Where do I begin? I guess like any good story, I need to start at the beginning, then hopefully we will get our happy ending!!
Chris and I met 8 years ago at the University of Kentucky where we we both thrown into a semester of classes together. I still say I noticed him first, sitting quietly at the back of the class listening to music, but Chris will tell you I am wrong. He will say he noticed me first, the bubbly girl at the front of the class who constantly got in trouble for talking. The weekend after our first date (Saw III on Halloween 2007), I went home to Louisville and told my mom I found the man I was going to marry. She of course thought I was nuts!!
Flash forward two years to 2009 and I convinced Chris to move back to Louisville with me after graduation. He got a job at Humana and I decided I wasn’t done with school and enrolled in University of Louisville. In June of 2010 I went on a mission trip to Jamaica and it was during that time Chris decided he couldn’t live without me. We were engaged in August and married on July 30th, 2011.
In 2012, I finished school and also got a job at Humana. We gained a few fur babies long the way. Clockwise from top left: Marley, Zoey, Liam, Kitty and Oliver.
And in 2014…we bought a house!!! We closed on January 9th, 2014 and were full of hope for all 2014 had to bring!!
Even with all our hopes and dreams before us, 2014 was not the year that we had be wishing and praying for. In fact, it was quite the opposite. We lost several very important people to us, some expected and some sudden. In addition, we had two back to back diagnoses of cancer: Chris’s grandfather with prostate cancer and my grandmother with breast cancer. Amongst all the heartache around us we continued to try to expand out little family.
We have been trying to have a baby since August 2013. I was diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) as a teenager. Similarly, Chris was diagnosed with a varicocele in his late teens. We were both aware that we might have difficulty getting pregnant, but we are both still young and were confident we just needed more time. When I went for my annual GYN appt in May 2014, I discussed with Dr. Hill our difficulty getting pregnant and she suggested due to my diagnosis of PCOS we should do a round of Clomid. We were ready to try anything. After almost a year of negative pregnancy tests, we were excited at the prospect of trying something new to help us along. I went ahead and filled the prescriptions, but Dr. Hill advised that we have a semen analysis done before beginning the Clomid. Chris’s varicocele may be effecting our chances more than we thought.
It took us two weeks to get Chris scheduled for his semen analysis and then the day came. We weren’t worried. We should have been. We were just anxious to get the test results back and get cleared to start our round of Clomid. The test was done on a Friday and first thing Monday morning July 7th, Dr. Hill called my cell phone. In my experience it’s usually never a good thing when the doctor personally calls with results. She explained to me that there were no sperm in the sample…That’s right, zero sperm. She referred us to Dr. Shep to see if anything could be done. After this very quick and clinical phone call, I just sat in silence. At worst I was expecting low sperm count. We could work with low sperm count, but NO sperm count?! I sat in disbelief and then it dawned on me that it was my responsibility to tell my husband that he doesn’t have any sperm. That is not a conversation any wife wishes to have. How do you explain something so clinical without emasculating him? How do I tell him the results and let him know that I still love him and I don’t think less of him as a man, because I know, once I tell him this, that is immediately where his mind would go. So I did one thing that I’m good at, I did research, assessed the gravity of the situation and came up with solutions. I’m a fixer and I wanted to have answers to his questions and an arsenal of options so he would not shut down and lose hope completely. I found out that his condition is called azoospermia and most importantly, it is not permanent.
After I had the conversation with Chris and told him the results he was devastated. He has always wanted to be a father above everything else. He grew up without a father and that has driven his urge to become a father tenfold. We couldn’t get in to see Dr. Shep until Sept 2nd but in the mean time there were blood tests and ultrasounds needed to rule out possible causes. The first was a DNA karyotype to rule out Klinefelter Syndrome. We heard back within about 4 weeks. The test was negative so that was not the cause. The next test was an ultrasound of both testes. They ruled out congenital defects and cancer. So that was a relief, but still no answers. On the appt on Sept 2nd, Dr. Shep told us that Chris’s FSH was high, meaning that his brain was signaling his testicles to produce sperm but the testicles were not sending LH (their hormone signal) back to the brain saying that everything was working. In addition, the ultrasound showed that Chris had a varicocele on the right side that we were unaware of. Due to the size of the varicoceles and the prevalence on both sides, Dr. Shep recommended a varicocelectomy to correct the varicoceles. He also had Chris start on Clomid to normalize his hormones. This was all a lot to process especially as all this happened around his grandmother’s death. We took a few weeks to think things over before we decided which path to take.
Stay tuned to see what we decided!!
Much love and baby dust,