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Archive for the Tag 'men and infertility'

Reflections on the “BFP”…

I’m writing this on the airplane, comfortably cruising along at 30-something thousand feet.

I have to say that I remain shocked, thrilled, and extremely grateful. I’m also a little nervous about what the future will hold.

In any case, let me expand on these feelings for a bit.


L called me just as I was getting ready to head down for my car ride to the airport. I don’t recall exactly what she said… something to the effect of “it worked… blah, blah, blah… “you’re going to be a daddy…” blah, blah, blah. I was shocked… or more accurately just stunned. Stunned. L was also exceedingly calm. I think she was shocked too.

Theoretically, we knew this was possible. Yet, emotionally, we didn’t allow ourselves to go to an overly hopeful place. On balance, that was probably the right decision.

Wow. It worked.


Needless to say, we are both thrilled. My pleasure exists on multiple levels:

First (and most importantly), we’re closer to actually being parents.

Second, we were able to get here on the first IVF cycle (making the “shared risk program” perhaps a costly waste of resources… but a decision I don’t regret and a price I’d pay 3 times over).

Third, the IVF cycle was relatively “easy” for L – both physically and emotionally.

Fourth, we can (hopefully) move on to the next phase of our life together.


I’m grateful for all of the items on the above “thrilled” list.

I’m even more grateful when I consider our joy in the context of fellow infertile couples. I’ve read so many stories of struggles far worse than ours. And, now, it looks like we’re getting to the proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel” in advance of others too. I cannot help but feel extraordinarily grateful, both for our good fortune and the fellowship of others.

I don’t know why we’re “the lucky ones” today.

We all stand on the roulette wheel of life. Sometimes, for good or bad, our number hits. There probably is no way to know “why” or at least that knowledge is beyond us.

I am, therefore, humbled and grateful.


Not to be a downer, but… I also know joy can be fleeting.

Miscarriages. Stillbirths. Premature birth. Birth defects. And so on and so forth… all of these are now (relatively speaking) far less than likely outcomes. Nonetheless, I’m also far more keenly aware of such issues (and the associated devastation) than I would have been under “normal” circumstances. I’m just hoping for a healthy, happy bundle of joy.

I’m also worried because I now have to start transitioning from thinking about “how to become a father” to thinking about “how to be a good father.” I see this as an awesome responsibility and (in all likelihood) the most important work I’ll ever do in my life. This is daunting.

As of today, I have to start focusing on a new purpose. Holy shit!

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One day to go…

Rocket Alarm Clock

The countdown continues.

Over the last couple of days while I’ve been on the road, L has been dutifully reporting to me on her status / symptoms. She continues to have swollen and sore boobs, fatigue, some nausea (especially in the morning), bloating, and constipation. The cramps that she experienced over the weekend and early this week have subsided.

Pregnant or progesterone? That is the question.

Either way, we’ll know tomorrow. And, I’ll post the results here by tomorrow night.

Meanwhile, the men have arrived…

Welcome to my fellow brothers of infertility!

In the last day or so, I’ve had my first comments on the blog from men. Of course, I love the ladies who visit here too. But, it’s nice to see the fellas.

I’m optimistic that the male voice on infertility will expand and grow in the IVF blogosphere.

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Four days to go…

Waiting for results

In the last day or so, L’s been complaining of increasing symptoms, seemingly associated with her progesterone shots. Or, they might be indicative (according to the Mayo Clinic) of her being pregnant. These include: sore/swollen breasts, fatigue, nausea, constipation, and (in the past day or two) slight cramping.

The reality is that there’s really no way to tell at this point.

And, she’s going to follow official advice by not peeing on a stick.

So, we wait: four more days to initial results.

And, I’m leaving town…

I’ve mentioned in the past that we live in Florida. However, I haven’t mentioned that I work for a company in Minnesota. That was the deal—I’d work for the company, if they’d let me commute.

This means—in addition to “usual” business travel to meetings and events—I travel a fair amount extra to see my staff and participate in meetings at headquarters. Fortunately, I have some flexibility in how I arrange my schedule. As such, I was able to be home during the retrieval and transfer process. However, I can’t just not travel for months at a time.

So, this week I’ll be heading back up to Minnesota.

The PIO shots won’t be a problem as we have a pinch hitter to assist with that.

I leave tomorrow and return Friday afternoon. Fuck.

At the time that I set my schedule, this made sense (to me at least). In part, we expected (being naïve, optimistic, dumb asses) that we’d have a five day transfer. This would have meant that the blood test would have been on Sunday, not Friday. Opps.

