As I mentioned in my last post, our doctor was able to get us on the schedule for preliminary testing pretty quickly. Read on to find out what the testing entailed and what we found out.
Fortunately, I have an amazing friend who went through the same journey we are starting, so she told me all about the testing and what to expect. This helped calm my nerves just a little bit as we headed to the exam room for the ultrasound. I knew this wasn't going to hurt.
1. The Ultrasound
When we got to the exam room, the nurse asked me to disrobe from the waist down, sit on the table and put my feet in the stirrups. Easy enough (similar to an annual exam). She then inserted the long, wand-like thingy and we were able to see my cervix, ovaries, uterus and fallopian tubes on the screen. I only assume this is what it's like when you actually have a baby in there and you go in for an ultrasound.
She explained she was looking for the number of follicles I have as well as checking to see if I have any fibroids (which are growths in the uterus that can interfere with pregnancy). Everything looked great and we were soon on our way home.
2. The Sperm Sample
We decided Brian would drop off his sperm sample Tuesday morning before going to work. He had the option of doing it at the clinic or doing it at home and taking it to the clinic within an hour. He opted for the more comfortable option. We were told to call back for his results in 48 hours.
3. The Fallopian Tube X-Ray (& some bad news)
Brian and I met at Iowa Radiology for this test. Dr. Young was going to meet me there at 3:45, then I had an acupuncture appointment right after (because I had some some research and read that acupuncture can help with female infertility).
At our first appointment the previous day, I was prescribed an antibiotic as well as told to take ibuprofen about an hour before my appointment. My friend who's been through this warned me that this one will hurt a bit and it's not uncommon for cramping and a little bleeding afterwards.
The technical term for this x-ray is hysterosalpingogram, which is a procedure that checks to see if your fallopian tubes are blocked. They insert a thin tube into your cervix, and fill your uterus with a liquid that contains iodine. The iodine contrasts with your uterus and fallopian tubes on the x-ray. The contrasting liquid shows the outline of your uterus and fallopian tubes and how the fluid moves through them.
Obviously, if there is a blockage, there is an issue. Sperm won't be able to get to the egg or the fertilized egg won't be able to get to the uterus.
The radiology tech takes me to the x-ray room (Brian had to stay in the waiting room) tells me to disrobe from the waist down (sounds familiar) and sit on the x-ray table and wait for the doctor to arrive.
I wait. And wait. It's cold on this table, yet I'm so nervous I'm sweating.
Dr. Young comes in, tells me to lay back and gets everything ready for the procedure. As he's doing this, he says to me (very matter-of-factly, because that's the type of doctor he is––which we respect and appreciate)––
"Well, I've got some bad news. We didn't see any sperm in Brian's sample from this morning."
And just as he said that, I felt the tightening and the cramping from the dye being inserted into my cervix. I started squirming on the table, tears sprang to my eyes and I nearly had a panic attack.
And almost just as quickly as it started, it was over. He helped me sit up and said, "Everything looks good on your end. Do you want me to tell Brian the news or would you like to?"
I think I squeaked out, "Would you tell him please? He's in the waiting room."
Because, how in the world was I supposed to tell the love of my life–the future father of my children–my HUSBAND–that there was absolutely NO sperm in his sample? Not a low sperm count. NO SPERM. Zero. Zilch.
I met Brian back in the waiting room after I got dressed. My mind was foggy–I thought we had to wait 48 hours to find out his results, this must be a big deal. I could tell just by looking at Brian that the doctor had already told him the news. We hugged and didn't say a word.
I headed to my acupuncture appointment, but don't even remember driving there.
That night, we cried together and prayed together. We thought maybe it was a fluke test or there was some type of error or mixup. Brian would do another one right after we got home from Hawaii.
I'd be lying if I said this didn't put a little rain cloud over the vacation that we'd been looking forward to for such a long time. But it was perfect timing because it is just what we needed. Special times spent with our friends, their kids (and new little bundle of joy!) who are stationed on a base in Oahu, some fun in the sun, cruising around the entire island in our friends' jeep and a few nights together at Waikiki.
We will worry about these test results when we get home.