Our Infertility Story: IUI Round Four

“It is important to remember that we all have magic inside us.”
~J.K. Rowling 

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I didn’t sleep well the night before my latest IUI. I tossed and turned quite a bit while trying to fall asleep, and woke up multiple time during the night. I didn’t feel anxious, but it’s probably fair to say that I was nervous. It’s so difficult to stay one hundred percent calm about a process that your entire heart is so invested in.

When I finally woke up at 7:00am, my husband was already in the shower…and it was dark. The time change really hit me hard this year, and the darkness at that time of the morning translated to gloominess. I shook off the slight feelings of nervousness and sadness, and started to get dressed. I had picked my outfit the night before, and it was somewhat inspired by my last blog post, about our ultrasound.

After everything we have gone through, I do still believe in magic, and this time around, we are looking for a little of our own magic…so I chose to dress the part.

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For our fourth IUI, I paired a black and gold maxi skirt with an “I Put a Spell on You,” tank. Once again, I wore my fertility necklace, but I also accessorized with a pair of Harry Potter earrings, and the new moonstone claddagh ring my husband gave me for my birthday.

Maybe it’s weird to care about how I dress for these procedures, but fashion makes me feel good, and I want to feel my best going into each IUI.

I was also super nauseous that morning (thank you ovidrel), so I asked my husband to drive to the appointment. My stomach was still a bit wonky, and he had a headache, so our drive in was not as cheerful as last month. Once there, we were both a bit subdued. I flipped through magazines, and he played on his phone while waiting to be called.

After he went back, I continued to relax on the couch, reading various articles about pop culture and celebrities. It was only two days ago, and I already cannot remember what I was reading, so my concentration skills were not really up to par.

Once Mark was finished, we went to grab a quick breakfast across the street, while we waited the hour for my turn to go back. It seemed to pass more quickly than usual, but I think that was simply because for the first time in a while, they did not seem to be backed up at the office.

Neither of the doctors were at the clinic that day, so my appointment was with the nurse practitioner. The medical assistant came to fetch me from the waiting room as usual, but after I got undressed and was lying down, the A.N.R.P. came into the room unescorted. I have gotten so used to the medical assistant being in the room during my procedure, I hadn’t really thought about the fact that she was only there because the doctors are both men. Since the nurse was a women, she could do the IUI alone.

She introduced herself briefly, since we had yet to meet in the year I have been coming here, before adjusting my position and back rest for comfort (something the doctors never do) and warmed the speculum (again, something no one else does). She told me that my husband’s sperm was excellent (per usual), and then we began.

I was not thrilled to discover that the cramps I had not missed from my last IUI were back with a vengeance. At one point, I even cried out in pain. I asked the nurse if my cervix was once again stenotic, but she said it wasn’t and insisted that cramps are common and, in her opinion, a good sign. She turned the lights off, and asked me to wait for ten minutes until a nurse came to get me. It was the first time I was told to wait for someone to come get me before leaving, and I therefore waited nearly 20 minutes before I was told I could leave. As usual, I was told to have sex the next day, and that my orgasm was important. I mentioned that it had been nice to meet the A.N.R.P. and the nurse who came to get me told me that she was great, and usually a good luck charm. Boy, would I love it if that were true.

The cramping didn’t stop when I left the office, and so Mark drove home as well. We stopped at Best Buy to grab “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” because I had planned to relax on the couch and watch movies. Sadly, we had the release date wrong, and cannot actually buy the movie until Tuesday. 😦 I got a few things anyway (“Twister,” and Season five of “The Big Bang Theory”), and we headed home.

Thankfully, by the time we got home I was feeling a bit better, though fairly tired from the pain. Both hungry almost immediately, we went to get lunch downtown at around noon. I was sort of craving Thai food, so we went to the top rated Thai restaurant in town for some lunch specials. Since we were both really hungry, love leftovers, and the pricing was awesome, we ordered three meals to share between the two of us.

The lunch specials included soup and a spring roll, both of which were served before we even ordered our meals. The presentation was pretty great.

For the main course, we shared Shrimp Pad Thai, Ginger Beef, and Chicken Panang Curry.

Everything was wonderful. We finished the Ginger Meat, saving about a third of the last two meals for Mark’s lunch the next day, but the Pad Thai was so amazing, that we ordered another one to go, for my lunch the next day.

Once we came home, full and happy, I crashed on the couch where I remained for the rest of the night. I had a Bridget Jones marathon, watching the newest incarnation, “Bridget Jones’s Baby” last.

I have to say, that the movie was actually really really good, especially considering how bad the second film was. I’m always a sucker for any version of Mr. Darcy that Colin Firth will play, and he really and truly gave me all the feels in this movie.

All in all, it ended up being a really restful day. I can’t say that I am filled with as much of the optimism and excitement as I was on our last round, but I am still filled with hope. If hope is alive, I know I can’t be doing too badly.

