[wannabe dad] IUI #3: A continuation of our journey–from Brian's point of view
Hey guys! Wannabe dad here. It's been a while since I wrote a post so I thought it would be a good time to share my experience and perspective of a donor sperm IUI. This post will include a lot of different topics ranging from tips to help your partner feel less alone to finding joy among sadness to how it feels to be on the other side of the FaceTime call from the driver's seat of my truck.
Also, if you are lucky enough to live in the central Iowa, then you might already know the outcome of our third IUI. If you don't live in God's Country, check out this clip from a local news station that did a story about our journey.
IUI Prep from a Husband's Perspective
Before I dive in, I want to give a few pointers for wannabe dads who may be going through something similar. I don't have a lot I have to do to prepare for IUIs (well, actually there is nothing I have to do) so I've learned that the little things can really make a big difference and help my wife feel less alone and less stressed out.
Tip #1: When it's time for your wife to start at-home ovulation testing, set the test on the bathroom counter for her each night before you go to bed
Tip #2: Keep track of her cycle so it's not just on her to remember what day it is (we keep a calendar in the kitchen)
Tip #3: Pamper her. Rub her feet while you're watching TV, give her a massage, cook dinner, do the grocery shopping, etc.
Tip #4: If she's taking medication for ovulation, hand her the pills every morning
Tip #5: Volunteer to call the fertility clinic for her next time
Tip #6: Even if you don't have to go to the appointment, go anyway. Even if you can't go in, go anyway.
I will never NOT go to a fertility appointment with my wife. Even if it's just a simple blood draw, I'll drive her to the clinic and wait in the truck. This is OUR unique journey to parenthood, and the very last thing I ever want her to feel is alone.
Do you have an idea to add to the list? Leave it in a comment below, on social media or send me a personal message. Who knows, maybe I will do a whole post on this topic one day.
Another Ultrasound, Another IUI
Just like our first two IUIs, the at-home ovulation test didn't show a positive surge so Teri had to go in for another transvaginal ultrasound to see if her eggs are ready.
I am on FaceTime while the nurse checks the follicles. This time, Teri only had one good follicle on one ovary, her other ovary didn't have any. I thought that was kinda weird, but the nurse assured us it was normal (especially with the change from Clomid to Femara).
The nurse then mentioned something called a "Trigger Shot" which I have never heard of before. The whole time I thought she was saying "Sugar Shot"🤣. Teri decided to proceed with the shot in the office. She could have brought it home and had me inject it, but I am glad she had the nurse do it.
So, what exactly is a trigger shot? I wasn't really understanding what was going on via FaceTime, so Teri explained it to me once she got back out to the truck. It's something about a hormone shot made from a Chinese hamster... (not kidding!!).
I'm going to have her explain it to you too, because she's more into all the science-y stuff.
👋Hi! Teri here, popping in for a moment. I won't stick around long so make sure to keep reading Brian's post below!
What is a Trigger Shot?
A trigger shot is an injectable fertility drug used to enhance and 'trigger' ovulation. Hence why it is called a 'trigger shot.' The medication is called Ovidrel and is supposed to increase the chances of an IUI being successful. (There are also other medications that do a similar thing as Ovidrel.)
The trigger shot contains hCG, also known as the pregnancy hormone. When used as a trigger shot, hCG works more like the luteinizing hormone (LH) that is produced in the pituitary gland. LH is secreted right before ovulation and prepares the eggs to mature and come out from the ovary. !!Beware of false positives!! If you take a pregnancy test too close to the trigger shot, you may get a false positive due to the hCG.
The shot is easy to administer––the nurse injected it into my abdomen and I was good to go. I didn't really experience any side effects except for slight cramping.
OK, now get this: Ovidrel contains 250 micrograms of recombinant-hCG. The hormones are sourced from Chinese hamster ovary. Seriously. Look it up.
One final thing about the trigger shot––you can't get it at a normal pharmacy like Walgreens. Luckily, our fertility clinic keeps some on hand and we just had to replenish them. The trigger shot has to be ordered from a Specialty Pharmacy (for me, this pharmacy is in Omaha!). The shot was delivered via FedEx straight to my home in a styrofoam cooler.
