One of the most natural things that a person does as the get order is to have a baby. To procreate, to make new being, should be easy. Teenagers do it, and people get pregnant all of the time, some while using condoms or on birth control. So when my wife and I still had not produced a child after three years, we thought it was time to get tested, to bring out the big guns.
Since my wife and I were stationed in England, and my wife was/is British, we were referred to Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge, United Kingdom. Like most hospitals, it is a patchwork of buildings and additions and wings, added on over the years as money became available. The hospital was a maze of hallways and corridors that I managed to get lost in every time we visited.
My wife would be the first person to go in for testing, since she was the British one, and it was her health service. When the results of her tests came in, everything was as it should be. It was then that everyone turned their attention to me.
I was to produce a sample, of semen, that is, in a cup, which I would bring to the hospital at an appointed time. I had to make the appointment at least 48 hours in advance so they could prepare for me. Once the time came for me “turn,” I made my way to the hospital.
I got lost, again, but I finally found my way up to the Microbiology lab up on the fourth floor. I was greeted by a lovely lady, who was probably just slightly older than my own mom. She kindly explained the instructions, to produce the sample, get it back to her within an hour and keep it warm until it is turned in. But, that was it.
You know how you watch those movies, and they always take you to a room with porn magazines and videos, well, there was none of that. When I asked, the nice lady pointed me to the nearest bathroom, after giving a disappointed look. Did this lady know my mom?
So, with cup in hand, I set off to find the bathroom, but it was occupied. I was limited on time, so I went in search of another. I finally found a bathroom that didn’t smell like freshly made feces or have people in it, but it was on the first floor, behind reception.
Now, there’s a trick to producing a sample of this nature in a public bathroom. You have to “get in the mood” while not looking like a pervert to anyone who sees your feet under the stall door. The trick is to keep things slow, that way there’s no tell-tell sounds or movement. The other trick is to concentrate. It is easier said than done, because no sooner did I, um, start the process, did the bathroom door open and nearly everyone in the hospital walked in. Men were talking at the urinals (isn’t that forbidden?) and a man sat in the stall next to me, who clearly needed more fiber, started grunting his way through his own tasks.
In the end, I finished what I came there to do, and shuffled out as quickly as I could. My wife and I made our way back up to the Microbiology Clinic, where the older lady was waiting patiently for me. “Donald,” she said, “do you have your semen for me?” What the hell, I thought, could you please scream that a bit louder? When I gave her the cup, she looked at it and asked, “And when did you produce this sample?”
“Umm, five minutes ago,” I responded, feeling my cheeks flush while I said it. She gave me a look like she was scolding me before she walked off.
The tests came back inconclusive. My count was ok, and most of my guys were swimming properly. In the end, there is no medical reason, so they say, as to why my wife and I have not had a child. It has been three years since those tests and our round of IVF, so now we are looking at adoption. At least I won’t have to misuse a public restroom to adopt.