A follicle named Chubs and a resolution.

In the past two days, I’ve read 2/3 of a book.  This is directly connected to a New Year’s resolution I made about 34 hours after the new year began, while staring at the large fishtank that features prominently in Clinic One’s waiting room design.

On January 2nd, as I sat staring at the fishtank, I was thinking about the liminal space of waiting rooms and of fertility treatments in general.  Of how much time we spend waiting and bored, in what is cumulatively a life altering process.  Not just the time spent in waiting rooms, sitting in light wood furniture looking at fishtanks or walls painted in neutral tones, but also the time we lose to TWWs, next tries, scans, or other anticipation.  I tried to think back to what I had done in those countless waiting hours in 2012-2013.  Stared at my phone, probably.  Watched the fish swim in circles. Googled.  Thinking back, I resolved to make the waiting that 2016 will inevitably hold more productive.  I’ll do things while I wait, I decided.  Not just crush endless candies on my phone.  I’ll knit, I’ll read, I’ll write: anything that makes it feel a little more like my waiting counts.  (My other fertility resolution is to not Google, which I’m half succeeding in.)

So, I’ve spent the last two days of cycle monitoring/waiting reading.  Half-listening for my name or number, but mostly absorbed in somebody else’s life.  (This Is Happy, if you’re wondering.  On theme, and probably deserving of its own post.)

I only managed to read a little bit yesterday, in a visit that was luckily short.  My ultrasound number was called before I could even choose a light pine chair to wait in, and my blood was drawn almost immediately after that. I did have to wait to see my doctor, whose face I couldn’t remember.  So I read and waited, listening to other people’s names being called by other doctors.  Then my doctor appeared.  Though I hadn’t remembered what he looked like from our first visit, now it occurred to me that he looked uncannily familiar: eerily like my brother.  We’ll call him Dr Paul from now on.

Dr Paul spoke to me for all of five minutes, as I tried to focus on what he was saying and not his resemblance to my sibling.  The Femara has worked like a charm, it seems: on CD11, my lead follicle was 22mm.  “A good follicle,” Dr Paul noted approvingly, “that will hopefully turn into a good embryo”.  With that cheerful announcement, he sent me on my way to return for cycle monitoring the next day. (Today.)

Today’s visit featured a similarly quick ultrasound and blood draw, but was followed by a wait that stretched almost two hours.  I diligently read, covering decades of Camilla Gibb’s life while I waited for Dr Paul to make his pronouncement.  Patients filtered out of the office until I was only accompanied by a singing toddler and her mother.  Dr Paul found me in the waiting room, not bothering to call me into the office.  My follicle is now 24.5mm, or giant.  (I’ve nicknamed it Chubs, though Sea doesn’t approve.)  Dr Paul explained that, one way or another, the IUI would be happening tomorrow.  I just needed to sit and wait until my bloodwork came back, so that they could decide whether to trigger or not.   That wait took another hour, or 1/3 of a book.  Finally he came back: my bloodwork shows that I’m surging, no trigger needed, IUI tomorrow.

So tomorrow Sea and I will head back to Clinic One, and I’ll finish a book while the sperm we’ve stored there since 2013 thaws.  Then the IUI will happen, and we’ll be on to another wait.

Wish us (and Chubs) luck!

 

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A conversation with two ten year olds.

Kid 1: Wait, you’re pregnant?

Me: Yes.

Kid 1: How?

Me:  I just am.

Kid 1: What did you get pregnant with?

Me: A baby, I hope.

Kid 1: No, with what man?  What man did you get pregnant with?

Me: I didn’t get pregnant with any man.

Kid 2:  (leaping up, in great excitement) I know!  I know!  She got pregnant with insemination!  That’s how my sister and I were made!  With insemination!

No longer an IUI outlaw.

I went back to Clinic One this morning to pay my dues, head hung in shame.  I waited by the front desk as Heterosexist Receptionist answered a phone call and then complained to a surly sonographer, “She was confused!  And then her husband phoned me and called me a liar!”.

