Artificial Insemination. Something that's always sounded so foreign to me; foreign as in "out of this world - alien". If you had asked me when I was younger whether it would become a crucial part of my world for well over a year, I would never, ever have believed it.
When we signed up with the clinic to begin our quest for our second child, we felt that we knew the score. We decided based on my age, and our lack of success conceiving the traditional way (we're way too radical, don't you know?) ... we would bypass the drug and timed intercourse step and go straight to AI, or IUI (Intrauterine Insemination), a more commonly used term nowadays.
Or why don't we just call it the turkey baster method? Why leave anything to chance, when a tube will do?
So we were back on the Clomid and monitoring train again. We had the boy in daycare fulltime so that was at least covered. Either I or the man would drop our boy off early and I would head to the clinic for blood work before getting back to the office by 8:30 AM. No one at work would be the wiser.
Especially if I wore sleeves all the time. Oh, the poking. And lucky me, my phlebotomist could never get blood on the first prick. NEVER. We would have to switch arms so often, I would forget which arm she did each day (as we tried to alternate). And it would KILL me; as if the whole process wasn't bad enough, I would be guaranteed to have a major bruise on either or both arms as a result. (I don't get it, she was a nice enough lady, but this was her job, and from other discussions in the waiting room, I wasn't the only one who dreaded seeing her every morning...).
The transvaginal ultrasounds, they weren't everyday. They had everything timed so that I should only have to come in for an U/S once per cycle, based on the levels of hormones in my bloodwork. I would keep my fingers crossed that there would be multiple follicles, and that they would be progressing well. If the follicles were large enough, then we could time the HCG shot, and schedule the IUI. And I would make up some excuse for coming in late to work if IUI day happened during the week.
To say this was stressful was such an understatement. I felt very alone in the process - I couldn't help but feel it. I would go for the monitoring on my own; I would wait in the waiting room for my u/s... be given the instructions for the HCG shot. It wasn't that Ian wasn't involved or was detaching himself from the process; there was only so much he could do. Of course the one thing he had to do on demand likely wasn't so much fun either.
The very first IUI I had done was a disaster. I went on my own for purely logistical reasons. The one thing that Ian and I had discussed was that I ask that the sample being used was the right one. I said to Ian that I was sure that they had the procedure in place to make sure of that, but he was adamant that I at least doublecheck.
As I lay there waiting for the doctor to come into the room (and I wasn't sure who it was going to be; there was a roster of doctors who rotated based on availability), I just proceeded to get more nervous as the minutes went by. When the doctor came in, he introduced himself, told me what to expect, what to do, and asked if I had any questions. So I asked.
And I got a big lecture on how these things are quality controlled, it was impossible for the wrong sample, this wasn't a 2-bit operation, the clinic had years of experience, yada, yada, yada... and here, take a look, is that your name?
GAWD!!! I was speechless, felt that I had been told right off. All I could do was lie back, let the procedure happen. And know that the chances of this particular one being successful were likely next to none.
It wasn't until later that I felt enraged. I felt it was within my rights to ask. But I just kept it in. After all, at this point, I really felt that I needed the clinic a lot more than they needed me. Just sitting in the waiting room, and waiting with other desperate people, that was evidence enough.
Funnily enough, after my first IUI, the clinic got an audit as they were being certified. I never got that particular doctor again (thank God) but before each of the next procedures took place, I had to look at the sample, read the name, and sign off that I had checked it. I guess it wasn't such a stupid question after all.
But no matter, another 4 attempts at IUI, scheduled in and around the nightmare of SARS, 2003 was not the productive year we had hoped it would be. At my fourth procedure, I asked the nurse how often people usually go with the IUI step before moving on. She said on average, about six times. So we made an appointment to speak with our doctor again.
After our fifth failed attempt, in the late fall of 2003, we decided to stop with the IUIs. I was going nuts with all the failures; I was driving the man nuts; and although I'm sure our little boy wasn't feeling any ill effects as a result of my obsession, I didn't want it to get to the point where he WOULD start feeling them.
We had a major decision to make.
A big hit of 2003 - I still prefer the original Talk Talk version, but Gwennie, she didn't do too bad a job of it.