IUI

iui #2

It was nice that we were in Michigan when we found out the result of our first IUI because it kept my mind occupied.  We were with my family who, at the time, had no idea about our infertility struggles so I didn’t get bombarded with questions of whether it not it worked.  It was nice to be around my family during this weekend.  They have never have asked me when were having kids or even made comments suggesting they want another grand baby.  They know these are inappropriate questions to ask (unlike most of the world who feels your reproductive system is their business). This is exactly what I needed.  I needed to escape the rejection.  Here are some memories from that weekend:

When we got back home a few days later it was just about time to jump into the beginning phases of our next IUI.  My doctor decided to try this cycle on lower doses of Clomid and Follistim in hopes that the my uterine lining wouldn’t thin out.  I took the medications as directed and we went in for our second IUI on December 15, 2016.  This day was pretty significant for Brandon and I.  It was the day we met for the very first time 7 years ago.  I was hoping this was a good luck charm.  This IUI was later in the day which was nice for both of us.  We went through the same motions as before when we got there.  Brandon’s numbers were even better this time and I was working with 2 good follicles.  When they were ready for us we went into the room and I laid down with my feet in the stirrups.  The nurse came in to perform the IUI and when she went to turn on her light it wouldn’t go on.  It’s obviously pretty important that she be able to visualize where things are being inserted so we had to have a light.  It was quite a sight to see everyone scrambling to get it to work while I lay there with no pants on waiting to be inseminated!  I was also holding on to our sample between my two hands to keep it warm since the IUI was being delayed due to all this.  At one point Brandon was laying on his back on the floor trying to see if he could fix it for my poor nurse who told us she had no idea how to do it since this rarely ever happens.  It was entertaining watching this unfold.  No one could fix it and we ended up having to switch rooms.  The picture below was the second room with a working light!

iui2

We all laughed at what had happened and my nurse said hopefully this would be a good story to tell in the delivery room.  Fingers crossed it would be!

We went home and proceeded with the next 2 weeks like we did before.  Progesterone was consistent with ovulation again! The day I got my progesterone checked (7 days after our IUI) I started to spot very lightly.  I knew this was different than every other time I spot before a period.  I’ve never spotted this early in my cycle and all the research I’ve done has said that implantation bleeding happens right around this time.  For the first time I was actually excited to be spotting and thought this could be our month.

Implantation spotting, at most, only last a a few days.  The spotting I was experiencing was going beyond that.  I was confused what was going on so I took a home pregnancy test 2 days before I went in for my blood pregnancy test.  It was negative.  I was crushed again.  I dealt with it the same way I dealt with the first unsuccessful IUI but this one I took a lot worse.  I cried even harder and hated myself even more.  I told Brandon I was sorry.  I was sorry because if he ended up with someone else he could have had a family by now.  He told me I was crazy for saying something like that and he only wants a family with me but I couldn’t help but have thoughts like these.  I decided that I couldn’t continue to deal with this pain.  I just couldn’t even bear to think about going through 2 more IUIs that wouldn’t work.  The success rate of an IUI for me was 15-20%.  This is the same success rate for an average couple who try to conceive without infertility issues.   The rejection from these IUIs was taking so much out of me.  I made a decision to do what was best for me.  I needed a break and I didn’t want to put myself through anymore when the success rate wasn’t even that significant.  I told Brandon I didn’t want to jump into another IUI next cycle and he wanted to do whatever I thought was best for me.  I wanted a break from the world of infertility for a month or so.  I was ready to move on to IVF.

I went to have my blood pulled 2 days later even tho I knew what the result would be (or so I thought).  I had to work that afternoon but kept my phone out so I could talk to the nurse when she called.  I wanted to tell her that we were ready to move on to IVF.  When the nurse called she started asking me if my home pregnancy tests were negative.  I was confused why she was asking this and wondering why she just wasn’t telling me the result was negative.  She then told me my HCG level was above 5 which technically meant I was pregnant.  She started to explain what was going on but I didn’t hear anything she was saying.  I stopped her. Whoah whoah wait, did you just say I was pregnant????  She could tell I was in shock and also confused.  She went on to explain that any HCG level above a 5 means pregnancy.  My level was an 8.  Wayyyyy to low to be a healthy and stable pregnancy.  She said I was having a biochemical pregnancy. A what? What the hell is that?  What I came to learn was that an egg was fertilized but for whatever reason my body rejected it.  She told me to come in 5 days later to have my levels rechecked but to not get my hopes up.  It wasn’t a good pregnancy and I should expect to get my period over the weekend.  Without me even bringing it up she said our doctor was OK with us moving on to IVF.  This made me feel more confident with our decision.  I fought through the tears on the phone with the nurse and managed to schedule an IVF consultation with our doctor in the upcoming weeks.  Remember this whole phone call took place while I was at work.  Not ideal but it’s a good thing everyone at my job knows what’s going on or else it would have been very hard to hide the tears and disappointment.  They embraced me with hugs when I explained what was going on.  They know by now that nothing can be said to make it better and a hug is the best form of support.

I went in 5 days later to have my HCG rechecked.  I had gotten my period in the mean time and everything was confirmed that the pregnancy didn’t stick.

Our IVF consultation is January 23, 2017.

