First IUI

Today was the big day: our first IUI!

My husband collected his sample at home since we live very close to the clinic, and dropped it off around 8:30am. We both arrived to the clinic itself at 10:30 for the procedure. I felt a little apprehensive about the procedure feeling painful, but I wasn’t really nervous. We watched the food network on the big TV in the waiting room and made fun of the Barefoot Contessa’s method of shrimp cooking (not that we could do any better!).

The procedure itself was quick. The nurse took us back to a small room and confirmed our names and dates of birth. She had our washed semen sample in a little centrifuge tube and gave it to my husband to hold to keep warm. It didn’t look anything like semen – it was a small amount of clear, lavender-colored liquid due to the solutions they mix the sperm pellet with after spinning it down. I wanted to take a picture but the husband was not on board with that!

I undressed from the waist down and got onto the table, then into the stirrups. My husband was sitting by my head and I held his hand. The IUI was ultrasound-guided so the tech held an ultrasound wand on my belly while the doctor got the speculum in place. With the surface ultrasound he could see that I had not yet ovulated (which is good) and the follicle was now 23mm – a growth of about 6mm in the last 24 hours!

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I expected it to hurt – or at least for me to feel the catheter – but to be honest I hardly felt anything. The doctor had to spend a few minutes cleaning the cervical area since there was a lot of thick mucus plugging the cervix. Around ovulation the cervical mucus is supposed to be at its wettest, stretchiest, and most profuse to help the sperm travel up into the uterus, but in the last day or two I’ve had barely any discharge – and from the sounds of it, it was all stuck there, plugging up the cervix. This is consistent with what the doctor had found before – my thick cystic fibrosis mucus is blocking any semen from reaching my uterus. Good thing we’re bypassing all that with the IUI!

So – I did feel the doctor cleaning my cervix with cotton, but that was basically just like a pap smear. Then he read the name and date of birth off the semen sample one more time to triple-check it was my husband’s, then inserted the catheter, and injected the sample. That part only took about a minute and I didn’t feel it at all. He also confirmed via ultrasound that the catheter was in the right place in the uterus.

Unfortunately, we did get some bad news today. The semen sample my husband produced today was not nearly as good as the one we tested for quality a few months ago. The motility and sperm count were low, and the doctor said they were below the optimal level for the procedure, though still enough to get me pregnant if the timing is right. He anticipated that I would ovulate either sometime this afternoon (based on my LH surge) or at the latest tonight (based on the trigger shot). I asked for an appointment to go back tomorrow to confirm via ultrasound that I did in fact ovulate, so I’ll be back there at noon tomorrow. The doctor didn’t seem to think it was necessary but agreed to do it for purposes of learning about my cycle, since we may be at it again next month. If for some reason I don’t ovulate by tomorrow then the IUI would likely have been a bust since washed sperm don’t typically live more than 6 hours or so. I’m thinking my husband and I will have sex again tonight with some Pre-Seed – it can’t hurt, at least. And maybe the doctor cleaning my cervix out for the procedure loosened things up enough for the Pre-Seed to work!

My post-IUI instructions were pretty simple. The doctor had me rest on the table for about 5 minutes (though I actually laid there about 15 minutes to be safe), then told me to carry on with my day as normal. He said we can certainly have sex if we like but it likely wouldn’t help anything, fertility-wise. In two weeks I’ll be back for a blood test to determine whether I’m pregnant.

After the procedure I went home, immediately went to the bathroom (since I had to have a full bladder for the procedure and I was about to burst!), then cooked myself some chicken sausages and sauteed kale for lunch. I figured relaxation would be helpful to move my ovulation along so I put on some soft music, did some meditative breathing and visualization, and then napped on and off for about 4 hours. I haven’t felt any pain besides some very faint cramps that I probably wouldn’t have noticed if I wasn’t focusing so much on what’s going on down there. I have class tonight, then I’ll be back home to rest some more. I’m unsure if I should do my vest tonight or not – it’s probably silly but I worry that the shaking might not be conducive to fertilization! I might skip it tonight since it generally doesn’t bother me to miss one session.

So, that’s it! I’m going to try to stay as calm and relaxed as possible over the next few days and I’ll be starting the progesterone suppositories on Thursday morning. Tomorrow I’ll update here again after my ultrasound check. At there is to do now is hope and stay positive!

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