Bye, for now! 👋
OK, Teri is done hijacking my post so let me get back to it. So, we went an extra step further this time with the Trigger Shot (which was another couple hundred bucks)....but this is the third time and this time it's going to work, right?
Our third IUI was scheduled for Thursday, April 8–the morning following the ultrasound and trigger shot. Like I've done each time Teri has to go to the clinic, I left work about 40 minutes prior to the appointment to pick up the wife.
She is usually waiting for me in our driveway like a little kid waiting for the school bus.
When we got to the fertility clinic, there is someone parked in my spot (it's an unwritten thing that I have a parking spot there), so I made a joke about it (to ease the tension) and backed into a new spot. I grabbed her hand and said yet another prayer at a place I never would have guessed I would be praying at.
I gave my beautiful wife a good luck kiss and told her to go get knocked up. It's hard enough that I don't get to go in with her, so the least I can do is try to make her giggle or smile before she goes in.
As I wait for Teri to FaceTime me, I am once again blown away by the amount of people coming in and out of those doors. Most of the time it's people I've never seen there before (I'm a pretty observant guy).
To put it bluntly, it's depressing.
A couple years ago my mom fought off cancer (she's pretty badass). She stayed at our house a lot since she doesn't live in town, and I would take her downtown to the Cancer Center for her treatments. One of the things that will always be ingrained in my memory is how depressing the Cancer Center is.
As I sat in the waiting room while my amazing mom was back getting her radiation on, I would people watch. There were several times that I would catch myself tearing up, hurting for the warriors that are fighting for their lives coming through those doors.
Do you know where the 2nd most depressing place to people watch is? The fertility clinic.
Maybe it hits me this way because I know the pain–the highs and then the extreme lows that the people walking into the clinic are facing.
Sitting in my truck watching the next brave woman kiss her man and walk up the door, my wifey FaceTimes me.
I am fearful that she would run outside in her paper gown if I don't answer, so I pick up on the first ring. Sure enough, there she is lookin' great in her gown, ready for the nurse to come in. It's go time.
We've been lucky enough to have the same nurse for every IUI. I can always tell it's her because she calls Teri "my dear." They exchange small talk––I'm assuming to help ease the nerves.
The next thing I hear is "Ok, you're going to feel a little pressure." That exact moment is when I wish I could be there to hold my wife's hand. It is because of me that she has to go through this trauma. I should at least be able to be there so she can squeeze the $h!t out of my hand when she feels the pain.
Two or three minutes later, the nurse says,
"You're all done, my dear. You're welcome to lay here for awhile if you need to."
I hear the door close and see the tears in my wife's eyes.
Now, I'm sure after my friends read this, they will
make a comment about the insemination taking just as long at the fertility clinic as it would've at home...and I would question their friendship if they didn't make that comment.
Messing with one another is the way my friends and I show that we care. We all know we don't mean the things we say, we just like to make each other laugh.
And that is the best therapy for me.
I also find joy in watching The Office (seriously could watch that show everyday). My wife, on the other hand, can't watch anything more than once without getting distracted!
I've learned how important it is to find the things that bring you joy when you are going through the shit storm of emotions that infertility and loss causes.
Another Two Week Wait (TWW)
Anyway, now that we are inseminated, it's time for the TWW. It always reminds of being a little kid around Christmas time and how December 25 feels like a lifetime away.
Will the third time be our charm? Will this be the one that gives us the one thing we've wanted our entire lives? Will we finally get to become parents?
Unfortunately, Aunt Flo arrived (even early this time) and we are–yet again–not parents.
This triggered a pretty serious crying sesh, followed by days of constant reminders (every time my wife had to use the restroom, obviously) that we are not pregnant.
The hatred I have for Aunt Flo is real. She doesn't bring us good news, ever. I just want my wife to be happy.
Another month, another piece of our hearts torn. Each failed cycle is harder than the last. The good news is that my love for my beautiful wife is stronger than anything Aunt Flo can do to bring us down.