Blog #8: Scheduling & Procedures & Stress – IUI !!!!! (think Wizard of Oz)


In order to have an IUI (intrauterine insemination) there are instructions, (like all things dealing with infertility), that make it a pretty stressful situation.  First, Luke and I have to make a decision at the beginning of each cycle whether or not we are going to do an IUI that month. The reason? To call the hospital ahead of time and let them know we are planning on coming in that month.  Second, I have to use ovulation kits to test when I’m ovulating.  Okay, no biggie, right? I have done this plenty of times before.  However, now… it is different…  Before, I could test in the privacy and comfort of my home.  But during an IUI month, I have to test in the bathroom of my place of employment. But, why?!  Well, for scheduling purposes at the hospital of course!  And, they instruct us to test starting on cycle day 10, so I have to do this each day starting cd10 until I get a positive LH surge.  In order to schedule an IUI, I have to call the hospital on the day of my positive LH surge to let them know we would be coming in the morning.  Here’s the kicker though – we have to call before 3:30pm.  So, if I get an LH surge when I get home from work after 5pm, we are out of luck for an IUI that month – since the deadline for scheduling for the following morning has passed.  Therefore, I test at work at 2:30pm to hit their deadline for scheduling.

Peeing into a cup, testing that pee, and waiting 5 minutes for the LH surge results is the most nerve-racking thing to do at work.  First of all, I have to somehow take the cup and ovulation test into the bathroom without anyone seeing… Then, I basically have to be in the stall for what feels like an eternity, hoping that no one comes into the bathroom or notices how long I’ve been in there. And finally, I leave the bathroom with the test strip hoping I don’t see anyone (because I like to compare test strips on cycle days for different months)… Every time I do this, it feels like “Mission Impossible”…


The first time Luke and I went to the hospital for an IUI, we really didn’t know what to expect.  I mean, we had an idea of course… but we walked into the hospital together holding hands tightly, saying, without using words, “I’m nervous”.

Our first IUI went like this: We drove separate, per the nurse instructions since Luke had to get to work ASAP. We arrived at 7:45am.  They called Luke back and he did his part.  When Luke came back to the waiting room he handed me a pager.  And not a small, concealed pager… a pager that made me feel like we were at the Olive Garden or Texas Roadhouse waiting for a table. So, yea, it was huge… and I was confused. He said, “They’ll page you when they are ready for you. They said 1-2 hours and you can go anywhere in the hospital.” Hmmm okay. Luke was reluctant to leave me, but I knew he had to get to work. So we hugged, kissed and said goodbye and I went to the hospital cafeteria with my “restaurant” pager in hand.  Luckily, I had packed my laptop in my bag just in case I had time to remote in and work.  So I worked and waited, and waited, and waited.  About an hour 1/2 later, the pager started spazzing out I tried to turn it off, but it wouldn’t stop.  It was loud and vibrating… And I had to take it to the waiting room I was at before… on a different floor in the hospital… carrying the spazzing pager.  (embarrassing!) When I got there, I was SHOCKED to find out that the next step wouldn’t be done there.  No, in fact, I had to carry a small tube carrying my husbands semen to a whole nother clinic in the hospital. “Okay, I’ll just put it in my purse” … “No no – you can’t do that. You need to carry it in your hands (for heat) and make sure it stays upright the whole time.” …….Um, excuse me? Oh man……… this is way more awkward than I had been planning for… I made it to the women’s health center in the hospital without running into anyone I knew. (PHEW!) Then I checked in and waited… all the while holding his semen in my hand (upright!)… This was definitely not something I had planned on or expected or been READY for. I should have just been wearing a sign that just “Hi. My name is McKenzie and yes, I’m holding the semen of my husband.”  When a nurse finally called my name I had to use the restroom.  So I asked her to hold it for me. Her response, “I’m sorry but I can’t. I suggest sticking it in the middle of your bra so it stays warm and upright.”  WHAT…THE…HECK???!!!!! THIS IS GETTING WIERDER BY THE SECOND!  When I was back in the hospital room, the nurse explained that they can’t take the semen from me until they are ready to use it, for liability reasons. Oh… well, that makes sense… I’d probably be pretty upset if she dropped my husbands sperm while I was in the restroom. The next step was the insemination. The nurse uses a catheter to place the semen directly into my uterus. This part has been different each time and in my case, I think it depends on the nurse.  …Are you still wondering why I had to wait to get take Luke’s semen?  Yea, so was I.  After the nurse was done she instructed me to stay laying down for 15 minutes.  So I asked her about the “in-between” time of when my husband did his part, and I got the semen.  She explained to me that the semen is “washed” in the laboratory (called sperm processing). The sperm is separated from the other components of the semen and concentrated in a small volume. They keep the HIGHLY motile sperm for the procedure.  By placing the “best” sperm high in the uterus, the goal is to have more sperm get to the area in the fallopian tubes where they might have a successful meeting with the egg(s).

