IUI, Holding on to Hope, & Virtual Teaching

What. A. Month.

Thursday morning I brought a sample from my husband to the doctor’s office, went to a nearby coffee shop, wore a mask while getting some work done, went back for our second IUI procedure, and then drove to work for two sessions of virtual open houses for the coming school year. It had probably been the most relaxing day I have had in a few weeks.

Last month, we tried IUI for the first time. (Being that we are trying again, it obviously did not work.) I had a lot of hope though that it would and it made the negative pregnancy test(s) MUCH worse. I should have known, this whole time we have been going through infertility I have learned to not get my hopes up. That way, when good news does come, I am pleasantly surprised! But, alas, last month sucked. I had started cramping a few days before I was supposed to take a pregnancy test and I kept writing them off, hoping they were implantation cramps or other pregnancy cramps. I took three pregnancy tests that morning and another one later in the day to confirm: not pregnant.

I immediately started bleeding the next day and the cycle started over again. I called my doctor and they prescribed more Letrozole (an egg stimulant hormone) for days 3-7 of my cycle. I went in for blood work and an ultrasound on day 3 (the day before going back to work) and they saw a big follicle on the left ovary and three medium ones on the right. The (very sweet) doctor said the big one on the left might be too big for this round, possibly a cyst, but they would check my blood test results to check on my estrogen. I was seen again on day 8 (the Saturday after my first week back to work) to see how the Letrozole affected the follicles. The left one got bigger and the right ones stayed the same. In that ultrasound, they said the same thing: looks a little big, almost cystic, but we will check your estrogen and go from there.

Apparently the estrogen was fine because they started me on the Gonal-F injections (another follicle stimulant) for three days and another follow-up ultrasound and blood work (I had to be an hour late to work). They said the same things again: big follicle, looks cystic, will check estrogen.

Well, my estrogen LEAPED and they said, take your Estridol (trigger shot) tonight and we will see you in two days for another IUI procedure. I was shocked! I had very little confidence in this follicle after the doctors continued to comment on the cystic appearance of this possible egg-bearing follicle. In addition to my surprise, I felt a surge of stress. What time was this appointment? Should I call the doctor to confirm? I call them a lot already… I have to go to work for two sets of Virtual Open Houses. Will subsequent appointments continue to get in the way of teaching? Am I paying too much attention to teaching right now and not enough to my body? Am I doing the opposite?

I had almost no time to grieve and process the first loss. I know it was not a true loss and I will never compare our lack of conception this month to the true loss many mothers’ experience, but it hurt. I let myself get so excited and examine every tiny feeling and label it a symptom. It felt like when we first trying to get pregnant two and a half years ago, it made me feel naïve. I am starting to wonder if that is why I am not confident in this second round. Am I subconsciously putting guards up so that if it does happen, I will be pleasantly surprised? It’s also possible that work is so crazy, I am staying busy and distracted.

For those who are teachers or are friends with a teacher, you know how insane these past couple weeks have been. We are learning new technology as fast as we can, dealing with inconsistent information, getting way too many suggestions from “experts” via email and Zoom and “friends” on social media, all the while wondering, “If I can’t figure this out, how will my kids?” This blog post isn’t going to be about me offering my opinion on the status of public education right now, but I just wanted to set the scene a little bit.

My husband has had a crazy work month as well (he works for IT for public schools) and has been exhausted every day. I am SO blessed by him, he has still taken care of me and soothed me at the end of each and every day. He’s been diligent to pray for us and our future children and to listen to me vent when I walk in the door. I am so glad he is in this with me.

Even so, it has been really difficult recently to be in the infertile camp. I am sad more often than I would like and the hormones make me completely nuts. I go from sad for almost no reason to angry to crazy goofy in a matter of minutes. I examine every physical feeling and try to fit it into a pregnancy narrative. I am grateful that work is distracting and that friends are checking on me frequently. There is a lot to do to prepare and execute virtual learning, but it does somehow seem easier in comparison to working towards pregnancy.

In all of the crazy, I was stopped suddenly on the way out of the house to go to work by the sight of my lavender plant actually producing lavender!! I planted a small lavender sprout from a hardware store on the side of our porch and kept wondering if it was ever going to do anything. The plant itself took really well to its new home and grew, but I never saw any sign of anything other than more greenery. But then one morning I looked over at it to see a long sprout with a hint of purple at the tip. It was growing! It was finally producing fruit.

I am not one to read too far into anything, but I am hoping that if I can keep lavender alive long enough to start producing, maybe I can keep hope alive that we will one day be parents. Hope that I’ll be blessed to feel life grow inside me, that the Lord will knit together a life inside my womb and I would be one of the lucky ones to know what it is like.

My new Lavender bud ❤

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