And the walls come tumbling down

The wife and I are sitting in the waiting room at the Urologist’s office holding each others hand. I can tell she is nervous, but I’m a swimming cocktail of emotion. Hopeful the doctor found something to fix my condition. Worried about how some of those fixes might occur. (The antique tools around the waiting room are not helping. And I plan ahead with a response to ask the wife for some privacy if any further examinations are required.)  Scared the problem can’t be fixed. Grateful for the beautiful wife by my side. Angry at the picture of 3 handsome boys of the Urologist’s reminding me I’m broken. Sitting there trying to be strong for my wife for whatever news awaits us, the assistant calls my name and directs us into an examination room.

This doctor is very efficient and quickly enters the room before the emotional cocktail starts churning again. Unfortunately the arrangement of the seating doesn’t allow for me to hold my wife’s hand, as I am desperately wanting to do so at the moment.

“Hello Mr and Mrs. Jones (not our real name). I take it you’ve finished the tests I requested, so lets take a look at the results shall we.” as he flips open the folder to the first test result. “Well you sure are consistent. The semen analysis is exactly the same.” I feel a slight breeze from the paper as he turns to the next report. “The blood work I ordered to check your FSM and LH levels are higher than normal. The brain produces FSM and LH to tell the testicles to produce testosterone. The more testosterone in the testes increases sperm production. This tells me the brain is getting the signal that there is a production issue and is sending the right signals to try to correct it.” Realizing I’ve been holding my breath, I breath in slow and deep as he reads the final report. Stealing a glance at my wife, I notice her eyes are fixed on the doctor and her hands nervously clutched in her lap…”The only issue the ultrasound discovered is small enlargement in one of the veins. An enlarged vein in the testicles can cause the temperature to increase, and therefore decrease sperm production. However, this is a very small enlargement and I do not think surgery would produce any benefit to your condition. This is a very unusual case. Patients coming to me for fertility reasons either have none at all, or a low sperm count, but I haven’t seen someone having only a few. The other tests checking for infection, STD’s, cancer, etc., all came back negative. I’m sorry Mr. Jones but there is nothing I can do surgically or chemically to help you . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . refer you to a fertility specialist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .I wish you both the best  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . very sorry I’m unable to help you.”

“. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .”, my wife asks as her eyes begin to fill.

” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .”, the doctor responds with genuine sympathy.

Staring at a void of nothingness, I instinctively thank the doctor and shook his hand. I reach for the anchor of my wife’s hand, then head out to make the co-pay. Standing at the window, waiting for the receptionist to finish with another patient, thoughts and emotions begin to coalesce in the void. (“NO, NOT HERE”) Desperately I search for something positive to focus on. I turn to my wife and feel the flood rushing behind my eyes. (“Nope, that’s not going to work.”) Switching gears to see if anger will help. (“That doctor should not have gotten my hopes up last visit!”) But it rings hollow, I know in my heart the doctor did his best. The phone rings as the receptionist finishes with the other patient. Frantically I start erecting my internal walls to build my own void by focusing on the mundane. (“What an ugly wallpaper? My credit card is looking a bit rough, maybe I should ask for a new one? It’s a shame that young girl dyes her hair instead of leaving it natural, doesn’t she realize soon she will be forced to dye it?) I sign my name, reach for my wife’s hand and head out the door into the hall. I round the corner and see a guy down the hall, but the pressure is now too great.

Coming to a complete stop, I turn to my wife and said, “I’m sorry.” As we embraced my walls came tumbling down. A river flowed from my eyes. My chest began heaving in hyperventilating sobs that I haven’t felt since I was a child.

“Why are you sorry baby?” she asks through her own tears.

“I . . . I . . . I . . .”, could not speak. Every time I tried my body just wouldn’t let me. I could not tell her the devastation I felt for being the reason of shattering both our dreams of having a family. The initial shock that created the void just crushed me when all the thoughts and emotions started flowing back in. Eventually I did speak, but I don’t recall what I said or her response. I just remember her holding me and feeling a blanket of warmth and love surround me, that which I’ve never experienced before in my entire life.

I called in sick to work and headed home. We discussed the idea of adoption. It’s just not for me. I have the highest respect for those who do adopt. I know it’s irrational, but I fear not being able to connect with the kid. That isn’t something you can fake and wouldn’t be fair to the child. Probably the introvert in me. We did discuss having my father be a sperm donor. Even if in my head I couldn’t connect as a father/child, I could still connect as a sibling. We decided to tell no one for the moment except for my father. Who I called that night and graciously agreed to help if all other options were closed.

© copyright 2011-2012

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About ivfmale

Just a guy dealing with infertility.

Posted on November 21, 2011, in The Beginning and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Hey IVFM. I’ve been thinking about you and your swimmers… Not like that :). One of my best friends was having trouble with fertility. Her hubbie had an unexplainable almost 0 sperm count too. He had a very small vericocele which his urologist was scepticle about fixing. Well they fixed it and got pregnant pretty soon afterwards. I’m not trying to instill false hopes, because I know how dangerous those are, but it’s apparently a fairly easy procedure, your insurance may even pay for it, and who knows? Anyway, I hope this is helpful…

    • Having women think about me that way, but not that way, still brings a smile to my face. Except when I’m in the little room with the folding chair, then it’s a total mental block. 🙂

      Thanks for the information. I’ll check into it. And don’t worry, I think I have a handle on not letting false hopes get the best of me. I’ve been burned enough times.

  2. This whole male-infertility thing is brand new for me and this post made me weep. My husband’s first and second SA’s came back showing zero. Our experience nearly identical, with all the emotions and grief. I’m so sorry you and your wife have to go through this. Our blog is waitingforblisitiswell.wordpress.com. All my best and prayers for you.

    • I hope I’ve helped explain the male perspective because sadly it is new since no one talks about it. The hit to the male ego is surprisingly shocking because as far as we can tell before the test, everything works just fine.

      Not to get your hopes up, but my doctor gave me the impression that a zero count was better than my very low count. The chance that something would work fine if given the correct trigger was greater. Sort of like a car not running could simply need a new battery and you’re good to go. Where as a car running poorly even after replacing the plugs is going to be costly to fix.

      My very best to you both.

  1. Pingback: Staring down the infertility train « IVF male

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