Until today, I hadn’t realized the kind of distance C had from this whole infertility bonanza. He’s been nothing but supportive, sweet and generally happy to endure/speak sarcastically of my, let’s say, ebbing moods – even when I have bluntly told him
that I am having a very hard time liking him that I need some alone time. But C doesn’t have to get poked and
prodded four times in six days; he doesn’t have Chinese hamster ovary injected
into his gut; and he’s not ravenously eating for nine during
“birth-control-week.” Simply put:
C is not the patient and it turns out, he didn’t quite know how to be.
This morning we went in for our first IUI, which means that after a romantic morning of must-ejaculate-into-this-small-plastic-cup-immediately, we headed over to the fertility clinic to drop off the sample, one hour in advance of the procedure.
shit how on earth are we running late C went up first while I parked.
Then, as I was riding the elevator, a frantic text “What do I do? All the women
are staring at me.”
When I met him in the clinic lobby, he looked like a deer in headlights. What was he supposed to sign/where was he supposed to go/what is the meaning of life/etc. The questions were coming fast and furious.
Now, it should be said – C has accompanied me to the clinic several times. He’s even given a sample once before, at the beginning of this whole mis-adventure. But never has he been the patient, per se. Now. C is one of the smartest people I know – doctor, builder of kayaks, maker of sarcastic quips. And so it was a surprise, and somewhat baffling, to see him so unhinged. So while I personally may have indulged ever-so-briefly in his panic-stricken-face, I wasn’t really so keen on the entire waiting room and nursing staff thinking that he was some sort of aloof proto-male who isn’t comfortable talking about reproduction, let alone dropping off his sperm in a brown paper lunch bag. Because: feminist! liberated man! Etc.
Which is why, when the nurse gave me a knowing glance and remarked, Why is it always so hard for the men to participate?, I found it rather irksome. I mumbled something like, he’s just nervous and then smiled at her because for some god forsaken reason I have a complex that compels me to make sure nurses, grocery store employees and sales people like me.
I swear the deep insights are forthcoming! I guess what I’m saying is
that while C has been riding this derailed
train right along side me, I think that until today, he wasn’t really taking in
After we dropped off the sample, we ducked out for breakfast at a coffee shop around the corner. Being that the fertility clinic is located just inside a kind of upper class suburban jungle, the coffee shop was packed with mamas and their toddling kin – one inexplicably screaming “RO-BOT! RO-BOT!” while another held a stuffed animal lamb in a death grip and a third covered her face in blueberry scone. As I pointed out the cute babies, I could see that C was growing a bit angsty. We sat down and he took my hands, close to tears now, whispering something about how seeing babies made him emotional. Boy, you have NEVER been on my wavelength more than right this moment!
think pretty soon he’ll be experiencing bump envy.
There was just something about the entire experience for him – one that we in the estrogen-set tolerate with disturbing regularity and, usually, even-tempered I-guess-I-just-have-to-endure-this-ness – that really magnified for him the struggle, uncertainty and absence of control inherent in all of this.
After a few
croissants deep breaths, we returned to the clinic – to the
saccharin daytime talk show playing on TV, to the pairs of similarly anxious-but-trying-to-look-bucolic,
work-skipping couples. When my name was called,
C went into the exam room with me. His sperm-stats were looking good
and although the actual procedure was rather more unpleasant than I imagined – not worse than a pap smear is a boldface
lie – we made it through, C holding my hand and looking like he might very
nearly pass out, at any moment.
And just like that, so begins another two-week wait. Thankfully, we’re hitting the road this weekend, heading west to the mountains, putting all the catheters and speculums and sperm counts behind us (temporarily at least).
But what about you guys and your guys, how do they handle all this included-but-not-exactly-included-ness when it comes to infertility?
 Five minutes of utter terror/the animation I will force on my future petri-dish children when they ask to hear their “birth story.” You’ve been warned – all of you. Also, if my sperm has a bow in her (it’s?) hair, then I insist on a refund.
 Dennis Duffy probably said it best. Dear Liz Lemon: While other women have bigger boobs than you, no other woman has as big a heart. When I saw you getting ready to go out and get nailed by a bunch of guys last night, I knew for sure it was over between us, and for the first time since the '86 World Series, I cried... if it was up to me, we'd be together forever. But there's a new thing called "women's liberation", which gives you women the right to choose and you have chosen to abort me, and that I must live with. So tonight, when you arrive home, I'll be gone. I officially renounce my squatter's rights.
 This might be the worst metaphor yet. amiright?
 Seriously, do you know how many well-meaning parents named their child Sarah? Let’s just say there were a lot of false starts. Oh, you mean her. Well, then, yes, thank you, I’ll just wait here. Then I smiled. Because, you know, it’s imperative that the nurse who knows me as just-one-in-a-thousand frequent flyer infertiles, likes me.