing those words to me. Instead, I was busy making sure Finn didn’t fall out of the non-toddler-proofed air-bed for the 87th time.

Avara and her dad went to a second hospital, and got a more decisive response. All I really cared about was her well-being and the fact that she wasn’t going to bleed out or, worse, have her vagina accidentally sown up by someone who was too tired or too backwoods to care.

But the opposite was true.

They worked through things compassionately, systematically checking everything they could. Doctors told her some cysts had burst, near her ovaries — the most likely cause of the pain, but it could be related to the, wait for it, pregnancy. Since we were on a trip, it made more sense to get back to Los Angeles as fast as possible. They couldn’t be sure of much else. The blood tests were going to be the tell-tale anchor upon which decisions would be made and directions charted.

But no test, or prodding could resolve the situation we found ourselves in. Not that night, at least. I looked at my son and half-dreamed all the insane experiences my parents had gone through while they watched me sleep soundly, breathing heavy in my own world.

She either had: an ectopic pregnancy, a miscarriage or a miracle zygote growing inside her despite the IUD’s best defenses.

Pardon me if I don’t continue for the moment. I want to tell this story but I refuse to let my emotions cloud the play-by-play. Please hold.

Or, just let it go.

For PART TWO, Click Here.


91 Responses to “IOUD, Part One”

  1. Kathleen says:

    Hugs to all of you tonight.

  2. An Idle Dad says:


    Is this right now, or in the past?

  3. Tina Reher says:

    If there is such a thing as a cyberhug Im sending it to you guys.

    Dealing with medical drama – not even the kind that is on tv – is NEVER awesome. You are all in my thoughts.

  4. Krystal says:

    I am so incredibly sorry Charlie. I hope she Is doing well now, and things are going to work out as they should. This breaks my heart. She has a great support system in you, and your relationship is so strong. Good luck, im thinking of you guys. Xoxo

  5. Jason Feffer says:

    Not sure where you stand with God, spirituality and all that, so I apologize if this in any way makes you feel uncomfortable, but I am praying this morning for you and your family.

    It’s got to be weird when random people act like they know you, but I have really appreciated your words on this blog. I’ll be praying that you have the strength to face the second half of this story in a way that is honest and honoring to Avara and Finn.

    • Elizabeth says:

      My thoughts are like above. I am so sorry you all are going through this. Hoping for the best and saying a prayer for your family.

    • Ruth says:

      Ditto. Couldn’t have said it better, Jason.

    • charlie says:

      Jason, I am a very spiritual person.

      I will take any and all positive, life-affirming wishes and prayers and even the laughter you have with your son.

      I appreciate your kind thoughts, sir. It’s both strange and not strange in the least that people identify with each other through the written word. Strange because we don’t know each other. Not strange because we all know what it is to live. Most of us.

  6. Laurie says:

    OMG, I can’t believe this is happening, I am so sorry. I hope Avara is ok..I am at the edge of my seat for the rest of this story, I am so scared, considering I have an IUD as well…Please Please let everything with her be ok.

  7. Luna says:

    I wish you all the best!!
    Stick to hope, it’s worth it.

    I have been so often in hospitals/with doctors and received so many bad news. But I am here. And I am fine πŸ™‚ And I’m glad I did not loose hope.

    So I wish for you that everything will turn out alright with all of you!!

  8. Elizabeth says:

    I am taken aback right now…in reading this I wish I could some how send myself through space to both of you and just be there for you both for whatever you guys need. Lots of hugs.

    I am here if you need me and like I said for whatever – babysitting, hot meal, sing you all to sleep (my voice isn’t that bad)

    Positive thoughts in abundance coming your way!!!

  9. Jennifer says:

    Jeez, the comments make it sound like it’s a lost cause… One of our close friends got pregnant while having an IUD, and everything turned out just fine, beautiful baby girl. Stay positive!

    (assuming you don’t know what’s up yet…)

  10. Lisa says:

    My 31-year-old sister is the result of an IUD failure. Don’t give up yet!

  11. (((Positive Vibes)))

    Thank you for sharing such a ‘challenging’ experience with us all.

