Going Through Infertility
Being born as a woman, it is definitely heartbreaking when you can’t achieve “mommy” milestone. Some women get it easy whereas others have to struggle a little harder. Going through infertility is not easy especially when everyone around you constantly reminds you that!
Let it be at a party, wedding or even funeral, the only question they would ever ask is “any good news ah?” Seriously? Don’t you think if I have good news I would have made it viral, rented a big castle and laid out the red carpet for all the uncles and aunties that keeps asking me the same question over and over again! Not being able to get pregnant, yet, is not by choice, it is definitely the last thing any woman wants.
My husband, being the most precious rock of mine, supported me all the way. He followed me to all those countless visits to the clinic to get multiple tests done. Never once he sighed. Always ready with chocolates incase I break down, which is most of the time. I even went through “dye test”, also known as hysterosalpingogram (HSG). Not that it was painful, just that it was uncomfortable. Finally after multiple rounds of Clomid, the doctor suggested Intrauterine Insemination (IUI). Our tests turned up relatively normal and we were told that we should be able to conceive, yet month after month, I failed to conceive. The diagnosis was basic—unexplained infertility so IUI offered a bit of hope. Here was something that could potentially help us have a child.
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) is a fertility treatment that involves placing sperm inside a woman’s uterus to facilitate fertilization. Being a relatively non- invasive procedure, IUI looked like a very good option to me now. Like all things to do with infertility, I learned quickly IUI process can be overwhelming. I quickly became emotionally, physically and financially invested in something I didn’t know a whole lot about. I had a ton of questions: What happens? How does it feel? Will it work?
What I wish I knew before Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
Here’s a recount of the IUI procedure I went through.
STEP 1: Check Up
I remember getting extremely worked up for this day. I was told to come in on Day 3 of my menstrual cycle. The clinic wanted to do few hormonal studies on me. My dear hubby also had his little soldiers checked, to ensure they are actively swimming with good numbers. I went through basic ultrasound to check on my lining and presence of cysts. The doctor then explained to me the course of treatments and what should i look out for as well. I was then given some oral tablets to be taken for 5 days and an appointment was made on day 10.
STEP 2: Cycle Monitoring
I was at the clinic early as i have to be at work as soon as possible. My heart was racing so fast that I thought it will just jump out of my mouth and start running away from me. I was so worried as today ill know if my meds helped my follicles develop. Will the numbers be enough? Are they big? What if i had none? What if i had too many and i have like 10 babies in me? Owhh my!
I was brought into the scan room, and internal scan was done. With a smile the doctor said i have 3 good follicles. Phewww!! They were in good sizes and hope they will continue to grow. Another appointment was given on day 14. On this day, another scan was done to check if my follicles have matured and to ensure they are ready for the TRIGGER SHOT! Yup! A jap into my flabby tummy.
STEP 3: Trigger Shot
My trigger shot. This wasn’t my first time getting such shot. I was given the pregnancy hormone hCG, which helps follicles mature and ensures that ovulation occurs within 36 hours. This shot is given to time ovulation, and meanwhile my husbands soldiers will be waiting for my beautiful mature egg. While the trigger shot didn’t hurt, I know I flinched because it felt so weird. Now I have to be prepared mentally and emotionally for what’s coming tomorrow, the BIG IUI day.
STEP 4: THE DAY!
On Day 16 around 7 a.m., we arrived at the clinic for IUI day. Too many things were running in my head. Would the procedure hurt? Would my husband be allowed in the room with me? There was also this great sense of anticipation. I desperately wanted the IUI to work, and im sure my husband also is silently hoping and praying.
While I was doing my internal ultrasound, my husband was told to give his sample. We were separated for about 1 hour. Once he was back, we went to grab some food while his soldiers were being “washed” Sperm washing is the procedure that separates the sperm from the semen and weeds out the low-quality “tadpoles.”
I was told to hold myself from peeing at least one hour before the procedure. I had to consume one litre of water, as a full bladder helps the doctor guide and angle the catheter into the uterus.
Can you imagine how anxious was at this very hour plus my bladder decides to be extra active now!
We received a call saying that we can come into the clinic now as my husbands sample is ready! Once back in the ultrasound room, I sat on the exam table. We were shown a vial of my husband’s sperm and asked to acknowledge that the information on the label matched ours. I remember thinking “I sure as hell hope so!” but all I did was laugh out loud. It was such a funny thing to say but it is extremely important to check each and every alphabet on the sample bottle. I was then asked to lie down and the doctor inserted a speculum into my vagina.
As the clinic assistant performed an external ultrasound, the doctor inserted the catheter into my vagina and my cervix. The doctor was able to place the catheter with the screen as her guide. She then pushed the catheter through the cervical canal and pointed it toward the top of my uterus. She injected my husband’s sperm through the catheter and into my uterus and advised me to stay seated for a few minutes. The process lasted only about 60 to 90 seconds. Very short procedure but to me, with my anxiousness and chanting holy mantras non-stop, felt like a lifetime!
And that’s it! We were done! The doctor specifically told me to not stress over information from the net! It’s like she was a psychic or something! She also told me to not do home urine pregnancy test as the trigger shot hormones will linger in my body for up to 10-14 days! I was given an appointment on day 30 for blood work to check if im pregnant! Praying and hoping I will be!
So, how do I feel after all this? Extremely mixed feelings. I can’t tell if i’m happy, anxious, nervous, stressed or paranoid. But one thing i know is that i was feeling hopeful. Hoping is the only thing that kept me moving forward. No one said it’s going to be easy, but at the same time no one told me what it would feel like too. I didn’t choose infertility, infertility chose me, and now it’s time for me to wave goodbye to this and say hello to pregnancy!
To all you out there trying month after month to get pregnant, please know that you are not alone and do not give up hope. Remember that the longer you wait for something, the more you’ll appreciate it when you get it.
If I can ever be a resource for you on your pregnancy journey, please do not hesitate to reach out. Just remember, we are strong, incredible women, somethings just take a little time, but don’t give up!
If you want to learn more about IUI please speak to our doctors today!