29 June, 2016

Looking Back: IUI Number 1

I have never excitedly called someone to announce that I was on cycle day 1 (my period started) before going through this process. As it was my first intrauterine insemination (IUI), the clinic wanted to do some tests to make sure everything looked great. The first thing I went in for was a blood test so that the doctors could check all the fun hormones that females have such as FSH, LH, prolactin, and estradiol. 
Then I got to have a hysterosalpingogram. That's a fancy way of saying a dye test for the fallopian tubes. We went in near the beginning of my cycle and they took me into a special radiology room in the clinic. Via a catheter, hey inserted radiographic dye into my uterine cavity. It was cool to watch everything happening on the monitor. Once the cavity was filled, the dye spilled into the fallopian tubes. There was not any blockage. I was cleared to do an IUI.
A few days later, I went in for a baseline ultrasound. That is when they check the ovaries and see how big my follicle (where the egg resides) is. They check the right side and left side to see which side I will ovulate on and they measure my uterine lining and my biggest follicle (the one that is destined to drop that month).
One thing I heard on that day and a few other occasions when receiving ultrasounds is that I have lots of follicles. (The reason why I may have false ovulation tests.)
I went in for an ultrasound around day 10 so that they could look and see if they could figure out how close I was to ovulating. It was a fun day to go in. It was an ice cream party for my class and the kids were hyper as kids can be on ice cream. I was not too devastated to hand them over to a sub for the afternoon. For that ultrasound, they said I was getting close. My follicle was measuring in the low teens and they want the follicle to get to around an 18. (Measured in millimeters.)
Starting at day 10, they had me do home ovulation predictor kits, like the kind you can buy in the grocery store. Of course day 10 fell over a weekend so I did a test Saturday and Sunday and came up with a positive on Sunday. The positive made me nervous that we would miss the window with which to do the IUI.
Monday morning (Leap Day), we went in for another ultrasound appointment and mentioned that we had a positive ovulation test. They checked the follicle with an ultrasound (still a little small-around a 16) and sent me in for blood work.
I fretted the entire day at school. I did not want to miss out on an entire month because I ovulated when it was least suspected. I got a call around lunch to say they were going to do the IUI at 2:30 and that they were starting to unfreeze one of our sperm samples. Time seemed to fly after that. I worked with my amazing team to get them to cover my class for the last fifteen minutes of school and rushed to the clinic at the appointed time with a, "Go get yourself knocked up!" from one of my coworkers.
The IUI was different than I was expecting. First, the amount of sperm we had after it was washed was extremely small. 2.5 million. The clinic likes to see it higher than 5 million. I was slightly devastated on the inside when I heard that. Then, they could not get the catheter inside me. She moved it around for a good ten minutes before she decided I might be one of "those" patients that need a full bladder before doing a procedure like that. So, they removed everything ("I have to go through this a second time?!") and had me drink quite a bit of water before trying once more.
"Pull out the torture devices again. This time she has a full bladder so it will be even worse." (Yeah, my technician was much nicer than that, but that is what it felt like.)
In just a couple more minutes it was over. What should have taken five minutes ended up taking half an hour. I promptly went home and laid down for a couple hours.

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