Holding on to Hope – My Second Round of IUI

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No one in the history of menstruation has been as excited as I was to wake up at 3:00am to go pee and discover that my period had finally come back.  I practically cried looking at the toilet paper and couldn’t fall asleep for an hour afterwards from all my excitement.  It had been 28 long days since my hCG levels were negative and I had stopped bleeding from my miscarriage.  Much like every phase of a fertility journey, it felt like an eternity.  It seemed like for the past couple of weeks my mantra was “any day now, any day now”, trying to live in the moment, but desperate for the future.  Finally, I had some tangible hope of moving forward with this process.  My period meant a new cycle and another opportunity to try and start our family.

The last three months had been so uncertain, I felt like I was taking a back seat to everything that was happening in my body.  Each day felt like it got longer and longer as I waited for my body to get back to normal.  No one could tell me what exactly to expect or a normal timeline of how my miscarriage should be progressing.  My nursing brain understood this, but it was frustrating to experience nonetheless.  Questions about my prognosis were rarely answered with any satisfaction, so I was left to wait and Google on my own.  If I had a dime for every time someone told me “everyone is different”, I’d have enough money to pay for an IVF treatment.

My first period was very normal, though I had some flashbacks to my bleeding episodes from the aftermath of my miscarriage.  It irked me to wear a diva cup and pads again.  After the first dose of misoprostol back in April, I had worn some kind of feminine protection every day for just over two months.  I was not excited to feel the crampy, bloaty, leaky sensations that come with menstruation, but I was so relieved to feel normal again.

Ten days after my period started I went for a follicular tracking ultrasound, to confirm that I had an egg developing.  Last time, I had to have a repeat ultrasound as I didn’t have an egg that was ready.  Much to my surprise I had a follicle (egg) in my left ovary measuring 14 mm and ready to go!  The nurse from the fertility clinic told me that the insemination was scheduled for August 15th and that I had to take my Ovidrel injection 36 hours before the appointment.

I was just vibrating with excitement at the news.  I couldn’t believe everything was finally happening.  It was as though someone had hit the fast forward button on my life.  We would finally have our chance to try for our rainbow baby.

The insemination went off without a hitch.  I drove 4 hours for the 10 minute procedure, but I didn’t care.  It was what I had been waiting for these past three and half months.  I would have driven to the moon and back if it meant getting pregnant again.  I held my legs tightly together as I drove home and propped my hips up for the afternoon.  I also had a couple of orgasms…it couldn’t hurt, right?

And then I started yet another waiting game.

It has been five days since the insemination and I am remarkably calm.  It may help that I am very distracted by our impending move to Winnipeg on September 1st.  My wife has already started her helicopter training in Manitoba, so I get to deal with the final arrangements of packing and cleaning our house.  I am grateful for the list of things to do though, it keeps my mind focussed on the future.

I’m in a weird place where I’m almost sure that I’m pregnant, but I also don’t want to get too excited just yet.  I keep picking up on mild pregnancy symptoms that feel so familiar to me that I could just cry with joy.  Yet at the same time, I’m not sure I fully trust my body after what we’ve been through. I have been strangely exhausted lately (despite sleeping very well), I have very little appetite, and I swear my nipples are a bit bigger and darker than usual (bet you wanted to know about that, hey?).  I’m re-watching Friends (for the millionth time) and I came to the episode when Rachel finds out she’s pregnant and had a good cry fest.  So I think it’s safe to say that my emotions are pretty labile as well.  I keep fantasizing about looking at the pregnancy test I will take in about a week and seeing that magical second line show up.  Then again, maybe I’m just making everything up.  I want so much to be pregnant right now that everything seems like a sign.  I want to believe, but I don’t want to have unrealistic expectations.

Don’t get me wrong, I know how strong a positive mind set is, but I guess my positivity is tempered by my recent trauma.  I had so many hopes and dreams and expectations that blew up in my face over the last few months.  I don’t know if I can go through that again.  At the same time, I know my body is ready for another baby and I’m excited about that.  I want to look forward to the future, but I also want to be okay if it just doesn’t work out this time.  Is it possible to manifest your desires and still be realistic at the same time?

Speaking of manifesting your desires, I have started listening to the “first trimester” meditations on my Expectful app.  Maybe that’s ballsy, but I felt so triumphant when I switched over from the “preparing for conception” setting.  I want to give myself permission to feel like this could be real and if I am pregnant I want to let my little baby know that they are safe and loved.  During my meditations, I sit with my hands around my lower belly and send all of the light and love I can muster down there.  I know that anxiety and worry are only going to work against everything I’m trying to achieve.

I also allowed myself to purchase a couple little baby items.  To be honest, I can’t resist a good sale and I was wandering around the Sears that is closing down here in Moose Jaw.  60% off stuff?! Yes please!  I found a nursing wrap and a little newborn lion toy that was in the colours of our future nursery.  My initial instinct was to feel silly and walk to a different section, but then I caught myself and realized it’s okay for me to be excited.  It’s okay to do a bit of nesting and planning for the future.  God knows, I’ve had enough precious moments ripped away from me, so if buying a little lion toy puts a smile on my face then so be it!

Like I said, I’m in a weird place.

I feel like I’m playing tug-of-war with my future on one end and my past on the other.  Half of me wants to leave behind all of my suffering and think that this time will be completely different.  The other half of me wants to protect my heart from being broken into a million pieces again.  I just finished putting myself back together and while I am so ready to see double lines on that test and deal with morning sickness and puking and uncertainty and fatigue, I also want to be careful.  My future is forever tainted by the experience of my miscarriage.  I feel like I have done a lot of work to shrink my fears and anxieties, and I’ve finally arrived in a place of healing and acceptance.  But that healing will never permanently erase what I have gone through.