If we get a positive result, I’ll most likely learn about it at the airport. This is not exactly L’s idea of the best way to share the news. Although, it probably is apropos given the amount of time I spend on planes and in airports.

If we get a negative result, I won’t really be available to comfort L. To me this is the worst case scenario. Double fuck.

Or, I might just be sitting on an airplane for a few hours not knowing whether or not we’ve won the parenthood lottery.

Lesson learned. Next time (fingers crossed there won’t be a next time), I’m not traveling during “results week.” Period.

Oh well. At least I got my first class upgrade. So, I’ve got that going for me.

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When pregnancy happens to someone else

Baby on Board

I’ve noticed a common theme in reading other infertility blogs (written mostly by women) over the past weeks and months: a keen awareness of, and emotional reaction toward, other women’s pregnancies.

Obviously, there are the shared congratulations and excitement when a fellow member of the infertile sisterhood trips the BFP light fantastic.

That’s not what I’m talking about…

No, I’m talking about the—often emotional—reaction to pregnancies by seemingly uber-fertile sisters, cousins, friends, co-workers, and acquaintances. Or, more generally, any “bitch with a bun in the oven” shopping at stores like Babies ‘r Us, Pottery Barn Kids, or Pea in the Pod.

That’s what I’m talking about…

In terms of emotion, I’ve read reports of everything from depression to jealousy to anger. (Anger: especially in the case of said mother-to-be handing out well-intentioned, but dumb-as-fuck advice). That said, the overarching theme seems to be a poignant sense of “why not me” and the enveloping sadness associated with that emptiness.

A little closer to home…

L and I have never talked about this particular aspect of infertility.

But, it got me to thinking: does she have a similar reaction?

I was now curious. So, I explained my observations to her the other night.

She confirmed a similar set of feelings:

She sort of shrugged. “Yeah. It makes me sad. It’s sort of like when I was young and other girls had boyfriends before me. I’m not unhappy about their happiness. I just want my happiness too. I think: when will it be my turn?”

My perspective as a man…

I can’t say I share a similar response—or really any response—to other pregnancies or childbirths. I try to look interested and act pleased. Heck, sometimes, I genuinely am happy for them or really do think “it’s the cutest baby ever!”

But, I mostly don’t give a shit.

Maybe it’s because I’m less exposed to this sort of thing as a man? No, I don’t think so. For example, at my office, I recently had three co-workers go on paternity leave for their birth of their children. We also have at least six more “blessed events” slated through the remainder of the summer. I’ve looked at ultrasound pictures (mostly alien-like). I’ve seen the baby pictures (mostly cute). I’ve not touched any bellies—because I think that’s just creepy. But, suffice it to say, I am fully aware.

Yet, I really just don’t give a shit.

Are most men (in infertile couples) like this: blissfully unconcerned?

Is this a fundamental difference between women and men?

Am I crazy?

I have no data points. So, I’m left wondering.

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Gordon Ramsay: It takes real bollocks…

Gordon Ramsay & The F Word Low Sperm Count Campaign

Earlier this year, I broke my leg while (attempting) to walk on an icy sidewalk. Note: this is not a good activity for a native Floridian with relatively poor balance. Anyway, I spent six weeks in a cast and on crutches.

During this time, I watched a lot of television (a rarity for me). And, since I’m a bit of a foodie, I was drawn to culinary shows, including those with celebrity chefs. This is when I discovered Gordon Ramsay, a British chef best known in the States for his Hell’s Kitchen and Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares series. However, over in the UK, he also has a series called the F Word (Ramsay’s notorious for his use of profanity, especially my beloved expletive, fuck — clearly one of the reasons that I like him).

However, the main reason why I like Ramsay is that he openly discussed his low sperm count on the F Word. And, he encouraged other male celebrity guests to do the same. The F Word also featured an investigative segment on the effects of diet on male fertility and launched a “Low Sperm Count Campaign” (here is Zita West’s recommended diet for improving male fertility).

How cool is that?

Ramsay’s wife also had female fertility issues, specifically polycystic ovary syndrome.

According to an article in The Times, they’ve had three children through IVF: a single on their 3rd attempt, followed by twins on their next attempt. Somewhat miraculously, their fourth child (youngest daughter) was conceived naturally.

As an outspoken advocate for men and infertility, I’m making Gordon Ramsay the first winner of the (hopefully soon to be cherished) Adventures in Fatherland “Golden Specimen Cup” Award.

This August, L and I plan to be back in London. As it happens, it will coincide with our 12th wedding anniversary, which we plan to celebrate at a Gordon Ramsay restaurant.

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