L is for “Letter”

Before leaving Dr. k's office, he informs us that he will send off the blood work and when e results are in, he will send us a letter. I smile despite the violations that occurred in the last fifteen minutes. He seems exactly like the type to send a letter instead of having his office call. I can picture these words scrawled on some fancy pants stationary: Aha! Here is exactly what is wrong! All you have to do is change this simple thing and it will be baby-palooza at your place! Good luck, sex fiends! Love, Dr. K. And it'll be a nice thing keepsake for a memory book or something girls like that.

True to his word about a week later, we receive a personally written letter from the doctor. However, the doctor didn't get my memo. All the blood work came back normal. It's simultaneously reassuring and worrisome. Instead of a glaring, obvious thing that the doctor can quick fix, there's going to be a bit more of a process.

Oh well.

Forward we go. Dr. K wants to perform tests as my wife's cycle progresses, watching how her body specifically works. This translates to more blood work first, and secondly, something he called an “Ultra Ultrasound,” which sounded kinda cool.

Turns out not so much on the cool.

It turns out that in this “Ultra Ultrasound,” they inject dye into the fallopian tubes to discover any blockages that could be preventing normal egg traveling.

Oh! And it hurts.

I left work early to go with her on test day. While we waited, I glanced around the waiting room. A television with poor reception delivers a Cosby show episode from 1,000 years ago. A man in a wheelchair, whose legs are nearly twice as small as the rest of his body, plays with his daughter while his wife remarks that this is their first in a series of stops in various departments that day. An elderly couple snacking on popcorn. The husband is wearing a wristband labeled NUCLEAR. A mother wheels with her child's head strapped into some type of brace. People come and go.

All these different lives intersecting at this one place, all for their various medical reasons. What are they here to uncover? What are they hoping for? How is God working in their lives?

I'm overwhelmed by my wife's bravery. I would be a complete wreck. She would deny it, but it's true. I know she's nervous, yet here we are. She has her wristband: DIAGNOSTIC. It's not as cool as NUCLEAR, but what are you gonna do?

We wait for her name to be called.

“Jennifer?”

It's time. Back we go, past people laying in hospital beds, to a new waiting area. I have to stay here while she goes in alone to an unknown. See what I mean? Brave.

She changes into a hospital gown and heads off with a nurse. I say a little prayer and disappear into Angry Birds again. Take out nervous aggression on digital pigs. I swear I'm not insensitive, but I have to burn off this nervous energy.

Maybe twenty minutes passes and she returns. After she changes, she falls into my arms. Without too many specifics, it was not a good experience. Bad bedside manners and insensitivity from the technicians. But it's over now. She did it and she's safe.

We have to collect a copy of the results and run them up to Dr. K's office.

And then it's time to wait for another letter.

Timothy Green Is Here To Destroy You

I’m going to take a quick side break from migrating the narrative of our baby adventures to discuss this movie we saw over the weekend. It’s called The Odd Life of Timothy Green.
Before I get into it, just in case you have any aversion to spoilers of any kind, I intend to discuss the plot of the film. Not in explicit terms, but I will reveal some pieces of information and infer others. Believe me, I am the worst when it comes to the issue of spoilers. I avoid them at all costs and harbor the deepest of grudges toward anyone, anyplace, or anything that spoiled whatever. Ask anyone who’s watched LOST or BREAKING BAD or THE DARK KNIGHT RISES with me and you will uncover how deep my dedication to ignorance goes. But in the case of Timothy Green, and in light of more recent developments in our story, I felt that, if I wanted to escape the theater emotionally unscathed, I needed to know what happens in the story.

Proceed with caution…

OK…The Odd Life of Timothy Green is a fable about a young married couple who discover that, for undisclosed to us reasons, they cannot get pregnant. That evening they daydream (night dream?) about what their hypothetical child might be like and what life events they might share with him/her, scribbling all the ideas onto notepaper. They box up the notes and bury the box in their garden. Later that night, after a freak storm, they find a young boy named Timothy Green in their home who claims to be theirs. He has leaves sprouting from his legs and claims to have come from the garden. He quickly becomes part of their life. The notes the couple wrote begin to come true and Timothy’s leaves begin to fall from his legs.

Anyone who’s seen a Disney move that deals with family can probably guess what happens.

It’s not a deep, difficult, superbly written cinematic effort. It’s a sweet, mushy, simple, probably overly sentimental movie that, even though we knew what happened, made us bawl like the babies we want so desperately. We could identify with this couple. We knew how they were feeling. They discover what having that family is like, how difficult day to day parenting can be, and ultimately the joy that is at it’s heart. We know the desire to create a tangible product of the love we have for each other and to care for it and nurture it, despite the obstacles in the world or perhaps in spite of them. To discover who your child is. To see this world through a youthful pair of eyes. Any parent knows this as well.

And we needed a good cry.

But don’t take my word for it…here’s a video reaction from two random boys I came across:

Have you seen Timothy Green? What did you think? Did I spoil it? ūüôā

Back That Thang Up

Maybe that first post was a bit much for an opening salvo, especially without any background.

But let’s back this thing up.

Around Christmas some years ago, my wife and I discovered we were pregnant.  We had been trying for a bit, so it was very welcome news at a very joyous time.  At the end of January, however, we lost the pregnancy.
I don’t think I can describe how devastating it felt. ¬†It was hard enough on me, but even harder for my girl. ¬†I can still feel the loss, anger, confusion, sadness…it doesn’t really go away completely. ¬†Our imaginations ran wild with all the experiences our new family would share…and they were gone. ¬†Just like that.

It lessens, but I don’t think it’s meant to disappear.
We soon began trying again.  We received hopeful reassurances from wonderful people who either had a miscarriage themselves or knew someone who suffered one and became successfully pregnant immediately afterwards.

