It was 15dpiui and I had taken 48 tests. Each one I scrutinized with squinting eyes as I held my phone’s flashlight on it. Is that a line? That shadow? Could that be a positive? Maybe? Maybe this is the time?
Each test, the same thing. Morning, during the daytime, in the middle of the night when the progesterone made me have to pee for the fifth time.
It was our fourth time.
This time was going to be different than the rest.
We had an hsg this time. There was a slight blockage in my right tube but they pushed and pushed more dye through and – POP – it was clear. Everything was normal. So many people get positives once they clear their tubes.
I had ovulated earlier, in a normal time frame, this time. It was cd 14 and I had a beautiful follicle in my right ovary (always the right ovary) and we triggered right then and did an IUI hours later.
We had a new donor this time. We liked this one better – their childhood smile looked like my wife’s and they seemed to have a more similar personality. And, our last donor had amazing samples but this guy just blew it out of the park – 187 million mobility!
This time was going to be different.
I felt cramping 6 days post ovulation. I had very light bleeding on the night of 8 days post ovulation.
This time was going to be different.
Except, the faint shadows of lines never got darker. My body aches and I was too emotional and I felt horrible and different and it wasn’t different.
Our first time I ovulated with an 18mm follicle on my left ovary on cd. 26. It took my body two rounds of Femara in the same cycle to make that follicle. A good friend gave me a shot in my ass to trigger its release. My wife and I were so hopeful, naive, thinking we were the ones who would get pregnant the first time. Except my body didn’t know what was happening, never had sperm inside it, it didn’t work.
Our second time I ovulated with two follicles on my right ovary on cd. 24. My body still didn’t understand Femara and it took two rounds of the highest dose to make those follicles. When we saw them, we were so hopeful. That cycle didn’t work.
Our third time I ovulated with one follicle on my right ovary on cd. 16. I only needed one round of the highest dose of Femara. My body was slowly understanding, slowly getting it. It didn’t work.
This round would be different.
We did so many things differently this cycle.
My body has become more normalized to the process. It’s become more normalized as a cycle.
But we still got a negative.
This round was the hardest for me emotional and physically. My body ached, it didn’t have energy, I stayed too long in the bed and barely left the house. I was depressed, lonely, and my fight was nearly done.
No one tells you how isolating this process is – that no one gets it, that no one reaches out to sit with you in this dark time, family isn’t there, friends don’t want to pry, people make assumptions and comments, people stop coming around because you don’t have anything to give, and it’s just you and, sometimes, a spouse, and that you are constantly trying to figure out if it’s you that is the problem.
“Is it?” I had thought, “is it me?”
Month after month of trying, cycle after cycle, it gets heavy.
But then something happened. My period came a day after I stopped the progesterone when it usually takes several days. I realized that my body is actually learning, working. I thought back to how I have been ovulating more and more towards the average days that most women do in their cycle. My body was opening up more, releasing healthier eggs. That my cycles were becoming more average.
We also started to come up with contingency plans, getting excited about our plans.
I started to become prouder of my body. I started to believe in it as it bled and bled. We talked with our doctor – our wonderful doctor who has spent hours on the phone with us trying to create game plans – to discuss next plans.
Our fourth IUI failed. Our other three IUIs failed.
It takes heterosexual couples nearly a year to conceive. It can take a person around 6 IUIs to conceive.
We have one more vial of sperm. We’ve met our deductible and it makes sense to give the IUI one more go around.
This time it is low key.
I am not too hopeful or too doubtful. I am enjoying the sun and outdoors and trying to remember who I was before trying, before falling into the ocean of infertility.
I take my Femara and give myself grace when I am emotional.
I am excited, really.
I am experimenting with things this time because, why not? It’s our last try via IUI.
But, more so, I’m excited about our future.
We plan to move to IVF after this. Reciprocal. How cool is that? To carry my wife’s eggs inside my uterus? How lucky am I that she trusts and loves me?
We aren’t at the end of our road. A trashful of negatives is just that. A failed cycle. And? How many times have we fallen down in our lives, skinned our knees and continue to jump up?
Resilience, that’s our thing.
So, low key trying. If we succeed, then science is really cool. If we don’t, it’s still cool.
Either way, the next steps will always be my wife’s eggs and sperm from someone who looks like me and my uterus.
Science is cool.
We are a special kind of strong – all of us in this journey – and where ever it leads us, I’m sure we will find peace.
This adventure will, undoubtedly, be worth it.