I m writing this story because I want people to know that even though our journey revolves around male factor infertility, WE, as husband and wife, dealt with my infertility. It affected both of us equally, and we both supported each other fully throughout the whole ordeal, as we will continue to support each other through the rest of our lives.
They say everyone must go through trials and tribulations in their lives, but not many can understand the number of feelings and emotions that run through your body and mind when a doctor tells you, “you’re infertile.” I’d always seen stories about couples who had successfully gone through infertility, and almost 99% of the time it was due to the female having problems. It almost seemed improbable to have the guy causing all the fuss, especially me!
I’ve always wanted children of my own, and this kind of situation was never something I’d thought I would have to confront. I married Jessi in the summer of 2009, but we were already certain a family is what we wanted. Jessi had even stopped birth control before we said “I Do” because we knew that if fate decided we were going to be parents, we were more than ready.
Trying every technique in the book
We started trying and for 15 months we did not have the best of luck. We exhausted every method in the book; all the way from tracking her Basal Body Temperature every morning at the same time before her feet touched the floor, to using conception tools such as Preseed Lubricant, Instead Cups, and having the “Baby-maker” pillow to help elevate her hips! And to those thinking a casual headstand helps, trust us, it’s not pretty, and she’s a gymnast!
Finally frustrated enough, we sought out the professional assistance of Jessi’s OB/GYN to try to find out what, if anything, we were doing wrong. Jessi was instructed to go and have an HSG test to see if her tubes were blocked, or if there were any uterine abnormalities that were causing an issue. He also gave us the forms for me to get a semen analysis. We called around to try and make appointments for both tests and ended up making them for the same day; hers in the morning, and mine in the afternoon.
A week later, while I was at work, Jessi went to hear the results. Needless to say, I was a nervous wreck all day. Then the phone call came through. This was it. I was anticipating what I was going to hear. Everything was fine? We were ok? Maybe we were just off by a few days? Maybe something else? When I finally heard her voice, Jessi didn’t sound like all was well. In fact, there was sadness in her voice to say, “I need to come in and talk to you.” What could it be? Once again, never did I think it was me; naïve I know.
Blindsided by the results
The semen analysis had come back with life-changing results. My sperm had a low morphology rate, a low motility rate, and a very low healthy count; in other words, it was genetic, and there was literally a 1% chance of working the old-fashioned way.
It was me, are you kidding?
It seriously felt like the ground had fallen out from underneath me, that the entire world stopped spinning, and emotion overwhelmed me. I lost it. I broke into tears as I wondered, “Now what.” We never thought this was something that could happen to us as she was 22 and I was 24. We were both healthy young adults that literally only “let loose” once a week and went out to the bar for a couple of drinks.
What do people do in this situation? Do they adopt, or do they just give up? In my mind, the latter was top of the list. I thought that nothing else could be done and there was no help out there.
One of the hardest parts of this whole thing had to be that when I looked to some of my friends for support, they passed it off as “Tough luck, bro,” “That sucks, what are you doing this weekend?” “You didn’t really want kids anyway, did you?” To be honest, all of that combined with me being the issue did make me feel less of a man. Plus, it seemed like everyone else around us was getting pregnant without any kind of complication, some without a plan or want in the world.
Jessi’s OB referred to us Shady Grove Fertility in Frederick, MD where they told us to wait three weeks, and have another semen analysis done, just to be 100% positive the results weren’t skewed. They weren’t.
“Help us have a baby”
We had our first consultation with Dr. O’Brien in October of 2010. Neither of us knew what to expect. Talk about awkward and embarrassing, I mean how do you ask a complete stranger, “Help us have a baby?” Thankfully, doing just that was the best thing we ever did. Dr. O’Brien was very professional, but also very understanding that we were very confused and unsure of what was being said. She explained everything in a way that we could comprehend and put everything on the table to show us exactly what options we had to consider.
She explained to us that IVF was one of the best options for us. She told us that after reviewing our evaluation and considering our age, we had about a 66% chance of success with IVF, 10% chance of success with IUI, and less than a 1% chance of trying naturally. We left feeling better than we did when we arrived, and with a lot to think about. After more tears were shed we knew what we had to do. IVF was the ONLY option, and, at this point, we were willing to try anything to be parents.
We started the process almost immediately. I commend Jessi every day for what she did for our family. I mean, here it was, my fault that she couldn’t get pregnant and she had to go through numerous blood work appointments, 30-odd injections, egg retrieval, and finally embryo transfer. She had 21 eggs retrieved and 13 fertilized. We decided to transfer two embryos to help increase our chances of pregnancy. We have explained the risk of transferring two and having twins, but the way we looked at it was then we would have two miracles.
While our nurse told us about waiting two weeks before we would come back and having our pregnancy blood test, the suspense was killing us. Thanksgiving night Jessi couldn’t wait any longer. She went out and bought a home pregnancy test. When we saw that positive line replace the test line we broke into tears once again, but this time they were tears of joy.
We thank Shady Grove Fertility every day for this miracle of life, or rather, lives. We’re expecting twins this summer, and couldn’t be happier. There is no way that we would be here if it weren’t for the amazing people working for Shady Grove Fertility. We are so grateful and hope aspiring parents who have run out of hope can find their miracle too with the help of Shady Grove Fertility.