“Are you pregnant or not?” Includes fun pictures :)

You don’t realize it, but the whole fertility process happens quickly! Within ten days of an IUI or IVF procedure, you know if it worked or not. On February 10, 2017, we went in for our first IUI procedure. Within ten days, I was a little less optimistic. I felt crampy, which was a sure indicator that I was going to start my period. On day eleven, I had lost hope. The cramps were intense and so was my mood.

Normally, I could give two shits what people think about my personality. I’m quirky, weird, socially awkward, and oftentimes poke at people when I don’t want to be around them. Well, on Tuesday February 21, 2017, I sat in my office, bawling because I’m so goddamn weird. Stupid shit comes out of my mouth when I’m nervous, and to boot, that stupid shit came out during an interaction with an executive at my work. Good one, Ursula, you need to cry this one out.

“Why am I so @#$*ing awkward?!”

(sigh) This was later my first inclination that I needed to take a pregnancy test. Not wanting to jinx it, I waited. Hubby kept bugging me, “Are you gonna take a test?”

“No. I’m gonna wait and schedule an appointment with my OB to be sure it’s an accurate test.”

Lies. On the night of Wednesday February 22, hubby went out to the gym. I took action and did the whole, less-than-glamorous pee on a stick thing. Was that a solid line with a faint line? My heart dropped and I grinned from ear to ear. I took a pic of it and sent it to my dearest friend, Jenny.

“I’m shaking…is that a second, faint line?”

“It looks like it :).”

It said I was pregnant. Shaking, I hid the test and planned to take another in the morning. I was going to go to my OB to take, yet another, and plan my next steps to tell hubby the news.

That night, I dropped hints of a special lunch or dinner just to spend time with him during a stressful week. At first, he was ok with lunch. YES! I only have to keep a secret for a few more hours! Then, hubby drops a bomb on me – either dinner tomorrow or we wait until the weekend. COME ON! I CAN’T WAIT THAT LONG!

The next morning, since I have to get up so early to paint my face, I was up before hubby and took another test – when it is supposedly pure, concentrated pregnancy on a stick. Sure enough, this one read, clear as day, “Pregnant”.

Holy shinoly!

“Are you gonna take a pregnancy test today?” Hubby asked.

“Yeah, I’m going to see if they can do a blood test to be sure instead of taking an at-home test.”

Lies.

“Ok, call me as soon as you know!”

Well, the doctor’s office confirmed what I already knew – pregnant. I did have to go in for blood work that Saturday to run checks and balances, so the lie I was about to tell was only a white one.

After the appointment, over the phone:

“So, did you take a test?!”

“No, she wants me to go in to a lab Saturday morning for a blood test. They ensure 100% accuracy with blood tests. Do you wanna meet for lunch? It’s been a stressful week.”

“Ok. So we go Saturday?”

“Yup! Bright and early! Where do you wanna meet for lunch?”

Once it was decided, I worked fast. I went to the bookstore and acquired two books:

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I ran home, threw the pregnancy tests in a baggie, along with the sonogram card and books, and went to meet hubby for lunch.

Quick on my feet, I thought up my plan. Hubby was currently studying for a certification, so I knew exactly how I would tell him we were expecting. Once at the restaurant, I met him at his car with a bookstore bag with all of the loot in hand. He gets out and,

“So, I went to the bookstore and got you a couple things to help you study.”

I shakily hand him the bag. He looks inside and pulls out what he initially thought was a calculator and I grow silent.

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“WHAT?!”

“Yeah, I lied. I took a test last night, one this morning, and confirmed with my doctor that I am pregnant.”

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It worked. IUI worked the very first time. I hope he doesn’t hate me for sharing the next one, but his girls will love it when they are old enough. My guy is the best and this shows his raw emotion in the middle of a restaurant.

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Stay tuned, though…We are not in the clear yet.

If You Want Children, Get Them However You Can

Our amazing doctor was able to save one of my tubes. That being said, we were still not in the clear quite yet. Our next adventure would involve IUI or, potentially, IVF. Before we get into our chosen route, which will be a dead giveaway in the description below, let me educate you on the differences between IUI and IVF because I got them mixed up as well. They are definitely different, so be careful if anyone tells you they had to go through one or the other – prego women can be sensitive and will attack if you don’t keep that trap of yours shut, so check yo’self before you wreck yo’self.

IUI, or intrauterine insemination, has HUGE differences from IVF. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Eggs are NOT removed from the body
  • Eggs are NOT taken to a lab to create precious embryos

