Sunday, September 23, 2007

Tell Me You Love Me: Episode 03

Last week, we were left wondering if we were going to be set up for a MF situation after Carolyn checked out okay at the RE.

In the beginning of this episode, Palek is seen jerking off into a cup for an S/A. He and Carolyn have phone sex so he can "make his deposit". Palek is able to somehow get into the lab, where the technician mentions there is a "worldwide sperm crisis". He views someone's bad sample (low count and practically no motility) and then his...which turns out to be great. Beautiful motility and beautiful count. He calls Carolyn and she says she is thrilled - multiple times no less - but she is actually quite surprised. She even congratulates him, which confuses Palek. All along, I believe she really wanted him to be the problem. Now, I assume we are led to believe they are unexplained. I'm not sure of all the testing she has had done but so far, we have no answers. Perhaps an HSG or some bloodwork is in order? *wink wink*

Did you ladies "verbally assist" your DHs with the S/A? I gave my hubby permission to go online for "help" but I didn't want to contaminate anything by helping him along myself. Also, were you or your DH allowed to go back into the lab to view the sample? I was able to see the results of my PCT right there in the office but not for our S/A. I don't imagine many men get that up close and personal with their sample.

Later on, Palek and Carolyn go to an impromptu game night with friends. In the middle of a charades-type game, one of their friends, Julie, gets up to go to the bathroom and you can hear her puking. Her husband admits she is pregnant "again". With #3. Palek is excited and honestly happy for them, while Carolyn looks like she wants to hide under a rock. Palek opens up and says that he and Carolyn are "officially trying", much to her chagrin. She passive-aggressively clarifies that they've been trying for a year and says that his sperm was tested and it was really good. Palek is a little shy about the issue but admits it. The friends look a little weirded out by the conversation but toast to them.

For those of you who've shared IF stories with friends or family, how did they react? Do you get the feeling that they are uncomfortable at times or are they truly interested? I try not to go too in-depth with my friends because I'm not sure how much they want to know. However, I do share that we are having "treatment" or "testing" done. If they ask to know more, then I will go into the details. I usually let them take the lead.

In the car, Carolyn calls him out for breaking the news to their friends. Palek says he doesn't want to be "that couple" that everyone feels strange around. They continue to argue about the subject on the way home.

Are you and DH usually on the same page about coming out of the IF closet? We are usually in agreement about what to share and when but there are times when he tells his mother or sister information that I'd rather them not know. I don't really say anything to him about it because I know he needs to vent too. I have my blog and my fertility friends - a support system that he lacks. So I try to give him a break when it comes to what he chooses to share.

When they get home, Carolyn watches TV and is still pretty pissed at Palek. She feels very pressured and says he made it worse. Palek says they are fine but she disagrees because, even if a problem hasn't been pinpointed, they aren't pregnant. Palek shouts that he "will get [her] pregnant" - almost as though he is trying to convince himself more than her. He gets frustrated and hides on his computer until Carolyn confronts him and says they just need to forget about it. She tries to initiate sex and he initially resists and calls her crazy. Eventually, she wins him over. They have a rough sex session, and it seemed as if they thought hard and deep = guaranteed conception.

She later says she is sore and rhetorically asks why crack addicts can get pregnant but not her. She jokes they will probably have an angry baby since they had angry sex. They hypothesize that they are guaranteed to be better parents than their parents because " you can't be worse than the least". Palek tells Carolyn that if their baby (which she refers to as "she") is the best of both of them, "she" will be incredible. And if she's the worst of them, well, it's not so bad. He asks Carolyn what they'll do if they don't ever get pregnant. Carolyn gets defensive and says she doesn't think about it. Palek says he is sick of always saying the wrong thing and that he's in this too. She prompts him to tell her what to do. Instead, they lay in silence.

I'm sure we've all pondered why other people get pregnant when we can't. Crack whores. People who get abortions repeatedly. People who neglect or abuse their children. That definitely rings true for me. Have you ever had "the talk" with your significant other - what you'll do if treatment/adoption doesn't work out? It is such a hard discussion. DH and I have a difficult time imagining life beyond IF. We want to believe it will work eventually but at the same time, we are confronted with the fact that there are no certainties. I think its one of those things that you won't know for sure what you'll do until you're there. We just try to keep our future plans flexible so we can easily change our path if needed.


Katie said...

I actually do help my hubby out. He is really kind of a baby about the whole thing. Hates doing it. I try to make it more pleasant, but it's a chore for both of us.