Now we wait…

~Sam

Our Infertility Story: IUI Round Three – Ultrasound 

“The positive thinker sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.”
~Winston Churchill

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I went in for my ultrasound yesterday. I was a bit anxious for this appointment, because the results would indicate my progress on the medicine, and determine the date for our next round of intrauterine insemination. I wasn’t worried about whether or not the Letrozole was working. In my last two IUI attempts, I didn’t seem to have any problems producing healthy eggs, and I KNEW the Letrozole was working.

I could feel it. 

My right ovary had been bothering me for a few days. It wasn’t this terrible pain, like I felt on the Clomid; but more like super ovulation pains. I could tell the medicine was doing it’s job, so I was not surprised to learn that I had developed a strong follicle on my right side. I was a bit surprised to learn that I had an equally good follicle on my left side. The ultrasound tech took some measurements, and seemed genuinely happy with the progress I was making. She also asked me a bit about my surgery, and how I healed up post op.

I got dressed when she was finished, and while I was changing she further analyzed my results. She told me that I could come in for IUI Wednesday or Thursday, but she seemed more confident with Thursday. I am already off on Thursday (and Friday for that matter), so I was perfectly fine with this information. We go in at 8:00am on Thursday morning, and I am actually supposed to take my Ovidrel shot any minute now.

Just a few days ago, I wasn’t very excited about this new round. I was still feeling a bit negative about the whole process, and If I am being honest, I was afraid. I didn’t want to get my hopes up, only to have them crushed in two weeks. Since that time, something shifted in my brain. I’m not sure what happened, but I am finding myself getting really excited about this round. I am calmer now than I have ever been before, and I’m suddenly super optimistic again. This worries me a bit, because part of me is still terrified of getting too hopeful. I can’t help it though. Something feels different this time…I feel different.

It’s been a long time since I have felt such hope. Over a year…maybe longer. I’m still scared, but negativity hasn’t been working out so well for me.

So what the hell? This cycle, I’m gonna choose hope, positivity, and excitement. Let’s see where that gets me.

Have a lovely night!

~Sam

Our Infertility Story: IUI Round Two

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.'”
~Mary Anne Radmacher

Our Infertility Story: The Beginning

Our Infertility Story: The Specialist 

Our Infertility Story: My HSG

Our Infertility Story: The Eye of the Storm

Our Infertility Story: Checking His Swimmers

Our Infertility Story: IUI Round One

After our first round of intrauterine insemination failed, I had to call my doctors office and let them know that my period had started.

The nurse was very kind and sympathetic and let me know immediately that the doctor wanted to change my medicine for the next cycle. This was good news.

I hated the clomid. I hated every single side effect that it gave me and I hated all of the pain I was in.

She told me that the doctor wanted to switch me to letrozole. In his opinion, it had a higher success rate, lower chances of multiple births, and almost no side effects. On top of that, my friend got pregnant after her second cycle (I think) with letrozole.

Sign me up! I was all in.

Downside: It wasn’t covered by insurance.

Upside: When my mom (who was visiting that weekend) went to pick up my meds for me, my husband and I were prepared to shell out over $150. Instead, the pharmacist found us a coupon and it cost like $20.

I started taking it on cycle day 5, at the end of September.

I could tell almost right away that this was the better medication for me. I didn’t have any pain in my ovaries, so everyday life was a whole lot easier.

My ultrasound was scheduled later in my cycle that month, on a Monday.

I was actually really anxious about the ultrasound being later in my cycle. In my first round of IUI, the ultrasound was on cycle day 11. It should have been on day 10, but it got pushed a day when a Hurricane hit Florida.

For my second round, the ultrasound was on cycle day 14! I was really panicked that I was going to ovulate and we would miss our chance. Almost as soon as she started the ultrasound, I knew I was ready. I had three strong follicles, and my best was apparently quite impressive.

I was told to take my ovidrel shot that night. This was a little stressful to me, because I didn’t have the shot yet, and I had to go straight from my appointment to work. Luckily, the office loaned me a shot, and I just needed to bring mine from the pharmacy back to them in the next few days.

My IUI was scheduled for Wednesday at 11:30 am. I went to work, but since I was scheduled to open Wednesday morning, I knew that I needed to talk to my manager . I wouldn’t be able to work the day of my IUI.

For my first IUI, I worked afterwards. The day had been tough, because of the pain (from my stenotic cervix). My husband had hated that I worked, and was afraid it caused too much stress. So we had already decided that for the next round, I would relax afterwards.

My manager was able to help me get my shift for Wednesday covered, which was a relief. When I got home from work Monday night, I had to stay awake for a few hours in order to give myself my shot at 11:30 pm. It was easier the second time.

The morning of my IUI, I was still feeling really stressed about how late in my cycle I took my shot. My husband was called back almost right away to do his part, but my wait time in the lobby was much longer than usual. I stared to freak out that we would miss our window for insemination, not realizing that we really had at least another 8 hours.

The IUI was less painful this time, probably because my cervix had just been opened last month, but I was also told by the nurse that the doctor (I saw the practice’s other doctor this time) used a different type of catheter.

I went home all set to rest for the next few days (Thursday and Friday are my usual days off). Unfortunately, this month a different hurricane decided to hit the opposite coast of Florida this time, and my parents were evacuated and came to stay with us.

