Warning: TMI ahead. If you are squeamish or a boy that cannot deal, stop reading.
Operation Making Baby Sonne, Part Two, IUI #4:
I am in what we call the “two-week-wait,” or TWW, also known as hell. That is the typical 14 days in between ovulation and the arrival of a period or, even better, a missed period. I am ten days past my first IUI and 9 days past my second. I have three more days to go until my quantitative blood test that will tell me if I have even the slightest hint of HCG in my system. If I do, you know what that means. If I don’t, well, you get the idea.
My brain right now is fried. I am feeling all of the feels. Every minute of the day, I am wondering if this time is THEE time. Every twinge or every pain is processed in my mind as a sign. Any stereotypical thing you may have heard about early pregnancy symptoms, I am most likely experiencing them. Sore, painful, and tender breasts (check) slight pressure or dull cramping (check) bloated (check) fatigue (check) emotional or weepy (check). All sounds good, right? It seems as if my body may be experiencing some early pregnancy symptoms. And that’s what my brain keeps telling me, too. However, you and my brain are wrong. Even if I were experiencing these symptoms, there would be no way to tell for sure. Why, you ask? The answer is simple—a little hormone called progesterone. Supplementing with progesterone mocks symptoms of pregnancy because it truly is the “mommy” hormone. This hormone supports pregnancy and is needed in particular amounts and it is extremely important to the survival of an embryo as it implants and grows. It makes the lining of the uterus a nice, safe, and cushy environment, so that the little bugger can flourish. Because I’m battling infertility and PCOS, I have a tendency to not produce the right amount of any hormone. I have to take progesterone supplements just in case I am actually pregnant. If you don’t have enough, like me, you must supplement. Lucky me! This is the fun part. Three times I day, I have to use a progesterone vaginal insert tablet. It is just as lovely as it sounds. You place the horse-pill sized tab on an applicator, and to put it mildly, proceed like you would with a tampon. That doesn’t sound too bad, right? Sure. But when that large white tablet starts breaking down and seeping out, it becomes another story entirely. It becomes quite the uncomfortable mess. For a visual, because I know you’re dying to have one, picture your period—only white and chalky. Fun times! Are you wishing you didn’t click the link to this blog yet?
Alright, fine. Enough with the gross stuff. That’s not the worst part anyway. The worst stuff happens in my brain. One minute I am filled with hope and positivity. The very next minute my stomach drops as if I were waiting on a rollercoaster and I’m at the top, a millisecond away from the big drop—this happens when the hope flitters away and despair creeps back in. Finally, when I’ve had enough doom and gloom, I start the search for answers. Google to the rescue! There’s this devilish little website called Countdown to Pregnancy. You’re able to look up symptoms by number of days past ovulation to see what actual pregnancy charts have revealed. They have actually compiled data on symptoms of pregnant women, made charts and graphs on the data, and posted it to play infuriating mind games with other women who are trying to conceive. And do I avoid this site? Nope… because I’m a glutton for punishment, maybe?
It is empty and strange when you feel less than—less than healthy, less than a woman, less than a wife, less than a mommy, less than capable of fulfilling my own dreams, less than human. Because in order to accomplish what most women can do quite easily, and have been doing since the beginning of humans, I have to take pills and injections, seek out specialists, have blood drawn weekly (sometimes more), continually be monitored by ultrasounds, and be inseminated artificially. No romance, no fond memories of the day when dear daughter or dear son was conceived—just petri dishes and microscopes and needles and catheters.
Honestly though, the absolute worst part about it all is that I’m ready to go through it all again if I must. If this round doesn’t work, I will be back at it next month, and the month after, and the one after that.
Some people might say that “going through all of this is a choice.” Some people might say, “know when to say when.” Some people might be sick of hearing me complain about it or maybe they’re sick of hearing about my infertility in general. Some people might say that “maybe it isn’t meant to be.” To these people, I might say stop reading my posts, please. I’m not asking for a pity party or sympathy from anyone. I write to express the feelings I am trying to work through and I write for other women going through similar situations. This is a lonely and debilitating process; I’m coping the best I can. I may share a lot of what I’m going through on Facebook or WordPress, but what I share doesn’t even cover the half of it. It’s a knock-down-drag-out fight. And after I fall, I immediately want to get back up and give it another go—despair and emptiness in one minute, hope and promise for the future in the next. Words cannot describe it effectively. The only way to really understand this mess is to experience it, and I wouldn’t wish that upon anyone…. Except Voldemort, maybe.
And that is my brain on the last leg of my two-week-wait.