(Link to Part II)
After three years of trying, it was finally time for medical intervention. My first IUI cycle began in December 2010. I was super optimistic. I was going to be that girl on the message board that got my BFP (Big Fat Positive) on the first try. I was ovulating, the swimmers were swimming, and everything was going to work out.
On my first official trip for bloodwork, I was promptly named a "problem" patient. I have little bitty veins that like to hide. It was nearly impossible to find a viable vein in my arm, they hit my hand instead. It didn't phase me. I'm not afraid of needles and at this point I was ready to do whatever it took to get pregnant.
IUI cycles worked like this:
- Ultrasound to make sure nothing got left behind from the previous cycle
- Blood work three times a week to measure hormone levels
- Clomid to help ovulation
- Ultrasounds to watch follicle(s) mature
- Self-administered trigger shot to prompt ovulation (and timed)
- Blood work to watch progersterone level to see if supplements were needed to aid in implantation
- Blood draw for a pregnancy test
I was excited every time I went in. Even if it was only for blood work. I'd sit in the waiting room and text a friend, and would think positive thoughts. I'd anxiously await the call from the nurse in the early afternoon with the results. The first cycle, I had one follicle develop, which was great, because I was scared of multiples. I was also scared of the trigger shot, which is used to both prompt ovulation. The shot arrived in the mail along with a link to an instruction video that basically showed someone stabbing themselves with a needle. Yikes! The trigger was to be delivered in my stomach. I was supposed to stab myself in the stomach!!! My mother, a RN, offered to come by and do it for me, but it would've been past her bedtime, and I was determined to take care of it myself. Luckily, I came across a suggestion online to ice the area before administering the shot. I'm fairly certain I gave myself stomach frostbite, but I felt nothing from the needle. In fact, I didn't feel anything in that area of my stomach for at least a day or two.
The insemination was on a Sunday. The first step, get Jethro to make a deposit in a cup. One would think this would be the easiest part of the process. No needles or drugs were needed. Just a little quality time with himself. Turns out, this would be the most stressful part for me. Jethro never happily made his deposit. He resented the entire process. He gave up the swimmers, and I drove them in, arriving later than I'd planned due to fussing with Jethro. I arrived at the doctor's office, handed off the deposit, then texted and surfed the internet for an hour while they processed it. I'd see other couples coming in and doing this part together and it hurt. I tried not to get too caught up in comparing my situation to anyone else, because I had no idea what those people were going through. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. The insemination was painless, after it was done, I hung out upside down and marinated for 10 minutes. And I was sent on my merry way.
A few days later it was determined I did need the suppositories to help my progesterone level, which would help with implantation. Even though they told me not to, I saw this as a sign my body wasn't doing what it was supposed to. A week later, I had the pregnancy test and I anxiously awaited the nurse's phone call. I knew she was going to say it was positive, I'd have a wonderful baby born in September. Maybe even a Virgo like me!
I was wrong. The first negative result devastated me, it wasn't supposed to turn out this way. I cried about it, but didn't tell anyone. I really didn't want to be that person that everyone walked on eggshells around. And, to be honest, I wasn't ready to deal with all of the emotions. How do you mourn someone that never existed?
The second cycle started just like the first. It was, however, the first time I had side effects from the Clomid. I got the worst headache ever on the same day Chicago got a blizzard. A three hour commute plus a hormone headache made for a very unhappy evening. I took this as a good sign though, I was sure it was going to be a positive cycle because of the side effects. The side effects had to be because everything was working better than usual, I decided. I had a different, more powerful, trigger, and I was optimistic. Positive thinking didn't equate a positive pregnancy test. It was negative once again.
I tried to walk it off, but I was second guessing everything. "What if" constantly plagued my thoughts. And I was getting worried about Jethro. Were we going to make it through this? Even though his contribution to the process wasn't nearly as involved as mine, he was struggling and I couldn't figure out why. Not that I tried very hard. I instead walked on eggshells around him. I couldn't stop thinking that "this shouldn't be this hard". And I was beginning to resent him for not being as positive about things as I was. I was doing the heavy lifting and managed to "act" like nothing was wrong, why couldn't he?
I tried to appear positive, and waited for cycle 3.
(I originally thought I could do this in 3 installments, but that's totally not possible. The fourth and final installment is on the way)
(Link to part 4)