  12. Danielle says:

    Big big hugs to the both of you! We will all be thinking of you and keeping you in our thoughts and prayers during this hard time.

  13. OrtoKore says:

    Go Charlie! – Stay positive, that’s as far as I can go.

  14. thehippydad says:

    mad hugs to both of you. nothing scarier than these moments, hope all is well. after writing my blog entry last night, i wake up today to read this, must be sharing scary moments week..prayers will be sent your way.

  15. Rojir says:

    Having been thru this with our first positive pregnancy, I have to say it was really tough on me, and obviously much tougher on my wife.

    And the situation didn’t get better for us after they told us that she had miscarried the child…she ended up having to have a D&C, and that was just a horrible experience for both of us. I did everything I could to be strong for her, but after she went to bed, I sat up, in shock, crying over it.

    But the IUD thing, that’s horrible. The odds of what’s occurring seem so minute, I feel terrible that you and Avara had to go thru this.

  16. So sorry that you’re dealing with this right now. I hope you see all of the support you have here and that it is some small form of comfort to you. You guys are in my thoughts and prayers.

  17. Dawn says:

    You already know your words have power to make us laugh with you when we need it (in the irreverent ways that kindred spirits recognize!). So sobering up and having a serious moment once in a while when life gets real is probably good for all of us too. Thanks for entrusting us with your story. Regardless of where this story has already led you, add my prayers and cockeyed optimism to the journey.

  18. Melinda says:

    Hi. This scene is all too familiar. My (now 2 1/2) year old daughter is the result of a failed IUD. Not knowing where you’re at in the process right now, I don’t want to say much more. It’s a difficult thing for sure, and I would love to help if I can.

  19. emily says:

    The text message above was dated over a month ago. Is everything okay at this point??

  20. Charlie. DUDE. That is heavy. Hoping & praying for all the best. This is freaking my freak too because I also have an IUD & often worry about ending up on the show, “I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant.” Sending love to you & Avara & Finn as you go through this crazy time & feel all the feelings.

  21. Amy says:

    Oh my goodness. I had no idea this was going on. Prayers and thoughts to both of you. ((hugs))

  22. Nick says:

    I’m not saying that any of this is anyone’s fault, but you may want to look into Natural Family Planning. It is a much safer and healthier solution for avoiding pregnancy.

    • Anwen says:

      You don’t know people’s situation, and right now, family planning advice is the last thing they need.

      • Ellyn says:

        wow. Lol, obviously you don’t know what NPF is otherwise you’d have agreed. Nick brought it up because it’s an alternative to birth control which I’m pretty sure after something happens whatever it is that comes to pass, Avara will most likely do what any woman will do after having this happen and that’s fling the IUD as far away from her body as possible. Nick, in the usual male fashion offered up a solution to her future problem. Mad props on you bro, for scolding someone who was trying to be helpful.

        • charlie says:

          I just didn’t care for the implication at a tender time. If he’d offered it at any other time, I might’ve been more cordial. I’m a bit of a raw nerve at the moment, so pardon me if I don’t withhold myself from time to time. I have no problem with his religious beliefs or the belief in the body’s natural processes, but he made an implication without saying. It’s like someone saying, “Nothing personal, but…”

          • I cringed a bit when I read the NFP comment as well. I will say,that I am glad you were at least in the same town when this happened. I know being in NYC at the time would have been so difficult. Cling to each other, and know there are tons of us out here rooting for your family.

        • Anwen says:

          I’m Catholic. Of course I know what NFP is. I’m didn’t say anything for or against it, just that people have the right to choose their own methods of birth control. My point is that right now looking forward is needed, as what’s done is done. Charlie and Avara need our support.

    • charlie says:

      Thanks for implicating God here. Or my own negligence. I know you were trying to be helpful.

      • Nick says:

        Charlie … sorry man. I really wasn’t trying to bring God into it or make anyone feel guilty. There are many atheists who use NFP too. When I heard about the damage caused by the IUD, I just wanted to make sure you knew that there was something out there that would help you to monitor her health and keep something like this from happening again. Maybe I should have assumed that you knew about it already, but in my experience, I have found that there are still many people who don’t know what NFP is or how it works. I haven’t read the other parts of your story yet. I hope you found out what was wrong and that she was able to recover.

