It may not look like much to the untrained eye, but any teachers out there know what setting up a new classroom entails. Mine would not look this good if it were not for my girlfriend helping me. It's still not done, but it's ready for students tomorrow and the rest will work itself out this week, I hope. We're both very tired now, but I already had this flashback typed up, so here it is for your reading pleasure.
IUI Cycle #1 – May 2011
After the horrific HSG, we were finally cleared for an insemination attempt. We had picked out a donor months beforehand and had ordered the sperm back in March. But about this time we got a call from the doctor’s office saying that they needed the sperm by a certain date. I told her we already ordered it but she said they didn’t have it. Fantastic. Well, it turned out that it was there, but it just wasn’t logged in my chart correctly. That was pretty stressful because sperm isn’t cheap. Well, frozen sperm from a sperm bank isn’t cheap, anyway. But the sperm was found so we were really ready to start.
We had to wait until my next period, of course, and then things started rolling. I started on the Clomid and we went in a few days later for an ultrasound to see how things were progressing. They weren’t progressing well. So the doctor suggested we switch to injections. We both thought the nurses there would be doing the injections, but no. They gave us a little blue case with a pen-syringe and some vials and needles. They showed us how to put on a needle and load the pen. And then she said it was a subcutaneous injection so it needed to go in my abdomen area.
We were both pretty mortified. Neither of us had any desire to stab me in the stomach, but it had to be done. We asked a bunch of questions and finally went home, though we were still not very sure about ourselves. When we got home we took the tools out of the case and read the instructions. We figured out how to get the needle on and load it. Now it was a matter of the injection itself. We decided my girlfriend would give me the injections instead of me injecting myself. We were both pretty nervous so I sat in a chair and closed my eyes. She steadied the needle and counted to three.
My girlfriend says that it was really surprising how easily the needle went in . Like butter. I guess they make them pretty sharp. What’s really gross about this is that after you get the needle in, you have to click the pen to inject the medication and then wait 5 seconds so nothing leaks out of the puncture hole. Then you pull the needle out and put a band-aid on and call it a day.
The first time we both felt like barfing after. But in actuality it didn’t physically hurt at all. It was just mentally nerve-wracking. Now we’re old pros at it.
After a few days of injections we went back for another ultrasound and the eggs were looking much better. The doctor had us continue for a few more days and then she gave us a date for insemination. 48 hours before, we had to trigger ovulation with another injection. But this one was with a regular full size needle, an intramuscular injection in my ass. We had to mix this one as well. It came as a powder and a bottle of special water. My girlfriend says it was like being a chemist. She mixed it all up, drew it into the syringe and switched to a thin needle.
I laid down for this one. It hurt about the same as any shot in the ass at first, but after it was more painful. Like how a tetanus shot hurts more later.
Two days later we went back for the insemination. They gave me a hospital bracelet to wear, which we found kind of amusing. When we went back we had to read the numbers on the bracelet aloud to make sure they match the numbers of the semen, so we didn’t get someone else’s sperm. Once that was all set and I was naked from the waist down, the doctor came in. She had a medical student with her to observe the procedure. I agreed because in teaching we were all student teachers at one point so I know what that’s like, in a way.
An IUI is actually pretty simple. They open you up with the good ol’ speculum and then insert a catheter into the cervix. The sperm is loaded into the end of the catheter and is then injected into the uterus. No turkey baster, contrary to popular belief. There isn’t enough junk to even fill a turkey baster anyway. It’s a surprisingly small amount because they wash the semen and just inject the sperm. The vial is about the size of a perfume sample vial, but there are around 20 million little swimmies in there.
What’s really cool is they do a regular abdominal ultrasound at the same time so you can see the sperm going into your uterus. They then had me lay still for about 20 minutes. They left us alone in the room so we shared a special moment there.
When the nurse came back, she had some discharge instructions. Stuff like no hot baths, no heavy lifting and…no sexual activity! This was a big disappointment and I have since read that this may be an unnecessary precaution, but we didn’t want to mess things up. So we didn’t.
After a few days I had to start going for bloodwork to check hormone levels. The levels were really good, progesterone was high. Although this in itself doesn’t mean pregnancy, just like low levels don’t mean that there’s not a pregnancy, it was still reassuring.
As I got closer to day 14, we got antsy and bought a pregnancy test. I would be getting an official one from the doctor, but we were curious anyway. So I peed on the stick and we nervously waited. After a few minutes the results were in. Not pregnant.
I sobbed. We tried to comfort ourselves that the test might not be accurate because I hadn’t actually missed a period yet. But we both knew. I went and got the blood test the next day anyway but it was confirmed. Cycle #1 was a failure.