7. IUI prep and procedure
Updated: Jul 19, 2020
On March 5th we had a follow up appointment with our fertility specialist to review the results of Kara's blood tests and procedures. Dr. Be let us know that everything looked good. So, now what??
We completed all the preliminary steps - tests, counseling session, and choosing a donor - so now we have to prepare for the actual IUI procedure. This means getting Kara's reproductive system ready to be inseminated and having a vial of sperm available at the Texas Fertility Center.
The ideal process to get her body ready would be for Kara to take Provera, a medication that will force a period. Once that started she would have an ultrasound to make sure that her ovaries look good. From there, she would take Femara, a medication that promotes the growth and release of eggs to help ovulation. On the 12th day of her cycle, she would have another ultrasound to check that her eggs met the criteria for optimal development and her uterine lining was thick enough. If all went well, the next day she would have a trigger shot to force ovulation. And then, my friends, 2 days later she would be inseminated.
Kara pretty much followed the process above except that she needed to increase the dosage of Femara twice which delayed the actual insemination by 2 weeks. A lot has to go right just to prepare the body. All you can do is wait and be hopeful that it will work the next time. Kara and I decided together that the only way to approach this endeavor was with cautious but unwavering positivity. So after each appointment we'd give her bod a little pep talk, religiously take the medication as prescribed and gear up for the next appointment.
While we prepared Kara's anatomy, we also needed to get a vial of sperm delivered from the Cryobank in California to the Texas Fertility Center in Austin to be stored and thawed locally. I won't bore you here with all the calls, documentation and cost but it seems everything is a bit of a process. (rolls eyes)
On April 11th, I gave Kara the trigger shot and thought it would be fun to record the event.
Don't watch if you don't like needles and don't judge if you're a medical provider...
With that under our belt, we scheduled her IUI procedure for April 13th. Kara wanted an afternoon appointment because she had heard from two others that it worked for them and she thought it might be good luck. So that afternoon, we hit the road to head to the Texas Fertility Center. We were so anxious and excited in the car. We needed to ease our nerves and keep those positive vibes flowing so we brought in the Backstreet Boys to keep us company on our way. Belting out "I want it that way" never felt so good.
We turned into the parking lot, grabbed a spot near the entrance and I walked Kara inside to the elevators. Unfortunately, I had to stop there and she had to go to the appointment on her own. That's been one difficult parts of trying to get pregnant this way during the COVID pandemic. I haven't been able to go with Kara to all of her appointments. Don't get me wrong, not having any traffic getting to appointments has been amazing! But not being able to hold her hand in the waiting room or sit in on a procedure was tough. I got back in the car to wait while Kara went upstairs. I tried to read but couldn't focus so I called my mom. Thanks for keeping me company, mom ;-)
Kara came back to the car about 30 minutes later. She described the procedure as quick but uncomfortable. Basically, she sat down with a robe over her bottom half and put her legs up on what she calls the "spatula things"... a very scientific term. The doctor and staff had her verify the donor's ID number multiple times to ensure it was the correct one (AMEN!). As he prepared his tools, he told her there were 20 million sperm in the vial which is about double the qualifying number of sperm for this procedure. Then he used a contraption that looked like a plastic needle, placed it inside and pushed it up into her uterus. The total time of the procedure was about 30 seconds.
Our fertility specialist told us that you can stand up and walk around right after the procedure. However, they typically have you lie down for a few minutes for peace of mind. Kara took it a step further and lied down for 10 minutes with her legs in the air for good measure. Those suckers were not making there way back down!
We knew the odds of success this time around were pretty low. There is a 15% chance the procedure will work which is actually the same odds for those trying to get pregnant naturally... who knew?! I was under the impression that getting the environment, timing and placement down to an exact science would increase our odds, but I was wrong. Regardless, we left feeling pretty darn good knowing there were 20 million swimmers. 20 MILLION! Surely, one had to take!!
On our way home I told Kara we should grab a treat to celebrate this day. We could go anywhere and get whatever she wants. Her decision didn't surprise me - a hot fudge sundae from McDonald's. Yup, she could have ANYTHING in this foodie town and she wants fast food ice cream. There was nothing but pure joy on her face with each bite.
Now it's time to hurry up and wait two weeks to take a blood test that measures hCG levels which indicate whether or not she is pregnant. GULP!!