I can only hope that this time will be different.

-K

 

The Pregnancy Test Wait – The Longest 14 Days Ever

I took it easy for the first couple of days after our insemination.  I really wasn’t sure how to feel.  Part of me wanted to be so sure that it had worked and that positive thinking could only increase my chances of pregnancy.  Another part of me wanted to assume that it had not worked and start getting ready for my next cycle to try again, to avoid a massive disappointment.  To the world, I was calm and cautious.  I was constantly telling my wife that it probably didn’t work, but really, truly, deep down I knew I was fooling myself and that every fibre of my being wanted to believe that it had worked.  It was a confusing time, to say the least.

Every time I was hungry or tired, I would think that it was an early sign of pregnancy and get a boost of excitement and joy.  And then I would immediately get a wave of sadness because I knew I was just trying to convince myself desperately that it had worked.  And then the next minute, I was telling myself that it HAD to have worked, I was so healthy and everything was so perfectly timed.  One of those 40 million sperm just had to have found their way around my uterus.  They just had to.  I wanted to try and get off the fertility emotional roller coaster as much as possible, but unfortunately it was pretty unavoidable.

Distraction became an excellent tool for me during these two weeks, and I focussed on the things that I could control: taking my pre-natal vitamins, eating healthily, going to yoga and trying to decrease the harmful chemicals in my environment in preparation for a potential pregnancy.

I had been taking my pre-natal vitamin (along with vitamin D, vitamin C, magnesium and evening primrose)  pretty religiously since Christmas, as I have read that it’s a lot more effective if you start before you’re actually pregnant.  A baby develops it’s neural tube during the first four weeks of pregnancy!  It is so amazing to me that something so critical is being formed so early in life..  This little ball of cells that is the size of a poppy seed is just laying the foundation for a human brain and spinal cord.  No big deal.

In addition to my pre-natal vitamin, I also decided to adopt a plant-based diet for my pregnancy.  I have been vegetarian for a long time now, but I have been noticing sensitivities to dairy products and I have been hearing that dairy isn’t all that great for us in large quantities anyway.  Of course, diet is something that is very personal, so I’m not advocating one way or the other, but for me switching to a plant-based diet just made sense.  It’s made me add in even more fruit and veggie options and I feel really great.  We’ll see how everything works out with potential pregnancy cravings and such, but pickles are vegan and I’ve found some really amazing vegan ice cream substitutions already, so I think I’m set.

Yoga has been an amazing addition to my life.  I have practiced on and off for many years now and getting back into it recently, has been awesome.  I feel more calm and grounded, not to mention I have killer triceps (well, I think so anyway) from all of those downward facing dogs I have to do.  I am aiming to stay as active as possible throughout my pregnancy, not only for myself, but for the baby as well.  There’s lots of great evidence that exercising while pregnant is not only good for moms, but it’s good for babies as well!

The number of crazy chemicals in our environment is a bit scary.  I hate to use that general term (and I am also aware of the naturalistic fallacy when it comes to “natural”and “organic” products), because there are a lot of chemicals that are completely safe and very useful.  But one need look no further than the BPA madness from a few years ago to see that there are not a lot of safety regulations in place for many home and personal products.  Without being too obsessive (which is definitely easy to do when you start reading product labels) I started to cut down on the obviously harmful cleaning and personal products in my life.  We started purchasing unscented products and made more use of our Norwex cleaning cloths that just use water to clean.  I ditched my deodorant and found an amazing homemade recipe (I told you I’m a huge hippy!) that actually works very well (full disclosure: I sweat a lot, so I can tell you that with a high degree of confidence).  I also have only been purchasing shampoos, lotions and make-up products that are paraben and phthalate free.  In general, as I run out of a product, I just don’t replace it with anything.  I have cut down all of my personal products quite significantly (my wife can gladly attest to this) and just try to use less of everything!  I know that I can’t get rid of every harmful chemical in my environment, but I figure it’s my due diligence to make sure everything is a safe as possible.

I’ve been listening to a great pregnancy and birth podcast (check it out here, if you’re interested) lately that had an expert in pre-natal psychology on for an interview.  Yep, pre-natal psychology.  As in, the psychology of babies still in the womb.  Well, that totally blew my mind.  Of course, I know that babies had brains and some level of consciousness before they emerge into this crazy world, but I never thought that there was an entire field of psychology dedicated to it!  This expert brought up the very interesting point that parenting really starts from the moment you’re pregnant.  He spoke about how important it is to sing to and talk to your baby in the womb, and even mentioned some “games” that you can play with baby when they start really being active.  This really resonated with me and reinforced my efforts to foster a happy, healthy body for my future baby to share.  It was so motivating to think in a small way I was already a mama!  Well, maybe a mama.  I started brainstorming ideas for how to connect with my child before he or she was born and started daydreaming about my wife and I singing our baby to sleep every night.

Aaaand, just like that I was back on the fertility roller coaster.  The two weeks just dragged on and on.  I mentally crossed off each day, counting down until I could go for my blood test and find out if our dream was coming true, or if I should start getting ready for my next cycle.

-K

P.S.-I do not receive any compensation for the above recommendations (let’s face it, I’m not that cool), they are just experiences that I wanted to share from my heart to yours! 🙂

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