One year….It was April of 2012 and we had now been trying to conceive for just about one year. We had faced in that one year many stresses and questions. All that and yet we didn’t even know if there was something wrong or if we were just psyching our bodies out with all the stress. As mentioned, we had talked to my sister and brother-in-law at the end of 2011 and they encouraged us to wait until 1 year of trying to conceive before any testing. Well now it was time. They had recommended that I get checked out first because the testing is very easy on the guy’s side. You either can or you can’t. And so I set up an appointment with my doctor.
PRIMARY DOC’S VISIT
I remember not being stressed at all at the time, just nervous talking about an area that is just slightly uncomfortable to talk about as well as get checked out. Though I was mentally facing doubts in the Lord, there wasn’t too deep of an emotional impact to this point for myself. I just wanted to be logical with all of this and take the next step by getting tested. I sat down with my primary doctor, explained what was going on. He checked me physically and found nothing out of the ordinary and then he ordered up some basic blood work as well as a semen analysis.
I had all the tests done on a Thursday and it was Thursday evening at about 8:30 PM when my doctor called. He was so personable and willing to take the extra step to make a phone call during evening hours to talk in person and explain the results rather than me just see them and not know exactly what they meant.
The first thing he noticed was in my blood work. The tests showed that my testosterone level was abnormally low. Testosterone is the hormone in the male body that plays a key role in the production of sperm. For it to be really low was an indicator that something wasn’t functioning correctly. Next, he went over the semen analysis with me. In this type of analysis, they are looking for two things. They want to check the count of the sperm in the sample, as well as their motility, or how much they are moving. The results…..basically, there wasn’t enough sperm in the sample to even register on their low count threshold and they saw absolutely no movement.
I could not produce a child.
And there it was, such a simple explanation for a year’s worth of stress. I wasn’t anticipating it to actually be an issue with me, but there it was. Nothing I could do about it. My body wasn’t working properly.
So my primary doctor referred me to an endocrinologist, who is a doctor that specializes in hormones and is the type of doctor typically one would see if they are facing fertility issues.
In that visit I found out a lot of how the body interacts internally and how one area can affect other areas and all the potential issues that could be causing the lack of testosterone, which ultimately caused the lack of sperm development. One source of potential concern involved the pituitary gland. It is a small gland that is near the base of your brain that essentially controls all the hormone levels in your body. There was a concern that it wasn’t sending signals correctly for the testosterone to start producing. There was also the possibility that there was a mass that was pushing on the pituitary gland and thus causing it to not function correctly. So once again, I faced a few tests. First, she ordered another set of blood work to be done, but this time she was going to test all hormone levels in the body, not just testosterone. Then, she ordered up an MRI to see if there was any indication of a mass. Side note, I LOVED the MRI experience. I’ve never broken a bone in my body so have never dealt with major xrays, scans, or the like. So I just took it all in stride and enjoyed the ride!
Within a couple days all the tests were back and I met with the endocrinologist again. First, the MRI was negative….no tumor (said in an Arnold accent..LOL). The complete blood work on all the hormones brought back some curious results.
So basically, there’s this big circle of communication. There are two hormones in the pituitary gland that send a signal to the body that it needs to produce testosterone. In turn, the testosterone levels are reported back to the pituitary gland, either telling it that we’re good to go, we’ve got enough testosterone or, hey we’re low here, order up some testosterone….at which point those two other hormones would then fire up and send the signal to produce more testosterone.
Seeing that my testosterone was abnormally low, the endocrinologist expected that those two hormones would be off the charts high because the pituitary gland SHOULD be signaling for the production of testosterone. But they weren’t. They were at normal levels, along with every other hormone.
Final result….nothing was causing the infertility. It was as if my child producing ability had been turned off. At one time it was active, but somewhere along the way, it had been turned off. The only things not working and/or not looking normal for the scenario were the things associated with ultimately conceiving a child.
It was during the appointment that I felt in my spirit for the first time that God had turned that ability off.
Little did I realize the roller coaster of emotion that I personally was about to go on. I didn’t realize how my faith and my walk with the Lord was going to be tested even further. This was only the beginning.