I was pretty excited to be going to the fertility specialist. I had every confidence the doctor would ask some questions, do some testing, and tell me how to fix whatever was wrong so I could get pregnant. My husband wasn't so excited. Though he wanted a baby, he did not want to give a sperm sample. He found it humiliating, especially since he'd fathered four other children with two other women before he met me. He used to boast that all he had to do in his younger days was to look at a woman and she would get pregnant. He complained about the sperm sample the entire way there. He did, however, ultimately provide one.
The doctor was a very nice, warm, friendly woman who I liked immediately. She asked how long we had been trying to conceive (TTC) and various other questions about our sex life and general health. She questioned me on my menstrual history (which was entirely normal, with periods like clockwork). Then, she gave us a brochure that explained the initial testing we would have to do, the costs, and the timing for each test. My husband had it easy. His testing began and ended with the sperm sample. My list had five items on it.
The first thing I had to do was bloodwork to show my hormone levels. It had to be done on the third day of my menstrual cycle. That was done and checked off pretty quickly. I also needed an anti-sperm antibody test to see if I was allergic to sperm. That was another blood test that was checked off the list the same day they tested the hormones.
An intra-vaginal ultrasound was next. This was to make sure all of my "lady parts" were the correct shape and in the correct places. A saline sonogram was my fourth test. This involved filling my uterus with saline and then doing a sonogram to check for abnormalities on the inside of the uterus that the intra-vaginal ultrasound wouldn't reveal. All were checked off the list as quickly as I could schedule them. I wanted to get on with having a baby!
Finally, it was time to do the hysterosalpingogram. This test was to see if my fallopian tubes were blocked. In this test, dye is injected into the fallopian tubes through a catheter that goes up the vagina and into the uterus. It's just as delightful as it sounds. The doctor said I may experience some light cramping and to take a hydrocodone, which she prescribed, before the test. She promised it wouldn't hurt much. She lied. I'm pretty sure I now know what a contraction feels like when giving birth, and I practically gouged holes into the hand of the nice nurse who was trying to comfort me. Fortunately, the test only lasted a few minutes, but it was an agonizing few minutes. I was so happy it was over. That one was the worst.
I got the result of the hysterosalpingogram right away. There was no blockage, but there was a little bit of mucous in my fallopian tubes that the dye washed away. The doctor even said my chances of getting pregnant naturally were much higher for the next two months after the test (I still didn't get pregnant, though). And, she helpfully pointed out that I have the smallest cervix she's ever seen on an adult woman. So now I know I'll almost certainly be getting a C-section when I do get pregnant. She said carrying twins might even be a challenge for me, so she really hoped I'd just have one baby at a time. I have already been told by various doctors that I have the the most slender fingers, the smallest jaw, and the smallest ears of any adult woman they've ever seen. I now chalk it up to my mother's Scottish ancestry and tell people we must be descended from elves.
The other test results came in within a few days. Everything was normal with me and I was rated a four out of five on their fertility scale. The only thing that knocked me down a point was my age. My husband's sperm test was not only perfectly fine, it also revealed he has four times the sperm count and motility of a normal man half his age. He was really proud of that result. The fertility doctor referred to his sperm as "super sperm."
So there it was...we were normal and fertile. There was no reason we shouldn't be getting pregnant. Yet for some reason we weren't conceiving. The fertility doctor told us the thing I'd been dreading most. We had unexplained infertility. There was no discernible reason for our lack of conceiving. It might still happen naturally, but the chances for that were low because we had already been trying for so long. It was now time to talk about other options for getting me pregnant.