At some time, we were all indoctrinated into mandatory SexEd classes. But looking back now, I can only laugh at the disinformation campaign promulgated at my prep school. Remember the Iraqi Minister of Information Mohammed Saeed? ("I guarantee you. There are no American soldiers in Baghdad") Well, I wouldn't say our teachers stooped to that level of disingenuousness but clearly they adopted some of the tactics used in Abu Ghraib. By the time they finished their proselytizing, I was pretty sure that if I looked at a girl's breasts with both eyes open and had a boner at the same time, then the girl was going to get pregnant.
Now that I'm older and better understand human self-interest, I can see the conflicting motivations that were at work. As horny teenage boys, we were motivated to try and screw everything in sight. But as the daytime guardians of snobby prep-school kids, the teachers were motivated to prevent any sex scandals that would embarass the institution, cause scandal and jeopardize their well-filled purses.
It's ironic how these early impressions can last into your later years. When BossLady and I decided to conceive, I figured the only things I had to do were lay off the scotch, take off the jimmy cap and cut down on the inter-conjugal masturbation. Forget about wondering whether my boys could swim or not!!! At the beginning, I was so fucking cocky that I would ask my wife before sex whether she wanted me to make a boy or a girl. Sometimes, I'd even ask her whether she wanted me to bang out some twins!
Well, after the first month went by and BossLady wasn't pregnant, I was still pretty calm. In the back of my mind, I maybe started thinking about all the weed and cigarettes. After the second month went by and still no pregnancy, I started thinking about the hallucinogenics from the Berkeley days. By the third month, I was getting a little panicked. I remembered that time when I was 12 in Little League; we were playing Mac's Hardware Store. I was at shortstop and wasn't wearing a cup, and that ground ball took a funny bounce and hit me in the gonads. Maybe I've been sterile since the age of 12 but just didn't know it yet? Absurd, right? Well maybe...but it was clear that BossLady and I were going to have to step up the efforts.
Soon after, our pad became a home lab. It was 2003, dammit, and we were going to take advantage of all that modern technology had to offer. One ovulation test wasn't going to be enough. We needed to get all the different brands and types. Our lovemaking needed to be pre-scheduled and timed to the exact minute. Other times, I'd have to perform at a moment's notice or we'd have to do it in a specific position. The whole process was exhausting. Sometimes, I even found myself planning business trips around BossLady's ovulation cycles! Never in a million years did I ever think that there was anything that could possibly take the fun out of sex. Well, trying to conceive came pretty damn close.
After 7 months, we were even more discouraged. Although BossLady hadn't taken a pregnancy test lately, she'd been acting a little bitchy so we figured she had a mild case of PMS, therefore proving that another unsuccessful month was passing us by. Since we had about 20 days until her next ovulation period, I decided to have a drinking night out with the boys. While I was sipping on a pre-road Ketel One, I see BossLady going in and out of the bathroom. Then, she's logging onto her computer. Finally, she comes up to me on the couch and says, "umm, baby? I think I'm pregnant." I look down in her hands and she's got a handful of strips that all have two clear purple lines. Woo hoo! But of course, being the utter skeptic, I make her take another test and sure enough...she's pregnant! We laughed, we kissed, we cried, we hugged, we jumped for joy. We could barely contain our ecstasy and it's a night I'll never forget. (Amusingly enough, BossLady made me not cancel my plans that night. Otherwise, the guys would suspect that she was pregnant because, under normal circumstances, it would take a FEMA-level disaster for me to cancel a night of drinking with the boys. Smart AND beautiful, my wife is.)
That night, the scotch semed smoother. The cigarettes were tastier. I even looked better than usual. Why? Because as ecstatic as I was about finding out that I was going to be a father, I was also celebrating the fact that MY BOYS COULD SWIM! That's right, people! I was a certified baby-making machine!
You see, on a semi-serious note here, the issue of male fertility is a rarely discussed topic. Until proven otherwise, none of us ever really knows whether our boys can swim. And it's not something we usually sit around and discuss at the bar. But if your boys can't swim, it almost doesn't matter whether you're a 6'4" Adonis who chops wood, climbs mountains and makes his own beef jerky. It also doesn't matter that you're a boy billionaire with male-model looks, snorting lines of coke every night off Tara Reid's fake tits. At some level, society has decided that the ability to get a woman pregnant is a valid test of one's masculinity. Obviously, that's a load of bullshit and it's just one more reason to never concern yourself with what others think.
But speaking from experience, I can tell you that although you may have an overflowing supply of self-confidence, the thought that you might be sterile does bring up a host of insecurities that you never would have imagined. The thought had certainly entered MY mind and I started to grapple with a myriad of different issues that I would probably need to bring up with a therapist. At times in the middle of the night, my mind would start racing in this stream-of-conciousness madness...Would my wife still love me? Would she think less of me? Would I think less of myself? How could this happen to me? What are our options? Should we do In Vitro? Where would we get the money? Maybe I could sell one of my kidneys? Should we adopt? Should we go to Korea and find a baby that looks just like me and BossLady? Or maybe we should reverse the trend and adopt a white baby? That would be pretty damn funny. An Asian couple with an adopted white baby? Maybe we could get a white baby from Minnesota. I know that there are a lot of poor people in Minnesota and, like Chris Rock says, "the only black people in Minnesota are Prince and Kirby Puckett" so most of those poor people must be white, right? Maybe one of those poor white people wants to sell a baby? We should get one. I wonder how much one of those white babies costs. If I bought a white baby with my credit card, could I get the miles? See how my sick mind works?
Of course, since BossLady IS pregnant, we can laugh about it now. But I'll be damned if getting her pregnant wasn't hard work. So for all you couples out there trying to conceive, don't overthink it. Keep your sense of humor about all of it and remember that, in this day and age, there are a wide range of alternative options available for you. Otherwise, just keep plugging away!
(Damn!...that almost sounded like a fucking Public Service Ad. Sorry about that. Won't happen again. Really. The blog's new and I'm still working out some of the kinks. As atonement, I'll leave you with my favorite politically incorrect fertility joke. Again, I apologize.)
Two sperm were swimming through a woman's body. The first said, "Whew. I'm getting tired. Just how far is it to the uterus?" "The uterus?" the second sperm laughed. "We're not even past the esophagus yet!"