It’s National Infertility Awareness Week. I’m going off-topic (but somewhat related) today.
This morning, after putting Mayita back down in her crib from yet another waking, I stumbled back to bed. Unfortunately I couldn’t get back to sleep. Thoughts kept rolling through my mind (like, preparing for her birthday party, why is my credit card bill so damn high, etc.) when I suddenly realized that I missed a BIG anniversary.
Five years ago, on April 23rd, 2007, I walked into an nondescript office building. It was a day we were waiting for a long time. It was the day of my Intrauterine Insemination procedure, otherwise known as an IUI.
It was a long, frustrating and painful lead-up to that day. We were trying for a year and a half. We were doing all the “right” things. I had bought “Taking Charge of Your Fertility”. I measured my basal body temp every single morning and charted. I even had a subscription to an online site that would take my temps and pretty much told me the right time to…well…try.
I exercised, limited my caffeine and alcohol intake, and definitely tried to negotiate with “the big man upstairs”. I bought books and then more books. I scoured the Internet for resources. I went to online sites and found other women like me trying to learn some magic trick to getting pregnant.
And, every month, like clockwork, there was the disappointment. The crying. And, because I have dysmenorrhea, I was in extreme pain (because the Pill actually helps regulate that). I was not a pleasant person during these times.
Inevitably, we would buck up and look forward to the next month with optimism. That maybe “this” was THE month.
But it was never THE month. And so it went on. We had to dodge questions from family and friends. We always had a smile and joked that our dog was, “our child” but yet it still hurt. When family members and friends announced their upcoming joys we were crushed. We would hold the babies in our arms, devastated that we hadn’t been the “lucky” ones.
I finally saw my OB again, and other tests were run. We discovered what we had suspected all along – that we were dealing with infertility. Most likely, we were looking at IVF for a shot of becoming pregnant. Even now, I remember how far my heart fell when I heard all those words. But yet, it was strangely reassuring because now there was something new to explore. We knew what was going on now.
We got our referral to a Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE). After reviewing our initial results, the doctor explained that we had about…oh…1-2% chance of getting pregnant every month. Well, with those odds, no wonder we were failing miserably. The doctor continued by telling us that maybe an IVF wasn’t the avenue we should pursue. Instead, we should try an IUI, with Clomid and injectibles. As he put it, “create as many targets as possible for the little buggers.”
So we went through more tests and blood work. I had to get an hysterosalpingogram (HSG). And while the majority of women only have slight pain or cramping, I was not one of those. The poor techs were not sure what to do with my sharp breathing and yelps. Happily they were able to report that my reproductive system was clear as a bell. I’ll take that as a compliment.
We had to go to a class to learn how to use the injectibles. Rather, Husband had to learn and I had to make sure that I wasn’t going to freak out about the thought of Husband giving me shots.
When we finally straightened out the insurance (and let me just say, we were extremely lucky my insurance covered this) we were able to “officially” start Round 1. That meant more blood work, and then I got to experience the transvaginal ultrasound. This is what I commonly joked to as the “dildo cam”. I took the Clomid on cue every day and then, on the designated days, Husband did his duty and poked me with the injectibles. He did very well and I was proud of him.
I had to have another ultrasound to monitor my follicle development and when the time was right, we scheduled the IUI. I had many viable follicles that were ripe for insemination. Woot. The actual procedure itself did not take long at all, was nowhere near as painful as the HSG (thank GOD) and I was able to go right back to work. With a little secret, of course.
And, so we waited anxiously. For two whole weeks. I obeyed my RE doctor and nurse who said not to test early. I didn’t want to have a false negative (or positive). In order to get an accurate result, a Beta Pregnancy Test was best. Which meant more blood work.
I never told y’all that I hate getting my blood drawn, right? I mean I actually will pass out. I was actually advised to not donate blood because I couldn’t last two minutes. But I put on my big girl panties for the chance to become a mom. I had to.
Putting on the big girl panties worked. My Beta levels were high. I was pregnant. Round 2 of the Beta test, then the ultrasound proved it. There was a tiny heartbeat going strong. Mere months later, Mayor Bee entered our lives. And we won the Battle of Infertility.
And for all the frustration, sadness, and worthlessness I felt during that long journey, holding that little precious baby made it all melt away. It was all worth it.