Smile Like You Mean It

We sat for almost an hour in the waiting room before the doctor was finally able to see us, and that gave me plenty of time to stew over what he might see. By the time we finally did make it into his office, I was prepared for the worst. As usual, the worst did not come. In fact, the doctor didn’t tell us much that we didn’t already know. The worst part of it then, was when he began to discuss the possibility of a donor, if all else failed. Sitting there in that smallish office, staring down at the textbook illustration of the female reproductive system that sat on the doctor’s desk, I felt as if I was being written out of the story.

I was thinking that it would be wrong of me to deny Stephanie a child of her own if that’s what it came down to. Why should she suffer just because I couldn’t hold up my end of the bargain. That’s what I was thinking. But deep down, I was seething. How dare he even suggest it? Another man’s child growing inside my wife’s womb? I started to feel all kinds of crazy. It wasn’t rational. It wasn’t even me. The best wasy I could describe it would be to call it a primal, animal anger. And I’m not even sure if that would be the best way to describe it.

Luckily, this procedure would be a last resort. We still have the option of IVF ahead of us. But, with sperm as deformed as mine, there is a chance that any child we conceived, even if conceived in the controlled environment of the lab, might have some sort of genetic problem. At every turn, the doctor tried to reassure us. Mostly likely, the genetic abnormalities would have to do with the Y chromosome, he said. So, the worst case here, if that were true, would be that we could only have girls or have boys who, in twenty years, when they decided to have children, would have to through this same process.

We were still awaiting the results of my bloodwork, done on Wednesday. So there were still things to be looked at. By my second semen analysis, also collected on Wednesday, came back within the same range as the first.

It was all very difficult and for most of the day afterward I was very sad. We did some driving, some window-shopping, some eating-out, and then some movie-watching. At one particular store we stopped at, we were almost waited on by Megan. It was a freaky experience. I recognized her so quickly that I turned around while saying “We’re all set,” just to make sure she didn’t have time to recognize me. If she had recognized me, I thought she might want to punch me in the nuts. This fear was the result of a rather casual e-mail exchange between Megan and I a little while back regarding this site. But you know me—I expect the worst. I was fearing a confrontation. Luckily, we got out of there before anything wonky happened.

I’m better now, but still coping with the sting of this whole situation (the fertility situation, not the Megan one). On Monday, we’ll call to set up an appointment with an IVF clinic. Within the next couple of months, we’ll either find success or we won’t. In either case, I’m not sure I’ll ever be completely ready for what’s going to come next.