Step 1: Tests
After about 9 cycles of trying, we decided to set up an appointment with my GP. They ran a bunch of tests. We both had a couple items of note* but nothing crazy out of the ordinary. It was hard to balance feeling glad nothing was flat out “wrong”, but also feeling frustrated that we didn’t have more solid answers.
*Side note: If you don’t know about male-factor infertility, PLEASE do your research! About 40-50% of infertility can be attributed to the sperm!
She told us if we weren’t pregnant by January 2020, to set up an appointment with a fertility specialist. They were booked out months in advance, so we continued to try while we waited for our appointment.
Finally, after what felt like more and more months of waiting (in reality, it was like, 3) I went into the fertility specialist for more blood work, and eventually our meeting with the nurse practitioner – which kicked us right into…
Step 2: IUI
We were about 12 cycles in at this point. In case you’re reading this and don’t know what goes into an IUI, (because I didn’t, and learned a lot from the internet) here’s how it went down for me (Think Jane the Virgin, but intentional)
- Ultrasound to see if your egg/follicle is big enough/ready for ovulation. If yes, proceed to:
- Trigger shot in your abdomen to activate ovulation
- Sperm sample the following day, given at least 1.5 hours before insemination in the comfort of a clinic room (that my hubs actually said was a pretty nice setup)
- They “wash” the sperm – basic goal is to get the best/strongest swimmers, and get rid of the extra stuff
- Insemination time! Go in by yourself, no partner. They insert a catheter directly into your uterus and insert the sample. Quick, painless for the most part, easy peasy.
- My favorite four letter word: WAIT.
Love in the time of COVID
We did a second IUI at the beginning of March, right when Coronavirus was ramping up. I immediately felt fearful for making the wrong decision, putting our potential baby at risk if we were to get sick.
At first I would laugh at the social media posts talking about a COVID baby boom 9 months after stay-at-home quarantine. Then, our fertility clinic closed.
I hosted two virtual meet-ups with our community during this time – one for infertility, and one for pregnancy during COVID. Each of these sessions brought women together sharing their fears, concerns, and sympathy. I still message with the women I met through the infertility call, and their experiences have brought me so much comfort, simply knowing I am not alone.
Step 3: Asking for help.
Assembling my “care team” has become more important to me than ever. I started seeing a chiropractor, and eventually a pelvic floor physical therapist. I even spoke to a baby spirit medium who surprisingly put my heart a little at ease. I met all of these amazing women small business owners through Om Mama. The Om Mama Collective members aren’t just for new + expecting moms, they are for womxn on every spectrum of the motherhood experience.
All of them spent more time listening to me, learning about my body and my journey than any medical doctor ever has. This is nothing against medical doctors, and I recognize that it is a privilege to be able to see specialized practitioners (often not covered by insurance). It is just a different experience going to a care provider outside of western medicine that I have truly grown to appreciate. I am the kind of person that likes having the scientific data and understanding, but also the yoga + spiritual rituals to help clear my chakras. Ya feel me?
Step 4: Keep moving forward.
I know my story is long from over. And one that I hope will come to a healthy pregnancy and baby. A baby that is half me, half Kevin.
Today I am 18 cycles in. 18 unwanted periods. 18 disappointments. Way more than 18 moments of heartbreak and tears.
I can’t thank you all enough for the love, encouragement and vulnerability you have shared with me this week. I am grateful for your support and take great comfort in knowing that we are not alone in this! Thank you.
I hope this encourages you to speak your truth as well. Sending you so much love on your fertility journey – wherever you are.
Looking for community? From “trimester zero” to mama of many – you are welcome here! Join us on Thursday, 8/27 at 11am for our monthly mama meet-up! Free for all – RSVP here!