Monday, August 25, 2008

That Was My Life

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.


Ed (zoesdad) said...

You should ask--this is serious stuff!

And failed attempts at IUI?? I am so naive. I was unaware.

VDog said...

Thanks for sharing your story. I know too many women struggling with this.

Well written, great post.

April said...

Ugh. Now you know I don't have any experience at this sort of thing, but I can relate to them not being able to find a vein! The worst, however, was when, for some unkown reason, when I went to the hospital the first time I was in labor w/ Sylvia, they gave me a catheder. All I can say is, that nurse SUCKED. And that doctor's tirade was completely unforgivable!!
Because you didn't have enough stress to deal with, right? I would've been an emotional wreck. What you've gone thru is a testament to your strength.

Xbox4NappyRash said...

I'd bloody ask, for sure.

What a journey.

Thanks for posting this today of all days.

Anonymous said...

Ho-ly. You were so dead on in asking. What an assholey doctor.

Kathryn said...

What a complete ASSMUNCH that doc was. Cripes! That would have royally pissed me off! Of course, I probably wouldn't have said anything either. Ugh.

Manager Mom said... best friend in San Francisco went through this . Luckily it was successful. She just gave birth to twins. but I knew it was hard for her, I had no idea it was THAT hard. thanks for sharing this...

C said...

Wow, Karen! Great of you to post this. It's something many women go through these days. It's nice to hear your story :)

After "trying" for nearly two years, I was beginning to wonder if we'd have to go that route. It sure was an emotional roller coaster ride. It's something no one really thinks about. I always thought it was:
1. finish university
2. fall in love
3. start career
4. get married
5. buy house
6. start family that order (at least for me)!

We ended up getting pregnant on our own, without any assistance in the fertility department, but it was certainly on my mind a lot in the past two years.

Thank you for sharing your story.
P.S. The technicians are never able to draw blood from me on the first try either!! ;)

Immoral Matriarch said...

Wow. I'm getting all edumacated!

Kami said...

Wow, you ask and get your head ripped off and then suddenly you have to sign off... hmmm. Me thinks big shot doctor was off his rocker.

I can only imagine the heartbreak of this whole process but what I imagine would be just plain awful. You are a strong, strong lady!

VeRonda said...

Wow! Thanks for sharing your story. You just never know until you hear/see it somewhere else. Your story has given me an additional level of sensitivity toward this issue.

gmcountrymama said...

I love Talk Talk, especially their song Talk Talk.
You were right to ask if it was the correct sample. Mistakes do happen. What a jerk that doc was.

Kellan said...

Sounds like such a difficult time. I know it can be a frustrating journey, while I never experienced it myself, I know it can be very hard. And - I would have asked too - it WAS YOUR RIGHT!

I like your new blog look - I've been away too long and hadn't seen it - very nice - love the photo in your header! Hope you are well, Karen Meg - see you soon - Kellan

OHmommy said...

I like your new blog look. Very nice.

Your post sounds so stressful, thanks for sharing this with everyone that will connect with it. They will be forever grateful.

Beck said...

Some doctors have TERRIBLE TERRIBLE people skills. TERRIBLE. I always think that maybe they should just work in quiet labs, diagnosing people from afar and writing prescriptions for patients they'll never see.

Karen said...

What kind of doctor yells at their patients? Didn't he remember from school that "no question is a stupid question?" Apparently he should have listened better.

LaskiGal said...

Your doctor frustrates me. But you, you inspire me . . .

You capture it all so well. Seriously, this would make an excellent series for a woman's mag. Real, honest, and oh so true.

Judith Shakespeare said...

Of course, you had every right to ask... And, yeah, I think that the audit proves it. :)

If I haven't mentioned it lately, you are an excellent writer. Truly.

Sandy C. said...

Ugh! I am so sorry they made you feel that way. What a jerk! I probably would have been boiling inside, but not saying much.

The more I read about your journey, the more amazed I am at your strength to continue on.

Clomid Prescription Medication said...

My name is Holly Lem and i would like to show you my personal experience with Clomid.

I am 28 years old. I got preg first time on my own & miscarried. after a while of trying, my dr put me on clomid. after the first round i got pregnant & miscarried. i decided not to try or think about it at all probably for a 9 months... right around the time baby would be due & then started trying again. after a few months got back on clomid. after 5 months and no pregnancy i'm giving it a rest again. it's to much disappointment. i'm going to give it a try again soon, in the mean time we're keeping our fingers crossed for the old fashioned way to work.

I have experienced some of these side effects-
HOT FLASHES, moody, cry easily, weight gain, headaches etc!!

I hope this information will be useful to others,
Holly Lem


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