The established plan for my next cycle: Clomid, a 12 day ultrasound, an hcg trigger shot a few days later and then timed IUI. Oh, the enthusiasm I feel!
No, not really. My heart dropped when I read my OB/GYN’s email. In order to get a referral to go see the reproductive endocrinologist we would need to jump through a few more hoops. And even then, there are no guarantees our insurance will cover a single bit of our care.
Stress and anxiety are heavy upon my heart. Why you ask?
And so, I feel it is time to relay my experience with IUI thus far.
Our first IUI was on a cool, crisp fall day in October. We scheduled ourselves for the first morning appointment at 730a sharp. We were hoping to be in and out and then head up to the mountains for some R&R with friends. They said it should only take about an hour. An hour to spin down my husband’s precious life giving semen and then 5 min to do the IUI…followed by a few minutes of rest before I could be up and rarin’ to get on with my day
After arriving, they showed us to our “room.” They told us to make ourselves comfortable while my husband gave his sample.
“Now remember, no oral sex or intercourse. Only manual stimulation is acceptable.” The lab tech relayed to us.
Whoa, who does she think we are? Sex? In the Fertility Clinic? Anybody who has been trying for awhile knows that baby making sex isn’t always the best sex…and at the Clinic?? I felt like a 3rd grader as my mind screamed out….EEeeeeWWWW!
It was so awkward that I told her that it won’t be a problem and that my husband was fine on his own and that I preferred to just wait out in the waiting room. I guess I just couldn’t get over her thinking about us in that room…doing who knows what…surrounded by porn magazines galore. Nope, I was out of there.
Well, my husband did his duty and then we waited….
and we waited….
and we waited…
We were sooo anxious. We heard that once sperm is spun down it only lasts 4-6 hours. Time was ticking. In the normal, healthy woman sperm can survive up to 3 days within her fallopian tubes, lying in wait of a released egg. So there we were…waiting.
5 hours of shelf time left
At 9:30a, an hour after our scheduled insemination time, the nurse practitioner comes waltzing in….completely casual and talking about how hard it is to come to work on a Saturday. We couldn’t believe it. Do you realize how anxious we are right now? Our nerves are ready to pop through our skin, our hearts are racing. This is one of the biggest days of our life. As a practitioner myself, I find this unbelievably unprofessional.
17 minutes later she finally called us in. She had our precious specimen under her armpit. “Gotta keep it warm.” Seriously??? Her armpit? This just gets better and better.
I hung my legs in stirrups and she went through the drill. After she had injected the sample, she told us that we should rest for about 10 minutes before going home. As she was about to leave the room, over her shoulder she said to us,
“Try to be amorous. Orgasm increases blood flow to the uterus and will help propel the sperm toward the egg. I know its tough, but I have sneaking suspicion that this can really help these IUIs be successful for folks.” With that, she left.
Shock and horror crossed my face. I was lying down on a procedure table in a stark white room with porn all around me, ky jelly dripping from me, anxious over what had just happened and she was hoping we could enter another world and get turned on? Have an orgasm?
Need I say more? Perhaps some could get into these sorts of things, but not me. Needless to say, finally the silence broke and we just couldn’t stop laughing. And so went our first IUI.
The second was more of the same…but with one interesting twist. By now, we expected that things would roll late around the fertiltiy clinic so we weren’t at all surprised that our 830a start time soon became 907a. We were prepared. Now for the twist. In our first one, the NP emphasized how important it was to keep the sperm warm (thus, under her armpit). In our 2nd IUI, the nurse had it lying on the counter…the cold 65 degree room temperature counter. Our poor little swimmers were exposed to the elements. It was actually rather heartbreaking at the time. Well, there goes a few more hours of life span for those guys. No bueno. We might have had a good 3 hours of life left.
Now, in case you haven’t had an IUI before, let me remind that this is your BEST sperm, your best window of opportunity. They ask you to not have sex for 2-3 days prior to the insemination. Those who have been trying for awhile know that it is generally recommended to be having sex every 1-2 days during your fertile window. With IUI, you are abstaining…waiting a few days to allow the best sperm to build up, so that you can give it your best go. Well, for us, after what we went through both times, we felt that we would have been better off having given that sperm a chance at home, in our own bed, without its lifespan dramatically obliterated.
All that to say, I’m feeling a little anxious about doing a few more IUIs. I realize it can be a beautiful, wonderful thing when it works. After watching the “Great Sperm Race” on You Tube, I can see the benefits of injecting the semen directly into the cervix. Really though, I just wish we were normal and didn’t need to jump through such hoops to get the care we desire.
As my mom used to say, “Just offer it up. It will bring you closer to heaven.”
It has been offered up.
IUI round 3…we will be experiencing you soon.