May 12, 2015 = IUI #1: No pain. Just uncomfortable and cramping.

August 2, 2015 = IUI #2:  Awful. The nurse couldn’t find my cervix with the catheter and I almost passed out. She found it, thankfully.

September 30, 2015 = IUI #3: Not easy but not awful.  Tolerable. This nurse was very excited because “she could tell” I was definitely ovulating…


Luke and I weren’t prepared for the stress that comes along when we decide to go in for IUI. We both have good jobs and take pride in our careers.  Going in late to work? Uh, don’t want to! Not knowing more than one day in advance if we’ll be in late? Even worse!  How am I going to get out of that important meeting in the morning?  How is Luke going to show up 2 hours late to work with no explanation, but expect the guys he’s managing be on time? STRESSFUL.  Not to mention the timing of it all.. the timing is basically a crap shoot – maybe the IUI is done at the right time, maybe it’s slightly off, or maybe we totally missed it. Insemination is supposed to be timed to occur at or a little before the time an egg is released, which you really don’t know for a fact.  When I test for ovulation using an ovulation kit, the first “positive LH surge” means that I will release an egg anywhere between that moment and the next 36 hours… And even if we DO actually nail it on the head (timing wise) our chances of it actually working is just 8-10%. (gasp!) Yup, that’s it.  And yet still –  approximately 35 couples show up to our local hospital every single month to do IUI…

IUI (Intrauterine Insemination)

So, as you can tell, IUI isn’t a one and done procedure… it’s not a for sure thing.. it doesn’t necessarily make things easier… and it can be quite scary. And you prepare yourself, in your head, as much as you can, for every appointment and every test… but it’s never enough for any infertility appointment; whether it’s getting your blood taken, checking your “female parts”, making sure the male isn’t “shooting blanks”, etc… every appointment is hard.  Especially with each passing month that you aren’t pregnant.  But, like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, I continue to follow the road that the specialists instruct us to take, filled with scheduling… procedures… and stressing – in order to get where we want – which is, of course, to be blessed with the gift of parenthood.


Blog #7: Infertility Clinic

May 4, 2015

I’ll never forget the day of my first appointment at the infertility clinic.  My appointment was in the afternoon, so I had all day to think about it and hope that the specialist would have a miracle sitting on a gold plate when I arrived. I wanted answers, and AH HA’S!  And I really thought I would be getting them!  But, unfortunately, that’s not what happened…

As I was sitting in the waiting room of the clinic at our hospital, I was feeling really hopeful, but looking back – I think I was only hopeful because it was the “final” step to baby – it was the step that we had to wait over a year to do… this appointment would lead us to a child – this appointment would tell me something I didn’t already know, and we would have a plan for how to get pregnant… finally.

But in actuality, this is how it went:

I met my “new” doctor and we talked – a lot… He reviewed all of the notes that were sent to him from my gynecologist, which was nice and I learned quite a bit.  After he explained to me that we were in the “unexplained infertility” category (10% of the infertility population) of couples trying to get pregnant, he told me that I would be having an ultrasound to check my ovarian reserve.  Well that sounded pretty serious…? Ovarian reserve… like I’m getting older and might not have eggs left or something??… I had never heard of this test before and was immediately overcome with anxiety and nervousness.  So many things were running through my mind as he explained that some women could be really young and have only 1 follicle, while others could have over 10.  (The number of follicles you have basically predicts the eggs you have left.)  I thought I would be getting answers at this appointment, not having another test to see if something ELSE might be wrong with me… As I got ready for the vaginal ultrasound, my mind was spinning and I was so scared.  So so SO scared.  What if I only had one follicle? What if our chances of conceiving naturally, our own child, were diminishing with each passing day at a much faster pace than we had even considered?

After the ultrasound was done, and the results were given to my doctor – he came to talk with me again.  This time when I saw him, I wasn’t hopeful. This time, I was on pins and needles and felt like I was going to start crying at any second…  It was pretty wild going from an excited/hopeful emotion when I first saw him, to a scared/worried emotion seeing him again, all in just one afternoon.  The findings: They saw 10 follicles, which he explained to me is good, but not great.  He was hoping to see over 10.  But he assured me that having 10 was definitely good…  So after we knew that I had a decent reserve, we made our plan.

