No words...

Posted by J - azoowho@gmail.com |

Our hopes for our 5th and final IUI came to an end this week when L's friend showed up late last week. We are going to take some time off and regroup before moving forward with IVF. I recently got a promotion at work and we will be relocating out of state next month so we are going to focus on getting moved and acclimating to a new area before starting the new chapter in our IF journey.

Some of you may know that I am a singer/songwriter hobbiest and I recently wrote a song summing up how I feel and have felt over the past year plus that we have been doing this. I thought some of you might like to hear it and maybe appreciate the message... so here it is :)

Slow It Down



Still kickin...

Posted by J - azoowho@gmail.com |

It's been a long, long time since I've blogged. Too long... I know! I think maybe I burned out on being the cyber harbinger of constant bad news and was waiting it out so that I could FINALLY post something positive. You know, like a BFP... but, not yet :)

We are yet again in that twilight zone purgatory known as the 2WW. You all know it well! Hopeful, but fearful, optimistic, but ever so cautiously so as to cushion the blow if things don't work out. It's a wonder any of us in IF land are able to keep our wits about us. On second thought, I'm not so sure where my wits are these days! This is our 4th IUI now, so we are twilight zone veterans but I wish I could say that it gets easier... it really doesn't.

We did injectables this cycle for the first time (L was doing Clomid previously) and definitely saw more immediate results. The doctor saw a nice big follicle on the first U/S and we triggered that evening. The IUI, however, was a bit more of an adventure this time! L has a "shy cervix" and the doctor had a VERY difficult time finding the target this time and had to break out the Tenaculum, which hurt me just to LOOK AT, and caused an awful lot of pain and discomfort for my poor wife. I am Italian/Irish and that volatile blood was boiling something fierce watching her in obvious pain. It took all I had to bite my tongue and not tell the doctor to stop. She is such an amazing trooper though, never complained... I would have been screaming like a lil girl!

So we wait...4/21 is our target date. Fingers crossed and good vibes gladly accepted :)

So, defying every internal instinct that screams, "don't share THAT", I thought I would share a story which is guaranteed to be WAY TMI. I would encourage you to stop reading now, just do yourself a favor and close the browser...

Ok... don't say I didn't warn you...

So, in addition to the Folistim, my wife is also doing Crinone suppositories. Not having spent much time researching this medication, I was unaware of one of the key "side effects" which evidently is the discharge of little white balls of gel. You still have time to close the browser... So anyway, the other night, my wife and I, did the "BD" thang, you know... and when we were finished, well...I had... a hitchhiker. Yep, one of those lovely "white balls of gel" must've had his thumb out on the side of the road and decided to jump on for the ride. My wife was the one who noticed it and decided in her infinite wisdom that the best thing to do was, not to tell me, but rather just try and "flick it off"... uhhh yeah...

Sorry :)

Til next time...


WTF...Sigh...FML...@#$%...and stuff

Posted by J - azoowho@gmail.com |

We ended a year chock full of bad news with, you guessed it, even more bad news. L got her friend (some friend!) on December 31st, putting an end to our hopes for round 2. This one was much tougher than the first failed IUI as we really felt like this was "the one". Something just felt different this time. L has been in a pretty bad place the last few days and I am really trying to be the strong, brave one, which is not easy. Of course, no one ever said any of this would be easy, but the on the job training is kinda brutal. I am trying to keep the attitude that this will only make the good news down the road feel that much better (things are always much sweeter after a mouthful of sour right?), but every one of these makes that road look longer, bumpier and more foreboding.

So, it is back to the Clomid, blood work, ultrasounds, and likely a 3rd IUI...

Stay tuned...please? :)


Afraid to wish...