IUI

iui #1

Our first IUI was on November 18, 2016

The 2 weeks leading to the actual procedure were not as scary as I thought they’d be.  The injections of Follistim that went in my tummy weren’t all that bad.  Sure they stung a little going in and it took some self-convincing to poke myself but after it was all said and done it was easy breezy.  The nurses and doctor monitored my follicles and blood levels and would call me each night to direct me how on how much Follistim I should be giving myself.  This cycle I ended up administering 75 units for 5 straight days.  The idea was to produce 1-4 follicles each time that were big enough to potentially produce a healthy egg (ah-ha that paperwork on multiples made sense now).  This is where IUI’s and IVF differ.  The idea with an IUI is to control the amount of follicles produced to a small number whereas with IVF they want you to make as many follicles as possible with the idea of making a lot of embryos.  IUI has a higher chance of multiples because they can’t control how many of the eggs would be fertilized and IVF they know exactly how many embryos they are transferring back into the woman.  It sounds confusing if you don’t live in an infertile world.  Here is a basic explanation of what the difference is.

I ended up making 3 good size follicles during this cycle.  And… NOW WE’RE PREGNANT WITH TRIPLETS!

Just kidding

3 follicles was a great outcome for someone who was struggling to produce 1.  When the doctor got the result from my ultrasound that these follicles were the appropriate size he decided it was time to induce ovulation with an injection of HCG, yay another shot! This injection was a lot more intimidating.  The needle is scary big and you inject it in your butt muscle but I had to do what I had to do.  Acutally I didn’t do it at all.  I knew that there was no way in hell I could psych myself into injecting myself with this huge needle.  So I did what any normal person would do and asked my friends at work if they’d give it to me.  Thank God I work in a place where we give multiple injections a day so this stuff is second nature to us.  My good friend (and co-worker) Ashley volunteered and it still makes me so happy and honored that I have friends like her who are more than willing to help me with weird infertility shit.  I was so brave tho. NOT. I fa-reaked my shit out.  I like to believe I’m a pretty strong person and a lot doesn’t scare me but something came over me right before Ash injected me.  I had a full on panic attack.  I started sweating and crying.  Honestly I don’t think it was just because the size and look of this needle.  I think it was a combination of this and all the emotions I was feeling.  All the hormones I had been injecting into myself probably didn’t help either.  Either way I was not in a good place.  My other friend at work let me hold his hand while Ashley stabbed my ass.  I think I squeezed and dug my nails into his as hard as I could.  I hyped this up to be the worst experience of my life.

I barely felt a thing.

This video still makes me cringe.  The pathetic whiny sound in my voice, ba gross.  What a baby I was.  I honestly would rather do these shots then the tummy shots any day.  That’s how painless it was.

I went in the following day to officially be inseminated.  Our appointment was really early in the morning.  Poor Brandon had to wake up ready to go and ready to produce his sample.  Ah, how awkward this all was for everyone involved.

We showed up an hour before the procedure in order for them to do the “sperm washing”.  Again, I know, so weird.  But this is the world we live in now!  This process weeds out the weak, slow, or abnormal swimmers and leaves us with a concentration of the best of the best.  After the “washing” they tell you the numbers you’re left with and how they compare with what is ideal.  A good number is above 10 million, we had 17 million.  The motility they want to see over 50% and I think we had it in the 70’s (can’t remember exactly).  So we were working with some good little guys.  Yes! One more thing that was helping us towards making a baby!   To put it all together we were working with Brandon’s great swimmers and my 3 follicles.  Good odds in scheme of things.  Remember all it takes is 1 sperm and 1 egg.

The insemination wasn’t too bad.  Some mild discomfort but nothing awful.  I was told to come back in 1 week for a progesterone check to make sure I ovulated and a week after that for a blood pregnancy test.  We were going on a mini vacation to Michigan the day we would have to get the pregnancy test so we scheduled it in the morning before we got on the road.

The TWW (two week wait) is always the worst.  This is the period where I over analyzed every little thing.  Every thing I felt I wondered if it could be a symptom of pregnancy. In the mean time, the nurse called with the good news that my progesterone was consistent with ovulation.  Yay!

And then the morning came where I began to spot.  I knew it was over and it hadn’t worked.  I remember calling Brandon and telling him on my way to work.  He is the sweetest man in the world every month we go through this.  He always tries to tell me I could still be pregnant.  Well, after trying for this many months I knew that my body was telling me it wasn’t going to happen this time.  I began to hate that he’d tell me this.  Believe me I know he was just trying to stay positive and help and keep the faith but it was harder for me that he just wouldn’t accept that it wasn’t happening this month.  It was like a false hope he would give me when in reality I knew it wasn’t going to happen.  I remember this was the first month where I finally told him to stop saying things like that and that it only made it worse for me.  He understood.  I went home from work that day and skipped the gym to take a nap, I needed it.  When I woke up, the reality of what happened hit me.  Brandon still wasn’t home from work and I remember feeling so alone.  I started to sob uncontrollably.  That kinda cry where you can’t catch your breath.  I looked at myself in the mirror and told myself I was a failure and my body sucked.  I was a in a really low place.  I hated myself.  I hated that I had no control over what was going on.

Like I said before – we went in for the pregnancy test right before getting on the road to Michigan.  They would call me later in the day with the result.  I knew what the result would be anyway but when my nurse called and confirmed it was negative it broke my heart.  Unless you have gone down this road you have no idea the heartbreak that comes on this journey.  You hope and pray each month that this will be it.  This month was a lot different than all the others months we tried to have a baby.  It was harder to accept the negative result with all the assisted help we got this month.  The clomid, the shots, the blood work, the ultrasounds, the IUI – all of it for nothing.  It was a huge blow to my confidence.  For the first time on this journey I had a thought I never had before.  I thought this might never happen.