Fertility appointment conclusion (Plan):  My doctor told me some new findings had been recently reported regarding thyroids and he was going to put me on a daily pill for that, called levothyroxine.  He also decided to take me off clomid (after 5 months on it) and switched me to letrozole – telling me – “which is basically the same thing but doesn’t affect the cervical mucus as much as clomid does; sometimes clomid can have a negative side effect on cervical mucus, which is what carries the sperm”… ah, oh, great, thanks Doc!…  Because I had 10 follicles, he explained, we didn’t need to rush into anything extreme.  But he recommended that we start IUI (intrauterine insemination).  IUI is a procedure that basically puts the healthiest of my husbands sperm directly into my uterus using a catheter… it sort of does away with the traveling sperm typically has to do and the healthy sperm are simply put where they need to be. The doctor told me that we could do this procedure as many times as we want and the more you do it, the higher your chances of conceiving are.  So, moving onward and upward… to IUI… and I’m feeling hopeful again as I walk out of the infertility clinic…


Blog #6: Isolation

After 9 months of trying to conceive unsuccessfully, I started to, without realizing it (at first), isolate myself from friends and family. With each passing month and each passing fertility test, I wanted to be alone more and more.  Deep down I knew it was because I was protecting myself and “dodging” the question… if I didn’t see or talk to people, they couldn’t ask itThe question was getting harder and harder for me to answer with a smile, without biting my lip to prevent from crying, or without being completely rude to the person asking.

What it really ended up coming down to, was I was tired.  Like, not just sleepy… but hit a wall, sick of thinking, want to shut down my brain tired.  I was tired of being devastated when AF arrived every month. I was tired of being asked “When are you guys going to start a family?”  I was tired of being told by my husband that “It will happen when it’s supposed to.”  I was tired of getting probed with a wand for nothing and getting my blood drawn for nothing – month after month after month. I was tired of using ovulation predictors.  And I was tired of second guessing myself on the months that I opted not to use ovulation predictors.  I was tired of the two week wait.  I was tired of being angry at others with their babies or pregnancy announcements when I should be excited for them. I was tired of “prime time” each month… I wanted our romance back again. I was tired of seeing commercials for babies/families.  I was tired of noticing every single pregnant belly everywhere I went – the grocery store, restaurants, Target, walking on the street… & tired of seeing moms with a stroller, and/or a child by their side… I was tired of not being able to turn off “baby” in my head, no matter how hard I tried. I was tired of wishing, hoping, praying… I was just tired.

So many emotions I had never felt before started growing stronger and stronger with each passing month… 9 … 10 … 11 … 12 … 13… 14… I really did try my best to stay positive and remind myself it could definitely be worse and that I should be happy that nothing was found wrong with either of us… but the sadness was winning over the positivity, and the anger was beating out the hopefulness.  I didn’t know how to handle the anxiety I was being faced with… when a friend or family member called, I avoided them just to avoid talking about their babies, other peoples children, or the question about my own.  In my mind, it wasn’t fair.  I didn’t have a child yet that I so desperately wanted, so I didn’t want to hear about anyone else’s.  And although these feelings and avoidance of others started after 9 months of trying, it took the HSG procedure coming back fine to really push me over the edge.  For many, having good news would have been a blessing… but for me, having more “good news” felt like a curse, or a punishment… Still no answers. Still no baby.

…Who was I becoming? I felt like a different person… cold, rude, and selfish.  I didn’t like feeling this way.  I was in a bubble that I made myself… but it was better than the latter.  When I was alone, I didn’t have to worry about the question, or hear about other peoples babies… But in November I realized this was a bigger issue than I had thought.  You see, November meant Thanksgiving… and Thanksgiving means seeing family, and in our case – LOTS of family… and children and babies… The second week of November it was all I thought about and the anxiety was taking over… The third week of November I started wondering what excuse I could come up with to skip out of the 3 Thanksgivings we had scheduled with our families… What was wrong with me?!?! I love our families, and the children… I needed to snap out of it and get this under control, before my friends and family started asking other questions… heck, the way I was avoiding everyone, they could’ve been thinking my marriage was going bad – when really it was the opposite since my husband was the only person I could handle being around or talk to without having an anxiety attack!

So I scheduled an apt with my primary doctor, and told the nurse I just needed to talk to her about some anxiety I was having.  Little did I know, talking to my doctor would be more like a therapy session with a lot of tears.  When my doctor walked in the room, she asked “What’s goin on?” and I just burst out crying… I tried talking and couldn’t.  She handed me Kleenexes and told me to slow down and take my time.  And I then I told her everything about the previous 14 months.  We talked for well over an hour, and I had no regrets about seeing her.  I knew she cared when she started crying as I was talking… Our talk was so meaningful, and she truly understood what I was going through.  She prescribed 50mg of Zoloft to help with my anxiety and depression.  I had never heard of Zoloft, had never taken a prescription that affected the chemicals in my brain before, and while I was nervous and hesitant about it… I saw it as an answer.  While I still had no answer for infertility, it felt SO good to hear a doctor say to me (for once in the last 14 months), “This will definitely help you.”  And I believed her.