        • charlie says:

          Hey Nick,

          I’m a bit impulsive at the moment so bear with me. I appreciate your desire to be helpful. I’ve heard many sad stories now about IUDs and still many about people who’ve never had a problem.

          I’ll admit that I’m not familiar with NFP specifically but I am familiar with versions of it, with and without secular leanings. But more to the point, there are a multitude of factors contributing to our current situation. Not using NFP is not the reason we’ve arrived here.

          I have also met many people, now, who have said that NFP-style birth control did not work for them. But I will not be going to websites and telling those people to use IUDs or birth control.

          My apologies for throwing the kitchen sink.

          • Nick says:

            No problem. I’m sure that throughout this episode you’ve wanted to throw more than the kitchen sink. Maybe a car. Or me. Against a wall. I understand. I didn’t really come here to be the “NFP apologist.” I came here b/c I subscribe to your FB updates and I didn’t know what “IUOD” meant πŸ™‚ When I read your article I felt bad about what had happened and I wished that you could have what my wife and I have. But, I realize now that when people reach out as you have done, they’re not really seeking advice. They just want to make sense of their feelings, and they want to know that they’re not in it alone. So, yea, my timing was bad and I probably chose my words poorly. I guess the road to hell really is paved with good intentions.

  23. Kit says:

    I’m so sorry Charlie. I will pray for all of you during this difficult time.

  24. amadea says:

    *bear hugs*

  25. twobusy says:

    Oh, my.

    Not quite sure what to say, so I’ll just sit here and wait quietly, until you’re ready to share more.

  26. James says:

    I’m touched you’d share this with us, and I hope it helps to do so. I also hope you and the Mrs can laugh about this later. Give Finn a big cuddle, he’s probably aware something’s not right but not sure what. Tell her to get well, and I’m sure we’re all thinking of her.

  27. When you start on your journey learning How to be a Dad, you see the bazaar, funny, stressed and unexplainable side of life. But you never really know where it will take you and no one can explain how your heart and soul get so tangled up with the family you create.
    My heart goes out to you and Avara.
    It is strange how this internet world on one hand makes interactions with other impersonal but on the other make perfect strangers ache for each other. You and your family are in my prayers and wrapped in love.

  28. Rachel says:


  29. Hope all turns out well Charlie.

  30. Liza says:

    Well, those texts are over a month ago, so I hope for you guys that there’s been a positive (no pun intended, seriously) outcome. Wishing the best for you guys.

  31. FirstTimeMom #Jamaica says:

    I’m assuming that since you are just now able to write about this, it means that she’s doing much better and the second part to this story will more likely read: she’s pregnant and doing fine! at least that’s what i’d love to hear…stay strong for her, Finn and urself too.

  32. Keri says:

    My heart hurts for the brutal roller coaster. Always sending my love. XO

  33. Mr Lady says:

    Oh man, I’m so sorry for you all. The if’s are the hardest places to be.

  34. Neil says:

    Sending healing things to all. Take care of her. And yourself.

  35. Wow, I can’t imagine the anxiety caused by the uncertainty of the situation.

  36. Well, I hope congratulations are in order. Regardless, thinking of you and your awesome, lovely wife.

  37. Sarah says:

    My thoughts are with you and your family.

  38. Babe_Chilla says:

    Your post says “a couple of weeks” so I am going on the assumption (and hope?) here that you’ve had some form of answers since this all went down.

    I’ve got nothing much other than to say that I hope Avara is feeling well and that whatever the outcome has been, you’ve been able to deal with it in the best possible way for all 3 of you. I hope nothing has happened that is permanent and negative, and that no matter what, you are all doing better.

    Hang in there. You know where we all are if you need us. Thanks for sharing something so personal.

  39. Gale says:

    I can’t imagine…or actually, I can, and know I wouldn’t want to be going through what you are right now. Hope you don’t mind if a random stranger prays for you and your wife right now.

