Sorry in advance if there are no pictures in this post. I can’t really take pictures of what’s going on in my uterus. Also, sorry for the hiatus as we were trying to transfer things, blog-wise. We didn’t pause for dramatic effect. We’re not pregnant. Just in case you were wondering.
So, there are things you need to know about me if we’re *real* friends.
#1- Even though I’m social, I’m an introvert. My good friend from work did NOT believe this until she recently read a HuffPo article about introverts and realized it was my life. She sent it to me and I giggled with glee. From my bed. Then, I read parts of it to my husband so he’d know I’m not just crazy. He doesn’t care. He likes people. He’s an extrovert.
#2- I’m a planner. And I’m everyone’s mom. I don’t mean that in a feel-bad-for-me-because-I’m-a-natural-mom-but-can’t-have-babies kind of way. I mean, one time my cousins and I went on a vacation with a group of friends (best vacation ever in my life) and I had a legal pad with everyone’s share of the money divvied up based on time spent and nights slept in said vacation home. I also organized a meal calendar and grocery list before we ever started the vacation. Did I mention I was 23 at the time? Everyone’s. Mom.
#3- I over-share. Not always. But, once we’re *real* friends, you will know EVERY. THING. I talk about bodily functions like it’s my job (especially bowel movements, sorry Memaw). And you’ll probably know all of my personal details and how I feel about almost every situation. As a result, I’ll apologize for being awkward and saying weird things. A lot. I will also make things funny that you don’t think are funny. In this infertile situation, I usually say things like, “When we have kids, which we won’t, I hope…” My friend, Laura is particularly upset by this. I don’t mean to make you uncomfortable. I have to make jokes or I will punch people in the throat. It’s a weird little line that I walk between crazy and…crazy.
All of that is to say…it’s not surprising that I’m sharing my infertility battle, now that we’re trying really hard to get past the shame part of it all.
In the previous chapters, I wrote about how we have this whole history of being people who want a family, how we first started trying, how I hate when people SPEAK about this, and how we started our testing.
Summer of 2013 is where the rubber really hit the road…and that’s not a prophylactic joke. Those most certainly would not help. In this case, my doctor asked for an HSG. Oh, you mean the test we had ordered THE PREVIOUS SUMMER?! Cool. I remained VERY calm, externally, and reminded her to check my file where she saw my perfectly normal HSG results from September of 2012. “Oh, yes. We did already have you do one of those.” Ugh.
I got MORE bloodwork on vacation. And, guess what?! This time it was like FOUR TIMES as expensive! It was really a joyful time for all. In August, when shopping with my friend, Lila, I called them and just basically laid it out. I talked to this amazing nurse, Audrey, and she was SO sympathetic. I just told her that I needed them to have the same urgency that I do. Also, it was almost time for school and I am SWAMPED during the school year so I knew that I needed to do as much “experimenting” as possible, as soon as possible. Audrey said that we could try taking some Clomid and starting to schedule an IUI. We decided to try on our own for one month, hoping the fertility drugs would be enough. They weren’t. Duh. This would be a crappy series if we were expecting in the next 12 weeks. This wouldn’t BE a series if we were expecting in the next 12 weeks.
In September of 2013, we opted to have our first IUI. Good news, the doctor’s office was on board. Bad news, my day of ovulation happened to be a Saturday. Regular doctor’s offices do not work on Saturdays. Another wasted month. I was SO frustrated with the timing, but also with my doctor’s office. Granted, it is NOT their fault that they work a regular 9-5, 5-day work week. However, when they’re helping you get pregnant and there is literally NOTHING you can control, it’s frustrating.
It was another wasted month. Did I mention you can only take a certain amount of Clomid? So now, I’m 2 out of 6 months in with no IUI and no baby.
In October 2013, we were finally able to try our first IUI. Only Target was OUT of Clomid. The doctor’s office was pissed. I was pissed. It was touch and go for a minute as to whether or not we’d be able to go through with all of this. FINALLY, when my uterus was cooperating. Target ended up getting my meds and I called to schedule my appointment. I asked for Audrey. I was informed that Audrey no longer worked there. I know it sounds stupid and I couldn’t even pick the girl out of a line-up, but I was CRUSHED. I felt like she was the one person there who knew my name/case and was rooting for me. And now we were alone.
But, loneliness was worth it if it meant having a BABY.
This is when the questions start. SO many people have asked questions about IUI: what it is, how it works, what it does, what it costs, etc.
IUI is not THE expensive fertility treatment. It doesn’t involve months of drugs or pulling out embryos or saving thousands of dollars. With an IUI, or Intrauterine Insemination, the basic (OB/GYN’s office) procedure is this:
1) Take the fertility drugs of your cycle. You know all of this because you’re still TRACKING THE HECK OUT OF YOUR LIFE.
2) Schedule the IUI procedure for the day of ovulation. Again, with the tracking.
3) Go to the doctor where your husband gives a sample.
4) The doctor’s office spins and washes the sample. Yes, sperm can be washed. It’s weird and I don’t fully understand it but, for lack of a better phrase, it gets you the cream of the crop.
5) The doctor looks at the sample to decide if it’s good enough to use or not.
6) The receiver (me) lies on the table and they pull out a giant syringe with a straw (catheter) on it, put the sample in it, and insert it.
7) Lie there for 20 more minutes with your knees bent.
8) Carry on about your business.
This was incredibly bizarre and we even questioned if Chris should be in there. It’s weird to have, essentially, vaginal exams with your husband in the room. It’s really weird. But, he said to me, “If our child is conceived in there, I’m going to feel really guilty that I wasn’t there to witness it.” Precious. That being said, the actual conception really doesn’t happen *at* that moment. It’s all about eggs dropping and implantation a week later and blah blah. But, who cares about that? It didn’t work.
Well, that was heartbreaking. The doctor had told us she wasn’t sure about the sample, really, but she said it seemed “good enough” to go on. So, we did. We went through with it and paid money for it because any “parent” would tell you that no cost is too great for their child. Only we didn’t get a child. We had all these hopes to tell our families at Christmas and then tell the world in January at the end of the first trimester. We were planning out possible due dates and dreaming of what would happen with our jobs in the meantime. We were all in. Ya know what was not all in? Sperm. In my uterus.
We picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves off, and tried again in November. This time it seemed to not take so long for the “spin cycle”, as I like to call it. They called us back to the ultrasound room and warning bells went off. By bells, I mean sirens. I looked at Chris and said, “This isn’t going to end well.”
Two of the nurses came in and said, “We’re really sorry, but the sample showed zero percent of usable sperm.” WHAT?! We’d been warned about levels before, but ZERO PERCENT?! They said, “We can go ahead with it if you want, but it really doesn’t look good. If you all are going to opt out of the IUI, we’ll call and refer you to the Jones Institute.”
So, a real, live fertility doctor. I was no longer a “regular” patient to be seen and helped by a “normal” doctor. But, at least we were going to be able to make a plan…