Blog #5: Hysterosalpingogram… say what?!

October 23, 2014

After my husband got the all clear, my gyno moved the focus back  to me… which of course instantly shifted my mindset back to I am the one with the problem preventing us from conceiving… and although he never said it, I knew my husband was thinking the same thing I was.  It was as if he started walking on eggshells around me, not wanting to say or do anything that might upset me… not wanting to talk about the what-ifs (he can be more level headed than me sometimes)… trying to act as though we didn’t have this dark cloud over us – just waiting for the storm to start…

I was pretty disappointed to find out that even with perfect hormone levels and ovulating every month on my own, there was still the possibility that something was wrong with my uterus and/or fallopian tubes.  (Dang! Now I wish the issue had been my hormones…)  So, the next step was to do an HSG procedure.  I had never heard of an HSG procedure before I had to have one myself.  I found out that a Hysterosalpingogram, or HSG, is actually an X-ray test that would look at the inside of my uterus and fallopian tubes and the area around them.  During the HSG, a radiographic contrast dye would be injected into my uterus through my cervix.  The uterine cavity fills with dye and if the fallopian tubes are open, dye fills the tubes and spills into the abdominal cavity.  Pictures are taken as the dye passes through the uterus and fallopian tubes.  The pictures can show problems such as an injury or abnormal structure of the uterus or fallopian tubes, or a blockage that would prevent an egg moving through a fallopian tube to the uterus. A blockage also could prevent sperm from moving into a fallopian tube and joining (fertilizing) an egg.  An HSG could also find problems on the inside of the uterus that prevent a fertilized egg from attaching (implanting) to the uterine wall or other problems in the uterus, such as an abnormal shape or structure, an injury, polyps, fibroids, adhesions, or a foreign object in the uterus.  Sounds like fun, right?! Not!  … Not only did it not sound like fun… but it opened my eyes to the MANY things that could be wrong with me… there were multiple things that the doctor would be looking at that could give us an answer as to why we had not yet conceived.

October 23 – day of procedure:  That morning, I remember thinking that we would finally know what was wrong… we would finally be told what had been preventing us from conceiving… have a reason and something to (hopefully) fix!  I didn’t have any doubt that I was the cause of our issues… and I was ready to hear just exactly what was the cause.  I was praying so hard that the issue would be one that we could work with, that we would be told we could still conceive and I could carry our child… I was praying that the news we got was treatable/fixable/common… At this point, I was well past the point of praying that something wasn’t wrong.

My husband and I got to the hospital at 7:30 a.m. (My husband had to go with me as I was told I wouldn’t be able to drive afterward – although I’m sure he would have gone if that wasn’t the case) I hate hospitals.  Really hate.  I hate the smell, the wall colors, the atmosphere… everything. Just writing about this is giving me anxiety thinking about being in a hospital.  So, sitting in a hospital waiting room waiting to have a procedure that I was fairly certain would be painful and that would result in us finding out how serious my problems were… was torturous. My mind was racing and I was already imagining how I would tell my husband once the procedure was over what was wrong with me.  As we were sitting there, I said “I’m just so anxious to find out what’s wrong, finally.” and he said “You think we’ll find out right away?  Like today?” and I replied, “Yes. They’ll know after they look at and review the x-rays…” His face then went white as a ghost.  I guess I apparently hadn’t done a good job communicating to him what today would be like…  We sat in silence, holding hands, me worrying about the pain of the procedure as well as the outcome, and I can only imagine what was going through my husbands mind in that waiting room…

When the nurse (finally) called my name, she took me to the x-ray room that the procedure would be in.  It was very different than any other x-ray room I had been in before… it was a very big room, extremely spacious… The table under the x-ray machine looked more like a bed, a high bed… which took me a minute to put together why it was high… And the x-ray machine above it had a screen on it, so I guess my doctor would be able to see the dye immediately… The nurse asked me if I was pregnant – “No… I took a test yesterday and today just to be sure, as you all instructed…” She then pointed me towards a door, handing me a hospital gown, and asked me to use the restroom and change.  I was now seeing a theme… the bathroom was gigantic, way bigger than it needed to be… I got the feeling that I was getting VIP treatment because the women who came to these rooms received hard news… maybe a big bathroom and spacious room would soften the blow when given the news, preventing us women in those rooms from feeling claustrophobic when all baby hope comes crashing down… (It’s weird the place my mind wandered to in these situations…).

