Infertility: Male Testing and How I Support my Wife

We both made appointments to see our PCP individually…
For me, the most important thing was that everything… down there was working 100%. If not, I would need to be positive about it as I have always stressed to myself and Angie that a positive attitude is one of the best ways to get through things. She used to comment that I didn’t freak out under pressure. The way I see it, if things get tough, getting upset makes the situation even tougher. So I try to maintain my composure, even if I am screaming on the inside.

The male test involves collecting a semen sample, which is pretty self-explanatory.  So without getting into ANY detail as to how I obtained a sample, I had 15 minutes to get to the lab at Kaiser. This meant driving down PCH at about 100 mph to make the 15-minute window. The great thing about Kaiser however, is that I received my test results within a day.  According to my doctor, everything looked healthy.

Fast forward to our appointment with our RE and I was informed that I had to collect a second semen sample. Other tests I had to take were a urinalysis and blood tests to make sure I didn’t have any STDs.  Apparently, the first test was only for morphology and everything “looked” good. The second test was for viability. Things like volume, sperm count and various other things would be tested to make sure I was firing live rounds. So I received my second collection cup and scheduled a weekend when I could make another high speed trip to Kaiser.

Again, the turnaround for my results was fast and simple. Some things looked great, other things did not to my untrained eyes. “Not a big deal” I thought to myself, “The doctor will make sense of everything and tell me what I need to do, if I need to do anything.”

Angie needed to have an HSG, which I had read ranged from “painful” to “not very painful”. I didn’t want to cause Angie any more stress or worry, as I could see she was having a tough time with it. So, I assured her as we drove to Kaiser, “it should be fine, I read that the anticipation of it hurting is worse than the actual procedure.” See, Angie is known to worry about a lot of things. Some things, in my mind she shouldn’t be worried about as much. This was one of those things that I felt warranted worrying. I was worried about it, I had no idea what to expect. Nor could I ever as I’m not a woman.

We went in and of course I was not allowed to go into the back room due to the radiation. I sat in the waiting room while she went through a door to the room where the procedure was going to happen. I told her, “don’t worry babe, it’s not a big deal. I’ll see you soon.”

I was completely wrong.

Seeing Angie come out of the doctor’s area in tears shattered my heart. When she told me it was the worst pain she had ever experienced, I didn’t know what to say or what to do. I was mostly angry at myself for trying to assure her that everything would be fine. I wanted to be angry at the doctors for hurting my wife, but it was a medical procedure and their intentions are to do everything they can to help us conceive. All I could do was comfort her and be strong for her. I thought maybe getting some drinks from Horchateria would help, I think it did a little bit.

That day went by quickly but also slowly, I think we were both emotionally exhausted, I did everything I could to try to make her feel comfortable.  If I could have switched places with her, even after knowing how bad it would hurt, I would do so in a heart beat. I don’t care how difficult or painful things are, I would rather be the one to go through it, than see her in any sort of pain. I am supposed to protect her, I want to protect her. But, I couldn’t do that this time.

One of the most important things I have learned over these past almost ten years is to listen. I think a lot of men make this mistake of trying to provide an immediate solution to anything our women are going through. It’s how we are wired. We see a problem and we want to solve that problem, especially when it’s about someone we care about. But a lot of us don’t realize that sometimes, what our women want is a literal shoulder to cry on and someone to let them know that it is going to be okay. That, if they are going to hide under the blankets from the world, we will be under the covers right next to them.

Jon

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