She finally turned to me, and I confessed my crime.  As it turned out however, it wasn’t a crime at all.  Instead, I had been charged for the IUI when I had bought the trigger shot days before.  Not having any sense of the cost of a trigger shot, I hadn’t known that they had just tacked the IUI on to that charge instead.  Besides, Heterosexist Receptionist told me in a slightly sinister tone, even if I had stolen an IUI they knew I would be back.  Both relieved and embarrassed, I bought my progesterone and hurried out the door.

So The Mystery of The Stolen IUI ends well.  My name has been cleared of all fertility thieving charges and my conscience is clear.

The case of the stolen sperm.

The title is a lie.  The sperm itself wasn’t stolen, just the IUI.  It’s been quite a day.

Sea is recovering from the flu, and this morning her hacking cough woke us up before the alarm did.  As she coughed and I stared at the clock, we decided that attempting further sleep would be an exercise in futility and we might as well get up and go for an IUI instead.

We left our house smug, congratulating ourselves and each other for the early morning that, we assumed, would translate into arriving at Clinic One before the morning rush.  Then, cutting through a park to get to the bus stop, we saw the man lying on the cement path– glasses broken and blood around his head.  A woman stood over him, on the phone with the emergency dispatcher, but she was the only other person there.  Of course we stopped to help.  As I sat on the ground next to his head, rubbing the shoulder nearest me and encouraging him to stay still, Sea ran to the ambulance bay conveniently located about twenty feet away from where he had fallen.  She came back minutes later, now on the phone with an emergency dispatcher herself.  “But I can see the ambulances!”, she said, exasperated.  “I’m at the park immediately behind Station #123…  What do you mean what’s the nearest intersection?”  Sea continued to go through the same questions that the dispatcher had just gone through with the other woman.  I kept talking to the man on the ground, encouraging him not to move, still rubbing his shoulder.  Finally, fifteen minutes after Sea’s call, an ambulance drove up to the edge of the park and two men in bright yellow jackets appeared.  They simultaneously helped the man up and flirted with the woman who had been there when we arrived: “Are you okay sir?  Oh, uh, that’s a nice coat, ma’am.”  The woman smiled briefly at the compliment before kicking snow over the blood on the path and hurrying away, explaining that she was late for the first day of a new job.  We followed behind her to the bus stop, not explaining what we were now late for.

We arrived at Clinic One almost at the end of cycle monitoring hours, stopping at the andrology lab first to request the thawing of our first vial of Lefty.  As the nurse teaching me how to inject myself had said during our visit, “They won’t thaw the sperm until they’ve seen the whites of your eyes.”.  As I signed the waiver, I pointed to a machine steaming in the background: “Is that the machine that thaws the sperm?”  Sperm Thawer laughed and replied no, it was just a humidifier.  Oh, okay then.

Having missed the early morning lull at Clinic One, Sea and I walked into a crowded waiting room.  We sat watching other people being called for blood draws and ultrasounds, aware of how far down I was on both lists.  The blood drawing miracle worker was on shift: I anxiously watched every time she came out to call another name, hoping that she would call mine.  She didn’t, and the back of my hand suffered yet another puncture wound.

I was soothed from the injustice of my bloody bad luck (Ha, get it?  Bloody!) by my ultrasound.  Granted, the wait was long enough to prompt Sea to ask, “It still hasn’t happened?!”, but while I stood by the closed door of the ultrasound room I ran into a couple who I had met years ago in a gayby making info session of sorts.  I couldn’t remember their names, but in the context of a fertility clinic still felt comfortable enough to compare sperm counts and procedures with them.  They’ve been trying for about as long as we have, and together we marvelled over the fact that you could put 20 million sperm right up next to a just-ovulated egg and still not get pregnant.  I was finally called in by the same sonographer who had performed Saturday’s ultrasound.  The room was, clearly, the room where they do pregnancy ultrasounds.  A screen was placed at eye level with the exam table, and I watched as my uterus and ovaries appeared, ghostly in black and white, on the screen.