I put on my hospital gown, taking deep slow breaths, actually thinking of and preparing myself for the worst.  I opened the door and the nurse pointed to a step stool, if I needed to use that to get on the x-ray table/bed.  I sat there and we chatted.  She was nice.  Not overly friendly or upbeat, which I appreciated.  She then told me she was going to make sure all was prepared for my doctor, who will be here any minute, and that I could just relax on the table.  Relax?! Gosh if only I could… I was certain I was completely incapable of relaxing when she left the room.  I hate hospitals, and now I’m sitting alone in a huge cold room, in a hospital gown, with my feet dangling off the side, looking at the machines and the tools already laid out for my doctor.  My head started spinning, my eyes started hurting, and I started seeing black spots… I was completely freaking myself out and about to pass out… Oh my gosh this can’t be happening – I gripped the table with my hands – I could not fall off of this table… deep breaths, close your eyes, deep breaths, think of something else, deep breaths… when I wasn’t feeling better I laid down, put my hands on my chest, closed my eyes and kept taking deep breaths.  The nurse must’ve been watching because she came in as soon as I laid down and seemed alarmed, “Are you ok??” – “Yea, I think I am. I thought I was going to pass out – I started getting really dizzy – so I laid down and I think it’s helping.” – “Oh yea… women usually pass out after the procedure, not before.  So I’ll watch you closely after.” Oh great!!! I am such a baby – here I am about to pass out after just looking at the tools laid out for my doctor to do the procedure… it hasn’t even STARTED yet!!!  The nurse continued, “Dr. X is a little late because she got called upstairs to deliver a baby.  She’ll be down here right after that!  Shouldn’t be much longer…” I was immediately envious of the woman I didn’t know that my doctor had to see before me, the woman who would soon be holding her child. What I would give to be upstairs pushing, then down here reminding myself to breathe…

When my doctor came in she wasted no time.  (This is one of the things I like best about her!) She apologized for being late, and then asked me how I was… told me that “This is probably going to hurt and I’m really sorry, but I’ll do it as fast as I can.  Can you move closer to the edge for me…”  And then… as I was moving my toosh closer to the edge to make her job a little easier, the frickin’ table started moving – higher!  She was using a remote to move it even higher… Get that better view I guess – haha!… All I could think was, is this for real?! She told me she was about to start and what happened next was nowhere close to what I was expecting.  The pain was beyond excruciating… I actually screamed the “F!!!!” word… then immediately apologized and my doctor said, “It’s okay… I’m so sorry… you do what you need to do, if you need to yell that’s fine… I know this isn’t pleasant…” and I said “Is it done?” – “No, just a couple more” What the F?!?!?!? A couple more?!?!?  … my body was screaming at me, no – things are supposed to be moving THIS way, things are meant to move the other way…. The third time was the worst.  All I could think was, this is hurting me so bad – so my tubes must be completely blocked!! They have to be!! After the third “injection” she asked how I was… I said… “Okay… what’s wrong with me? Do you know?” – “Your tubes and uterus look perfect, no blockage… nothing wrong!” – “Nothing??”  – “Yea… now be sure to have a lot of intercourse the next two months – sometimes this procedure can heighten the chance of conception!!” – “Umm okay…. is there a next step?”  – “Everything looks great with you, with him… it will happen!  Keep using those ovulation predictors.  But, I’m going to start you on clomid – just to see if that might help out.  Happy everything looked great! Have a good day!” And she was gone.  I didn’t understand… here I had been completely ready to accept what was wrong with my body, but nothing was… Confusion and frustration washed over me… I had been praying for answers today, and had gotten none.

The nurse helped me off the table after she moved it back down, and made sure I wasn’t going to faint.  I changed, got my purse, and headed to the waiting room… I must’ve looked pretty awful, because when I turned the corner I saw my husband look up and all color in his face was gone once he saw me, and he looked scared.  I slowly walked over to him and he said, “Are you okay? What’s wrong?”…. I looked at him with, I’m sure, disbelief in my eyes and said “Everything looked perfect. My tubes and uterus are fine. There’s nothing wrong. I’m so confused…”  My husband looked so relieved and held my hand tight as we walked out of the waiting room, but I just hadn’t gotten to that point quite yet… I wasn’t relieved… I was still wanting answers… Why aren’t we pregnant?…


Blog #4: The testing begins…

September, 2014 – October, 2014

So we hit the one year mark… the point in time that society and doctors deem as “this couple will need assistance in getting pregnant.”  We were both in denial that something was wrong with us, of course…  And also both very scared about the “what if’s” we were thinking…    What if something is wrong with his sperm? What if he has a low number of sperm? What if my uterus has something wrong? What if my fallopian tubes are blocked? What if we will never be able to conceive our own child? How will we handle that? Will we adopt? Would invetro be an option?  If he’s the problem, what will this do to our marriage – will I forever resent him?  If I’m the problem, will our marriage survive – will he forever resent me?  Will we be strong enough to face whatever the outcome we receive is? Would I be going through this right now if I had fallen in love with and married someone else? … The questions before having any facts regarding our “plumbing” went on and on… they wouldn’t turn off.  All speculation, and all out of our control… The anxiety of knowing something was wrong but not knowing what was starting to completely consume my thoughts. And many of these thoughts, I was ashamed to even have.