It didn’t work that way for us.
Month after month, we would get our hopes up and be let down again.

And again.

And again.
Overwhelmed with confusion, we schedule another trip to her regular doctor to discuss our troubles. ¬†This was confusing to him as well, so he performed a series of in-depth blood tests. ¬†We discovered that my wife has something called an MTHFR defect. ¬†It’s essentially a genetic defect that causes blood clotting, preventing embryos from attaching to the uterus. ¬†One of those things you don’t know about until you look.
First he prescribes a regimen of vitamins. ¬†Then he casually lets slip that, in order to combat the MTHFR, there will also be INJECTIONS. ¬†Like, syringe and needle, penetrate skin, pokey-pokey injections. ¬†Shots. I’m hoping I’ve painted the picture here. ¬†I am terrified of needles and shots. ¬†My wife has to give herself shots twice daily for a few weeks a month. ¬†And if we get pregnant, it’s injections for the full term. ¬†I avoid them at all costs and cannot look when I have to get one. ¬†She has to stick herself with a needle and inject something that, according to the internet either is or is not some form of rat poison.

And there will be bruising.  HOORAY FOR TRIPS TO THE DOCTOR!!

Another reason she is my hero and I love her.

Ladies, you truly are amazing.

So we begin again, encouraged by the doctor’s reassurances.

However, our pattern holds.  No baby.

A year later, we return to this doctor frustrated. ¬†The first visit he wasn’t too receptive, but the second time he writes down the name of another doctor. ¬†You know him by his alias: Dr. Garrison Keillor.
“He’s the smartest man I know,” Doctor Alpha tells us. ¬†“His waiting list is about a year long, but call his office and give them my name.”
We take the paper and hold back tears.
“He’s not on any insurance plans. ¬†You have to file with your insurance, but he’s the best at what he does and I expect the next time I see you, you’ll be pregnant!”

We leave the office and my lady is dialing furiously. ¬†I figure the name dropping thing will take a month or more to get us in the door. ¬†I’m more concerned with how we’re going to pay for what may come.
Guess what?
Turns out there was a last minute cancellation for the very next week.

Turns out the insurance process is fairly easy with a minimal out of pocket for us…for now, anyways.
So we make an appointment with Dr. K and go for it.

I Was Sodomized By Garrison Keillor

 

Ok…not¬†THE¬†Garrison Keillor.

My wife and I went to our first appointment with a specialist not too long ago and the man could’ve been a double for Mr. K. Anyways, typically for these appointments, I’ve been along for support and info. This time I discovered that this really was OUR appointment, which I figured out very slowly.

My first inkling that trouble was afoot should’ve been when I was handed a clipboard of paperwork and promptly began filling in her info.

“That ones for you,” my lovely said, scribbling on her own clipboard.

Ok…let’s see…

“Honey, are we confident my semen is fully deposited each time?”

We’re soon called back and meet the doctor and he is an amazing man! He also could be a double for Garrison Keillor. Mannerisms, speech pattern, humor…it’s uncanny.

He performs various exams on my wife as I sit in the room, simulanteously supportive and occupied by Angry Birds. I can mad multitask. As soon as Dr. Keillor finishes with my wife, he strides toward the door instructing her to get dressed and that now I should “strip down to your shorts” and he would be right back.

Wait…what? My shorts? Underpants? Man-ties? I do as instructed, but as I sit on the examination table, my thought turn on me.

“What if we heard him wrong?” I ask. “What if he comes back in here and I’m plopped up here in my underwear and he freaks out?! What if he’s kidding?!”

“No, I’m sure that he intends to examine both of us,” my wife says.

“Well, I’m drawing the line at the protate thing,” I state. Pause. “You don’t think…?”

GK returns, and sure enough, he wasn’t kidding. He takes my blood pressure, does the stethoscope, all the usual, and I’m starting to feel better.

“Well, why don’t you take down your shorts and I’ll get something from over here?” he asks, walking back over to the counter. Rummaging around in a drawer, he tells us that what he’s getting was illegal to have in the country in the seventies, but he found a way of getting it in. He pulls out a big piece of string, tied in a circle, with lots of bright, yellow ovals attached all around the ring. I’m laying back and he pulls my covering to the side and begins to prod my testicles. ¬†I cannot look.

“I like to call it my family jewel measurer,” he explains, as he finishes and returns them to their home. Here we go…I think. Of course mine must be off the charts, right?

“You’re a little smaller than normal,” GK tells me, each word a bullet to my male pride. “Have you had a prostate exam?”

“No…,” I reply, and I’m not going to today.

“I ask because sometimes diminished size is a result of prostate cancer. So, why don’t you lay back down and we’ll get this taken care of?” He’s already pulling out rubber gloves. “Don’t worry. I’ll use lubricant.”

I didn’t realize lubricant was a¬†choice.

I look to my wife. I love you, she mouths to me, getting up to hold my hand.

And faster than you can say “finger up your butt,” there’s a finger up my butt.

And it’s over. And everything is normal. Which is a relief, except that I have small balls, of course. Oh, sorry…DIMINSHED.

He leaves and I get dressed. When he comes back, he gives us possible diagnoses, sends us to get some bloodwork going and disappears to think.

We go up front and give them blood and $1,386.

And we leave, violated and hopeful.

A New Beginning

I’m calling this a “new” beginning. ¬†For the next few weeks, I’ll be migrating¬†posts about¬†baby making from another blog address to here. ¬†My other blog, if you could call it that, seems to lack focus. ¬†I think by creating this as the spot for our¬†baby making adventures, I can bring cohesion to my thoughts. ¬†Maybe even more focus to my writing and time management! ¬†And in the meantime I can work¬†on new content! ¬†Win-win!