Babies, babies, babies. That’s all I thought about when I was a little girl. I thought you grew up, marry the first man that sweeps you off your feet, then a month later you were busy planning the most special way to tell your husband that he is going to be a father. Easy right? Plenty of girls in high school were ‘accidentally’ getting pregnant. Surely if I did everything the right way (get married, be a good person, etc…) then I would be spitting out babies let and right, but life doesn’t work like that. Dating was horrible. Actually, dating was a nightmare. It took me forever to meet my husband. I was almost 31 years old when I got married….much older than I ever imagined I would be. My husband was 36 years old, but luckily for me, he was ready for children. So we began our journey.
You know that feeling you get in the deepest part of your stomach that is telling you something, but you choose to ignore it because in your head you think you know better. 9 times out of 10 you discover that gut feeling you had was actually correct. Right before I became engaged to my husband I discovered testosterone shots in my husband’s medicine drawer. Alarmed by it, I immediately began to question why he was taking testosterone supplements. He reassured me he was being monitored by a nurse practitioner at a primary care clinic. He was experiencing symptoms of low testosterone (low energy, mood swings, etc) so his NP prescribed testosterone supplements and also monitored his testosterone via blood work. Derek was very confident that what he was taking was safe, but my gut feeling told me different. So I did the girl thing and immediately got on the internet. My gut told me that testosterone supplements were bad and webmd.com confirmed it. 1 month from getting married, while cooking breakfast for my husband, I told Derek I made us an appointment for after we returned from our honeymoon with my ob gyn just to get checked out and explore our fertility chances.
I will never forget the appointment that I made with my ob gyn. I believe I was still glowing from Mexican sun and wedded bliss. My doctor, myself and Derek, all sat in her office joking around while she reassured me that I was probably just worried because I wanted to get pregnant so bad. She ordered blood work to be done on myself and a semen analysis on my husband. As she walked out of the office, she turned, looked at me, and said, “Babies are made when you are having fun.”
My blood work result came back and it was revealed that my progesterone hormone was low. If you know your hormones then you know that progesterone’s main action is to help support a developing embryo. Progesterone doesn’t necessarily affect your fertility, but it’s really important as low progesterone can cause a miscarriage. My doctor delivered this important, but not devastating news and I immediately wanted to know what I could do. She told to be patient and to wait on Derek’s semen analysis. If you are currently trying to get pregnant, then you understand that patience is rather infuriating. I didn’t have time for patience. So I did my research.
I will never forget the day I got the phone call from my doctor’s office with Derek’s semen analysis results. It was devastating to me at the time. I felt completely and utterly hopeless. I felt sad and scared for my husband. His results came back as inconclusive. There was nothing for them to analyze. My husband had no sperm. None. I sat in my office at work and cried. You can’t make a baby without sperm. My doctor recommended that Derek see an Urologist for some answers. I called the number one recommended Urologist that also specialized in infertility that day and got an appointment for the following week. I was crying to the receptionist as I answered why I was making an appointment. She so sweetly responded, “I’m so sorry.”
Azoospermia, the fancy word for no sperm count. The word just rolled off the Urologist tongue as if he was telling Derek he had strep throat. He was looking at Derek’s chart and suddenly stopped and said, “You take tests, huh?” Derek responded yes and explained that it wasn’t prescribed by a NP and was monitored. The doctor took his glasses off and shook his head and asked Derek if the NP went over the side effects. Before, Derek could answer the doctor responded, “Of course not, otherwise you wouldn’t be taking tests.” Just like most foreign, synthetic hormones, testosterone supplements have lots of negative side effects such as increased blood clots, hostility, heart attacks and infertility. Testosterone supplements spurs a process that impedes sperm production, in other words, kills sperm. The testosterone hormone is known as the fountain of youth for men which is why so many men flock to doctors requesting it while doctors prescribe it. Doctor’s prescribe supplements without ever mentioning what it does to a man’s fertility. Derek’s doctor ordered him to immediately quit taking the testosterone while warning me of the withdrawals that Derek would experience from the supplements. He informed us that it would take 3 months for Derek’s body to rid itself of this fake hormone and 3 months to build sperm production back up. He also told us that there was a great possibility that Derek may never get his sperm production back up. My heart sunk.
So we waited. We waited the very long, very hard 3 months. But, my gut feeling told me to be proactive, do my homework so that I did.
Just like most people, Derek and I, have a fertility story. For the next few weeks, I will be sharing our story with you. The good, the bad, and everything in between.