Earlier this year Nick led a seminar at the Northallerton CVM Men’s day on disappointment with God. During this seminar he talked about Anna and his journey through infertility. After he remarked to Carl that although he was happy to share his story, he didn’t want to be labelled ‘low sperm count boy.’ Within weeks Carl had invited Nick to be interviewed at The Gathering about his infertility. Low sperm count boy was born. This blog series is his story so far …
My memory is getting increasingly worse, and yet there are some events that are seared in my mind forever. Getting married, completing a hat trick by scoring the winning goal straight from a corner kick (it was an incredibly windy day), and finding out I had a considerably low sperm count.
Anna and I got married in 2003, it was now 2008 and we’d been trying to have a baby for about three years with no success. I knew that I had had an operation on my testicles when I was 5 years old due to some complications at birth, but I’d been told that it wouldn’t affect my fertility. I’d been told wrong.
I don’t remember much about that last one other than the 5 minutes we were in the Doctors. Helpfully our regular Doctor was off and we were seen by the locum. I don’t remember how I felt sitting in the waiting room, whether I was nervous or confident, but I do remember the locum awkwardly reading the results off his screen, mumbling something about ‘an occasional sperm’ while refusing to look at me. I do remember the gut punch I felt as he confirmed my worst fears – I had a significantly low sperm count. I do remember shedding tears in that office as my world seemingly collapsed.
Since a very young age I had never imagined not having children of my own. I seem to have a natural affinity with children of all ages (perhaps because I am more on their wavelength than the adults around me!) Even with the knowledge of my childhood surgery I hadn’t considered a future in which I wouldn’t be called ‘Dad’.
But it wasn’t just that, my whole identity was under attack too. For long periods of our marriage Anna had been the main breadwinner. I knew she longed to work less and start making a home for us and our future children, but I couldn’t provide that for her, and now I couldn’t provide the one thing she wanted above all others – a child. As a man I was failing. I wasn’t just firing blanks in fertility terms, but in life too.