Posts Tagged ‘male infertility’

ImageIt’s a girl.  My wife and I are having a girl.  We just found out.  She is due sometime in November. 

We had a busy weekend.  One of my best friends from high school brought his twin boys up for a freestyle wrestling tournament on Saturday.  So we went and spent the day with them and watched one of their kids wrestle.  One of his twins couldn’t wrestle because he recently had a tumor removed from his leg.  His other kid easily won his bracket.  He’s a stud of a wrestler and is rated number one in the country in his age (he’s 11) and weight class.

After the wrestling tournament, they came over to the house and we grilled out and chatted for a while.  After they left, we went over to another friend of ours house.  They were having a crawfish boil.  His wife is from Louisiana and she throws this crawfish boil every year on Mother’s day weekend.  I refused the crawfish, but I tried her jambalaya and bread pudding and they were both great.  Southern’s know how to eat!

On Sunday, we celebrated Mother’s Day.  Mia made her a cook book with recipes from her and all her classmates from school.  I got Jennifer a card I forgot to sign (oops!), a box of chocolate from the candy factory across the street from my work and a charm for her bracelet.  It was a baby carriage, since we are 14 weeks pregnant.  It’s still weird to say that.  10 years of trying and thousands spent on medical procedures and finally, after giving up the procedures, we get it done on our own.  We also had Outback for dinner.  And of course, my wife had to work, but it was productive.  She wrote an offer on a house for some clients and it was accepted.

Speaking of pregnancy.  A couple weeks back, Jennifer tested positive for m-antibodies.  Her doctor passed on the results to a specialist and they said the levels were really low and that they were not worried about it, but they would continue to monitor the levels.  Well, her levels are higher from last week’s blood test, so she now has to see the specialist.  There is little online about it; however, I did find a baby website that had a thread about it and it was discussed in detail.  Out of all the antigens to get, the M is the best.  It’s very rare and issues with the baby are even rarer.  However, they will need to monitor from here on out.  Jennifer told me all of this before from talking to the doctor, but I like to do my own research. From my experiences in life, nothing can just come easy.

This morning I got a call from my brother that my grandma had a stroke and it didn’t look like she would make it.  Her left side was paralyzed, she wasn’t responsive and she was rushed to the hospital.  A few hours later he called and updated me.  A brain scan showed no blood to the brain and she opened her eyes briefly.  She was also able to squeeze a nurse’s hand with both her hands and she moved her toes.  So, that is a positive sign.  They haven’t ruled out a stroke or anything serious yet…but the situation certainly seems much better now than before.  They are wondering if it was a reaction to some new medication she is on.

This isn’t a subject I enjoy talking about.  It’s been an ongoing issue now for around 10 years.  My wife and I tried to get pregnant years ago to no avail.  It was obvious, looking back, there was an issue with one of us.  At the time, I was in denial.

I apologize in advance…the timeline of events will not be accurate.  Some of the details will also be incorrect.

After tests, it was determined it was my issue.  I had a motility issue.  My “swimmers” didn’t swim.  I had several test samples and my motility rate was anywhere from 0% to 9%.  I think the doctors told us at a minimum; it needed to be around 20%.  I did; however, produce far more than average.  So, how can you get to where you want to go when you are surrounded by a mosh pit.  That’s what I always said anyway.  I suppose that was my way of dealing with the fact “I can’t get my wife pregnant!”

We then started looking into medical procedures that would assist us.  We decided on intrauterine insemination (IUI).  This is the process of washing the sperm and shooting it directly into the uterus.  In order to improve our chances, my wife had to take daily shots and Clomid pills in order to mass produce eggs during ovulation.  Jennifer went thru a lot and I was shown a room and given a Home and Garden magazine to do my duty.  That’s not a lie.

We tried IUI several time and each time my boys failed to do their job.  Each time my wife would take it hard and I knew why.  Because I was failing her.  I could not get my wife pregnant, even with 21st century medicine and Home and Garden.

But, that didn’t mean we could not be parents.  Prior to getting married and talking about having children, my wife expressed an interest in adopting a baby girl from China.  She has always wanted to do that.  I had no problems with that.  We figured we would have 2 or 3, and then adopt down the road.

Because of my infertility issues, we decided we would look into adoption sooner, rather than later.  Ironically, my neighbor growing up (and a fellow Iowa State grad), worked at an adopting center in St. Paul, MN.  And even more ironic, she worked in the China department.  So, it was sign.

We went thru the process.  It wasn’t quick.  The process is very drawn out and expensive.  But, we took it in stride and eventually received a picture of our daughter.  It wasn’t long after that first photo, Jennifer was on a plane to China for almost two weeks to close the deal and bring her home.

We officially started our family and we couldn’t be happier.  However, we still tried getting pregnant.  We started a couple more IUI cycles until we finally, a couple years ago, decided to try in vitro fertilization (IVF), this is when eggs and sperm are brought together in a laboratory glass dish to allow the sperm to fertilize an egg.  In our case, they also did Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).  ICSI, is when they drill a hole in the egg and insert the sperm.  How small of a drill bit did they use?  They didn’t think my boys would be able to swim strong enough to drill thru themselves.  How can that be!  I am a 400 pound plus bencher!

This process, while improving the odds over IUI, is also far more costly and dangerous.  Jennifer would have to go under when they retrieved the eggs.  I was given a much more appropriate magazine this time and they also had videos.  After all, we went to Mayo Clinic for this, and they are the best in the world at treating the sick and their library of porn.

After a few days, we ended with five embryos; however, only a couple looked real strong.  They ended up inserting two of them.  They wouldn’t, out of ethical reasons, insert more than three.  That’s how the Octomom ended up with eight kids.

It didn’t work.  Failure again.  We haven’t tried a medical procedure since.  At some point, you have to just see the writing on the wall.  It was speaking real clear.  “You will never get your wife pregnant!”  That, and it’s very expensive.  I have come to accept the fact that there is something wrong with me and we can’t do anything about it.  I am not any less of a man because of it.

Even with my issues, this doesn’t mean we have to be a single child family.  So, my wife put us on the waiting list to adopt from the Marshall Islands.  In fact, a month or so ago, we got an e-mail telling us they are opening the Marshall Islands up for adoption again and they wanted to know if we wanted to remain on the waiting list.  So, perhaps one day we will have another child to add to our family….

…..On April 5, 2013, I watched and saw its heartbeat.

Don’t give up, don’t ever give up – Jim Valvano