Well, round two didn’t work.
Following my second round of IUI in August, I had such mixed emotions. I was much more prepared for my second TWW (two week wait, as it is called in the fertility community). I was sort of excited, sort of nervous, and just generally conflicted as I described in my last post. But overall, I felt like I had my shit together and was very familiar with the feeling of “waiting”. So, like a good fertility patient, I waited.
Until I couldn’t wait anymore.
About five days before my blood test, some crazy switch turned on in my brain and I bought a million pregnancy tests. I just had to know. It was killing me and I wanted so badly to see those double lines, that I tested every day until my blood test was due.
I fell into a really dysfunctional cycle of apathy, followed by intense hope, passionate excitement and finally earth-shattering disappointment. My days were busy and distracting, but my evenings were quiet without my wife around (she had to go be super cool and fly helicopters in Manitoba) and my mind was left to dwell excessively on whether I was pregnant or not. Whether I was broken or not. Whether I could give us the family that we had always wanted…or not. Every day I begged the universe to throw me a bone. Hadn’t I been through enough?
Every night I fell asleep with the comfort of knowing I could take another pregnancy test in the morning. I fantasized about how it would feel to call my wife to tell her the good news and how it would feel to hug my mom and show her the positive results. It was the kind of hope that was dangerous because the stakes were so high. I taunted myself with visions of joy and perfection, knowing that they might not ever come true.
Every morning I woke up and grabbed my pee cup to dip yet another pregnancy test. The minute that followed was excruciating. My brain flicked rapidly back and forth between the two outcomes. Positive and negative. Light and dark. Joy and devastation. Success or failure.
And every morning, that one stupid single line stared back at me.
When I got the phone call from the fertility clinic with my blood test results, I was out for my last lunch with my co-workers before my move to Winnipeg. I knew right away from the tone in the nurse’s voice that the result was negative. Just as I had expected. I held my tears back, but my lower lip quivered as I asked how I could continue treatments now that I would be an eight hour drive from their clinic in Saskatoon. The nurse was very accommodating and said that they would work with me in any way they could.
I tried to be strong and not show how upset I was, but I just couldn’t hold back my tears. I broke down on the way back to the office and had to see the rest of my patients that day with red, swollen eyes and a broken heart.
I cried all the way home, as I had so often on the highway between Regina and Moose Jaw.
After hearing the news, one of my amazing friends in Moose Jaw, texted me to see if I wanted to come over for dinner. I really wanted to say no and just crawl into bed and hide with all of my sadness and pain. But I said yes, because I knew how much better I would feel having a compassionate friend by my side during this time. She made me dinner and we watched The Office and had vegan ice cream. I was so thankful that I allowed her into my grieving space. I rarely ask anyone for help or support of any kind, so this was a first for me. I was embarrassed and imperfect and in my sweat pants and she accepted me just as I was. When people say you need to surround yourself with a community of friends and family to support you through your fertility struggles, they aren’t kidding. It’s an absolute life saver.
That night I got my period, like goddamn clockwork. I had a perfect twenty eight day cycle, probably for the first time in my whole life. Ovulation on day fourteen, menstruation after day twenty eight.
After a really long sleep, I woke up with a feeling of calm and acceptance. Don’t get me wrong, I was still crushed and shed a few more tears that day, but I also knew that I had another chance in only two weeks. I could wait another two weeks. Just a little bit longer. One step closer to our dream of having a family.
I called the fertility clinic to let them know about day one of my cycle and the nurse arranged for an ultrasound in Yorkton, SK on day thirteen of my cycle. That was the closest she could get to Winnipeg.
Hey Katie, why didn’t you just go to the fertility clinic in Winnipeg? I mean it’s way closer, right?
Excellent question, dear reader. Turns out the two month wait list that I was told about a couple of months ago when I requested a referral, is actually a nine month wait list. Yep, you read that right. Nine. Months.
There was absolutely no way we could wait that long. Our only option was to continue to go to the clinic in Saskatoon. Which meant a lot of driving was in my future.
On day thirteen of my cycle, I drove five hours to Yorkton for a ten minute ultrasound. From there I had a few choices: 1) drive back to Winnipeg, with the chance of having to turn right back around and be in Saskatoon the next day for IUI; 2) stay in Yorkton and do whatever people in Yorkton do for a few hours; or 3) continue to drive to Saskatoon and hope that my current cycle was the same as my last. I opted to continue my drive to Saskatoon and hoped it was the right call. I had a lot of podcasts to listen to anyway.
Of course, as my luck would have it, an hour outside of Saskatoon I got a call from the clinic with some good news and some bad news. The bad news was that my IUI would be in four days, meaning I would have to turn around and drive back to Winnipeg. The good news was that I had not one, but TWO follicles developing! I was on top of the world! I felt like some sort of fertility goddess! This would potentially double my chances of getting pregnant, with a very small chance of having fraternal twins!
As I did a big ol’ U-turn on the highway and headed back from whence I came, I couldn’t even be mad. This was excellent news! I finally felt like I was catching a break.
Three days later, I jumped back in my car and drove eight hours to Saskatoon and treated myself to a nice hotel. I had a bath and relaxed and meditated. I set three alarms that night so I wouldn’t miss my early morning appointment.
As I was laying on the procedure table after my IUI, I popped in my headphones and did a ten minute meditation from my Expectful app. I drove back to the hotel and put my legs up against the wall and was inverted for an hour and focussed all of my attention and energy on my nether regions. I don’t know of any studies linking being upside down after insemination with successful pregnancy and it’s probably totally in my head. But there are benefits from that position in the yoga world and it felt right to have a little downtime before my eight hour journey back home.
It’s been almost a week since that IUI appointment and I’m cool as a cucumber. Next week may be a different story, as we start to close in on my blood test date. With a bit more distance from my miscarriage, lower stress levels, acupuncture, meditation, yoga, lots of rest and potentially two eggs available, I feel a lot more confidence in my body this round.
“New sperm, new egg, new oppourtunity” is a saying I saw on a fertility message board somewhere along the way, and I really like it. It makes me feel like I’m not trapped by what has happened to me in the past. I had a miscarriage, but it doesn’t define what my body is capable of.
Here’s hoping third time is a charm.