Our journey started 6 months ago and I am just starting this now ( I knowwww I am so far behind) so bear with me while we get caught up! Ill try to keep it short, but this is a lot to fill you in on.
First lets go back, wayyyyy back to the first conversation my wife, S, and I shared. We were introduced by a mutual friend and of course our first cliche interaction was on….. Facebook. Agghhh…. I know, but I will admit I am a little shallow and wanted to see what she looked like before I agreed to this blind date. Fast forward to sending a friend request because, lets face it, she was hot as hell. There is way more to her than her looks, but come on don’t deny it, you have to be attracted to the person to get to learn all those other amazing things about them.
Well, we spent 3 solid hours chatting online and in that first convo we both declared our desire for children. That, on top of 87 other things that proved us compatible, led us to our first date. Obviously that went great and no more than 5 months later were we picking out wedding rings, yeah yeah lesbians move fast, soooo stereotypical of us but whatever. Married 1.5 years after we met and shortly after our one year wedding anniversary we decided to get this thing going.
I am currently 35 and S is 30, so we decided to use my old eggs first. We started by getting a consult with a RE (repdroductive endocrinologist) that was recommended by S’s sister who had great success with their treatment. Keep in mind we were under the assumption that this would be covered by insurance. The consult was free, and we saw exactly why we were recommended to go there. Clean office, amazingly kind staff and the RE himself, was an older man in his 70’s with a bowtie. We instantly fell in love!
After a battery of bloodwork and an exam, we were given the green light to go ahead and select our donor. Little did we know this would be one of the hardest decisions we would ever make. You are literally choosing the DNA of your future child. That is a LOT of pressure!
We decided to use California Cryobank. We started the process by selecting the most important qualities to us. First, I am short, under 5 foot. Don’t judge, good things come in small packages. So we wanted a donor who was tall so that we can give our kid a fighting chance at not being a shorty like me. Secondly, S’s father was born in Ecuador so we wanted a donor with Hispanic heritage. And third, we wanted a donor with dark hair because we both have dark brown hair.
Once we narrowed THAT down, we really read into the profiles. There were basic questions and a section that allowed them to “Express Yourself” which we felt was the best way to get to know that donor. Some had drawings, some song lyrics, some just a philosophical look on life. The donor we chose had recipes (S and I are major foodies) so we felt an immediate connection to him. When all was said and done, we had 11 great donors saved. Over the course of several weeks, we slowly dwindled the list down to about 5. There was one we kept going back to, time and time again because he was just so cute. You guessed it, recipe guy. We knew that we had to go with him!
We ordered 10 vials of this donor, enough for both of us to be able to try and conceive children who would be biologically related. Since I am older, we decided we would try three rounds of IUI with me first and if that didn’t work, S would take over the responsibility of carrying with her younger, sexier eggs.
Our RE wanted to monitor for one month prior to starting. In case you haven’t gone through this process, monitoring is basically a bunch of blood work and internal sonograms for your entire cycle. Yep, you read that right…INTERNAL sonograms. Think phallic plastic stick, inserted vaginally to take inside pictures. It doesnt hurt but it certainly isnt a walk in the park. Especially WHILE you have your period.
It all starts on CD 3 (cycle day 3). You call when AF ( Aunt Flo) arrives, to book your first appointment. CD testing involves an internal sonogram of your uterus and both ovaries as well a bloodwork. On my CD 3, my RE noticed some fibroids that he was very concerned about. Fibroids can cause issues staying pregnant, depending on where the uterus they are. I had one that was along the uterine wall that worried him, which in turn worried me. He suggested I go for an SIS or a Saline Hyseterosonography, and while I was at it, he wanted a Femvue test done as well. The SIS involves filling the uterus with saline to see if the fibroid encroaches on the uterus. The Femvue, evaluates the fallopian tubes to make sure that both are open and clear. Both involve a catheter being placed directing into the uterus, hence why he wanted both done. The Femvue involves saline and AIR being pumped through the fallopian tubes so the gynecologist can see the air bubbles travel through the tubes to ensure patancy.
These tests were not fun. S couldnt come with me because she was in an advanced one year nursing program and could not miss class. So, I went alone for this. Note to others, bring someone, anyone. I was advised to take two Advil an hour before the procedure, which I did. No help at all. I was so scared as I sat naked from the waist down with a doctor, a nurse and sono tech in between my legs. First off, I have a retroverted uterus, which basically means its tilted, but makes finding cervix the equivalent of finding the Bermuda Triangle. After 5 minutes of digging around inside with me a speculum and lifting my hips and shoving what seems like shivs into my vaginal opening, she got the perfect view. Ok that was uncomfortable but I did it. She then introduced a catheter into my cervix, didnt feel it. She then warned me she was introducing the saline, I braced myself. Was kinda uncomfortable but I did it. Then she says we are swapping out for the Femvue now. I dont even know how to explain the pain deep inside me. I felt like I was being tortured. They kept saying you’re doing great, we’re almost done, but it felt like forever and it hurt so bad. I had wished S was by my side holding my hand. After all was said and done, the good news was the fibroid would not cause an issue and both tubes were wide open. I went home wearing the mother of all pads because in the doctors words, ” You will be leaking fluid for the next few hours”. Wonderful, I thought to myself as I waddled my way to the car. That night, I bled like I had my period and was concerned, but it was short lived and I was relieved it was just for that short period of time.
