In 2008, my wife and I were blessed with the adoption of our son, Harrison. Though he was adopted, we still labored for him through many years — fighting losing battles on the infertility front and worrying about whether we would ever be able to have any kids. Those infertile years were definitely marked by frustration and uncertainty, but I would be lying if I said that it didn’t come with its own silver lining.
Throughout our first year of trying to conceive, my wife and I were willing to try just about any “secrets of the trade” in the hopes that it would improve our chances of getting pregnant. If you know of a manufactured or homemade method that worked for you or someone you know, I can guarantee that we tried it.
Some methods were scientific:
- Heidi would wake up each morning and, even before turning the alarm off, she would put a thermometer in her mouth and take her temperature. She even had a nice bedside calendar where she kept record of her early morning temperature-taking. Once she reached the appointed temperature, we would commence with the baby-making. It’s not as sexy to hear your wife say she’s hot for you when she means it literally.
- We tried a device which the writers of the book The Conception Chronicles affectionately dubbed “Spitnik”. Basically, each morning Heidi rubbed a small amount of her saliva on the glass lens of a compact personal fertility microscope and set it aside for a few minutes to dry. If she saw what looks like a fern pattern through the eyepiece, it meant that we got to hop back into bed and get busy. If she saw what looks like a close-up of dried saliva, it meant that I needed to take a cold shower and get ready for work.
Other methods were word-of-mouth cures:
- Heidi was told that she needed to elevate her legs over her head after sex. The naked headstands didn’t work for us.
- Someone else swore by the “Be Sure and Pee Immediately After Sex” method. I personally recommend the “Take a Ten Minute Nap After Sex” method instead.
- A friend of mine came up to me one day and loaned me what he said was a sure-fire cure: his old workout socks. He handed me a pair of bright blue, breathable cotton/poly blends with pictures of cartoon sperm on them. The socks had the caption, “Survival of the Fittest” sewn into them. Those beauties were what he wore while training for a marathon during the same time of year that he and his wife were trying for kids. So far, the sperm socks have done nothing but give me athlete’s foot.
- My favorite approach was one I like to call the “Rock Star Sex” method, which required that we have sex every day during her ovulation period. While I knew this advice was surely the brainchild of some guy with no medical credentials whatsoever, I made sure that I supported it as a viable option each time we discussed getting pregnant. One month, my wife finally caved in. The Rock Star Sex method didn’t work one bit, but I personally found it to be the best way to fail at getting pregnant that I have ever tried.
After more than a year of failed experimental baby-making, we decided that we should discuss our difficulty with conceiving with Heidi’s OB/GYN. He reassured us that having no success after one year of trying was not as uncommon as we had thought. When we asked about the best frequency of “trying” (I was shamelessly hoping to resurrect the rock star sex), he gave us a very vivid analogy on how conception works. He started by saying, “You need to think of the uterus as the beaches of Normandy.”
Let me tell you, a doctor that explains medical details with World War II battle analogies is going to pique any man’s attention. I sat on the edge of my chair as he continued.
“Your goal is to take the beachhead, and you are going to need to deploy a lot of soldiers to accomplish your mission. Keep in mind that many of your soldiers will be lying dead on the beach, but all you need is one to get past the enemy lines and you have the battle won. Now, you don’t want to send your soldiers in a few at a time – that’s what happens when you try to have sex every day. You won’t have enough sperm to make much of an impact.”
Goodbye rock star sex.
“You need to make sure you have a good amount of sperm built up. I would say that trying every other day during ovulation is a good rule of thumb.”
Every other day? Still sounds like a very agreeable alternative. I grinned. My wife’s OB/GYN essentially wrote us a prescription for sex every other day during ovulation, and did it while deepening my American patriotism. This guy was good.
I had no problem forking over the copay that day.