Like Clockwork

If you remember from my post about our first IUI, I considered not taking a HPT on my testing day and instead would wait until the predicted start day of my next cycle, Friday, June 21. Well, wouldn’t you know it, I woke up that Friday morning to the lady in the red dress 💃🏻. *I can’t take credit for this name, my sister and her best friend coined it!

Now this meant it was time to repeat last cycle’s series of events, minus the HSG.
CD1 (Friday, June 21): I called the FIRM and somehow avoided word vomiting, after all, I had been through this before so I was only about 98% as nervous this time. I knew my baseline would be on Sunday, meaning it would be at the main office. “Good news,” exclaimed Alaina from the other end of the phone, “You’ll have Dr. F for your baseline and possibly your whole cycle!” Hallelujah! But, as excited as we were to have Dr. F, I had never had a male doctor before so cue the panic, and that 98% shot up to 120%.

CD3 (Sunday, June 23): Our appointment was at 7:30 am, so we stayed at my sister’s the night before, making our drive only 35 minutes. I knew what to expect as we had just gone through all of this but I was so nervous. We check-in, I chug water for my urine sample and start telling myself that Dr. F is going to say “Surprise, you’re actually pregnant!” *Spoiler alert, this did not happen.

Out comes our nurse, she directs us down the hall then tells me to undress from the waist down and to leave my urine sample on the counter. Yep, got it, been through this before. I went into the bathroom and 30 seconds later, I realized I DIDN’T PEE IN THE CUP. Now what? I couldn’t scoop it out of the toilet but I didn’t have anything left. So I did the logical thing and started pushing on my bladder. This gave me exactly two drops in the cup.

Dr. F and our nurse enter and in true Kate fashion, I word vomited “I forgot to pee in the cup, I’m so sorry, I just really nervous!” J sighed and Dr. F chuckled as he eyed the cup – no worries, there was enough for the pregnancy test. We review our last cycle and get to the exam, after being told several times to scoot down on the table. All was quiet so I asked him to look at my fibroid. He wasn’t at all concerned but I needed to know more, mainly the size of it. I don’t know why I needed to know this especially since I had only known about it for a month, so I had nothing to compare it to but I just felt like I did. A quick measure and he says it’s the size of a quarter. WHAT! “Dr. F, I know I’m not small but there’s a quarter in my uterus?!” He told me not to worry and he’ll continue monitoring it but we aren’t anywhere near even thinking about removing it. So basically, CALM DOWN, Kate!

The exam was done and he asked, “How do you both feel about last cycle?” I answered honestly and said, “I feel it didn’t work because you didn’t do our IUI.” Reminder, this was one of my main concerns from our very first appointment. Dr. F assured me this was absolutely not the reason it didn’t work. We discussed my HSG, my follicle and lining sizes, and medication side effects. Dr. F decided we would increase my Letrozole dose to 7.5mg in hopes of two larger follicles than last cycle or three similar sized follicles but will keep everything else the same.

CD6 (Wednesday, June 26): The FIRM called to discuss my upcoming follicle scan, scheduled for CD13 instead of the usual CD12 due to scheduling for the holiday week. Dr. F wasn’t comfortable waiting until CD13 for my scan and wanted to move it up to CD11 based off last cycle’s numbers.

CD11 (Monday, July 1): J and I met at the office for my follicle scan and I kept repeating to myself “Pee in the cup. Pee in the cup.” Then the usual, you’re catching onto how this goes by now: nurse, walk down the hall, urine sample, undress from the waist down. This office is set up different with a bathroom down the hall with a huge sign that reads “Urine Samples Here,” reminding me to pee in the cup!

Dr. F and our favorite nurse, Crystal, came in and told us my OPK was negative, no biggie, it was only CD11. Then the good news – the Letrozole increase paid off! I had two follicles on my right ovary, 17mm and 20mm, none on my left though and my lining was 7mm meaning all my numbers increased by 1mm! J and I both knew what was coming next…the trigger shot. Dr. F started the conversation by asking if I trust J, to which I answered “NO!” (Full disclosure, I trust him with everything except needles.) So Option B it was.

CD12 (Tuesday, July 2): I stopped by the office for Crystal to give me the shot. This avoided us mixing it ourselves and let J off the hook. After all, he had enough responsibility as this was a fresh cycle. Just before Crystal gave me the shot, I asked if pain was normal. She told me no but that I should have brought this up sooner (oops) so I explained last cycle’s symptoms and she said they would look at my injection site the following day. That night we wanted to take our minds off things so we purchased the movie “Making Babies” from Amazon. Whether you’re battling infertility or know someone who is, I highly recommend watching it. Although a few parts are enhanced, infertility is 90% accurately depicted. *You’re invited to come over and watch this with us!

