The dreaded word in the world of infertility–“tests.” At first, one might think “OK, I will get the test, rule out any problems, & we can move on,” or, “OK, we might find a minor issue, fix it, and voila, PREGGO”! Not always the case.
Thinking back to 2010, after 2 years being off the pill, I remember my OB explaining to me that protocol was to do a work-up on the woman before looking at the man for any potential problems. Seemed simple enough. So I got some diagnostic blood work done- FSH, TSh, CBC, etc. (most might sound like jargon if not a fertility specialist). We waited for the results & the phone call came, “Everything looks normal,” she stated. “Maybe, we should take a look at your husband now,” followed. Taking a look at my husband meant him giving a sperm sample. She made it sound so easy. Yea right! What man wants to willingly give his sperm to a doctor to be analyzed? Not mine for sure. I recall those first few sperm counts turning into battles between us. Who did I think I was? Of course, nothing could be wrong with him! Ladies reading this, please take note: No man thinks anything is wrong with him, let alone with his “soldiers”!
Well, eventually my husband consented because after all, he wanted a baby too. Oh, and another note: The sperm has to be dropped off within 30 minutes or it’s not a valid analysis. Hence, it is mad rush to get it there once he’s all finished. Then, when you take it in, trying to be discrete with the cup in a brown paper baggie, the receptionist is never discrete back. She will loudly say something, trust me. And you think that everyone in the room knows exactly what’s in that baggie too. Don’t worry, the good part about all of this is that after a few counts, your husband won’t mind that he has to do it, and likewise you won’t care even enough to hide it in a baggie.
If you ask me, generally it takes too long to get a count back. Usually a week or so, depending on how high up the rank you are. At an OB, you will be lucky to hear the results within 2 weeks, a fertility specialist 1 week, and if you are on their VIP list, maybe 3 days. Since at this time we were low on the totem pole so to speak, it took a solid 2 weeks for that phone call. TORTURE. But what we heard next was worse…the count came back extremely low. I can still hear the words, “The chance of you two conceiving naturally is about 1%. I think it’s time we refer you to a Reproductive Endocrinologist” (fancy lingo for RE, or fertility doctor!).
The next thing that came into my mind wasn’t even about having a baby or how devastated I felt, it was about my husband. How could I ever tell him this? How could I be the one to steal his manhood from him? I didn’t tell him that day, because I couldn’t. But the next day I did. He actually took it pretty well and after a discussion, we convinced ourselves that it was probably just a fluke & the next one would surely be better (notice the “nexts” are already starting..a sickness in the world of infertility).
In early 2011, we met with the fertility specialist. We were referred to this guy because, and I quote, “he was the best around & could get anyone pregnant.” You get shuffled around and meet the staff, which includes the surgical coordinator, the financial coordinator, the medical assistant, the RN, the receptionist, and the sonographer (I am probably forgetting someone). Finally, you will meet the doctor you came to see. FYI: Most fertility clinics in Florida have several doctors at a practice, along with several locations. You will travel and you will most likely see various doctors (unless you start speaking up, that will come in a later post).
Anyways, this first meeting with the doctor is a whole lot of talking, with a whole lot of jargon. You will NOT understand it. But again, there is a bright side! Just think, one day you will know all of these processes and terms he described so well that you, yourself, could be the specialist without any schooling. The one thing I actually do remember amidst all the jargon was that horrible percentage thrown out at us again of “1%.” UGH. Additionally, he informed me that all of those tests that I did that came back normal didn’t count anymore. They needed to do them again at their practice to be sure. Insurance did cover these tests since they were considered “diagnostic.” Another silver lining…I guess.
We did as we were told. He repeated the count & I my tests. My tests came back normal again, heck I even had a good number of follicles each month! The doctor called with his results about a week later. It wasn’t a fluke like we prayed. The extremely low number had just gotten lower. That’s when he requested to see us again to decide on how we would like to proceed. I cried myself to sleep that night.