A little over a year ago, my wife* and I made a momentous decision: it was time for her to stop taking birth control. She had been talking about wanting to have a baby for some time before that, and for most of that time I had been on the same page. It had only been a matter of waiting until we felt like the timing was right. Last summer, we decided it was time.
* Hereinafter referred to as Ms. Swimmin, since she emphatically insists she’s not ready to be Mrs. anything yet, and I’m trying to keep this fairly anonymous.
Her second cycle off the pill, her period was a week late. During that week, we wondered if it had just happened for us right away. We got a little carried away, and started assuming that it probably had. We were both certain that she was going to pee on a stick, it was going to come back positive. She did; it didn’t.
And, sadly, in that entire year since that time, that’s the closest we’ve come to achieving our goal of becoming parents.
Over the course of the year, we kept telling ourselves to relax, let it be, it’ll happen. We told ourselves not to get excited, not to get anxious, not to freak out about it. And at varying times over the course of the year, we both failed to relax, we both got excited, we both got anxious, and totally failed not to freak out about it. Back around Christmas, we got tired of all the hints her mother was dropping, thinking she was being funny or thinking she was being subtle or…well, I don’t really know what she was thinking. But we were tired of it, so we told her we were trying and hadn’t had any luck so far. We have not, as of yet, told my parents anything other than that we’re planning on having children “someday.”
As this summer slipped by and we continued having no luck, we realized that the point at which we were going to have to turn this into a medical process in some fashion was fast approaching. We’d been hoping to avoid doctors as much as possible through the whole thing, my wife having convinced me that a midwife and a home birth were a viable and in many ways even preferable alternative to the hospital epidural/c-section/tee time churn-’em-out baby factory. And now we found ourselves faced with the prospect of even getting pregnant to begin with being a medical process.
Ms. Swimmin made an appointment with a reproductive endocrinologist, and off we went. I mostly sat there listening while Ms. Swimmin and the doctor discussed a variety of things, and then my part came up. The start of the whole gettin’-people-pregnant-thru-modern-medicine process: a semen analysis.
I was given a sample cup, a set of instructions and sent on my way. I was relieved, first of all, that I wasn’t expected to go into a closet at the office with the cup and a pile of grotty old porno mags. Every bad sitcom pregnancy plot swam through my head when I thought of that, and I was glad I was given the opportunity to, um, produce a sample in the privacy of my own home.
On Monday, produce the sample I did, dutifully following all the instructions and getting it to the lab post-haste.
Yesterday, I got the call: sperm count is lower than average, sperm motility is 0. None whatsoever. They’re there, just not as many as one might hope and they just ain’t a-swimmin’.
This is a crushing blow. If this result holds up, it means that there are only two options as far as having a kid to whom I am genetically related. The first is to get my brother to provide donor sperm – and this is, of course, presuming he’s got good swimmers himself – and my immediate visceral reaction to this is to be completely squicked out by it. Doesn’t mean I’m not going to consider it if it comes to that…but right now, the idea seems too disgusting for me even to think about it for very long without wanting to barf.
The second option, given that I am producing sperm, would be in vitro fertilization. Which is massively expensive and also puts my wife through an awful lot. And I just don’t know if we’re going to be willing or able to go through with such a thing.
That’s all a ways off for the moment. Right now, the first step is a second semen analysis. Maybe that first one was a fluke, some sort of mishap with the sample. I don’t know, though I must admit my hopes are not high.
After that…well, we’ll see where things go. C’est la vie.