I wasn’t sure if I would post this, or a fair number of posts waiting in the queue. These posts have been waiting in the wings for awhile, I needed space and privacy. I almost decided against posting any of this, but then I remembered how frustrating it is that there is such a ‘shameful’ stigma over infertility. And I remembered part of the point of me creating this new blog was to document my journey. This is my chance to be bold, be a face for infertility and to show that I’m not ashamed that I am infertile and struggling through a complicated journey to grow my family with the Edder.
Moving on. The point of this post is to say that I have in fact gone through an unsuccessful round of medicated IUI. And whooooooo-my was that a learning experience. It was like the Edder and I were two emotionally stunted four year olds trying to navigate our way through ultrasounds, medications, highs and lows, new terms and procedures. I thought I had read enough to be fully prepared. Please note, I was not! We, point of fact, had NO idea what the heck we were doing.
It was traumatic, hilarious and heartbreaking all at the same time. But we made it through to the other side. Whole. Together. Stronger than we were before. And knowing we can do this again, and hopefully what we learned will set us more in the ‘halfway capable middle schooler’ range for the next IUI cycle. Here’s hoping.
We learned a lot, we grew a lot, we laughed a WHOLE lot. I found a new therapist (that’s a whole other post). I cried. A LOT. We slept a lot. We stayed in our warm, cozy little nest a lot. I acquired a spare tire around my middle that I couldn’t control in any way thanks to hormones. I had to let my body do what it was going to do and deal with feeling tired and emotional ALL. THE. TIME. Thankfully the Edder and I found our relationship was bonded closer and closer every step of the way. We are working hard to ensure this journey brings us closer together, and doesn’t rip us apart. So far that effort is paying off. I’m going through this with someone who gives me the softest place to land. Every. Single. Day.
No one knows how incredibly challenging it is to be an ‘infertile’ until you’ve been there. I can attest to this. My sisters have been walking this road for many years. Years before I even thought about getting pregnant (i’m the youngest). I knew it wasn’t easy, I knew I wanted them to have babies, but I never knew just how large a toll it took on them until I started going through this myself. No woman can understand. Not until she has to have doctors endlessly probe her girl parts, endure surgery, shove a shot in her own stomach, take endless pills and shove meds up her hooo-haaa every day. Or spend thousands and thousands of dollars just to TRY to conceive. Not to mention the fear and work of keeping a conception IF it actually happens.
The fact that as an infertile undergoing assisted reproductive measures your body ends up feeling more like a scientific experiment, than a woman, is just the tip of the infertility iceberg. I’ve never been so poked and prodded in my life. I’ve never before had a nurse stare me (kindly) in the face and gently tell me exactly when to ‘intercourse’ after she probed my va-jay-jay with a wand and showed me how to give myself a shot. Like it was nothing. Oh… just give yourself a shot. Then intercourse. Then in 36 hours we will shove a tube through your girl parts to deliver the goods right to your uterus. Like it’s nothing. Sigh… it was something. That’s for sure. And we are expected to act like this is easy? A breeze? Just every day life? Well, it’s not.
Thankfully I have the Edder. And my family. And my new therapist. My soft places to land. The day I found out our first IUI didn’t work I was not only in emotional pain, but physical pain thanks to some brutal cramping. We had a family event that involved being around a hundred other people. I thought I was prepared. I wasn’t. I saw my parents, they didn’t know yet that it hadn’t worked, and when my mom hugged me I almost cried. But didn’t. I held it together until my dad gave me his big cuddly bear hug. Then I lost it. I cried even harder when he asked what was wrong. Right there in front of so many people.
Then I saw my sister, who knew the IUI didn’t work, I had called her. As she stood there holding her sweet newborn son she cried right along with me. She gets it. It felt so good to be with someone who gets it. And who now has a baby of her own. Someone I didn’t have to explain the grief and sorrow too. It was so good. To know that she knew exactly how I felt. That is the only thing that got me through that day. That and the fact I got to snuggle my beautiful sleeping nephew for a good solid hour. Have I mentioned he smells like the most incredible cookies you have ever had? Well, he does.
I have no shame in the fact that it doesn’t matter if it’s me at four years old or thirty-four years old, having the comfort of my parents or sisters or Edder is something I just plain need sometimes. My dad’s big, warm, snugly chest is a soft place for me to land when I just can’t take it anymore. It always has been, and I know it always will be. Same for my mom’s shoulder as she runs her hand over my hair, or my sisters arms and words, or the Edder’s snuggles. All soft places for me to land when I need it most.
There is a great deal of emotional and physical toll this stuff brings to a girl and her Edder. I am posting this blarggings and future ones that I wrote during the process, while still keeping timing private. I need some privacy as I go through this incredibly tough journey, I want to be bold, but I also need my mental health to stay in tact. People may think IUI is just a quick procedure, which the IUI itself is. But everything leading up to getting the actual IUI? It’s an act of numerous people and medications beforehand, and mind-numbing obsessive thinking and worry afterwards that takes up an entire 28-day (or more) cycle. Both in mind and body.
The fact of the matter is I don’t want or need anyone asking “if it worked” while it is all happening and going on. The best way for me to cope, is to tell a few choice people. People that I know will simply say “how are you feeling?” and nothing more. Who will also keep me distracted and be patient with me. I need my space. My privacy while going through all of this. Hence, posting after the fact. Not out of shame, but for the sake of my mental health. This is also why timing for future treatments will stay quiet at the time, although I plan to continue posting through this journey, it’s just a matter of when I publish those posts.
Another reason is that as an infertile it’s THE WORST when you feel like YOU are the one trying to assure OTHER people that “it’s okay, i’m okay, it will all be fine and work out…” when maybe it won’t. When maybe you don’t feel that way. When maybe you need a few days or weeks to recover and mourn and mull over what you just went through. To be alone in your nest with your Edder…. When maybe you don’t want to put on the fake, happy face that it was okay that a treatment failed. It’s not fun. Because in the end, it’s not okay. It hurts. It’s tough. And all I really need is a “I’m sorry, and I’m here for you if you need anything.” I need neither pity nor the process of assuring someone ELSE over my infertility.
All of that said, my first IUI is behind me now. Thankfully. Moving forward I will know better how to handle it… hopefully. I’m still all in on this adventure, and while that first round wasn’t easy, it was a learning experience. And I am totally amped and looking forward as we move further along in this journey. Especially the parts I can look back on and laugh at. Which are quite honestly A LOT of parts.
More to come. I documented the whole IUI experience over several different posts. I honestly didn’t know what all to expect, and I found it all pretty fascinating. Maybe others out there who don’t know how it all works will too. Or maybe they will relate, or better understand the whole infertile thing. Regardless, prepare yourself for a big ‘ol dose of hormonal me…. blareging.