I only have three close friends that I really feel I can discuss IF with. And even with them, I really try to limit the discussion. I have one IF friend who goes to the same fertility clinic that I do. We didn't even know that we were both struggling until we ran into each other in the waiting room one day. It made me wonder who else suffers in silence.

We have talked about so many things, but we never talk about a life without kids. Every once in awhile, I will say how different our life would be both now and in the future if we decided not to have kids, but we both want to be parents very badly. I honestly don't feel that my life will be complete with out kids. What we have been coming to lately is the thought that we might only end up having one, since this has been such a long road. Hard to tell.

Polka Dot said...

My DH is pretty much a champ at the sample thing. I don't help him - he goes into the room (at the RE's office), with tapes and magazines, and is usually back out in about 5 minutes. We make jokes about his 'date with the cup'.

Pretty much all of our friends and family knows. Sometimes it's a pain because someone may want to talk about it when I don't, but we decided early on not to be embarrassed by our problems. All try to be supportive in their own way, but it's hit and miss.

I have a long history of problems, so I told my DH when I thought we could become serious. I wanted to make sure he knew what he was walking into and that he was open to the treatments we'd need and adoption if necessary. So those discussions were had before we were even engaged.

Samantha said...

I've never helped my husband out, but mostly he's had to do during an IVF cycle, so I'm in no shape to be helpful as I'm going through the ER at the same time! The couple times he's gone in for an SA, he and I have both figured he could take care of it.

My family knows about IF, but only a few friends. I have trouble discussing it in detail, and usually try to downplay how hard it is. My DH and I did start having some serious "what if this doesn't work" discussions this summer. It took 2 years of failed cycles for me to feel ready to consider that possibility. Going into treatments, I think I imagined that I would just keep trying until I got pregnant. I didn't realize how hard the cycles would be physically and mentally. I don't see us living child-free, and I think we will move to adoption if these cycles do not work out.

Kym said...

I have always "helped" DH with SA and IUI cycles. I would give him a BJ and then he would finish in the cup. Sorry to be so graphic...and no it didn't reck the sample they were perfect everytime...but we didn't end up pg either IUI (I only did 2 of them). As for talking about IF we didn't tell people until we found out we were pg for the first time. Then when we lost it I felt like an open book and wished we would have waited to tell people. Only close family and friends know and we don't talk about it and it doesn't get brough up usually...which I'm thankful for I like to keep my private life private and DH and I talk about it and agree. We always talk things out before telling people and I'm so happy we have good communication through this whole IF journey. I'm lucky and so are you Kristen to have great men!

Barb said...

Just from what you've described about this show, it seems like a more "drama" version of what it's really like. Of course they do that for the tv factor, but you know what I mean. DH and I have had some drama about it of course, but not with the regularity and intensity that these two seem to.

And my DH is generally a champ. And we usually fairly agree on what to say to people. I do the same as you Kristen.. generally let them take the lead. There are some who are REALLY weird about it.

Foreverhopeful said...

I did help him out in the beginning when he was just getting S/A analysis. But once we started treatments IUI/IVF - he was on his own.

I once shared about having TTC issues to quite a number of our friends. We didn't share details but that we were trying and we were having trouble. Most of the so called friends aren't around anymore. But I do have a handful of really close girlfriends I share everything with and knows every little detail. Dh is different. He doesn't talk to a lot of people about it. He confides in a close few. We don't talk about it openly in a couple's situation or a group situation.

Yes, we've had the talk that what if we can never have our own children and what we would do. I think ultimatley we decided we'd adpot when we are ready (I've always know from the beginning a child less was never an optino for me) but we've known all along we weren't going to give up and do everything in our power to have a baby.

OrchidLover said...

Hi, I'm browsing the miscarriage blogs and just ran into yours and wanted to let you know that it really touched and struck me because I totally understand where you're coming from with the crack whores and their easy time getting pregnant. I also had a miscarriage in July, 2007. We were both on track with Nicole Ritchie, and I just want to say here that her pregnant existence annoys me more than just about anyone else's, including my pregnant neighbor's. Whatever you do, don't look at her red bikini belly picture that People Magazine has just published. If you haven't seen it already, please, do yourself a favor and stay away!

Geohde said...

I just leave my hubby to do his thing.

Hell, all he has to do is have the occasional orgasm for the cause. All the sharp and humiliating stuff happens to me.


Meghan said...

So far he's only had to do 1 SA and while he complained about it, he managed on his own. He did blame his less than stellar results on the fact that he had no assistance. For the IUI Im thinking of photoshoping some pics for him or something

Thanks for all the recaps and it was great to meet you yesterday!!

LeRoy Dissing said...