Posted by J - azoowho@gmail.com |

Today puts us at 12 days post IUI and so far, so good. No news is generally good news when in the dreaded 2ww and we are trying to stick to that mantra and kind of let time run its course. Being busy over the holidays has really helped the time fly by. If the AF monster stays locked away in her closet, we will probably do an HPT on Friday, so fingers crossed :)

There have definitely been some physical signs. Of course the man in me first noticed the most obvious one.... "Boy your boobs are gigantic", I grunted like the Cro-Magnon who got stuck in traffic near the on-ramp to Evolutionary Highway that I am. Then I hobbled away, closely followed by a slobber trail with my hairy knuckles dragging roughly behind. Sigh, ladies, I have to wonder what you see in us sometimes :)

I am finding myself going out of my way to keep from feeling too optimistic. A defense mechanism I suppose...the lower you climb, the less painful the fall. Maybe not the mentally healthiest approach long term but I feel like I need to keep things tempered, grounded, and realistic so that I don't burn out emotionally. This IF stuff is a marathon, we all know that, and besides I'm too fat and old to sprint ;)


Maybe this time?

Posted by J - azoowho@gmail.com |

Back from our ultrasound and blood work, and it looks like L has two good follicles this cycle (one 18+ and the other 22+)! This was much needed good news to say the least. Best of all, I get to play butt darts again tonight with the HCG trigger injection, so excited! Saturday morning will be IUI #2 and we have fingers and toes crossed that the second time will be a charm for us.

Currently accepting all good vibes thrown our way :)


Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock

Posted by J - azoowho@gmail.com |

It has been a while since I've blogged. Bad blogger... In my defense, the holidays, the house hunting, work, and a surprisingly and suddenly popular internet side business have been chewing up my days and weeks. Sometimes the distraction of being busy is a blessing as it keeps our minds off of the roller coaster ride of infertility. Other times I just want to SLOW down, freeze tag style. It seems like lately my biggest source of consternation in our battle to get pregnant is... time (don't ever let anyone try to convince you that it is not a battle, we all have the scars to prove it). There are moments where I can actually feel it, in a very real, visceral way. The pressure of time... the feeling that I am getting older by the minute, that I am going to be too old to enjoy this by the time it happens. Irrational...probably, I am not THAT old at 36, but it feels that way. The pressure of time... wanting to give grandchildren to my parents, to L's parents while THEY can enjoy it. The pressure of time... watching my sister, L's brother, and seemingly everyone else we know having babies. The pressure of time... knowing that the insurance company only gives us so many shots at this, then what...

On a positive note, L had a good ultrasound this past weekend, two starter follicles, but L's Estrogen was down in her blood work today so back to the lab tomorrow for more blood. We are praying for some good news this coming week and hopefully our second IUI.

Tick Tock Tick Tock...


A Quick Diversion...

Posted by J - azoowho@gmail.com |

One of the things L and I do to try and keep our minds off of the doctors and blood draws and 2WWs and BFNs and... is design creative geeky crafts/gadgets. Today we got a nice writeup on one of our newest designs and at the risk of being a shameless self-promoter, I thought I would share it with you all.

NES Controller Dock Charges iPhone Like It's 1985

Now back to our regularly scheduled IF programming :)



Go away Auntie...

Posted by J - azoowho@gmail.com |

So we were 13 days post IUI when we got a knock on the door from our indisputably least favorite visitor, L's Auntie F. I tried to slam the door in her face but somehow she was able to sneak in...persistent bitch. Needless to say this was not a great weekend for us but I am trying to be the strong, supportive, and positive partner. I am positive that our next cycle will bring better news and to help insure this I've obtained a restraining order against that old witch!

In the "when it rains it pours" department, L got a call today from her Mom to tell her that her brother and his new wife are expecting. I didn't need to hear both sides of the call to know what the "good news" was, I could hear it in L's voice. Of course we are very happy for them, but this really wasn't the best timing for us...which is probably selfish and childish but, at least for today I feel like we've earned that right :)

Anyway, we could really use good vibes from you all!

J & L


I spy an IUI...