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t have a stressful weekend, but with people in town, I probably didn’t rest as much as I should have either.

My two week wait this time was brutal. I actually started experiencing cramping in my stomach and legs REALLY early. I don’t usually have anything until a day or two before, so I got my hopes up thinking it was implantation pain.

I took just as many negative pregnancy tests as the first time, if not more.

I was also afraid to do anything this time around. I didn’t want to get a pedicure because a massage might affect implantion, and I was afraid to get a haircut because off “strong fumes.” I was a mess.

The wait was awful. Every single twinge, or pain, or cramp, made me symptom spot worse than ever. I got my hopes up. I mean…really really up. I was certain I was having implantion pain. I was certain my boobs felt heavier and hurt more than ever before…I could go on and on.

It also felt later than the previous month. In my first round of IUI I got my period on cycle day 29/cycle day 1 (obviously).

I got it on the exact same day (cycle day 29/cycle day 1) in round two, but for some reason it felt so much later.

I was at work when my period started, and as you may recall, I felt completely helpless and depressed.

After I was able to regroup, I called the nurse to let her know my period started. She told me the doctor didn’t want to continue with more than one more round of IUI…it was IVF or surgery.

I was devastated.

She scheduled us for a meeting with the doctor the following week.

That week was one of the worst of my life.

~Sam

Our Infertility Story: IUI Round One

“The natural flights of the human mind are not from pleasure to pleasure, but from hope to hope.”
~Samuel Johnson

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Our Infertility Story: The Beginning

Our Infertility Story: The Specialist 

Our Infertility Story: My HSG

Our Infertility Story: The Eye of the Storm

Our Infertility Story: Checking His Swimmers

It’s amazing how quickly we let things that we truly care about fall apart.

November went by in a total blur for me. It feels like just yesterday was Halloween and I was sitting on my couch writing a post to welcome the month. I had a busy November…

I wrote a book.

Sort of. Anything I could write in a month was never going to be amazing, or complete, but I wrote a book.

My job transferred both me and my husband, which was stressful.

…And I’m about to have surgery.

I think I knew as soon as I decided to write a book in a month that November was going to be a bust for this blog. Now that my novel craziness is over, I’m itching to finish telling our story.

When we left off, we had found out that my husband has, to quote the doctor, “Michael Phelps sperm.” So, there’s that.

It was hard for me to hear that my husband is perfect; to have it reinforced that I am the problem.

I’m the infertile one…

Next up, we had an appointment with the doctor to go over those results, and discuss our options going forward.

He drew me this handy little diagram, to give me an idea of what happened next.

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I was actually in cycle day 3 when we had our meeting, so we didn’t have to wait for my next cycle to begin. We jumped right in and I started with Clomid on day 5.

Let me just tell you that the Clomid was the worst. Just a few days in and I was already super aware of my ovaries…especially my left ovary. Walking hurt, and with every step I felt like I was being stabbed.

Sex was the worst part. Even though we were doing IUI (Intrauterine Insemination), we were still required to do a LOT of our own baby making, and it was incredibly painful. I tried my best to hide the discomfort, because my husband loves me so much and it broke his heart to see me hurting. But we had to do it.

When I went in for my ultrasound, I was in so much pain. I had already developed a cyst on my left side (a common side effect from the meds) and since the ultrasound was transvaginal, I was all the more uncomfortable.

I was told that there was at least one strong healthy follicle, and was instructed to take my Ovidrel shot that Sunday (2 days later) at 9:30 pm. My insemination was scheduled for Tuesday at 9:30am.

I had to give myself the shot at work, and I was nervous, but ended up figuring it out with the help of a co-worker.

The day of the IUI, I was nervous, but hopeful.

We already knew that the chances of success on round one were low.

I was told to get undressed and lay down. When the doctor came in, he gave me the good news that my husband had produced amazingly strong sperm once again. Good news.

Because of my stenotic cervix, the procedure was actually really painful. I laid down for ten minutes following the IUI, and was in agony the whole time. The cramping didn’t really stop until long after I went home, and when I went to work that afternoon I was exhausted from the pain.

Because the Ovidrel puts HCG in your system (and made me an emotional crying mess, I may add) I knew that I couldn’t take a pregnancy test for a while. I finally caved at around 8 DPO (days past ovulation), mostly because I needed to see if the Ovidrel was out of my system, so I could trust a positive result if we received one. The test was negative, so I knew the pregnancy hormone was out of my body, but I also knew I wasn’t pregnant…yet.

I tested almost daily after that, and each new negative put me in a deeper despair. I had allowed myself to believe that it would happen, and I was devastated once again.

When the day of my expected period came, and I had nothing going on down there, I perked up…but was greeted with yet another negative. I held the test up to the light, held it against white paper, did a million crazy things hoping to see a positive, no matter how faint.

This went on for four days…until Aunt Flo finally showed herself.

I know now that I was late because of all the medicine, and this helped me to be better prepared for the next cycle. Even so, it broke my heart to have to call the doctor, and let the nurse know that my period had started.

~S