Soo, this happened today…

We inseminated for the first time! 

You might be thinking, WTF? Last we spoke, my doctor told me I had probably already ovulated and we were set for trying mid-August. 

But here’s the thing: We know our bodies way better than these doctors. I had been peeing on OPKs since I stopped the BCP 2 weeks ago and didn’t get a positive. My temperature never spiked. And this week I started seeing familiar symptoms. Some twinges, lots of fertile mucus, and I realized – Holy shit, I’m about to ovulate. I’ve been tracking my cycles for about a year now, so I’m real comfortable with spotting the signs. 

I noticed the OPKs were getting a bit darker, so I warned S. and asked if we should just go for it this cycle. We agreed that we should! Sure enough, yesterday morning I got a positive OPK test. I took 3 tests throughout the morning just to make sure I wasn’t imagining things. Still positive. So there was a flurry of calling the sperm bank for a pick-up that afternoon (more on our new donor in a later post – for now I’ll just say that we’re both really happy with him) and calling the clinic to schedule an insemination the next morning. 

S. picked up the goods after work and lovingly made sure the tank was strapped in properly.   

We cooked a nice meal together and then just sat and stared at the tank in our living room like a couple of crazies. Kind of surreal. 

Went in this morning and did the deed! The NP who performed the procedure was so nice and sweet. She said I definitely had the fertile mucus going on. Afterwards, she left us alone and told me to lie on my left side for 10 minutes and then my right side for 10 minutes. S turned off the light in the room and we just snuggled until it was time to leave.

This clinic doesn’t automatically schedule a beta test for each patient. I’m supposed to take a home test on Aug 11 and if it’s positive, I go in for the bloodwork. Otherwise, I call on the first day off my next cycle and we do this all over again.  

And now, I have 45 million sperm swimming in my uterus. I’m so rooting for one of them to make it! Fingers crossed.

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Doctors and Donors

This is a long one.

Today is CD20. I had my appointment with Dr. H this past week. My uterus looks great and is now officially open for business!!

During the ultrasound, we looked at my ovaries and she said it looked like I ovulated a couple days before. I had about 9 follicles on each ovary, but one was really big and floppy (for lack of a better word) and full of liquid. She said that’s typically what a follicle looks like after an egg is released. So then we discussed our game plan for the next cycle. One thing that bugs me a bit about Dr. H is she seems to push for IVF a lot. She mentioned the cost of sperm and how after so many IUI tries, IVF is actually cheaper. Yes, I’m aware of this, but I’d still like to start off with the less invasive option, thank you very much. We discussed med options, but we agreed my eggs seem to grow well on their own so we’re holding off on Clomid. For now.

Here’s the plan (eek!). I’ll have a monitored cycle with no drugs, BUT we will use a trigger shot. I told her the most stressful part of this whole process to me is the timing. So I’ll call on CD1 and make an appointment for CD11, where we’ll check out my follicles and see how they’re growing. Depending on their size, we’ll continue to monitor them until she gives me the go ahead to trigger. And then IUI 24-36 hours later! It’s actually happening! The pharmacy even called to let me know my prescription for the trigger was filled and I should pick it up this week. 4 months after our first appointment with the fertility clinic, we will finally fucking inseminate. I’m actually a little relieved that we missed this cycle. With my body’s on/off bleeding and healing, I just feel better about letting it complete a full cycle before we try.

I saw V, my acupuncturist this week also. She’s changing the direction of my treatment now. Up until this week, she’s focused on moving my qi, increasing circulation to my uterus, and cleansing my body of toxins, old blood, etc. Now she’d focused on nourishing and building my blood up. There were more needles in my abdomen area this treatment (with lots of zings coming off them!) and I have some new herbs to drink each day. The last herbs were smelly but not too bad taste-wise. These new ones are awful. Awful! But I saw results from the last herbs, so I will force myself to drink these. I feel ok taking this stuff since I won’t be on any fertility drugs next cycle. No need to worry about mixing treatments just yet.

Last update is about our donor, Mr. Buddha.

I broke a rule in the “Lesbians Trying to Make a Baby” manual – Don’t get attached to the donor. Well, damn it if I didn’t become enamored with Mr. Buddha’s DNA.

We got a phone call early this week that Mr. Buddha has hit his family limit. They actually gave him a lower limit because they had a limited number of vials. (I assume this means he has declined donating more?) They have to keep a certain number of vials for the Sibling Inventory, so all remaining vials are being held for those that have already become pregnant with his sperm. Fuck. We can either get a full refund or exchange the vials we purchased with another donor.