So, my next CD3 rolls around and I get my internal sonogram and bloodwork and we are greenlighted to inseminate this month. I started Clomid and was directed to take one 50mg pill every other day for 5 days. We had the sperm delivered to the RE’s office.I went back on CD 10 to learn I made two mature follicles and 3 smaller ones. I then started using OPKs (ovulation prediction kits) to figure out when I was ovulating. I got my positive and called the office to book the insemination for the next day…. no answer. I called and called and called and I kept getting a message saying the office was closed. I called the emergency number on the message and was told the office was most definitely open but ” they must be busy, they put that message on when the get busy”. After three hours and leaving messages, the office was officially closed. We set an alarm to wake at 630 the next am when the office opened, the message saying it was still closed played again. We called for 1.5 hours and decided to just get in the car, show up there and say inseminate me now!
We arrived at the office, flustered and annoyed that we didn’t have a smooth morning. They apologized and said sit tight, we will defrost the sperm, give us 45 mins. 3 hours later they call us in. They show us the paperwork proving it was our sperm and we see the date the donor “deposited” and it was our wedding date, and on top of that its S’s 30th birthday! We are sure the stars are aligned for us. The RE has some trouble finding my cervix, surprise surprise, and a few minutes later the speculum is in place and the catheter is introduced. The sperm sample is injected and we are told to lay there for 10 minutes. We played our wedding song and sat in amazement that we were hopefully creating life.
The TWW (two week wait) was the longest wait ever. We tried to do special things to make time go faster, but it didn’t really help. I went back 7 days after insemination for blood work to make sure my levels were good to sustain pregnancy, all good! My nipples hurt, which in my mind was a certainty of pregnancy. I was tired, which I also attributed to, I must be pregnant. During this time, we also get a letter from insurance stating they will not be covering my fertility services, hello stress. Sperm was expensive enough at roughly $900 per vial and now we have to pay all of this out of pocket. Oh well, what’s done is done, hopefully this worked and we wont have to pay any more than just this cycle.
We started doing home pregnancy tests around 10dpiui ( 10 days past IUI or insemination) and we got negative after negative. We felt defeated. I returned to the RE 2 weeks after my IUI and had blood take to determine pregnancy. They said we will call you this afternoon with the results.
I get a call a few hours later from my aunt, in hysterics that my grandmother was just airlifted to the hospital in Virginia and she was in a coma after coding 4 times and being brought back each time. The prognosis wasn’t good and we were told to await further news. I then get the call from the RE. I let it go to VM because I was S to be there with me to hear the news, so she comes to pick me up from work and we go to the library parking lot to listen. Negative, my hear breaks not only for the fact that we werent pregnant but the fact that my grandmother is potentially dying. I go back to work and try to focus. I then get a call that I should get in the car and get to VA immediately. I leave work, go home and get S and head to VA. I now know why this round didnt work, I was under so much stress that it would not have been good for me. P.S. my grandmother pulled through and even though she was determined to now be end stage copd, terminally ill, she is still with us going strong and there are plans to get her back to NY here with the rest of the family soon.
Upon getting back to NY after 4 days in VA, we are now back to square one and CD 3 testing. Another sono and more bloodwork. The sonogram reveals what appears to be a cyst or a left over egg from last cycle. Bloodwork will tell us if I can start clomid again tonight or not. It was in fact a leftover egg, and though viable, due to the fact that we had limited sperm samples and money, the RE decided to skip this cycle.
Finally, we are in our current cycle. CD3 came and we started Clomid. CD10 came and we found out I made 3 mature eggs and a few that may or may not mature in time. I didnt get a positive OPK. So back to the doc for blood and sono on CD13 and we are told that we are surging, which means I will ovulate the next day. They also see that in addition to the 3 mature, theres a chance that 4th egg might just ovulate too. S is super excited about this especially since eggs are on both ovaries, which means when the sperm are swimming around in there, no matter which tube they go up, they hopefully find an egg!
Insemination day rolls around and all goes smooth, we lay in bed the morning off and drink coffee together. We stop for donuts on the way to the RE, because I have a donut obsession and feel like donuts are the way to go. We get inseminated and head to the beach since its gorgeous. We eat our donuts and enjoy the sun. Now, the dreaded TWW starts again. We both have a good feeling but we know how that went last time. So cautiously optimistic!
And there you have it, youre caught up and hopefully I remember to do this blogging thing regularly and you will never have to read a post this long again. If you made it to the end, thanks for listening. I found this all very cathartic!