Posted by J - azoowho@gmail.com |

Sunday morning we did our first IUI! Aside from L not feeling so well the night before and the morning of (we think probably from the HCG injection), it went fairly smoothly. The nurse had to call in reinforcements when she had a little trouble finding the opening to L's Cervix and I felt kinda terrible watching my wife squirm in obvious discomfort as they pried and prodded with different sized shoe stretcher things (I know it is a speculum, but I like to call them shoe stretcher things :)). It made me ask out loud if they could possibly make those things look any more like medieval torture devices. With all the technology we have nowadays, how is it we are still using medical equipment that could be pulled straight from the set of the Saw movies!

Anyway :) we only had one follicle, so I am tempering my expectations slightly, but I'm hoping that in two weeks we have some very good news to report!



Am I qualified for that?

Posted by J - azoowho@gmail.com |

L had an ultrasound this morning that showed a good follicle ready to go. We could continue daily blood work to check for LH surge, but the doctor felt it would be best to use an HCG injection to induce ovulation so that we do not lose the follicle. We have to do this at home this evening and then we will be doing our first IUI with DS on Sunday morning. I am a little anxious, but we are trying to remain positive and would appreciate good thoughts/vibes from the cyberverse :)

I actually have some prior experience with self-injections as I had to do home Lovenox for a week a few years ago. This, however, appears to be providing little or no comfort to my lovely wife who has done little to conceal the fact that she is scared sh*tless by the though of me playing Lawn Jarts with her behind. I, on the other hand, am most looking forward to it...muhahaha!! :) Bullseye!




Posted by J - azoowho@gmail.com |

This month marks the one year anniversary of my first SA and our introduction to this frustrating world of infertility. Isn't it crazy how time flies when you are having...fun? :)

L and I, like most couples who make the decision to use a donor (sperm or egg), have spent a lot of time discussing, and often agonizing over, how much sharing with others we are going to do and with whom. We have decided that, for now, we are going to tell no one but the baby. We are going to try to be very open, in age appropriate ways, so that he knows exactly where he came from and hopefully, someday understands how much we wanted to bring him into the world, the miracle of technology and the wonderful gift our donor has given us, and the difficult choices we had to make to insure that it happened.

Our families know, with varying degrees of specificity, that we are having trouble conceiving and that we are getting medical assistance. We feel like that is probably enough detail for the time being but I also can't help but feel like we are keeping secrets. Conception is, obviously, a very private matter and if we were doing things the good ole fashioned way I wouldn't be telling my parents the details. "Hey Mom, how are you, good, good, so...L and I just did it", *shudder*! On the other hand, I think about how I might deal with the, "he looks just like you", comments, or worse, "he doesn't look like you!" and I start to feel a little panicky. I also think about the day when we finally DO tell our parents, maybe it is years down the road, maybe sooner. What will their reaction be? Will they feel betrayed? Will they resent us, or the baby?

For me, the biggest thing I am struggling with is how to be completely open and honest with our children about where they came from, make them feel comfortable and not ashamed about it, but at the same time teach them that it is private, family business. I don't really ever want to get a call from a Kindergarten teacher telling us that our little one stood up and proudly proclaimed to the class, "Mommy and Daddy bought sperm to make me from the Internet". On the other hand, I don't want to promote a culture of secrecy. It is such a perilously fine line!

How have you dealt with this? Would love to hear from anyone who has successfully (or unsuccessfully) crossed this bridge.


Recursive Hindsight

Posted by J - azoowho@gmail.com |

"Donor sperm? No...no...no way, nope, not happening, not doin' it!", was, loosely paraphrasing, how my half of our initial discussion on the subject of DI went. Of course with hindsight and all of the wonderful (though posthumous) perspective it gives us, I realize I was being a totally selfish ass. And in hindsight of that hindsight (is that recursive?!), I realize that I was terrified, completely ignorant on the topic, and absolutely not ready to make a decision carrying anywhere near that much weight! But the more we talked, the more we read, the more time we had buffering us from the diagnosis, the more I, we, warmed up to the idea. If we couldn't have a baby that was biologically both of ours, then it seemed like a logical conclusion that having a baby that is biologically connected to one of us would be, "next best". Of course, in reality, that conclusion and the accompanying range of feelings can often feel far less than logical.