CD13 (Wednesday, July 3): fair warning: this day is a LONG one!
We live close to the office allowing J to collect his sample at home but this came with a strict timeline: J was to collect between 8:00 and 8:15 am, have the sample delivered within 30 minutes of collection, the sample would take an hour to prepare and insemination would be at 9:30 am. Knowing what was ahead of us, we woke up at 6:30 that morning. Most guys don’t perform well under pressure (I think) so I thought it would be best for J to have time to relax, which is just what he did. I, on the other hand, got ready as if I was going on the most important date of my life. I shaved my legs, used my favorite lotion and perfume, and did my hair and makeup. (My mom says, “When you look good, you feel good,” so that’s what I was going for!) When I was done, I went to our living room so J could do his part, once I heard the shower start, that was my cue to get dressed. Then I saw it – the bright green cap for the collection cup was sitting on the nightstand so I barged into the bathroom worried the sperm wasn’t at the right temperature (this is very important)! I picked up the cup and say “THIS IS ALL YOU GOT???” like a beast took over me. Sarcastically, J replies “That’s all I got.” I kept repeating to myself “It’s going to be canceled, the sample isn’t big enough. I can’t believe this!” I screwed the cap on and took to Google. “How much sperm is needed for an IUI?” Every result was a count in the millions, not helpful, Google. So I switched my search to “Collection volume needed for an IUI,” BINGO, one millimeter. Great, now how much is that? Third search, “How much water is in one millimeter?” The answer: 20 drops. Picture this, I have the collection cup in one hand and in the other, a glass cup under the kitchen sink collecting exactly 20 drops of water while J was taking the longest shower of his life. The cups match up and it’s go time.

Empty cup photo for reference!

I drove us to the office as the collection needed to stay close to J’s body temperature, so he tucked it in his shirt and I turned the air off on his side of the car. We didn’t speak one word to each other due to my comment earlier but in my defense, I had never seen a collection size so I had nothing to compare it to other than the movie from the night before where the cup was half full. *Side note: the collection cup is FOUR OUNCES, yet only one millimeter is needed so it’s deceiving to anyone! We arrived with exactly one minute to spare, checked-in and started our one hour wait. Before we know it, it was 9:25 am and Crystal came to get us, off to the vitals room and I show her my shot reaction. (No urine sample needed!) We get into our room, still not talking, get ready and hear a knock on the door. As the door flings open, Dr. F says “Good morning, mom and dad, today’s the day you’re going to get pregnant!” That was a refreshing statement after the morning we had! Dr. F noticed I was nervous and reassured me it would all be fine then said: “I’m serious, this guy had his personal best today!” “WHAT? ARE YOU KIDDING? HOW? There’s no way. There was hardly anything in the cup,” all came spitting out of my mouth. As Dr. F and Crystal looked at me in total shock, J said, “That’s right! Personal best!” I go on to tell them about our morning and Dr. F lays out the numbers for us. 147 million sperm with 78% motility, this really was J’s personal best which sparked his new nickname, “Personal Best Stephens”! (I would not be living this down.) We compared the numbers to our last IUI, 50 million with 44% motility, and went over the sperm’s shelf life in fresh vs. frozen; fresh lives up to five days in the female body where frozen lives about 24 hours. For an IUI, you need at least 10 million sperm, fresh or frozen. With these incredible numbers, Dr. F had to be right that this was going to be the day I got pregnant. In true Kate fashion, I asked how long everything would take (knowing the answer), and in true Dr. F fashion, he replied “Depends. How long will it take you to get ready?” Touché, Doc, touché.

A minute later, we were done, and it was time for me to practice the art of “IUI voodoo” (laying still for 15 minutes). Then it was time for questions, first on J’s mind, our back-up sex schedule. “Well, I’ve already made fireworks, so now it’s your turn to make fireworks tonight,” (pre 4th of July joke) Dr. F answers and then explains our “Procreational vs. Recreational” schedule and my testing day, July 17. I, however, had a very important question, I needed to know if I was allowed to sleep on my stomach – answer: yes!

This is where I leave you for now but you can head to Instagram (@thebabystepsblog) or my next post to see the result of this IUI. Just like last time, I will share my medications for this cycle.
– Dose: 7.5mg/day
– Days: CD3-8
– Side effects: hot flashes and breakouts along my chin
Novarel HCG Trigger Shot
– Dose: 5000iu
– Day: CD12
– Side effects: redness and slight swelling but no bruise, some pain