  40. Yolanda says:

    I just want to hug you guys now. Wishing your family the best.

  41. Kandys says:

    I actually have a couple of friends that have had scares with IUD’s. I’m sorry y’all are going through this((hugs))!

  42. Lots of love to you guys.

  43. Ralok says:

    I hope things turn out okay . . .

    I genuinly do

  44. Sarah Brazzale says:

    Good luck to you both. I’ll be thinking of your family. I actually have an IUD as well and I may be pregnant. Waiting for result of my test to come back from the lab, but i’m get a home test tomorrow. Please, please keep us updated and give Avara my best wishes.

  45. Louise says:

    Sending love to you and your wife and son. Praying for you in this time.

  46. Amanda says:

    I do hope everything is ok!! This is the same reason I am contemplating taking my iud out, it makes me so nervous. Thinking of your family.

  47. whoa is right. I hope you guys are ok and sending love to all of you.

  48. Mrs S says:

    All I can say is I’m thinking of both of you.

  49. Kathy V. says:

    Wow. I hope things are okay. Sending lots and lots of good vibes your way.

  50. Rachael says:

    Well wishes to you, your wife, and your family right now. Last weekend I met a pediatric nurse who is 8 months pregnant and got pregnant while she was using an IUD. Once she discovered she was pregnant with this meant to be baby, she began hearing stories about other people this had happened to. She told me that she now tries to tell her story every chance she gets.

    I hope that whatever the outcome, you can find a silver lining. <3

  51. Judging from how this post opened, I’m guessing whichever of those options it turned out to be was not exactly a welcome one. Or at least is taking a lot to process and accept. Hugs, stranger-from-the-internet-whom-I-kinda-sorta-feel-like-I-know. Will be anxiously awaiting the next part of this story.

  52. Charlie – my hearts breaks for you & Avara. No matter how all this turns out, you won’t forget the sleepless nights, helpless feelings, or panic bubble welling up inside. And that’s never an easy place to be – no matter what the news is.

    Everyone’s offered hugs and care – and I offer that as well…and what I hope will make you smile…you obviously got some seriously focused swimmers, my friend.

    Know your family is cared for, loved, and prayed over.

  53. Catherine says:

    I’m sending love to all of you. It’s all we can do, and it feels so inadequate, but please know we all TRULY care for you and your family. No one ever expects challenges like this, but knowing you’re not alone sometimes lessens the sense of unreality it elicits. Give our love to Avara..and wrap yourself in it too.

  54. Lacey S says:

    My thoughts are with you, and I hope you find in within yourself soon to share the rest of the story with us. Sorry for your pain πŸ™

    As someone who did without birth control ONCE and got pregnant (and, Nick, not even counting the days worked that time – I should have been safe…), one of my biggest fears now is that my hubby’s super-sperm and my very determined egg will find a way around the IUD. I’m hoping for the best for you and Avara, right now and in the future.

    • Nick says:

      Well, there is much more to NFP than “counting days,” but here is probably not the place to get into a big explanation of it.

  55. cobylyn says:

    I SO hope Avara is okay, keep us posted when you can. My thoughts are with you and your wonderful family. xo

  56. Nida says:

    I feel compelled to share my IUD experience with you Charlie. I got pregnant while using an IUD. When I first saw the positive pregnancy test a wave of emotions came as it did w/my first pregnancy. But then the “Oh yeah…I have an IUD in there.” Numerous blood tests, ultrsounds…they could not find the embroyo, and oddly enough my IUD. At least that’s what they kept telling me. My pregnancy hormone (which is to double each day) was not. They told me I had a Missed Miscarriage. Never heard of it. It is when your pregnancy miscarried but your body does not recognize it has. They continued testing me however. Every other day blood tests. Finally after 3 weeks they told me my IUD was located. It had fallen out and had grown into my uterine wall. They were afraid of taking it out bc it could damage the embryo/fetus (sorry I can’t recall what it was called at that many weeks). At 13 weeks pregnant they cut into my uterine wall and removed the IUD. They told me bc of the procedure there maybe damage to the embryo/fetus and that I had to be “prepared”. I think in other words, be prepared to have a disabled child should I continue with the pregnancy. Throughout the pregnancy I continued to have countless ultrasounds, and blood tests. My son was born beautiful, extremely health at 9 lbs 7 oz. I always say he fought for his life…and he’s been fighting since (stubborn child!!!). He is my miracle baby πŸ™‚ Best two you both. I hope that anyone that reads your experience and reads mine that getting pregnant with IUD can have a good out come. I wish the best for you and your family. I love your website, and it saddens me to read of this. Hugs

