The month before I was due to undergo my first round of Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) I began a new work contract which was perfect timing as the job allowed me to top up my income once more. As previously mentioned, I believe working as a marketing contractor has enabled me to be in more control of a decent work life balance, which is something that I continue to be grateful for. Up to now I’ve had the opportunity to ‘live life to the max’ and I can say with certainty that, as a result of this, I now feel ready to pause that life and try and create a new life…
And so, the next phase of this journey begins.
Monday 29th October to Friday 2nd November
Every morning this week I have been peeing on the ovulation sticks and every morning I’ve seen the same result: ‘high fertility’ but still not yet at the peak. It is so frustrating! Last month I decided to do a test run and it went like clockwork – I ovulated on day 19…which would be today. I’m going into London tomorrow for a scan at the clinic and I have requested a check on my egg progress. They have advised that I may have missed the window this month, however I feel like this is the month to go for it.
Saturday 3rd November
I spoke to the clinic at 8am and all systems are go! They have booked me in for an appointment at 10.30am. So, train into London followed by quick march from Euston to Harley Street.
The lady carrying out the ultrasound scan was very methodical in her look at all my follicles (in a normal menstrual cycle each follicle contains one egg). It turns out my intuition was entirely right, I do know my own body. There on the screen I saw the one ‘good egg’, although I learnt today that you can’t actually see the egg, but the follicle increases in size, and by the time ovulation occurs it will measure roughly 1.8 to 2.5cm in diameter. The one we both saw today was measuring 1.9cm and I knew it was looking good before she even said. Egg freezing seems to have given me some very random and, today, very useful knowledge!
Following the ultrasound it was on to see one of the nurses to get booked in for the IUI procedure on Monday. We had a chat about whether I need a trigger injection. Having previously thought I would complete a non-medicated IUI cycle this month I decided I would go for it. It seems like a sensible plan to have this one injection as it will guarantee that the ‘good egg’ has been released, giving me the best chance of the procedure being a success this month. Medication ordered, I then headed off to meet Jenny for brunch.
Jenny and I have been friends now for 14 years. We were initially work colleagues and then became neighbours when we lived across the road from each other in Richmond. We have a shared love of fajitas, the TV show Friends and fizz! Jenny is one of a group of ‘wonderful women’ with whom I can share my thoughts and feelings safe in the knowledge that they will be there every step of the way, through all the many twists and turns.
Over eggs benedict (I wanted to feed another egg to my ‘good egg’!), we discussed what a momentous brunch this could be. I’m excited but also trying to stay calm and level-headed about all of this. The likelihood of IUI working at my age is not great… on average the chance of becoming pregnant is about 14%. This increases to about 40% with IVF. I will probably look to move to that at some point next year if it doesn’t work out this time.
After brunch we head back to the clinic, collected my medication, and then I jumped straight on the next train home to get the important injection safely stored in the fridge. While on the train I sent a message to my boss to tell him I will be working a half a day on Monday as have a ‘hospital appointment’ in the afternoon. Also organised for Sara to join me for the trip to the clinic, so the plan is in place. I am ready to try and get pregnant…
Sunday 4th November – Prep Day/The day before the big day
Ate a few more eggs at brunch this morning with my parents, sister and family. Following this I met my friend Elly for a walk. Although I have only known Elly a couple of years having met at our weekly yoga class she is another of my ‘wonderful women’. As well as yoga, we share a love of a good cuppa, chat and croquet (of course)!
3.30pm prompt: Egg release injection complete!
6pm – A trip to Church. I am not religious and I usually only go to church for christenings, weddings and funerals, however I felt like I wanted to go today. It was the Service of Remembrance and during this service the vicar read the names of all those that have died in the parish in the last year. Grannie’s name was mentioned and I was pleased I was there to hear her name read aloud – I also took the opportunity to have a silent chat with her and update her on what I was up to these days.
Finished the day off with yet another egg, this time on a pizza!
Monday 5th November – D Day
Finally, the day has arrived. I feel quite odd. What happens today really could change the rest of my life.
3.15pm: Sara and I arrive at the clinic. I am given a piece of paper with the details of my selected donor and asked to confirm that he is the right one. We are then directed the stairs to a waiting room.
3.20pm: The nurse comes out to take me through to where they carry out the IUI procedure. She invites Sara to come with me. The nurse looks a little shocked and confused when I say, ‘no, Sara is my sister and she has never watched me have sex before, so I don’t think she needs to be in the room for this!’
3.25pm: Hospital gown on, shoes, socks, jeans and underwear off. I sit waiting on a bed behind a curtain. One of the doctors arrives and talks me through what will happen during the procedure. They will slide a thin, flexible tube through my cervix into my uterus. Using a small syringe, they then insert the sperm through the tube directly into my uterus. Pregnancy will result if the sperm fertilizes my ‘good egg’ and then the fertilised egg implants successfully into the lining of the uterus.
3.30pm: Into the procedure room, hop onto another bed, lay down and then all I can do is hope for the best! Just before inserting the sperm into the syringe the nurse asks me if I would like to know the stats of the sperm. Well why not?! Based on their analysis, this is potent ‘stuff’ with approx. 10 times more than the average number of sperm. The shape of the sperm is great and the sperm motility (movement) absolutely spot on. Looks like I picked a good one!
3.35pm: Procedure complete, but I decide that I want to add my own part of the process into the proceedings. Based on my research there seems to be a theory that spending some time lying on your back will help the sperm on its journey. So I spend another 10 minutes lying down in the procedure room, eyes firmly closed, knees bent up and tightly clasped together, willing the sperm a safe journey to my one good egg.
3.55pm: Gown off, fully dressed and sitting back on the bed. The doctor reappears, to give me some further information about what it is best for me to avoid doing for the next two weeks. I listen to his every word and then return to the waiting room to find Sara looking very relaxed, drinking a cup of tea and reading a magazine!
It is not at all how I hoped I would conceive a child but it was not unpleasant. It didn’t hurt, and I will do it again if I need to…