Take 2: We Had Our Second IUI Last Monday

Infertility

I don’t want my blog to turn into a pregnancy/infertility tracker — I’ve stumbled upon enough of those sites and it’s not my thing — but this is a huge priority/focus in our lives right now and I figured I may as well write and share our journey with others, in case someone finds it helpful to know they’re not the only ones coping with this.

We had our second IUI last Monday morning. My nurse said everything looked “fabulous.” She throws that word around a lot. MainMan had a great count and my cervix was dilated. Woohoo. Only, she said the same things the last time we did this on May 1.

For any who are interested in what the process entails, I go to the doctor’s 3-4 times between the start of my cycle and the procedure. They monitor the growth of follicles inside my ovaries with ultrasounds and they take blood to test for the LH hormone (which is an ovulation indicator). Meanwhile, I’m at home injecting myself with hormones every evening. Not. Fun. This round I started noticing bruising on my stomach where I’d been injecting the medicine…

The day of the IUI, MainMan drops off his sperm about an hour before the procedure so they can clean and prep it in the catheter that then goes into me. Fun fun! I was nervous about what this would feel like, but luckily a girlfriend who’d been through this said it felt like a Pap smear. It was slightly more intense and awkward than that, but not painful. I put my feet in the stirrups (I could hop into the stirrups backwards in my sleep now) and up the catheter goes to “drop off” the sperm (it takes 30 seconds, I kid you not). My OB-GYN called IUI an “express elevator” for sperm. The catheter is about 9 inches long and looks way worse/intimidating than it feels. The nurse talks us up again and says how fabulous we are and how fabulous my innards look, she sets a timer for 10 minutes, says bye, then I stay lying down with my feet resting on the base of the bed for 10 minutes squeezing MainMan’s hand and talking a big game. Like we’re athletes about to start a big game or race. The giddier I am the more relaxed I am. A timer goes off then we’re good to go! Quite amazing. I’m surprised you don’t hear about more people trying this stuff at home on their own.

While I was getting dressed, I noticed a lucky penny, sitting face up in front of me. How strange. Normally I wouldn’t look twice, but it’s a thing in my family — my mom cannot pass a penny on the ground (she even picks them up if tails are up which drives me bonkers). So I bent down to pick it up and we’re hoping it was a good omen.

It’s been a week since I was inseminated and I don’t notice any changes, though some have said you don’t feel any different this early on. I’m preparing myself for another disappointing result and I’m strongly considering moving onto IVF if this doesn’t work. I have to wait until June 18 before I can take a pregnancy test — the waiting is the worst part.

The day I got our first negative result, May 19, I was a wreck. The tears just didn’t stop. I finally pulled myself together for a phone call I knew I had to make. A former boss and mentor of mine reached out to me following my Guardian article on this icky subject of infertility, insisting I call her if I had any questions about the daunting process we were about to face. Until last week, I felt I had this under control enough to not seek her guidance. Then I was thrown into a tailspin when this mind-numbingly simple/how-can-it-not-work procedure failed us. I interrupted a phone call with my mom to talk to this badass woman. And thank goodness. She really got me revved up and motivated for what could be a long road ahead. She’s been through it all — miscarriages, IUI, IVF, etc. — and she told me I had to find my strongest self and face this head on and prepare for it to take a while. “You have to just fucking attack,” she said.

Aye, aye captain! I felt like saying. I swam competitively for nearly 20 years and this was one of the all-time best pep talks I’d ever heard. I wish I’d recorded it so I could listen to it on a bad day.

Thank you for my new life mantra: #fuckingattack.

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