So we started the next step, the testing… which now seems like SO long ago…

After speaking with my gynecologist, she informed me that we would first check some things regarding me, and if all looked good there, my husband would need to do a semen analysis.  (She told me that they couldn’t check my tubes or uterus until after his semen was analyzed and okay.)  The nurse told me which day of my cycle I needed to go in (to get the most accurate results)… and I went in with my nerves sky high.  The hormone and ovulation test was basically painless… they took my blood.  It was over in 2 minutes.  And then they said they would call with the results the next day.  The waiting was excruciating… and more questions started to rise… Am I not ovulating? Are my hormones completely out of whack?  Will there be pills to help me? How long will the pills take to work? 

I missed the phone call the next day, but thankfully they left a voicemail.  Great news!  All hormone levels look great, I definitely ovulated… things look exactly as they should! My reaction while listening to that voicemail was HUGE relief… and then immediately after that deep breath, my mind went to “so it’s my husband, not me, that’s the problem”….

My husband is a pretty reserved person… unlike me… we compliment each other that way.  But because of that, I knew this conversation was probably not going to go over very well, and I was nervous to tell him that he would need to have his semen analyzed.  What wife wants to put that on her husband?  But that night, that’s what I did.  I told him that my blood came back just fine, yay!! right?? High five!?!?… No?…… He knew what that meant — the chances of him causing our hurt just sky rocketed… and I could see it written all over his face although he was trying to be happy for me.

(**WARNING: The next 3 paragraphs are pretty intimate, and some people, such as family members, may want to skip over it.**)

This is where it gets a little weird and awkward… you see, a semen analysis has a lot of moving parts (no pun intended 😉 ) — my gyno gave me a brown paper bag with 2 items in it – a brown small container and extremely specific instructions on how to get his semen to the lab – and the instructions went something like this: 1) Must refrain from ejaculation of any kind (intercourse or masturbation) for a minimum of 2 days, 48 hours, and a maximum of 7 days, 168 hours, before providing collection. (apparently after 7 days with no ‘release’, the sperm come out dead… who knew?!)    2) Do not use lotion, ointment, or saliva when providing collection.   3) If you live close to the lab, you can provide collection in the privacy of your home and drop off the collection at the lab within 30 minutes of ejaculation. Or, you can use a room at our lab.   4) When dropping off collection, be sure that you bring it in the brown paper bag, and that the container is tightly sealed.  Keep warm.  If cold outside, carry inside of your coat. (seriously?!) 5) You can drop off collection Monday – Friday anytime between 7:30 and 4:00.

Okay…. you get the point… pretty weird reading instructions like that… but that’s where we were at in the process.  My husband was hesitant about this, which didn’t surprise me… but when he had not dropped his ‘collection’ off after a couple of weeks, I started getting frustrated with him and saying hurtful things like – Did he really want a baby as bad as me?… Why was he dragging his feet – it’s not like he’d have to experience pain… it’s pleasurable for him!!!…   The doctor won’t do any more tests on me until they get his semen analysis, and MY upcoming tests (if I have any) will be painful… unlike THIS for him!!! What’s the hold-up??…

So, bless his heart, one morning as I was getting ready for work – I can picture this morning like it was yesterday – he was going to work a little late due to weather and I was going into work early because I had an early meeting at 7:30 a.m.  It was 7 a.m. and he was laying in bed with our dog as I was in the bathroom getting ready… I took many deep breaths before opening my mouth, and reminded myself to try to respect his response to me, no matter what it might be.  “Hey honey… since you’re leaving late this morning, maybe it would be a good time to drop off your semen? I’ll be out of here in less than 15 minutes… so you can take care of it and drop it off on your way to work??….” (I gotta say, it’s pretty weird wanting your husband masturbate, and actually bring it up as something he needs to do…. I never in a million years thought I’d be encouraging that before leaving for work – ha!… but God gives you obstacles that sometimes change your outlook on things, all sorts of things)  Long pause…. no response…. until he finally said, “Okay. What do I have to do again? Where is that bag with the instructions?” VICTORY IS MINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  OH my was I happy!!! And then immediately felt awkward being happy knowing that after I left my home, my husband would be pleasuring himself when I left… I mean, how should I say bye now knowing this? “Bye babe… have fun!!”???? … but really, pretty awkward… definitely a weird picture to have in your head driving to work…. haha!  My husband called me that morning and I was like, “Oh geez, he’s changed his mind…” but he was at the desk dropping off his collection and needed our insurance number, as he forgot his. I was all like, “Wait.. you really did it? You’re really there at the lab? Did you get in there in less than 30 minutes?” – “yes yes yes….”  “Thank youuuuuu” ….. and then we hung up the phone and in that instant when I knew the process of determining our issue was back in motion, MORE waiting began and more obsessing over the what-if….