L's doctor recommended that we meet with the counselor they have on staff to discuss our feelings, our plans, and the donor program. Though we only spent an hour or so with her, at the end of that hour I knew that this was the right direction for us. Did she provide the answer for every question I had running through my head? Not even close, in fact I left with more questions than I came in with. Did she make me feel like everything would be absolutely rosy and perfect? Negative on that one, she was very real and very open about just how hard this was going to be and at the same time helped me realize that it is OK (required!), to grieve "our loss". It was so reassuring to hear someone else saying the things we were thinking/talking about privately. It not only provided some much needed sense of validation, but also helped to cut through some of the isolation we had been feeling!

In the end, the most important thing I walked away with was a simple litmus test, a test that I find myself using nearly everyday. She told me to visualize the moment that my wife gets a positive pregnancy test and imagine what my reaction will be. When I am sure that I will feel the same sense of absolute joy I would feel if things were "different", then chances are I am ready to do this. I feel like I am already there, and know that when I look down for the first time at that gift in my arms, the only two words that will come to mind are..."my son" (or, you know, optionally... "my daughter" :)).

Yeah... I want a boy...sue me :)



How does it feel?

Posted by J - azoowho@gmail.com |

"I've got to admit it's getting better, a little better all the time..."

It has been 3 months now since I got the results of my TESE and although I'm still having my share of bad days, it really does seem to get a little better everyday. I am still occasionally catching myself getting lost in that confusing, dangerous, tension between how I REALLY feel and how I am SUPPOSED to feel. But, with the way we are force fed "the script", it is hard sometimes to avoid questioning whether or not the emotions we feel are..."the right ones". I also sometimes find myself feeling completely overwhelmed by, and very much ill-equipped to make, the complicated, life-changing, A.R.T. decisions that L and I are now making, seemingly on a daily basis. I mean, cmon, I struggle with "Fries or Onion Rings" sometimes for goodness sake! :)

Although just screaming "Infertility Sucks" would probably do the trick, I have thought long and hard about a more "elegant" analog to use to describe how things have felt for me since learning that I was infertile. It was just this morning that I realized that the "Grief Stages" that I have always associated with death/dying are so very relevant. Yes, this could be perceived as one of those "scripts" that tell us how we are supposed to feel, but for me it was comforting validation that others have felt the same feelings, and more importantly that I am well on my way to feeling better about the hand we've been dealt.

Shock & Denial - Maybe not denial so much, but spent many of the initial days post-diagnosis in absolute shock and disbelief (is that the same as denial, maybe...)

Pain & Guilt - It hurt, it still hurts, it will probably always hurt, but the guilt I felt was at times unbearable. I felt like this was my fault, like I let my wife down, that I married her under false pretense, like I took away her chance to have OUR baby. Most of that was entirely irrational, but the feeling was real.

Anger & Bargaining - So angry... angry at everything, everyone, angry at God. I'm usually a "why NOT me" person, but I've spent many nights asking "why me", "why us". I am not a very religious person, I am spiritual, but I keep it close to the vest and am often, much to my mother's dismay, "Christian when convenient", but I have done more than my fair share of praying, some of which could definitely be considered bargaining :)

Depression, Reflection & Loneliness - Billy Joel sang, "Infertility, is such a lonely word", or not, but it's so true. My wife is my very best friend in the whole world, we talk about everything. We've shared in the grief, we've cried, we've talked about next steps, she has been there for every test, every appointment EVER step of the way. But still, somehow, there was this feeling that we are all alone in this. We aren't ready to talk to our families in great detail about what is going on, so this has caused a bit of isolation..."our secret", our weighty little secret. We eventually went to a counselor who specializes in fertility issues. I highly recommend this to anyone going through this. We've also started to involve ourselves with RESOLVE. It is so important for us to know that there ARE others out there, others who "Get it", others who have "beat it".

Upward Turn
Working Through
Acceptance & Hope

These three I will address in a later post as I talk about our decision to move forward with DI.