  57. Ai says:

    I really hope Avera is ok. my prayers are with your family Charlie!!

  58. Catherine says:

    Wow…lots going on there. I trust all is well!

    Next post: the story of how you two met! =D

    Or, did I miss that one??

  59. Catherine says:

    I just want to add to my comment: you guys are a beautiful family that most of us don’t know personally but and I’d love to hold the highest of thoughts and vibes for all of you so if you have any superawesomegalactic stories of how you and Avara met I’m sure the swell from our hearts will be the best we can offer you at this time. Of course, if and when you have the time to write considering everything that is happening at the moment. Thanks for entertaining and inspiring us the way you guys always do – and you do it so well. Much peace.

  60. Christine says:

    Congratulations!! Life is about to get a little bumpier, but it’s still a vastly improved journey! πŸ™‚

  61. Evonne says:

    Can only imagine what you’re going through right now…my thoughts and prayers are with you.

  62. Celine says:

    My prayers are with both you, Charlie. I am also sending love to all of you. God will help you to navigate this difficult moment, don’t worry.

  63. Betsy says:

    Hoping for strength for both of you. And answers. And rest. And the power of Zeus to strike the guy who suggested natural family planning right now.

  64. tommy riles says:

    hang in there, brother…

  65. Zchamu says:

    Awful spot to be in. Thinking of all of you. Xo

  66. Thinking of you, Charlie. hugs.

  67. Andi says:

    My thoughts are with you and your family Charlie.

  68. Kelly says:

    What a difficult situation, and worse that it happened so far from home. I’m thinking about you all, and no matter the outcome know that everyone is thinking of you all. I hope that offers some form of comfort.

  69. Haley says:

    Prayers and goodness for both of you. I have had several personal experiences with IUD’s myself that did not end so well and I feel for you both.

  70. Brad Lawless says:

    Sending positive thoughts to you both. Wish I could do more but just know you have a whole community of people here ready to support you in whatever way we can.

  71. Caryn B says:

    Thinking about all of you and hoping everything is ok with Avara…having had multiple pregnancy scares with both of our kids, I can relate to the stress and fear…praying for the best…

  72. JeninCanada says:

    Sorry for the late response; *hugs* to you all if wanted/needed. I had an IUD fail on me when my son was a year and a half old. It was a scary time for all the reasons you’ve mentioned above; ectopic pregnancy, regular, unplanned/unwanted pregnancy, potential damage to my body, etc. My friends and I have started calling IUDs IUDidn’ts. Will be thinking of you.

  73. Oh man – I am SO sorry you guys have had to go through this! How brutal on both of you!!! HUGS!!!!

  74. Jana says:

    Oh, Charlie. I’m so sorry. This is heartbreaking. Sending love and prayers to all of you.

  75. Seattledad says:

    That sounds very scary. I hope everything works out for you both.

  76. Louise says:

    I know there’s a lot of comments, and i don’t know if you’ll get to read this, but i want to offer my deepest best wishes. Your story hit me right in the heart. It it so hard to gain a life and then lose it, no matter how short the interval between the two events.

    Thinking of you and Avara, and hugs to Finn.

  77. Jessica says:

    I just read this post, almost in disbelief. This situation is so eerily similar to mine 3 weeks ago. I’m not here yet and still caught in the barage of testing. But thanks for giving me hope that some day my husband and I will be able to let all of this go: the anger, disbelief, sadness, jealousy, etc. Our son has saved us, as I’m sure Finn helped you. Good luck to you and your wife. Let the future for all of us be a healing and happy one.

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