Interesting show and commentary Kristen. Although I have never had a need to give an S/A, I would think most men would have no problem. Its for the cause. I also think your idea of being flexible is a good one as it relates to life after IF.

Leah said...

I don't help my hubby out. I figure he was doing it for many, many years before I entered the picture so he shouldn't really need my help. I would if he asked, but he seems perfectly capable and has done quite well the 9 times he's had to produce (2 SAs, 4 IUIs, 3 IVFs). Poor guy.

We used to share every little tiny detail of our IF journey with anyone who would stand still long enough to listen. I've even bored the FedEx guy with my woes. But something changed after our first IVF. I think everyone was so amped up about it that when we lost another baby, it was just too hard to have to explain it yet again and see the look of pity in their eyes. The next 2 IVFs were very hush-hush. Even our parents don't know that we cycled, let alone what the outcome is. I'm glad we told so many people in the beginning because it truly does cut down on the stupid assed comments (although we still get plenty -- such as the "So is it YOUR fault?" conversation we just discussed on Sunday). But now we are equally as glad to go through it as a couple without having to answer 1,000 questions from well-meaning friends and relatives. Luckily, magically, we both got on the same page regarding the move from full disclosure to complete secrecy.

We've talked repeatedly about what our options are (IUI then IVF then donor eggs then adoption). I think we never really expected it to go past IUI, so just getting over that shock was tough. However, we both are 100% committed to building our family by whatever means necessary. I'm not saying it won't be a HUGE adjustment if/when we need to move on to the next step, but at least we both agree on the general course of things.

It was absolutely wonderful to meet you yesterday. I look forward to seeing you at many, many more gatherings!

Kathy said...

Wow. I have so much to say here heehee. No I do not help my husband - he does this lovely act just fine on his own - although we do jokingly rate his results "how did it go?" "was it good for you?" etc.

When it comes to my circle of support, I have told most of my friends about what we are going through and none of my family. This may not be normal, but it seems to work for us. Our friends are all very supportive and frequently ask us what the heck it all means. I'm ok with that.

As for life without kids, we try not to discuss this. After every negative and especially our miscarriage, all I can think about is a future without child but Mark is just not willing to go there. This REALLY helps me keep going. Without his support I'd fall very deep into a depression that would suck me in. No longer able to function in a real world.

Courtney said...

It is really hard to be in the exact same place as the mister when working through all of this stuff and deciding what to share with others. We usually are on different pages for a moment, but then manage to meander over to the same page and process the road ahead.

It sounds like you and DH make a great team!

Frank N. Beans said...

We have to mutually agree to any IF disclosures. Our circle is small, but we are grateful for them!

I am a solo player. It sucks, I wrote my first blog entry ever about it. It is better since we learned that we can do them at home and I can avoid that nasty room.

dmarie said...

I've never helped dh out. Although I probably should since he hates it and we'd probably get a better sample if I did. Hmmm.?

I'm still liking this show. Dh said at one point he thought they had a camera in our house

Trish said...

I've tried helping the husband out. He wanted me to at first.
Started with a dry hand job (yeah, fab. MMmmHmmm.) and then he finished.
Other times, I'd just left him be. That seems to go better.

The first time had to produce in the office, I went back to the masterbatorium with him and basically flipped thorugh pages of porn for him. When that didn't seem to be helping, I tried stripping a bit.. That didn't seem to help either.
Finally I asked if I was distracting him and maybe I needed to leave. He said we should try that, so I left. 10 minutes later, he was done.
So I think we're going to go with that from now on.

We really don't talk about something not working. I have brought it up. Honestly, our roles are probably reverse of the show. I am the "what if" person and he's the "stick my head in the sand and pretend everything is fine" person.
I've asked him some very specific questions about adoption to get his take. He is open to it, so we tend to proceed with the idea that no matter how it happens, we will be parents someday.

As for telling people- We're VERY out of the closet. My coworkers, my friends, our families... they all know.
Many of my friends don't know about my 2nd pregnancy but it's because I just couldn't deal with telling them. His friends do know.

As for the reactions- I generally follow their lead. I don't normally go out of my way to tell people anything. But if someone asks when we're having kids, I say "We've been trying for 2 years. Hopefully sometime soon." If they ask more questions, I answer honestly. If they look uncomfortable, I just feel smug. They asked the personal question. I gave them a personal question.

The only time things get uncomfortable (that I'm aware of) is when people start to try to give me the bullshit lines about "God's plan" or "Everything for a reason." I can get a little argumentative when faced with that. And I clearly make them uncomfortable when I do so. But honestly, those things make ME uncomfortable, so I don't much care.