Fertility Futility: Part 1

WARNING: Adult content ahead

Making a baby sounded so simple when we were kids. Mommy and daddy wrestled to see who got the shower, then a few months later the stork brought a baby. Even when we got older and learned the more accurate process, it seemed pretty easy. Adults even warned us to “use protection” because it could happen by accident.

Couple walking under an arbor in Central Park
From http://www.centralpark.com

For some people, getting pregnant is indeed the proverbial walk in the park (in fact, many pregnancies start with walks in parks that lead to quickies under gazebos). Other folks, however, like my wife and I, find getting pregnant incredibly difficult. I should probably clarify that. We understand the mechanics of it: insert tab D into slot P, try to avoid hole A (mistakes are sometimes made). The process just doesn’t seem to end in conception for us. My wife sometimes feels the process ends too quickly, but she is not a doctor, so her opinion is irrelevant on this particular matter.

After trying for a couple of years, my wife suggested that we seek help from a professional. You can imagine my disappointment when she explained that this meant a fertility doctor, not a call girl. We found a doctor and made an appointment.

The first visit consisted of my wife and I describing to the doctor our urination frequency, her menstrual cycles, and our intercourse tendencies. The doctor listened with, I felt, a bit too much interest. I understand that it is his job, but where I come from the mere thought of menses terrifies men. This guy, however, was fascinated by it and wanted every little detail. I learned many things about my wife that day, things that will haunt me for decades to come.

Finally, as we were wrapping up, the doctor said, “You’ll need to set up an appointment to provide a specimen. I hope that’s not a problem.”

Hot Dog Trophy
Top Dog Indeed

A problem? Please! I had been “providing specimens” for years. By any measure of athleticism, I was a champion, in fact. There was one tiny little issue, however. I would not be allowed to “provide specimens” for at least three days prior to the appointment. Do you think Steve Yzerman stopped skating and shooting slapshots three days before a game? It was going to be tough.

It was tough, indeed. My wife, showing zero sympathy for my plight, took to parading around the house in various states of undress. And let me ask you a question. When did they start showing so much sex and so many half-naked women on television? Every time I turned on the TV, there was a giant set of ta-tas bouncing around the screen. It was maddening! I made it through, however, and the big day finally arrived.

The appointment was in the afternoon, but I still woke early, had a big breakfast, and did some stretches (I didn’t want to cramp up or pull a hammy). My wife insisted that she accompany me to the appointment despite my repeated assurance that I knew what I was doing. We arrived a few minutes early, signed in, and took a seat.

After several minutes of trying to not make eye contact with other men in the waiting room (we all knew why we were there), a nurse called my wife and I to the back. She showed my wife to a waiting area and instructed me to follow her down the hall where we arrived at a room.

I feel it important to mention at this point that leading up to this day, I spoke with a friend whom I knew went through the process. He said that it was not as bad as I anticipated. They would put me in a secluded room with comfortable furniture, a TV, a DVD player and an assortment of videos for my viewing pleasure and specimen production. That’s what he told me.

Doctor's exam room

When the nurse and I entered the room, it became clear that my friend either lied to me or his medical insurance was much better than mine. There were no comfy chairs, no television, no DVD player. The room was a regular ol’ doctor’s office room complete with examination table that had stirrups! I was nonplussed, to say the least. The nurse went to a drawer, unlocked it, and removed several magazines which she spread out on the counter. She, then, handed me a cup and told me to bring it to the front when I was done. I saw her lock the door on her way out, but I still double checked it.

I looked around the room. It was not ideal, but I decided to use the setting to my advantage. What guy hasn’t had the naughty nurse fantasy, after all? Yeah, I could make this work. I went to the magazines to choose the lucky lady who would play the part of Slutty Nurse #14. I flipped through the first one, noting a possible candidate, then did the same with the next one. The perusal was enough to get the blood flowing, so to speak, but then I picked up the third magazine. The cover featured a beautiful, buxom blonde, which is right up my alley. A second after picking it up, however, I recognized the woman and everything came a screeching halt.

The magazine was a collector’s issue of Playboy. What was special about it, you may ask? It was “A Tribute to Anna Nicole Smith” who had died a few months earlier. I can only assume this was included in the magazine choices to arouse those men with a proclivity towards necrophilia. As I follow the socially acceptable revulsion of sex with dead people, this had the exact opposite effect on me. I let out a gasp and slapped the magazine face down on the counter. I quickly grabbed the first magazine and got down to business, hoping I hadn’t lost too much momentum.

Anna Nicole Smith Tribute in Playboy May 2007

It took a few minutes, but Anna Nicole was soon out of my head and “Slutty Nurse #14” was in it. Champions get in the race and I was a champion. Things went well and I was approaching the finish line, when the loudest laugh and snort I’ve ever heard sent this champion to the pavement. Slutty Nurse #14 disappeared, replaced by Cackling Witch #1. I looked at the door terrified and convinced I would see a woman standing there. Instead, thankfully, I saw the closed, locked door. The laughter came from the other side where two women decided to tell very funny stories to each other. This was distracting to say the least. The laughing would stop, I would get back to business, and the laughing would start again. This went on for a while, until for the first time in my long career this champion had to admit defeat.

Cackling Witch #1 and #2 were both startled when I flung the door open. They stared at me wide-eyed as I passed between them, then made my way down the hall. I walked slowly, my head hung low, carrying an empty specimen cup as a trophy. My wife was aghast when I walked into the waiting area. I looked horrible. My hair was plastered to my forehead with sweat. More sweat ran down my face and soaked into my shirt collar. My left arm, sapped of all strength, swung like a pendulum at my side.

“Are you OK?” she asked.

“It’s not going to happen,” I said.

And then my wife looked at me with a combination of caring and unease as she said, “Do you, um, do you need my help?”

I thanked her for the offer and assured her that, under normal circumstances, I would have welcomed a hand from her, but not this time. She came to me and reached for my dangling hand before realizing what I was just doing with it and put her hand on my shoulder, instead. We walked to the counter where I explained, with a great deal of shame, that I was not able to provide a specimen.

This is not where the story ends, though. Read Fertility Futility: Part Two for the rest.

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