Partner’s Post: Call Me Maybe (The Fourth IUI)

If the day of the fourth insemination was a sitcom, it would be titled Two and a Half (Strange) Men. The episode would feature our half-stranger fertility doc Dr. Text, our brand new donor Lefty, and a man named Tom who PartnerA and I came upon outside as we made our way to our appointment at Clinic One that morning, face-down on the icy pavement bleeding from his head.

Oh yes indeed, the day of the fourth insemination was a doozy. 

A bout of the seasonal flu had me down for the count in the days leading up to and including my thirtieth birthday. That weekend, alternately shivering and sweating beneath a heavy duvet, I ingested an entire bottle of cough syrup, a few dozen medicated menthol cough drops, and my body weight in lemon balm herbal tea.

Needless to say, when Monday, February 18, 2013, rolled around, I was a tad exhausted and when upright, rather dizzy too. I hadn’t left the house in days, but determined to be present at the fourth insemination, I dragged myself to the shower, tugged on clothing other than flannel pajamas, and made my way out the front door and into the world. The sunshine reflecting off of the snow heaped along either side of the road stung my eyes as PartnerA and I shuffled along the icy sidewalk. The bitter cold biting my cheeks jolted me awake.

PartnerA and I were optimistic and patting ourselves on the back for getting out of the house bright and early that Monday morning. We were going to be on time for the insemination appointment at Clinic One, have a leisurely lunch somewhere downtown, and spend the remainder of our day relaxed and enjoying each other’s company. You know what they say about the best laid plans.

We had barely made it to the end of our street when we came upon a man face-down on the asphalt, his glasses broken on the ground, and blood pooled around his head. A young woman crouched beside him, one hand on the conscious man’s shoulder and the other clutching a cell phone.

“Do you have your phone?” I questioned PartnerA, adrenaline facilitating a jolt of clarity in my flu-hazy brain. “Take it out. You need to be holding it.”

I raced toward the man on the ground. “Have you called 911?” I greeted the young woman, no more than twenty-one. She was rather calm, considering, but helpless there on the vacant street with an injured stranger. She was comforting him, but could do little more.

I knew that there was an EMS Station within walking distance. I could see it a couple hundred yards south behind a chain link fence.

Toward PartnerA I ordered, “Stay with her so she’s not alone with him.” PartnerA crouched beside the man on the ground and reached out her hand to rub his back. He lifted his head briefly and it was impossible to tell from where he was bleeding; the blood covered his forehead, nose, lips, and chin, and dripped down his neck forming a dark stain on the collar of his gray jacket. His mouth gaped open, saliva and blood dripping to the pavement and freezing in red rivulets on the ground below him. He didn’t speak.

I jogged to the EMS Station, tugged off my gloves, and rapped my bare knuckles against the cold metal door. No answer. I banged repeatedly on the door with the side of my fist. No answer. I tugged at the door handle. Locked. I could see vehicles in the ambulance bay, but the blue uniformed EMTs who were always milling about outside of this station were notably absent on this holiday Monday. Yanking my cell phone out of my pocket I willed my frozen fingers to dial 911. My lungs burned from running through the frigid February air as I explained to the dispatcher the location of the fallen man — a couple hundred yards north of the EMS Station.

Dispatcher: ‘Describe your location, ma’am.’

Me: ‘I am knocking on the front door of EMS Station #123.’

Dispatcher: ‘What intersection are you nearest to?’

Me: ‘Seriously?!! I’m literally standing beside EMS Station #123!’

Long story short, although the man fell within sight of an EMS Station, it took EMS 14 minutes to arrive. During that time, which felt like an eternity, the young woman and PartnerA crouched over the man taking turns rubbing his back and shoulders and encouraging him to stay still until help arrived. Between spitting blood, the man mumbled that his name was Tom. He was 55 years old. He lived up the street. He had gone out for a walk that morning and had been suddenly overtaken by a bout of vertigo.

Dispatcher: ‘Is be breathing normally?’

Me: ‘I guess? He’s conscious.’

Dispatcher: ‘Can he answer questions?’

Me: ‘I don’t know. What should I ask him?’

Dispatcher: ‘Anything.’

Me: ‘Uh, sir, do you know what day it is today? He can’t really talk; there’s a lot of blood in his mouth.’

Dispatcher: ‘I need you to keep an eye out for the ambulance. Flag them down when they arrive.’

Me: ‘I am. I know.’

At this point, I was running on emotionless auto-pilot. My strength is not people; my strength is efficient and effective coordination. So while PartnerA crouched over the stranger on the ground, coordinate I did. I was on the line with the 911 dispatcher for 14 minutes.

It was 14 minutes into the 911 call that the yellow-jacketed EMTs finally arrived and whisked the bleeding man away in an ambulance. After, the young woman kicked snow over the puddle of blood on the asphalt, explaining that today was her first day at her new job, and now she was late. She bolted toward the bus stop before PartnerA and I had a chance to explain that we were late too — for our appointment downtown to be inseminated with a stranger’s sperm.

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Upon arrival at Clinic One, PartnerA trotted knowingly toward what we refer to as the ‘take-out window’ where patients advise Clinic One’s staff to thaw their frozen semen. Would you like fries with that? The last three times PartnerA had ordered thawed semen here, it had belonged to Mickey, our first choice donor. Today, the order was for Lefty, our second choice donor.

While I sat beside the large fish tank in the waiting area twiddling my thumbs, PartnerA had her blood drawn and had her twenty-eighth transvaginal ultrasound. Then, DrText appeared and as has become our routine, PartnerA and I jogged behind him as he dashed down the hallway into Insemination Room #4.

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There, PartnerA stripped from the waist down, scooted onto the papered examination table, and with her socked feet in metal stirrups, signed the requisite paperwork confirming her intention to be inseminated.

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Then, DrText retrieved a thawed vial of Lefty through the mini-door in the wall and a minute later, 18.9 million of our brand new donor’s sperm were ejected from the syringe to the tune of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe”.

Hey, I just met you,
And this is crazy,
But here’s my number,
So call me, maybe?

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Frankly, the whole process is crazy what with the whole being inseminated by a strange man with another strange man’s sperm. It’s all rather bizarre that this is a thing that people do. That this is a thing that we have done. Indeed, we have done it while grinning and bopping our heads in unison to the latest catchy sugar-sweet teeny-bopper pop hit.

Hey, I just met you,
And this is crazy,
But here’s my number,
So call me, maybe?

Crazy, indeed!

IUI #1
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Donor: Mickey
Outcome: FAIL!
Vials of Mickey left: 2

IUI #2
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Donor: Mickey
Outcome: FAIL!
Vials of Mickey left: 1

IUI #3
Monday, January 21, 2013
Donor: Mickey
Outcome: FAIL!
Vials of Mickey left: 0

IUI #4
Monday, February 18, 2013
Donor: Lefty
Outcome: Blood Test and Results Scheduled on Sunday, March 3, 2013
Vials of Lefty left: 1

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