New England Area Folks

Posted by J - azoowho@gmail.com |

L and I tried recently to get involved with our local RESOLVE chapter to get involved in the infertility community and hopefully meet some people going through the same thing we are. Unfortunately, we were told that our local chapter was no longer running due to lack of interest. This got me thinking that, event though there are TONS of online communities for those of us going through our journey, that it would be great to have something focused on people in the local area (New England). I am a programmer professionally and have been thinking about maybe creating something like this myself. If anyone out there is in this region OR knows someone who is, shoot me an email at azoowho@gmail.com OR leave a comment here. I would love to hear what sorts of things you would be looking for in this kind of online community. Would it be of interest?

Also, if you are interested in helping out, feel free to shoot me a line.



Whistle While You Work...

Posted by J - azoowho@gmail.com |

Listen, I want to be up front about this. If you are a male considering TESE or are scheduled for TESE and looking for some positive, reassuring words to help put your mind at ease or solidify your decision, WALK AWAY FROM YOUR BROWSER, please... I'll wait.

Ok, are they gone?

Good... now, this might come as a surprise to you; inexplicably, it sorta was for me! But, here's the thing. Laying spread eagle in a Johnny coat, in a cold room, on an operating table, after being dry shaved to Brazilian Wax-like levels with a $.25 disposable razor by a nurse (god bless her, *I* would not want that job) is humbling, borderline humiliating. Having a needle filled with local anesthetic, or two, or three (I lost count shortly after my second pain induced blackout :)) inserted directly into the "Huevos" HURTS like holy hell! Feeling the pressure of the scalpel, knowing what is being cut, seeing the tissue being transfered to sterile jars, is as uncomfortable and unpleasant as it sounds like it is. But waiting there on the table, using my "phone a friend" to the big guy upstairs as the Doctor left to look at the first sample under the microscope, trying to convince myself that he was going to come back and say, "congratulations, I saw so many swimmers I didn't know whether this was testicular tissue or the Bird Nest in Beijing", knowing deep down he wouldn't...and when he didn't it hurt in a way I really wasn't expecting nor had I really prepared for. Could I have? My wife drove me home, we didn't say much, I was aching in a so many different ways, she was aching in so many different ways, but we were still hopeful that the second tissue sample which was sent to the lab for sorting through, could still yield fruit. The doctor promised to call in a few days. These few days were spent in a a lot of discomfort with a bag of frozen peas, the worlds best ice pack made from green vegetable matter, placed strategically and making friends with a bottle of Percocet. My wife, god i love her, doted over me, took care of me, AND tolerated my whining and general grouchitude.

Dr. H called about 72 hours after the procedure to deliver the final below the belt blow, the one that (in the moment) had taken away the last piece of hope I had been desperately clinging to and I started to slide down the cliff. "The lab didn't find any sperm, I want you to come in for followup but at this point I think your options are pretty clear, Adoption or DI".

L and I cried together for a long time that night. I had been trying to be the rock, but it felt like I was starting to crumble. We both needed to just let it go, to grieve, to be there for each other, to put into practice the "For Worst" part of the whole marriage deal that we all hope we'll never see.

On a side note...
Listening to the doctor whistling along to ABBA's Fernando playing on the office radio did little to put my noise filled mind to rest... "really Doc, ABBA?" Swedish bubble gum pop is just not an appropriate Scrotal Surgery soundtrack. Botox or Lipo, maybe... Anyway, I digress,

What is the appropriate TESE Playlist?
Cuts Like a Knife - Bryan Adams
The First Cut is The Deepest - Sheryl Crow
Big Balls - AC/DC

Your thoughts?


My wife is blogging...

Posted by J - azoowho@gmail.com |

My wife has started a blog as well, adding the female perspective to our never-ending story. Hop on over and give her a warm welcome :)



They're not my b*lls...