We’ve looked through the online catalog but here’s where we’re stuck. This local sperm bank has a smaller inventory. We found a couple other donors we like, BUT they’re not a part of the Identity Release program (where the kid can get their name and contact info from the sperm bank once they’re 18). Of those that are in the program, we didn’t find any that we were crazy about. I feel pretty strongly about the donor needing to be in the program, but S doesn’t. I think a part of that is her being the non-biological mom and a slight fear that the kiddo will one day look for their “father” and she’ll be the odd person out. Our sperm bank has done some studies and it seems a really small percentage of kids actually try to make contact, but I feel like we shouldn’t take that choice away from our hypothetical kid. Do we pick an anonymous donor that has the qualities we’re looking for? Or one that’s in the program, but is missing some of our “must-haves”? Or just get a refund and use another sperm bank with a bigger inventory?

Any advice? Anyone using an anonymous donor or have strong feelings about this? How did you balance your desires for your future kiddo while also making sure your partner felt secure and fully involved in the process?

Thanks ladies!

Bodies are weird

I just got back from a wonderful week on Cape Cod. It was a truly magical and relaxing vacation. Lots of hiking, kayaking, lobster rolls, champagne, late night chats with old friends, and just general loafing. As well as a beautiful, heartfelt wedding ceremony thrown in there. Lots of happy tears were shed. Now I’m back and grateful I have all day Sunday to help ease me back into reality.

I finally heard back from Dr. H Monday! I got caught up in hanging out with my friends when I arrived in Boston and completely forgot to call the clinic. I happened to check my email as I was going to bed that night and saw her message. She told me to schedule a follow-up appointment for this week and to stop the BCP. So Monday night was my last night on the damn pills.  I am not a fan of BCP. I found myself not handling stress very well while on them and I cried at the drop of a hat, which was really annoying. The frustration of finding myself on the verge of tears a lot usually just led to even more tears – talk about a vicious cycle. I still haven’t scheduled a follow-up appointment with Dr. H (I blame it on “Vacation Brain” – I kept losing track of time and just wanted to focus on the trip). I’ll call the clinic first thing Monday and try to get them to squeeze me in this week.

I’m not sure what’s going on with my body right now. So despite being on BCP for 3 weeks, I started my period the day before my hysteroscopy – which was almost 2 weeks ago. Weird. It feels like 2 months ago. Not sure when my period stopped, but the healing of my uterus took awhile. The bed rest last weekend actually worked! I finally stopped bleeding from the procedure Sunday night and was so grateful to not see any blood at all on Monday. But then I got cocky. On Tuesday, I went to a local gym on the Cape and ran on the treadmill (still training for that 5K in late August). I immediately started bleeding afterwards, just a very small amount though and it was definitely old blood. It went away really quickly, so I figured I was in the clear again. Because I bled so much after the procedure, I really wasn’t expecting AF to show up after stopping the BCP. I just figured, there can’t be anything left in there, right? Not the case. Thursday (2 days after stopping the BCP) it looked like AF showed up after all. She stuck around until Friday evening and then disappeared again. Very strange. My periods usually last a solid 5 days, not 2. And this was really light. So my question is: Was that a truncated period? Am I on CD3 right now? Or was that just some residual bleeding from the running on Tuesday and I’m on CD18? Of course, I didn’t have my thermometer with me on the Cape so I have no other reference for this cycle. I guess I’ll find out at my post-op appt.

If all goes well at the appointment, we could either be inseminating in 1 1/2 weeks or in ~4 weeks, depending on what my body is doing. If I’m on CD3 – woo hoo, let the intense ovulation monitoring begin!  If I’m on CD18 – we’ve most likely missed the fertile window and will be waiting for the next cycle. Either way, shit is gettin’ real.

Recovery

It’s going a little more slowly than I anticipated. I went back to work the day after the procedure feeling ok. However, as of this morning, I was still bleeding heavily from it all. And I know it’s from the procedure and not just my period because A) it becomes heavier when I’m walking around, like during my commute and lunch break. B) it slows down when I’m sitting or lying down. and C) my period would be over by now. I’m starting to feel a bit weak from the blood loss too. This also makes me feel like a wuss.

I emailed Dr. H right after the procedure and asked if I should schedule a follow up appt. with her and whether I need to continue the BCP. I left the clinic without being given any clear instructions about what’s next. Aaaand, I have yet to hear back from her. I’m starting to realize she’s a bit flaky.

On the other hand, Dr L, not my RE but the doctor who performed the procedure, has been wonderful. She emailed me Friday to check in on me and make sure I was recovering ok and to tell me the polyps were biopsied and are not pre-cancerous. I replied immediately, grateful for any sort of communication from the clinic, and told her about my heavy bleeding. She responded within 5 minutes and said that means I’m overdoing it and need to take it easy, put my feet up as much as possible this weekend, and take an iron supplement. If it doesn’t taper off in a few days, she recommends going in for a blood count. However, Sunday night I fly to Boston for my best friend’s wedding and will be on Cape Cod for a week. Hopefully, the bleeding stops before I get back. If it’s still going on when I return to CA July 19th, then I’ll be worried.

