The title says it all. This post is all about my menstruation cycle and prepping my body for our first insemination with donor sperm.
Never in a million years did I think I'd be writing a blog about my monthly cycle and sharing it with you all, but... here we are. 🤷♀️
It's Friday, January 22, 2021 and I just started full flow of my period (remember, they don't consider Day 1 of your cycle until it's full flow).
In typical-Teri fashion, I tore my calendar off the wall and began marking out the important cycle dates:
January 22 - Day 1; Full flow
January 24 - Day 3; Start Clomid and take for 5 days
February 2 - Start ovulation kit
February 5 - If no positive ovulation surge, call clinic to schedule a transvaginal ultrasound
Sounds easy, right?
I 👏 WAS 👏 READY 👏
Jan. 24-28: Take 2 Clomid tablets each day
Clomid is an oral medication that works by making the body think that your estrogen levels are lower than they are, which causes the pituitary gland to increase secretion of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH).
Higher levels of FSH tell the ovaries to produce an egg follicle, or multiple follicles, that will develop and be released during ovulation. High levels of LH also help stimulate ovulation.
Clomid is not required for an IUI, but we chose to do it because it will increase our chances of becoming pregnant.
I've heard horror stories about the effects of Clomid, so I was definitely expecting the worst with this med.
Imagine my surprise (and Brian's) when I barely experienced any of the mood side effects this time around (just some night sweats and a bit more anxiety than normal).
Could something finally be going in our favor with this journey for once?
Feb. 2-5: Take at-home ovulation test
I had to begin testing to see if I'm getting ready to ovulate on February 2. This involves what they call an at-home ovulation kit.
Here are the basics on ovulation and ovulation testing:
Once each month, a mature egg (or multiple eggs) is released from the ovaries and is available to be fertilized
This 12- to 24-hour window is when your fertility peaks, making it the best time to try to get pregnant
Ovulation test strips measure levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) in your urine
A rise in LH signals the ovary to release an egg—so when levels reach a certain threshold, it’s safe to assume that ovulation will occur within the next 12 to 36 hours
By testing for ovulation, the doctor/nurse can more accurately time the insemination
In a nutshell, I had to pee on the test strip with my first urine of the day for four days. I was really hoping for a smiley face to show up on that test reader.
As our luck would have it, I got a blank circle each day I tested.
Feb. 5: Call clinic to schedule a transvaginal ultrasound if there's no positive ovulation surge on your at-home kit
Since my at-home ovulation kit wasn't showing anything by day 15 of my cycle, I had to go to the clinic for a transvaginal ultrasound so they could check my ovaries to see if I may be approaching ovulation.
What exactly is a transvaginal ultrasound, you ask?
Well, it's when the nurse inserts a wand (in the infertility community, this wand is lovingly known as "Wanda"). You might feel some pressure similar to the pressure felt during a Pap smear.
Once Wanda is inside, sound waves bounce off your internal organs and transmit pictures of the inside of your pelvis onto a monitor.
The nurse is able to check both ovaries and measure growing follicles, which are the fluid "nests" that house any growing eggs. If a follicle measures at 1.8 cm or greater, you're ready to ovulate and they will likely scheduled your insemination for the next day!
Now, due to COVID, Brian wasn't allowed to come into the clinic and attend this appointment with me. I'm so thankful that he drove me there and I could FaceTime with him from the parking lot so he could "kinda" be there.
Check out this photo he captured of the monitor screen. This is one of my ovaries with three follicles measuring large enough to determine I will begin ovulating soon.
This is great news!
The nurse said my body is ready to ovulate and we should schedule my IUI for the next morning––Saturday, February 6!
Stay tuned for my next post, where I will tell you about the night before the procedure and all the nitty gritty details of my first IUI.
Spoiler alert! It was NOT a good first experience.