Posted by J - azoowho@gmail.com |

The ultrasound (TRUS) and genetic tests for Cystic Fibrosis were negative, which more or less ruled out the possibility that I was missing vital plumbing (like the Vas) and my blood work for hormones and the like were similarly fine (testosterone within low normal, although estrogen was slightly elevated which evidently is common in overweight patients). I was certainly growing weary of the tests and doctor's visits but bothered much more by not knowing what the heck was going on with my body as well as the possibility I might never truly know. I had already read quite a bit about TESE and knew that was the logical next step. The thought of surgical steel forming an intimate bond with my "friends" was truly terrifying, but getting one step closer to closure mitigated my anxiety somewhat. The doctor explained the procedure and gave me about a 40% chance of finding sperm. He also discussed the risks and what I might expect in terms of pain and discomfort which he described as "not too bad", quickly adding, "but they aren't MY b*lls!". With all of the examining, and touching, and photographing they'd been exposed to up until now, I wasn't sure they were MY b*lls anymore either :)

With my list of remaining options growing increasingly thin I decided to go ahead and schedule the procedure...


You're Going to Put That Where? (Part 6)

Posted by J - azoowho@gmail.com |

There was something oddly empowering about having a "real" diagnosis. Yes, there was the initial moment of soul crushing despair, but in time it started to feel good somehow. I knew that the only way we would get through this was to try and keep a positive attitude, hard as it was at times, and every new little piece of knowledge we picked up along the way really helped us to focus on "our plan" (rather than planning pity parties).

Proudly (ok, maybe not proudly) wearing my new big scarlet red "A", we were off to our first appointment with the male infertility specialist we had been referred to. Dr. H had a confidence about him that left me feeling almost immediately as though we had made the right choice. From what I have read, our first appointment was pretty standard fare. He did a thorough physical examination, blood work to check for potential genetic issues (like CF) and hormone levels, and a review of our history. We talked about Obstructive vs. Non-Obstructive Azoospermia and how all of these tests would help us get to the bottom of which type we were dealing with and then almost as a "by the way", he mentioned that he would like to do a TRUS...

"A TRUS?", I asked. "Yes, it is an Ultrasound of your prostate, TRUS stands for Trans-Rectal Ultrasound". I think he heard the anxious thump in my throat as I swallowed as he attempted to put my mind at ease by pointing to a condom enshrouded "apparatus" and saying, "we insert that in your rectum...it only takes about 15 minutes". He could have just as well been speaking Klingon for all I was concerned as visions of a Polaroid camera being jammed up my ass danced through my head! All I could muster was a weak, "You're going to put that where?", which got some sympathetic laughter.

In all seriousness, the procedure wasn't all that bad and I know you ladies who are used to stirrups and specula and scraping are pointing and laughing but, well, I'm mostly used to that area being an Exit lane :) The worst part was the Dr., a fellow devoted Mets fan, making small talk about the sorry state of our team while anally probing me! Awkward!


Whatever it Takes (Part 5)

Posted by J - azoowho@gmail.com |

We waited in the Urologist's office, and waited...me on the edge of the examining table, my legs feeling even more Lilliputian than normal as they dangled awkwardly towards the floor while my wife squatted on a small rolling stool. We held hands but spoke very little; both of us deep in thought, prayer, contemplation, whatever your word of choice is for hoping beyond hope for good news while simultaneously steeling one's self for the possibility that it just might not come.

It did not come...

I think years of bad television drama had led me to believe that moments like this play out with great fanfare and drama with weepy melodramatic strings playing a haunting theme while boxes of Kleenex and words of comfort from an unnaturally handsome Doctor are dispensed. This was nothing like that at all. It went more like; sound of door opening, sound of door closing, footsteps, insert quick clinical greeting, squeak of the chair, and..."Hmmm, well, you have no sperm".

Life, "has a way of pulling down your trousers and giving you a swift kick in the ass", I could almost hear my Grandfather say, and boy did I feel the sting of that size 13 boot that I pulled out of my butt that morning. Suddenly there we were; "that couple", officially infertile, initially devastated, but unwavering in our resolve and the promise we made to each other, long before all of this played out, that we would do, "whatever it takes".