I called the nurses’ line at the fertility clinic Friday, frustrated at the lack of communication from Dr H and how no one has reached out to me. They were very apologetic and looked at my record, thinking maybe Dr. H wrote some information on there they could pass along to me. Apparently my records say that we can attempt pregnancy once this procedure is done, but what does that mean exactly? Do I stop taking the BCP now and start monitoring this cycle immediately? There were no notes on my record about medications or upcoming appointments. Dr. H was in surgery when I called, but the nurse told me she always works on Saturdays doing inseminations and they would leave a note for her, telling her to contact me about next steps. The nurse I spoke with promised that she would get the needed information and contact me herself Monday morning if I didn’t hear from Dr. H by then. It’s 7:30 pm and I haven’t heard anything, so Monday morning it is.

Am I being a big baby about this? Is it unreasonable for me to expect my RE to follow up with me after surgery? If we can start inseminating this next cycle, shouldn’t she have told me and made that clear? I feel like that surgery was kind of a big deal and I’ve just been left floundering this past week, soaking through one pad after another, unsure of what was happening and what to do next.

End of rant. I’m now going to go comfort-eat macaroni and cheese from our favorite restaurant in Oakland that my lovely wife has picked up for me while I’m on bed rest.

Polyp free!

I was so nervous this morning’s hysteroscopy was going to be canceled. I woke up really early after tossing and turning. I was still bleeding when I woke up. Lightly, but definitely more than just spotting. Normally, I would have done some yoga stretches to help me relax, but not this morning. A lot of those stretching and twisting moves give your uterus a nice massage, which is a great way to increase circulation to your pelvic area. But also would have helped facilitate the flushing of my uterine contents, which is not what I wanted this morning. I just wanted everything to stay put for a few hours until after the appointment.

We got to the office, the valium and codeine in my purse, ready to go. The receptionist couldn’t find my appointment at first on her computer. I immediately thought, “Fuck! They canceled the procedure and didn’t even tell me!” Turns out it was just a glitch in the system and they found it, so all was fine. After taking my vitals and having me sign the consent form, they said I could take the pills and they allowed S. to come sit in the room with me.  I’ve never had valium before and I was 19 the last time I had codeine (after my wisdom teeth were taken out), so I definitely felt it kick in. I just felt like I was moving really slowly and my eyes were heavy. I’m glad I didn’t say anything embarrassing while under the influence 🙂

I’m so glad S was able to sit in the room with me and hold my hand the whole time. I immediately asked Dr. L if I could watch it on the screen and she said yes! Dr. L is another doctor at the clinic and she performed the procedure. She talked us through the whole thing. They filled my uterus with water to expand it, so they could see well. And she showed me the long metal tool with a wee camera and headlight on the end that she placed in my uterus. I have to say the inside of a uterus looks really odd. I could see that my lining was super thin or even non-existent in a lot of places – which means the BCP did their job! She spotted the 2 polyps immediately, close to my right fallopian tube opening. The polyps looked bigger than the ultrasound led us to believe, like 2 fat squishy skin tags just hanging out. Dr. L said it’s a good thing we’re removing them. Their placement next to the fallopian tube meant an egg coming from that side could have easily implanted onto one of them, resulting in a miscarriage. She unveiled a tiny scissor-like tool that was then threaded up my va-jayjay and used to chop off the polyps. It took a few tries to get both of them, but she happily showed us the pieces as she removed them! As she was removing the camera, she showed us my cervix and said “Can you imagine a head coming out of that? Yikes!” I could have done without that joke, for sure.

Watching it all happen on the screen definitely helped distract me. If I didn’t have that, I would have been too focused on all the cramps and twitches happening down south. There was some pretty bad cramping, mostly from them pumping so much water into me. And one of the last chops to the 2nd polyp hurt, but other than that it wasn’t too bad. Honestly, as I watched her cut the polyps, I was so tickled by the fact that I couldn’t feel anything. Thank goodness for drugs. Dr. L was very happy with the end result and wished us luck on our journey to parenthood. All that worry about the bleeding for nothing. It was totally fine.

So now I’m resting at home. I go back to work tomorrow, but I should be fine. I already feel the valium leaving my system and I have a heating pad on my lap to keep the cramps to a minimum. I’m on the BCP until my follow-up appt. with Dr. H. (which is not scheduled yet) and then we should get the all-clear to actually start inseminations. FINALLY. Three months after our first appointment with Dr. H, I’m really hoping we just jumped over the last hurdle to TTC.

Oh lord

This morning I discovered just how stubborn my body is. After 3 weeks of birth control pills, my uterus decided to forge ahead with our regularly scheduled program and start my period today. Granted, today is the day I would normally start, but this is REALLY not useful the day before my hysteroscopy. I called Dr. H’s office to make sure it was ok and the nurse said we should keep the appointment anyway. I really hope this is just some breakthrough spotting and not the real deal. And that the Dr. will still be able to check out my uterus and cut out the polyps. I’ve heard of people having to reschedule because the bleeding was just too thick to see anything. I will be heartbroken if we have to reschedule this procedure tomorrow.  Please send some good luck our way!