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"We tried for a while. And it didn't work," Gerry said. "Then we were like, 'Well, screw it ... if it happens, it happens, and if it doesn't, it doesn't.' " That worked for them in the short term. Then Jennifer's sister-in-law became pregnant. Gerry and Jennifer's nephew, Wesley, was born in 2011.
"We had the opportunity to see our nephew, Wesley, be born and grow up," Gerry said. "It was so awesome. It was beautiful."
"And so," Jennifer said, "that longing comes back."
With that longing came the decision to seek medical help. In 2012, they went through the very expensive process of in vitro fertilization. Though doctors told them their odds of conceiving were terrible, even with medical intervention, they couldn't help but hope. After over a month of shots, appointments, and invasive treatments, they learned that the first round of IVF hadn't worked.
"We were devastated," Jennifer said. "We were depressed. And after a couple months of that, I was like, 'That's it. We're fine. We're not going to have kids.' "
They both threw themselves instead into what they love: film and stage directing for Gerry, acting for Jennifer. But the longing for children was always there, gnawing at them. Gerry, a diehard Cubs fan, fought back tears as he remembered one of those moments he'd had in Chicago.
"We were at Wrigley Field, watching the game," he said, "and I see this guy with this little girl, a daughter. She's no more than two, and she's got a little pink Cubs hat on. And I'm like, 'I want that.' "
Last summer, they took a car trip to South Dakota, where Jennifer's brother lives. They were driving home when they started talking again about IVF. By the time they got back to Little Rock, they'd decided to give it one last try. After weeks of treatments that included surgery for them both, they went in to have blood drawn for a pregnancy test, then spent five agonizing hours waiting on the results.
"I'll never forget, we were watching 'Back to the Future,' " Jennifer said. "Then the phone rang. And I was ready. I was ready. I was like, 'It didn't work. It's OK.' And then, she said, 'Jennifer?' "
"I'm standing next to her and she starts crying," Gerry said. "I was like, "WHAT!? WHAT!?" Turns out they got not one surprise, but two: fraternal twins. The staff at Arkansas Fertility and Gynecology Associates, they said, are their heroes.
"I honestly still can't believe it," Jennifer said. "Even at the last ultrasound, I was like: "Is that? Inside? Me?" And then the first time I threw up, I was like: 'Woo hoo! I threw up!' "
The years ahead are full of anxieties and challenges. Jennifer will be 40 by the time the twins are born, and Gerry will be 44. They don't even like to think about how old they'll be by the time the kids are out of high school, or college.
"I told her, I guarantee you, Jenny, we're going to be on the playground, and someone's gonna say, your grandkids are so great!" Gerry said with a laugh. "Not to her, because she looks so young, but to me, with the gray hair. ... It was one of my concerns, and I won't lie about that. But then you look at it, [and] you think, 'It gives me more incentive to stay healthy, to make sure I take care of myself, and make sure I eat right, and do the right things.' "
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