The Area of Sanctuary (Part 4)

Posted by J - azoowho@gmail.com |

Although we were both a little shaken by the initial report of no swimmers in "the pool", we comforted ourselves with myriad hypotheses explaining away the "certain mistake" and what "must have happened" to the sample. I scheduled a followup visit with a local Urologist as recommended by L's Gyn. Fortunately, he was able to see me fairly quickly and in a matter of a few weeks I was off to get naked and have my "paraphenalia" intimately inspected by another man for the first time in my adult life. I was a little on the anxious side but also eager for answers. The doctor did not see anything that caused him concern physically but did want me to go for a follow up Semen Analysis, and this time, to mitigate any possibility that there were problems with collection or transit, he wanted me to produce the sample in the office. He also wanted me to wait six weeks before scheduling the appointment... these were six very long weeks.

Fast forward to March, we are now five months or so into this process and I am on my way to do something in an office building that would certainly land me behind bars under any other circumstance. I was met in the lobby by a very nice nurse who asked me to follow her, " to a nice quiet area". I did my best to hide the fact that I was a completely nervous, embarrassed mess but I think the JuJuBee sized Hives decorating every square inch of my flop sweat drenched face may have given me away. Ok, maybe it was not quite that bad, but I was definately a wreck. As we traversed a serpentine-like labyrinth of hallways and doors we passed through a corridor labled "Area of Sanctuary" (I kid you not) and into the room where I was to do what had to be done. "The room is all yours, take all the time you need, when you are done place the container in this paper bag and bring it up front", she said as she locked the industrial weight door behind her. While I applaud their effort to provide a quiet, secure, comfortable area, I'm not sure that the vision was necessarily fully realized. Imagine the living room set from a bad bachelor pad, complete with faux leather couch, particle board varnished end table, big red "touch lamp" and a plastic rubber tree plopped down in the middle of the Nurses office from your Grammar School and you will start to get the visual. Sterile white floors and walls, harsh flourescent lighting, the standard white "doctor's office" cabinets and shelves and that awful, torturous, mind numbing ticky tocky, steel and glass wall clock whose metronomic thuds served as a constant cruel reminder of every passing second.

I spent a few fleeting seconds laughing/crying about where life had taken us (I don't think Dr. Seuss had this in mind when he wrote "Oh, The Places You'll Go") and pondered whether my shoe laces were strong enough to fashion a noose (damn physics, kidding...) and then began "exploring" the room in an attempt to mellow out a little. I am not a germaphobe by any stretch of the imagination but the thought of all the "whos" and "whats" that had taken place in that room made me really not want to touch anything. Behind the small television set on the counter I discovered a small pile of "inspirational materials" that, again, I was just too horrified to actually peruse :).

Enough time had passed and I decided it was now or never. I decided to extinguish the blinding flourescent lights and give things a go. I tried, and tried, and tried but then I'd think, "oh no, did she lock the door"? Then I'd try and try and try and think about elementary school lice inspections with Nurse Martin, this room even SMELLED the same. One more time I said, and... "arrgh, that friggin clock!!", "ok I can do this" and then, "ding ding ding" text message from my wife, "I love you baby, I'm with you". Such a beautiful, sweet, poorly timed sentiment. Phone turned off, iPod earbuds in place, visual images of Grammar school public health screenings gone...45 minutes later... off for the walk of shame part two, paper bag in hand.


Wide Mouth Container + Sock + Paper Bag (Part 3)

Posted by J - azoowho@gmail.com |

I won't get in to too many of the gaudy deals regarding my first Semen Analysis, believe me, no wants that horrifying image burnt into their mind's eye! When I called to make the appointment I was given the option of "producing the specimen" at home or in the office. To try and reduce the anxiety and embarassment quotient a bit I decided to chose door #1 and do it in the comfort of my own home. I scheduled the appointment, was told that the specimen has to be delivered to the office less than one hour after production, and that it should be kept as close to body temperature as possible. Off I went to the local medical supply store in search of a "wide-mouth, sterile specimen container" per their instruction...

