this entire post is devoted to sperm. if you dont like sperm, you might want to skip it and go read perezhilton.com and find out what brangelina is up to.
one thing we had done while at ob-gyn 2, at the very beginning, was have brandon do a semen analysis. i can't even handle the word semen. even writing it makes my skin crawl. S-E-M-E-N. so instead i referred to his test as the Man Test.
His first Man Test was the summer of 07. It was good, everything was as it should be, great motility, great shape, good. Knowing that only one half of you is fertility challenged is a relief because it's just..well you know, 1 less thing.
Lets back up.
have you ever had to have a man test done?? Oh, no?? let me tell you about the joys of the man test.
You get a cup and a little brown bag, it's always given to you by a nurse who whispers that the instructions are on a piece of paper inside but to call if you have questions. So i get home, read the instructions and it doesn't seem so bad right? I mean compared to some of the things women go through, having a Man Test is like just making love to a cup.
First things first, you have to abstain from sex or self love for 2-3 days before. ok, no big deal, except for some reason, ALL YOU WANT TO DO IS HAVE SEX in those 2-3 days. It's like suddenly there is forbidden fruit and if you don't pick it you might die.
Then there is the time. The hospital we go to will only accept it from 7:30am-2:30pm. Brandon has to be at work at 6am, so it's always an ordeal getting it there. plus you have to setup an appt. It's fun being at work, in a cubicle, trying to set that appt up. Im always so cryptic and I can tell the woman on the other end is contemplating hanging up and simulataneously im thinking, "they work in a lab, they should know when I say 'Im the one with the red hat' what that means to schedule".
So then comes the morning of it. Brandon suddenly discovers performance anxiety because you know, the cup is totally judging his size, and then I can't look because you also know, I've never seen that before, and then it's like, don't listen, actually if you could leave the house for 10 minutes and then come back that would be great. So it's finally in the cup.
Then you have to keep it warm. they tell you to put it in your bra near your boobs or under your armpit. so i've found these new pushup style bras that lane bryant only sells (because large women want you to see their very large breasts ALL-THE-TIME apparently) i found it fit well there. so we take it to the hospital lab, where you can't just sign in and wait. and this particular lab waiting room is so non patient confidentiality friendly. so you walk up to the window, both of us, and i say, I have a sample to drop off. and i get this booming voice (this happens every single time). "OH, samples go AROUND THE CORNER". I try to never make eye contact with the 20+ people waiting who suddenly are just watching YOU and your SAMPLE go around the corner. meanwhile i think brandon might have died but i leave him because I might have to make eye contact with the person waiting behind me.
The first time brandon did it, and he will probably burn my favorite pillow for saying this, there wasn't enough. And the first time I took it i agreed to go alone and take it. So i walk to the samples window and instead of the crusted lab woman or some other older person, I get this incredibly hot guy my age. Like, all the pent up sexual desire from 3 WHOLE days of not having sex, has been poured into a mold and created this lab guy. He looks at it and says, I'm sorry, but it's not enough, we can't run this sample. I don't know if there was a more humiliating moment. then you drive home thinking..well if it had been that semi Greek God i bet that cup would have been full...maybe the cup did say something negative about package size...did brandon self love..im going to kill him if he self loved himself..
second test, good to go. done right, i told the cup basically to shut her tramp mouth and it was fine.
Brandon has ADD. our entire house would be burned down if we didn't get him on an ADD medicine. he can't do a stimulant one, so we tried Strattera, almost as a last hope because he couldn't do the others. It worked great, it was wonders for our relationship because we would get into fights about things he does all the time (or doesn't do). He went on this August of 07. His good test was somewhere around june-july of 07.
Fast forward to June/July of 08. He has another test. This one is horrible, absolutely horrible. there is 2/3 count, they aren't moving, things look really really bad. we couldn't get pregnant even if i ovulated 30 eggs each cycle because his sperm are doing the equivalent of smoking a lot of pot and eating a lot of food, which translates into sitting on your ass and doing NOTHING. I've also already gone as far as I could with this doctor. In another post I'll tell you about the wonders of an HSG. The fertility clinic in my town will not see me because i'm too fat to be considered. One thing i've learned about all this fertility stuff is that apparently only thin people are deemed worth and competent to be good parents.
So then starts the reading up and researching of male factor infertility, and suddenly im like, are you kidding me, we're both messed up, what did we do to deserve this? i remember it hitting me like a ton of bricks while i was at work. i got the news, hung up, worked on something, then suddenly i was almost knocked out. great. now both of us are messed up. brandon didn't take it to well either.
We took a break until after our wedding in Sept.08. we had an awesome time at disney for our honeymoon and we relaxed. We had our HSG in October.
After the HSG and being told we'd have to go to boston for any further treatments, I think I might have had a mini-breakdown. I couldn't deal, I didn't care, it was all too much. i didn't want to do this anymore, i was sick of the metformin, sick of the charting, sick of seeing other people's babies, sick of caring, sick of obsessing over losing weight and sick of wondering if i was pregnant. so we stopped again. from Nov to about Jan. Without fast forwarding through everything else, let me conclude our Man Test story.
After this brief break, we ended up at another doctor. the one that at the beginning of this tale, I said I had worked for in a twist of irony. We repeated brandon's test, still bad. The doctor contacted a reproductive specialist in boston and asked questions, particularly about brandon's use of Strattera. They suggested a repeat and then if it was still bad, to go off the meds for 3 months and then repeat. So in April09 we repeated and it was still bad, so Brandon made the choice of going off his meds, which has not been a pretty situation, in fact, very stressful and hard for the both of us. We've lost many packages of food being left out of the fridge for random reasons he knows not, and thats just the "silly" side of things that happen. I marked my calender with a big X on each day a month went by. But backtrack to April and to hear, you have to wait for another 3 months, was like a death sentence. I remember talking to the fertility nurse, we'll call her Babs, and she said, "i know it seems like a long time, but it'll go by so fast, and we're going to get you pregnant, don't worry". That for a tiny moment made me feel a little bit hopeful.
Brandon's July09 test came back very good, increased volume, increased count and motility was definitely better. His test he just had in August was even a better improvement.
So women and men out there, if you read this, and male partner is on Strattera, it is highly likely it can cause you to have semen problems! ask your doctors. There's NOTHING online about it, because the drug is so new, but for us at least, it made a worlds of difference.