Another candid blog post of the male experience, from PAM Advisory Team member and Dad’s Space Expert, Robert Nickell of Daddy Scrubs.
The first step in the process of becoming a parent is actually getting pregnant. From the guy’s standpoint we can basically fall into three different categories: 1) You are just having fun and then…“uh oh”, 2) or you are actively trying, which means a lot of performance anxiety, 3) or you are heading off to the MD to personally deliver a specimen for artificial insemination.
My life experience to date has included all of the above.
I had four children in my twenties and then after two decades I was blessed to get remarried in my late forties and make plans to have more children. However, I had a vasectomy almost 15 years ago and most people I talked to would give me the “head shake” and a slight frown. Not easily dismayed, my wife and I looked around until we found a physician in Los Angeles that gave us a confident smile as well as an 80%++ chance of success. His name is Philip Werthman MD.
I had the reversal, however my wife was still very worried about our ability to succeed. So we set up a monitoring system for ovulation. Now most guys think we can perform on demand and be ready to go, but in reality when it comes down to it, performance anxiety is real. And I experienced it. When the time comes, you need to be ready, regardless of whatever else is going on in your head, and that isn’t always easy. After three months of this, I would actually wake up thinking, “Oh no, we are getting close!” I would start doing push ups, stop drinking at night, and start taking my vitamins.
But lets remember it is not just the guy with performance anxiety, your wife is also worried, stressed, and concerned about “Can she get pregnant?” “Is it her, or you?”, “What is wrong with us?” After months of this worry and pressure we finally decided to try the artificial route. Of course, it was my wife who made that appointment.
I showed up at the medical office and sat down in the room with some other couples. All the guys are looking at each other like we are in a psychiatrist office, “Are you here for the same reason I am?”
Then I heard my name called. I felt like a freshman sorority girl walking the hall of shame as I approached the office door (I know, I reveal my age with that example..). I just knew everyone was looking at me. I was told to go in the room, use a cup, and put it in a bag when I was done. Wow, that’s inspiring.
I went in the room and closed the sliding door, obviously not sound proof. I pushed the button on the TV, and then I was instantly grossed out thinking that another guy just a few minutes ago turned that same TV off, if you know what I mean. As well, the show just started up where the last guy left off. Oh man, just reminiscing here brings that wave of discomfort and “eww” factor all over again. So now I am in the room and I start to panic and think to myself, “How long does a guy stay in here?” Has it been too long already? Or too quick?” I lost track of time but tried my best to focus. Afterwards, I walked out of the room, back to the stares and suppressed smiles of the guys in the waiting room (why they would think it was funny I have no idea, they were next!) Someone needs to design a separate exit door for these places. Anyway, I was red faced, short of breath, and I felt like I was in a time warp. I could see people looking at me and talking but I could not hear them. I placed the bag on the counter, everyone in the room knowing full well, what was in the bag, and I walked out the door. My wife watched me go with a small grin on her face.
I went home and prayed, with passion and sincerity that we would be blessed and that I would not have to experience any of that again. Nine months later our prayers were answered with the gift of a beautiful 9-pound baby boy.
**This is a guest blog post from Robert’s personal experiences, he is not a medical provider, nor an official fertility expert, and neither are any of us at Pregnancy Awareness Month. This information is presented for entertainment purposes, not to provide any medical advice.