Like IVF, IUI follows a strict timeline, so if you’re going to go through the process, get yourself a planner if you haven’t got one already. Your cycle starts on the first day of a full-on period after 2PM, so count out to day twelve and call your doctor to schedule an ultrasound. (Make sure you remind your hubby every hour of every day the sacrifices and steps you are taking to ensure he gets a family. And ask for presents; big, exorbitant ones. Also remind him that he only steps in to the process provide his “seed” and that his level of discomfort to produce said seed does not match your level of discomfort.) On days three through seven of your cycle, you take either Clomid or Letrozole. In my case, it was Letrozole, which is slightly less potent (we will get to why this can be chosen later). On day eleven, you take and ovulation test. If it is positive, call your doctor. On day twelve, go in for your ultrasound. They will do this transvaginally, so get ready and pray that they use warm gel. At this time, they will count and measure the maturity of your egg(s). They must be at least 18mm to proceed with the next step. If they are not, go home, call your doctor, and schedule another ultrasound for day fourteen. Go into your ultrasound on day fourteen and have them measure. If your follicles, or eggs, are mature, call your doctor. On day fifteen (or thirteen if your eggs are mature then), if you’re me, expect a phone call from your doctor’s personal cell phone to warn you that there is a potential for twins and that it is VERY risky to proceed. There are no documented cases of twins with my cerclage, so “selective reduction” is an option that one can opt into in this event. Once you discuss the risks with hubby, call your doctor back and receive instructions to give yourself a “trigger” shot in the belly. (*Please note that, during this time, it is a choice to consume an alcoholic beverage as there is no harm done to the process. This could be your last adult beverage for months since, after this day, you should not consume ANY sort of alcoholic beverage.) It’s a super tiny, ultra thin needle with miracle juice that forces you into ovulation within the next 36 hours. On day sixteen (or fourteen) take hubby with you. Hubby will be hopeful that there are “materials” to help him along with his production process, but sometimes that won’t happen and he will be left to his own devices. He could also be stuck in a room with no cell reception, so proceed with caution because the pressure is ON! Also, try not to embarrass hubby by yelling out in a full waiting room, “Would you like me to come with you?!”

Now for the coolest part…

Within two hours of hubby’s production, the sperm is “washed”. During this time, they put the sperm into a machine that uses centrifugal force to pull the sperm from the semen (semen, mixed with the ph of your vagina can be toxic and kill off the little spermies). This is done twice to make ensure you’re getting the best of the best! From there, millions of little hubbies are put into a tube with a sugar water mixture where they are happy and healthy – like a theme park for sperm. Once the two hours are up, wifey returns for the finale and doc tells hubby his sperm are the Michael Phelps of sperm. This process should only take about five minutes, but, as you know, nothing can be easy for us.

At this time, our normal specialist, Dr. Woodard, was doing her rotation across the street at MD Anderson, so a different doctor was to help with the insemination part. This doctor, God bless her for dealing with me, could not find the opening to my uterus. Half an hour later, Dr. Woodard was messaged and offered to come over to help. It turns out, she had just as much trouble. You see, scar tissue had formed over my uterus after two surgeries, preventing entry to my uterus, so the opening was near microscopic. They had to dilate me. If you’ve ever bumped an old wound that has scarred over, you know that this can be painful. Imagine this on one of the most sensitive parts of your body and then times that by a million. It was absolutely PAINFUL! The dilation came with an ultrasound to help find where the opening should be, as care was taken so that they did not puncture my uterus.

Hubby was right there by my side holding my hand the entire time. I could see the worry in his face and the love and care in his eyes. He was never going to let me forget how much I mean to him and how much it meant to him that we were moving forward with this whole process. He’s my rock through everything!

After some tears, dilation, an ultrasound, and an hour and forty minutes, the catheter with our special little ones was in. Once this process is complete, you lay horizontal for twenty minutes (we opted to stay for thirty to ensure optimum swimming potential).

Once the process is all complete, you are given a potential for a 20% chance that the first time will work, but you must always remain optimistic.

Off we went on our three hour drive home…hubby with his crotchety and sore wife. Three hours.

The Saga Continues…

Hubby, always thinking positive, mentioned going back to Houston for a second opinion. Yes, that is exactly what we did! Once there, we were met with kind and compassionate eyes. That was my doctor, Terri L. Woodard. Go ahead, look her up; she’s as beautiful outside as she is in, with the brain to match! It’s insane the amount of effort that God put into this woman to create someone that could and would help people. Just phenomenal.

While there, I was subjected to another HSG. Guess what? This time the doctor did it herself AND my hubby was allowed in the room to hold my hand. See a theme here? Effortlessly, she found the opening to my uterus. She did her thing with the dye to see if the tubes were open. It was true, both tubes were blocked. Her warm, caring expression somehow didn’t disappoint or alarm us, so we seemed to accept our fate.

Once the test was complete, we met in her office to discuss a path forward.

“It’s 50/50, but I think I can save one of your tubes,” said Dr. Woodard

“What, really?!”

“Yeah, I think it’s worth a try! The other is completely blocked, so that will have to come out, but the other may be salvageable.”

Hallelujer! 50/50 was better than zero! To be clear, they tie your tubes when you have a blockage to prevent ectopic pregnancies…Just a side note there.

We scheduled my surgery and went home in greater spirits. We knew that the three hour drive to Houston would be, and was, completely worth it. The medical center there has top notch doctors that genuinely care about their patients. Not only that, but even the office staff and nurses are spot on! I had once dealt with an office worker in San Antonio that kept repeating Dr. Anderson when I told her I was trying to get a follow up appointment after my surgery at M.D. Anderson. Ugh, no, it’s the top cancer treatment center in the country, not a doctor, honey.

We returned a few weeks later, hopeful that the surgery would be a success, and it was! One, “beautiful” tube remained.

That was it. That was the official start to our journey to baby. It was right before Thanksgiving 2016 that this all went down and we were able to enjoy our holidays. This was not the end, though, as there was more in store for us soon.