Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A Baby? What's That?

History, Part III - Closing In On Year Two

Unfortunately, Steve Martin’s character was wrong. Things did not start happening for us.

But they happened to other people on the way to year two; more friends get knocked up, P.Pie’s brother, Eeyore*, has a second child, while my sister, Tintin*, has her first. They were all wonderful events, we helped celebrate the lives and we were truly happy for them. But it only helped drive home the point that we were not pregnant.

We were not ‘in the family way’.

We kept a calendar, used the basal thermometer, bought kits, and followed a plan. Not just “a plan,” but “The Plan.” How can it be? Why weren’t we pregnant, dammit?!?

What if there was something wrong with one or both of us?

What if there was something wrong with me (and more importantly, my boys)?

Yes I realize that is selfish - borderline chauvinistic - thinking, but what can I do? It’s the way the male psyche works. Besides, when there is a problem reproducing, it’s usually on the male end (so to speak). So we began discussions to bring a SPECIALIST (how very special) into the equation.

So we agreed that the SPECIALIST was the way to go. AS A STARTING POINT. Not necessarily as a way to get pregnant, but just to find out why we weren’t getting pregnant.

But agreeing to something and actually doing it are two different things – especially when I’m involved. To P.Pie’s credit, she immediately went to the SPECIALIST. Unfortunately for me, my male-ness got in the way.

I am not afraid of doctors.

I am not afraid of needles, or medicines, or hospitals, or anything related to doctors. I’m just… I don’t know. I’m just a guy, I guess. The real reason I wasn’t going to the SPECIALIST was probably due to the perceived stigma attached to male infertility.

If my boys can’t swim, then I must be less of a man than the next fellow. (If you've been in the situation, you know what I'm saying. If you haven't and you think you'd be different, you're kidding yourself.)

Once again, P.Pie came through by overcoming my own personal ambivalence. She made the appointment at a fertility clinic for me and the rules were pretty straight forward. No sex for 4-7 days before giving a sample.

For P.Pie’s visit to the SPECIALIST, I was there to hold her hand and be supportive. And she did offer to go with me.

But the hand she would hold would be the hand most needed for the task. When the appointment date came, I went alone.

Going to a fertility clinic is kind of a funny thing. There are literally thousands, probably tens of thousands, of these type clinics across the nation. But do you know of anyone who has ever been?

Neither do I.

Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect. A lot of things went through my head. Would there be visual aids – magazines, videos, dolls? Should I ‘warm up’ before hand? Which is better, taking a long time or ‘wam-bam-thank-you-cup’ and out the door?

And once the sample was deposited, how do you give it to them? With a leer from underneath a brown trench coat?

My mental expectations:
A room lit by harsh florescent bulbs. Bus station-style bathroom stalls. ‘70s-esque bad Scandinavian furniture with matching faded and stained orange & white checkered vinyl flooring. An array of video machines with smeared screens and hardcore smut rags, pages stuck together, sitting at the ready.

The reality?
Clean, tastefully furnished sitting rooms with an adjoining full size bathroom and discreetly placed Playboy and Penthouse magazines (no videos/no hardcore). In the sitting room was a small metal pass-thru door where you left the sample without actually handing it to somebody, much less seeing anybody.

A week to 10 days later, the results came back. In a sperm Olympics, my boys would not be taking home the gold.

Hell, they wouldn’t even make the team much less medal in an event. But, for a 37 year-old, slightly overweight man that drinks occasionally, enjoys a good cigar and rarely exercises, they were okay.
More than okay. They were certainly good enough to knock somebody up.

Woo-hoo! Set ‘em up boys, the next round is on me!

So I’m okay and P.Pie is okay… then what’s the problem?

*not their real names