After a thrilling day working in the dermatology clinic looking at skin cancer and warts, I checked my phone for missed messages. A text from Dave simply said, “Call me when you get a chance.” So, being the loving wife that I was, I gave him a call…5 hours after he had sent the text! Dave’s phone went straight to voicemail, but I didn’t have to wait long to find out where he was. My phone rang. It was the Emergency Room.
Dave quickly calmed my panicked state of mind by letting me know that he wasn’t dying, but he then sheepishly informed me that he had seriously injured himself that morning. No, not to worry, he didn’t damage his male parts (Although, that would make this story even more intriguing). No, he had ruptured his pectoralis major tendon, the tendon that attaches your chest muscle to your arm. He had been doing declined bench presses in the gym during a quick break from rounding on patients in the morning. In the middle of his set, something popped, electricity tore through his arm, and his weights came crashing down. Sadly, the tear was so complete that he was able to diagnose himself by simply feeling that the muscle was no longer attached. He now had a case of “saggy boob syndrome.”
You may wonder why this had any impact on our fertility or why I should even include this in the story. Well, now our primary medical focus was no longer on infertility but on his shoulder. After a stat MRI confirming his injury, Dave was scheduled for surgery to reattached the muscle to the bone with bone anchors. It was a grueling recovery. He was in an immobilizing arm splint for six weeks and was only allowed to lift something as light as paper and pencil for three months. The recovery included hours of physical therapy and hours waiting in the ortho office. Because his dominant arm had been damaged, he was unable to do most things for himself for quite a few weeks (I even remember changing the tire on my car while he watched.)
Needless to say, trying to make a baby is a little tricky when you aren’t supposed to move your upper body… at all…and you are in a fun arm contraption that starts to have a lovely aroma after just a few days. So, baby making efforts were pushed to the back burner. Months later, with his arm finally on the mend, Dave decided he was ready for surgery number 2…his varicocele. After all that he had been through, this surgery now seemed minor. The operation went smoothly, but we had to wait another three months before we could repeat the semenalysis. We held onto the hope that Dave’s sperm counts would top the charts. But, instead of chart topping numbers, the count was at an all-time low.
I felt defeated. Our chances of getting pregnant on our own were now next to none. It was my turn to become the infertility patient, and the thought turned my stomach. The fear of the unknown crept over me. Would I ever be a mother? What would it take, and how much was I willing to give?
From The Mom in Me, MD