We didn’t get a call about his results the next day, which was a Friday… what a looooong weekend, we definitely sulked, and we didn’t even have the results yet.  I know in my mind, I was certain my husband was the problem… awful I know, but I was ovulating and my hormones were fine – not to mention that my sisters and mother had never had any issues what-so-ever, so it HAD to be him…. that’s what I was telling myself that weekend… We still didn’t get a call on Monday, so I called the lab on Tuesday of the following week and found out that they had sent the analysis to my gyno already and they were supposed to have called me. Okay, heart pounding, will they tell me the results, or will they need to call my husband because it’s his analysis… have they already called him and he just hasn’t told me yet because it’s bad news? …..  So I text my husband and no, he hasn’t gotten a call. Whew! Safe… for now…  I call my gynecologist office and the front desk lady tells me that a nurse will call me back.  She does, and I miss it.  But thankfully, a notification for a voicemail pops up.  I debate for about 5 seconds if I should wait to listen to it with my husband, and decide not to wait… because I’m controlling like that. What I hear on the other end of the phone makes my mouth drop and my eyes water… “Hi, this is X from X office. We did get the results of X’s semen analysis and I’m so sorry we didn’t get back to you sooner.  Everything looks great! He had over 50 million sperm and we like to see 20 million or more, and his motility looks fine.  So that’s good news!  Please call us with any questions.”  Wait, what??? He’s okay??? He has MORE than normal??? What the hell?!?!?!?! Wait, what??? After the initial shock wearing off (since I had expected a completely different result)… it turned into another HUGE feeling of relief, and I couldn’t WAIT to tell my husband… to reassure him that his swimmers are all good!!

But, now what?… The nurse didn’t leave a next step on my voicemail… and I’m still not pregnant.

These two words consumed us during this time… looking back, I see now how silly it is to try to plan in your head for something that is completely out of your control…

Blog #3: The first year of trying (sounds so magical, huh?)

September, 2013 – September, 2014

Going off the pill meant nothing for us, at least not in the ways we were expecting.  Nothing really changed… aunt flow came at the same time as always, I didn’t have more acne, my cramps weren’t any worse – all these things you hear about changing after you go off the pill didn’t happen to me.  The other thing that didn’t happen after going off the pill was conception.

The first year of trying was a lot of positive thinking, sometimes forced, but for the most part it came naturally.  It went something like this… 3 months of trying = Any day now and we will be pregnant. Will we be blessed with a boy or a girl?… 6 months of trying = They say 20somethings conceive within the first year so we still have 6 months, but let’s change some of our habits (diet, drinking, cigarettes, etc.) just in case that might do the trick!… 9 months of trying = At this point, we started trying our best to not think about it and just let things happen… but when I did that, my brain seemed to magnify and zero in on how badly I wanted a child of our own.  Have we really not conceived yet?!  We must be doing something wrong.  Let’s start using those ovulation predictors (so not sexy, by the way – oh hey honey, let me go pee on a stick and let you know if NOW is a good time to make love)… 1 year of trying = This is when the positivity abruptly stopped, and the freaking out and panicking began… we can’t help but start thinking – which one of us is preventing us from conceiving?

In the meantime, during this year, we had started avoiding the question like it was the plague.  You know what I’m talking about… this question can come at any time, from any person, and asked in many different ways.  Co-workers, sisters, in-laws, parents, grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, friends, and even people you just meet…..

Have you gone off the pill yet? (um, excuse me, what did you just ask me?!)

So, when are you going to have a child? (why is that any of your business?)

When are you going to start your family? (I didn’t know I could snap my fingers and choose when to make this happen)

What are you and your husband waiting for? (a positive pregnancy test!)

How many kids do you want? (right now in this moment, one would be great thanks!)

