September, 2014 – October, 2014
So we hit the one year mark… the point in time that society and doctors deem as “this couple will need assistance in getting pregnant.” We were both in denial that something was wrong with us, of course… And also both very scared about the “what if’s” we were thinking… What if something is wrong with his sperm? What if he has a low number of sperm? What if my uterus has something wrong? What if my fallopian tubes are blocked? What if we will never be able to conceive our own child? How will we handle that? Will we adopt? Would invetro be an option? If he’s the problem, what will this do to our marriage – will I forever resent him? If I’m the problem, will our marriage survive – will he forever resent me? Will we be strong enough to face whatever the outcome we receive is? Would I be going through this right now if I had fallen in love with and married someone else? … The questions before having any facts regarding our “plumbing” went on and on… they wouldn’t turn off. All speculation, and all out of our control… The anxiety of knowing something was wrong but not knowing what was starting to completely consume my thoughts. And many of these thoughts, I was ashamed to even have.
So we started the next step, the testing… which now seems like SO long ago…
After speaking with my gynecologist, she informed me that we would first check some things regarding me, and if all looked good there, my husband would need to do a semen analysis. (She told me that they couldn’t check my tubes or uterus until after his semen was analyzed and okay.) The nurse told me which day of my cycle I needed to go in (to get the most accurate results)… and I went in with my nerves sky high. The hormone and ovulation test was basically painless… they took my blood. It was over in 2 minutes. And then they said they would call with the results the next day. The waiting was excruciating… and more questions started to rise… Am I not ovulating? Are my hormones completely out of whack? Will there be pills to help me? How long will the pills take to work?
I missed the phone call the next day, but thankfully they left a voicemail. Great news! All hormone levels look great, I definitely ovulated… things look exactly as they should! My reaction while listening to that voicemail was HUGE relief… and then immediately after that deep breath, my mind went to “so it’s my husband, not me, that’s the problem”….
My husband is a pretty reserved person… unlike me… we compliment each other that way. But because of that, I knew this conversation was probably not going to go over very well, and I was nervous to tell him that he would need to have his semen analyzed. What wife wants to put that on her husband? But that night, that’s what I did. I told him that my blood came back just fine, yay!! right?? High five!?!?… No?…… He knew what that meant — the chances of him causing our hurt just sky rocketed… and I could see it written all over his face although he was trying to be happy for me.
(**WARNING: The next 3 paragraphs are pretty intimate, and some people, such as family members, may want to skip over it.**)
This is where it gets a little weird and awkward… you see, a semen analysis has a lot of moving parts (no pun intended 😉 ) — my gyno gave me a brown paper bag with 2 items in it – a brown small container and extremely specific instructions on how to get his semen to the lab – and the instructions went something like this: 1) Must refrain from ejaculation of any kind (intercourse or masturbation) for a minimum of 2 days, 48 hours, and a maximum of 7 days, 168 hours, before providing collection. (apparently after 7 days with no ‘release’, the sperm come out dead… who knew?!) 2) Do not use lotion, ointment, or saliva when providing collection. 3) If you live close to the lab, you can provide collection in the privacy of your home and drop off the collection at the lab within 30 minutes of ejaculation. Or, you can use a room at our lab. 4) When dropping off collection, be sure that you bring it in the brown paper bag, and that the container is tightly sealed. Keep warm. If cold outside, carry inside of your coat. (seriously?!) 5) You can drop off collection Monday – Friday anytime between 7:30 and 4:00.
Okay…. you get the point… pretty weird reading instructions like that… but that’s where we were at in the process. My husband was hesitant about this, which didn’t surprise me… but when he had not dropped his ‘collection’ off after a couple of weeks, I started getting frustrated with him and saying hurtful things like – Did he really want a baby as bad as me?… Why was he dragging his feet – it’s not like he’d have to experience pain… it’s pleasurable for him!!!… The doctor won’t do any more tests on me until they get his semen analysis, and MY upcoming tests (if I have any) will be painful… unlike THIS for him!!! What’s the hold-up??…
So, bless his heart, one morning as I was getting ready for work – I can picture this morning like it was yesterday – he was going to work a little late due to weather and I was going into work early because I had an early meeting at 7:30 a.m. It was 7 a.m. and he was laying in bed with our dog as I was in the bathroom getting ready… I took many deep breaths before opening my mouth, and reminded myself to try to respect his response to me, no matter what it might be. “Hey honey… since you’re leaving late this morning, maybe it would be a good time to drop off your semen? I’ll be out of here in less than 15 minutes… so you can take care of it and drop it off on your way to work??….” (I gotta say, it’s pretty weird wanting your husband masturbate, and actually bring it up as something he needs to do…. I never in a million years thought I’d be encouraging that before leaving for work – ha!… but God gives you obstacles that sometimes change your outlook on things, all sorts of things) Long pause…. no response…. until he finally said, “Okay. What do I have to do again? Where is that bag with the instructions?” VICTORY IS MINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OH my was I happy!!! And then immediately felt awkward being happy knowing that after I left my home, my husband would be pleasuring himself when I left… I mean, how should I say bye now knowing this? “Bye babe… have fun!!”???? … but really, pretty awkward… definitely a weird picture to have in your head driving to work…. haha! My husband called me that morning and I was like, “Oh geez, he’s changed his mind…” but he was at the desk dropping off his collection and needed our insurance number, as he forgot his. I was all like, “Wait.. you really did it? You’re really there at the lab? Did you get in there in less than 30 minutes?” – “yes yes yes….” “Thank youuuuuu” ….. and then we hung up the phone and in that instant when I knew the process of determining our issue was back in motion, MORE waiting began and more obsessing over the what-if….
We didn’t get a call about his results the next day, which was a Friday… what a looooong weekend, we definitely sulked, and we didn’t even have the results yet. I know in my mind, I was certain my husband was the problem… awful I know, but I was ovulating and my hormones were fine – not to mention that my sisters and mother had never had any issues what-so-ever, so it HAD to be him…. that’s what I was telling myself that weekend… We still didn’t get a call on Monday, so I called the lab on Tuesday of the following week and found out that they had sent the analysis to my gyno already and they were supposed to have called me. Okay, heart pounding, will they tell me the results, or will they need to call my husband because it’s his analysis… have they already called him and he just hasn’t told me yet because it’s bad news? ….. So I text my husband and no, he hasn’t gotten a call. Whew! Safe… for now… I call my gynecologist office and the front desk lady tells me that a nurse will call me back. She does, and I miss it. But thankfully, a notification for a voicemail pops up. I debate for about 5 seconds if I should wait to listen to it with my husband, and decide not to wait… because I’m controlling like that. What I hear on the other end of the phone makes my mouth drop and my eyes water… “Hi, this is X from X office. We did get the results of X’s semen analysis and I’m so sorry we didn’t get back to you sooner. Everything looks great! He had over 50 million sperm and we like to see 20 million or more, and his motility looks fine. So that’s good news! Please call us with any questions.” Wait, what??? He’s okay??? He has MORE than normal??? What the hell?!?!?!?! Wait, what??? After the initial shock wearing off (since I had expected a completely different result)… it turned into another HUGE feeling of relief, and I couldn’t WAIT to tell my husband… to reassure him that his swimmers are all good!!
But, now what?… The nurse didn’t leave a next step on my voicemail… and I’m still not pregnant.