The day of my appointment arrived, no problem, I've ummm read about doing this before, it will be no problem. Of course I didn't count on waking up late, getting into an argument with my wife, and the 40 minute drive to the doctor's office, all of which left me more than a little under the gun and racked with anxiety, not exactly a good recipe for what was necessary!

Somehow I was able to do what was needed and made the walk of shame into the office. Wide mouth container shoved inside a white sock and tucked firmly in my jacket pocket. I was at my paranoid, embarassed best, I swear that every eye in the parking lot was on me. Like the nervous new kid on the first day of school, head down I shuffled in, all the while feeling the burning glares of every person I passed, each one silently saying, "we know what you just did"! Oh what fun!

A few days later I got the call from my wife's Gyn with the results, a call I will never forget. "The lab is reporting that no sperm were found in your sample, we'd like you to follow up with a Urologist".


It's PCOS, no it's not, yes it is... (Part 2)

Posted by J - azoowho@gmail.com |

In November of 2008 we decided it was time to get to the bottom of our conception problems. We had been trying actively for about a year and the anxiety of not knowing, coupled with my unfortunate habit of trying to use the internet to self-diagnose (a doctor once called me a "cybercondriac") was starting to put some real strain on our relationship. L and I both thought that maybe the problem was her irregular cycles. We even bought some home test kits to detect ovulation and never were able to get a conclusive positive. We went to see L's Gyn who suspected PCOS and ordered bloodwork and an Ultrasound for confirmation. She also ordered a Semen Analysis for me, "just to make sure" everything was ok on my end.

We waited a while without hearing anything at all about L's results, so we called the office and kicked off a strange and aggravating medical keystone cops-like series of events that ultimately resulted in us changing to a different Gyn practice. First we were told, by a nurse or medical assistant, that "everything was fine" with her tests and that they really saw no reason to do anything more. So off we went into limbo again, my Sperm Analysis had not come back yet, L's Gyn felt she had "done enough", and here we were with no real answers and no real idea what to do next. Then out of the blue, probably two weeks later, the Gyn's office calls again and tells us that a different doctor in the practice had reviewed the tests and felt that there was conclusive evidence that she DID have PCOS. We also learned that her original Gyn had "left the practice", jeez I wonder why. L started on Metformin, a drug commonly used to treat PCOS and we began our search for a different Gyn!


Our Story...Our Family...Our Dreams (Part 1)

Posted by J - azoowho@gmail.com |

When we learned that we would likely have to pursue a "non-traditional" route to realize our dreams of family expansion, my wife and I almost simultaneously said, "well, we've never really done things the traditional way, so..." and then we smiled, and then we laughed. It was that salty, tear flavored laughter that never felt better and made me realize that we were really going to be "ok".

"L" is 32, I am 36, and we met almost 3 years ago...online of all places. We hit it off immediately and it truly was a match made in heaven, except for the minor fact that we lived almost 2000 miles apart! Undeterred (or foolishly ignorant) by the daunting geographical math we started a long distance relationship that saw us rack up frequent flyer, tire, wire, and cyber mile points at a frightening pace. After many, many months of this we decided to move in together and were married not long thereafter. We spent many of those long distance nights together dreaming about starting a family, coming up with names, and playing through different scenarios like teenagers in sickening puppy love. I think we also felt that frightening ticking of the biological clock, so there was no question in either of our minds that we would get started with the "baby making" post haste. A year later, lots and lots of "posting haste", and countless Clearblue "Not Pregnant" messages seemingly mocking us from behind their protective clear plastic shields (god how I hate those little digital harbingers of dissapointment, but I digress), we began to wonder if there might be a problem. "But, there couldn't possibly be anything wrong", we would both say, knowing countless couples who got pregnant "the first time", the myriad stories of one night stand "whoopsies", those who could seemingly get pregnant from a missplaced sneeze, and even my own sad personal teenage experience, we were lulled into the common belief that "you just do it" and nine months later, the stork brings a little bundle of joy. We could not have been more wrong...