We of course always handle these questions with dignity and class, always being polite and smiling – because it’s kind of unheard of to be open and honest about the truth of the matter.  It became “our secret”… we started to romanticize the fact that we were the only ones aware that we had been trying for a baby for a while… and we were going to keep our secret sheltered and safe and let no harm get to it… Our typical go-to response became “We just really enjoy being an aunt and uncle for now. We aren’t in a rush.” — yes, we lie through our teeth, time and time again… and I often wonder if people we say this to judge us as being selfish, because that response we give them is usually followed by “So you like being able to give them back to their parents after you’ve had them long enough? Ha-ha-ha!”… and I respond by laughing… because they expect me to.

I can’t help but think about how many people I have asked similar questions to… & I feel awful.  Even if they weren’t struggling, it’s not my business.  It’s personal.  Why do people (myself included, in the past at least – not anymore) automatically think that this is a subject anyone & everyone has a right to know?  They probably don’t feel comfortable asking me how my sex life is – I know I wouldn’t ask everyone I know about their sex life… so why do we ask each other when we’re going to have a baby?  Is it really all that much different?  I mean, they both involve a very intimate act between two people…

I never thought about any of this in the past, didn’t even realize or know just how many people have issues or struggles with conceiving.  And now that I find myself here, on this “other” side, it boggles my mind that it’s SO normal and expected to talk about getting pregnant… but SO NOT normal or expected to talk about NOT getting pregnant…

Taking a walk along the beach on our honeymoon… without a care or worry in the world.

Blog #2: Why I’m writing…

As we are approaching the 2 year mark of “actively trying”… I am doing what I think might help after reading another persons blog.  While my husband and I of course talk about this… at this point in the journey, it’s like beating a dead horse, and feels a little pointless – it’s always the same conversation now… So I am hoping that writing about our journey here will be good for my soul, but I apologize in advance if I write all over the place.  My husband and I aren’t openly vocal with others about what we have been going through… So forgive me, but the pictures I post will not show our faces… but I will post many pictures – past, present and future.  And when our precious miracle blessing does arrive some day, I promise to post pictures of us all, including our faces.
The absolute worst part of every month, for me personally, has been breaking the news (month over month) to my husband that my period came again.  The look on his face always breaks my heart.  We both want a family so very bad.
My husband has been so strong throughout this all… He is my rock… I would be lost without his love, support and positivity.  I know he hurts inside and has many questions as to why… we both sometimes wish that there was indeed something wrong with one of us – low sperm count or blocked tubes, etc.; it’s extremely frustrating being infertile with no reason why… all we can do is pray and ask God for our precious miracle.

Blog #1: How I got here…

I’ve always been a really happy person, an overly positive person, a fun/busy social person… until September, 2014.

That month marked one year that my husband and I had been trying to get pregnant, unsuccessfully.  That month screamed at us that it was time to find out what was wrong with us… who had the problem preventing us from conceiving? Was it him? Was something wrong with me? That month scared us.  We thought we’d be pregnant by now… we were still in our 20s (which everything we read said it’s easiest to conceive before you’re 30)… And on top of that, my sisters THINK about getting pregnant and it happens.  I’m not kidding.  First try… for all 6 of my nieces and nephews.  So, of course I would be the same as them – right?!?  So we shouldn’t “try” until we were 150% ready because it was obviously going to happen right away…  Wrong.  So very very wrong.

My husband and I were married in December of 2012.  I was 27 and he was 28, but we weren’t in a hurry to start our family right away.  We wanted to enjoy being married first… travel, go on dates and hit the town, spend money on US… basically be a little selfish… before we started thinking of bringing a child into this world.  So that’s what we did! We had FUN!! We traveled, we lived it up, we enjoyed each other!  And then it hit me when I turned 28 — in 2 short years I would be 30 and my husband 31.  We were together for 4 years before tying the knot, so we asked ourselves – “what ARE we waiting for?”… We don’t want to wait TOO long… So we put it off a little longer, and decided to start trying in September of 2013. 10 months after marriage bliss.  We made this decision on a fun weekend getaway in Arizona!  And we were EXCITED! And scared… but mainly excited!  I mean, this was a big decision – we are starting OUR family… oh my gosh, we are going to have a baby… 3 months in and we’re thinking, will we have a boy or a girl? Should we start thinking about names?  But 6 months later and still not pregnant…  So after doing some informational reading, I start thinking – it must be our habits.  Let’s work on getting healthier! Okay… doing those things, NOW it will happen!… Then we hit 9 months, and aunt flow still arrived like clock-work.  So we started using those ovulation predictors (which I hate by the way, really kinda takes the “fun” out of making love…)…  Okay, we can determine when I’m ovulating, so it will happen NOW!  But nope, 12 months of trying and not pregnant.  This is when we start looking at each other weird… not saying anything but we know what the other person is thinking… is something wrong with me, or is it him/her?

I gave my husband these red socks on our wedding day with my letter to him.  On the letter I wrote, p.s. In case you get cold feet! 🙂