It's been a difficult year. In a nutshell - time off work, anti-depressants, counselling, infertility investigation, fertility treatment.
Yesterday I had IUI for the 2nd time. And today I'm thinking about the next step. IVF. This has lead me back here because I was reading someones IVF journey.
In the spirit of this, our journey so far follows:
Got referred to infertility clinic back in March (I think, I was having a very bad time, emotionally, at that point so the memory is foggy) Bean had sent in a sperm sample for analysis prior to our first appointment. Unfortunately, we were told at the appointment that his sample showed poor motility. I had swabs done (smear test style) to check I didn't have any infections and was referred for a hysterosalpingogram (HSG). Bean was asked to bring in another sample for analysis. Needless to say, we both went away feeling pretty bummed out, with Bean thinking it was all his fault.
The HSG, for those that haven't had the pleasure of one, is a procedure that checks the fallopian tubes aren't blocked. This is done by injecting contrast solution into the uterus via a thin catheter and then taking an x-ray. All done with over the counter pain relief. I can report that having contrast repeatedly squirted into your uterus feels like THE worst and most unexpected cramp ever. They practically had to scrape me off the ceiling - I would actually refuse to have this done again. Que a couple of days of period like pain and generally feeling pretty shit about myself for being such a wimp. I used to think I had a high pain threshold. I have since been told by many people that the procedure is in fact as horrible as it was, and have had much sympathy from those in the know.
The only good thing about having an HSG, was that it proved that my fallopian tubes aren't blocked. We had another appointment in July. By this time the results of Beans 2nd semen analysis were back. When the consultant showed us the results of the 2nd sample I did a little jump for joy and whoop. Thankfully the repeated semen analysis showed no problems at all, sperm above average on all counts. The only thing Bean had done differently was reduce caffeine intake further (though his consumption wasn't particularly high in the first place) and start a male fertility multi-vitamin. We think they left the 1st sample a little too long before testing, so it is always worth checking again.
At this consultation we were told that we can get two rounds of intrauterine insemination (IUI) and one round of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) on the NHS. And, as we have unexplained infertility (ie tubes are fine, sperm is fine, ovulation is fine) we should be able to get pregnant naturally. With this is mind the consultant said there was no reason to jump straight to the IVF. We were advised to go through the two rounds of IUI first.
Following a referral to the fertility clinic, we went in to have our first appointment in September. At this initial appointment we had to take proof of identity and sign a form to say that we were a stable, happily together, couple (no domestic violence and such like) The clinic have a legal responsibility to all children they help conceive. After this was all signed and checked, we were given all the info about IUI.
Basically, I would take clomid, a drug that promotes ovulation, from day 2 to day 6 of my cycle, I would have a scan at day 10 to check follicle formation is good but not too good (no more than twins thank you!) and then pee on sticks each day until ovulation showed. At this point, Bean would go in to give a sample, which would be washed to leave the best sperm. Then I would have this injected via thin catheter into my uterus. We also got given extra information on multiple births (higher risk of multiples with fertility treatment). We then went away to mull this all over and came back for a proper planning appointment a week later.
At this appointment we signed all our consent forms (consent to procedure, to being involved in research, to me using Beans sperm even in the event of his death!) got my prescription of clomid, and then went home to wait til I came on my period.
To be continued.....