After the ultrasound it was a long wait.  Sea and I began to name the fish in the aquarium.  We used my phone to read every website we could think of, twice.  I began texting The Doctor.  I had pulled out my knitting project and Sea was attempting to stifle a coughing fit when Dr. Text finally called us in for the IUI.  He seemed pleased with the timing of the IUI which, compared to his usual confusion with my chart, was a nice change.  As Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” played over the radio, Dr. Text reviewed Lefty’s sperm count with us.  18.9 million: a fine count that still managed to dash my dreams of Lefty being a much more virile donor than Mickey had been.  Dr. Text performed the IUI as all three of us chatted about how our parents had shared, or not shared, our conception stories with us.  Sea and I may or may not have high-fived at some point during this process.

Dr. Text left after the procedure and, a few minutes later, so did we.  We didn’t just leave the room, we left the clinic.  Without paying for the IUI, or picking up the additional progesterone suppositories Dr. Text had ordered.  To be fair, our sperm-fueled equivalent of a dine and dash was entirely accidental.  We were several blocks away from Clinic One when I turned to Sea and said, “Um, we forgot to pay.”  We debated going back, but we were far enough away that an awkward return to the clinic we had just accidentally fled was too unappealing to contemplate. So we just kept walking.  Tomorrow morning I’ll go back to Clinic One to pay and get more progesterone, but right now you are reading the blog of an IUI thieving fugitive.  May that one day be the search term that lands somebody here.

The pregnancy test is on Sunday, March 2nd.  I can only hope that Clinic One hasn’t issued a warrant for my arrest and put up my mugshot next to their liquor licence and collection of baby photos by then.  Stay tuned.

Total Ultrasound Count: 28

Two dozen ultrasounds and 20 million sperm.

For reasons unknown, whenever our home phone rings we are about as far away from it as you can be in our fairly small house.  Not only that, we are usually both otherwise occupied.  My hands will be in a sink of dirty dishes, suds slopping up my forearms, while Sea will be cooking an elaborate meal.  And then the phone will ring.  So it only made sense that we were in the middle of a home renovation project when the phone rang on Sunday afternoon.   I ran across the house, bare feet covered with drywall dust, simultaneously trying to wipe the paint off my hands onto a cleanish corner of my shirt and answer the phone before voicemail intercepted.  My urgent “Hello?!” as I grabbed for the phone at the last minute was met by Nurse Brittany’s cheerful greeting, followed by, “Congratulations!  Your blood test results show a surge!  Your IUI will be tomorrow.”  Continue reading

Insalmonation.

At an impossibly early hour on Thursday morning I was sitting in Clinic One, half-asleep but hopeful that the day might bring some plot developments to the incredibly drawn out saga of this cycle.  Before I had left for Clinic One, Sea and I had spent some time wondering about what the day would bring.  Based on the unpredictability of my daily monitoring this cycle, we had determined that Dr. Text could just as easily announce that I didn’t have ovaries at all, or that I was pregnant with immaculately conceived quadruplets as anything else.

Continue reading

19.8 million.

Yesterday afternoon Nurse Brittany instructed me via voicemail to come in the next day– today. My LH levels were rising, and it would either be today or “very, very soon”.  She also suggested that I come as early in their cycle monitoring hours as possible, so that they could get me out of there as soon as possible.

Despite the frantic pace of Clinic One, a short appointment somehow still takes an hour; I suspected that I would be there for a very, very long time if anything beyond the usual poking and prodding was going to be happening.  I came prepared with my laptop, a pile of work, and my best patient expression.  The appointment began with the routine bloodwork and ultrasound, though I knew from Nurse Brittany’s call that I would be waiting in the clinic for the results instead of making a quick exit.  As the ultrasound technician stood next to my open legs, she wondered outloud “Is Dr. Text even in today?”

Fantastic.  Great.  Today might be IUI day and we’re not even sure if Dr. Text has shown up to work. Continue reading