The Day I Got Knocked Up Via Intrauterine Insemination

Intrauterine Insemination is also known as an IUI.

My Story Begins:

I will begin that today, September 22, 2014 at 11:35am, I was artificially inseminated.

But I did so with a bit of low hope. More on my personal story later.

Below I will document everything I did for my IUI procedure and all the tools I used up until insemination. Hopefully if there are any women out there that are thinking of going through the same process, this can shed a little light and help you out.

What Is An IUI You May Ask?

Of the thousands of couples trying to conceive, many are plagued with the frustration of infertility.

There are a variety of factors that can play a role in why a couple cannot conceive, i.e., low sperm count, low sperm mobility, hostile uterus, problems with cervical mucus, etc.

For those who are looking for something less invasive and less expensive than in-vitro fertilization, IUI is one of their options.

Intrauterine insemination is a simple procedure of collecting sperm, washing it of the seminal fluid, and then injecting via a catheter into the woman’s uterus at the most optimal time.

Here is a quick 3 minute video to show how this works:

Generally, the ideal time to do this type of procedure is when the eggs are completely mature around the time of ovulation, which is about 1-2 days after a surge of the LH hormone is released into the body.

Sometimes, fertility medications are used to increase chances of getting pregnant, as success rates for this method are about 20% per cycle. This depends on a variety of factors, however.

IUI maximizes sperm count, so when placed directly into the uterus using the catheter, there is a greater chance of one of them making it to the mature egg.

The sperm gets a head start into the fallopian tube, but it still gets to reach fertilize the egg on its own.

Becoming pregnant with multiples is a risk with this method because of the increased sperm cell count in the uterus at the time of optimum fertility.

IUI is not recommended for women with frequent pelvic infections, endometriosis, or fallopian tube disease.

The Decision For The IUI Procedure:

My age.

I was career focused and being in the military left no room for a child. Life happened and to fast forward, I am now 37 years old. I am finally “ready” to have a child of my own.

My partner is the one that went through this process before me and we now have a healthy baby girl! So I know that this does work.

Lucky for me she did because that made it so much easier for me mentally and financially.

The Company I Chose To Work With:

Luckily for me the company I chose to work with was a hop skip and a jump away!

It is called IVF New England formally RSC New England. I found them to be so friendly and understanding of my situation. There are no judgements, just a single focus on getting you pregnant.

They will go above and beyond to make sure you are healthy and make sure all the basis are covered prior to doing the procedure.

I know that this can be done at home and considerably cost less.

You can go take a look on YouTube to see all the success and how to’s for doing this at home.

But for me, I NEEDED this to work the first time because the donor gave only 2 samples and I wanted our first child to have a biological brother or sister via father.

This was affordable for me because my work insurance covered 90% for infertility.

You Need Insurance!

Let me preface this by saying you will need to have insurance or else this will be majorly EXPENSIVE.

I have insurance via my current job that covers 90% after paying a $1500 deductible for infertility care IF you are 35+ and have been unsuccessful having a child through the “normal” ways for 6 months.

Don’t worry the center will vouch for you on this with your insurance, just let them know.

Financial Breakdown:

I began this process on 04/28/2014. My initial 1 hour consult with the doctor at IVF (formally RSC) performing my IUI was a cool $300.

I paid $222 out of pocket. This visit was a brief meet and greet. We talked and I was asked if I had any questions, what were my concerns and how this process was going to go down.

In that same consult I had went ahead and did blood work for various tests such as HIV, chicken pox and blood type, German Measles Test, Prolactin Hormone Test, CMV test which was a breezy $1180.

I paid $340 out of pocket for that work.

Your consult may be different but for me, because of my age, I had to do the ALL inclusive to be 110% sure I laid down a solid healthy foundation for them to work with.

AND I am just getting started. This is why I say you need insurance that covers this or it will be very stressful financially.

Leaving this first meeting with the doctor, she required me to do a pap smear (Something I have not done in years and was not looking forward to it), an internal ultrasound, a HSG test and more blood work to test my immunity with the donors sperm (Cytomegalovirus (CMV) Testing).

I was immune and the donor was negative.

The second meeting was 5/22/14 to go over results. Again here costing me $222.

I will also add that all the lab work being done here I was paying a bit out of pocket at a time until my deductible was met with my insurance.

Let me briefly explain these procedures…

What Is A Pap Smear?

Something no woman will ever get used to, that’s what! No but seriously…

The Pap smear, or Pap test, is a procedure used to detect cervical cancer in women. It is a minimally invasive procedure that involves collecting or scraping cells from the cervix (located at the top of the vagina, just before the entrance to the uterus).

The American Cancer Society estimates that there are currently over 12,000 new cases of invasive cervical cancer just in 2014 alone. Pre-cancer, however, is far more common.

Cervical cancer is most commonly found in women under the age of 50 who have a history of contracting the sexually transmitted disease, HPV (human Papillomavirus).

Not every type of HPV will cause cancer, however, which is why it’s important to get regular screenings via Pap smears to test for abnormal cells in the cervix.

Early detection of cervical cancer gives women a much greater chance at cure and recovery.

A Pap test has the ability not only to test for current cancerous cells, but is able to detect whether future cancer cells are likely to develop.

The Pap test is usually done alongside a pelvic exam to check for pain and tenderness, along with an HPV test, as the virus can be dormant without symptoms.

Testing usually starts at 21, and then every few years after that up to menopause or hysterectomy.

However, if you have risk factors such as multiple sex partners, family history, HIV, or a weakened immune system, then your doctor may recommend more frequent testing, such as yearly rather than every three to five years.

For me, it was a success!

What Is An Internal Ultrasound & Why Are They Used For The IUI Process?

An internal ultrasound, also commonly referred to as a transvaginal ultrasound, is a diagnostic study used to look at the reproductive organs of a woman including her cervix, uterus, ovaries, and tubes.

This study uses sound waves to create pictures on the screen of these organs. It is best used to look at solid and fluid-filled organs, as air-filled structures like bones will not show up properly on this type of study.

Internal ultrasound is a preferred diagnostic study used in pregnant women who are trying to conceive through an artificial insemination known as intrauterine insemination (IUI).

While IUI is used primarily with couples who have male-factor infertility such as low sperm count, it is also used for infertility that is not able to be explained through normal testing of both the man and the woman.

It’s a noninvasive and simple process of collecting and washing the sperm of seminal fluid, and then injecting it directly into the uterus using a catheter during the optimum time of fertility in the woman.

This is usually determined through the use of internal ultrasound and LH hormone testing

An intrauterine ultrasound is used frequently in the IUI process to check for signs of ovulation before the sperm can be injected.

The ultrasound is usually done approximately six days into the woman’s normal cycle, and it checks for egg growth and ovarian activity.

This is frequently called follicular monitoring because it also very closely looks at the production of mature follicles, which will develop into eggs.

For me, this was a bit painful. Well, it hurt quit a bit because I have not ever had that type of penetration before. My cherry was popped here.

What Is And What Does A HSG Test Do?

A Hysterosalpingogram (HSG) is an x-ray diagnostic test done on women who are having a difficult time conceiving.

It looks at the inside of the uterus, the fallopian tubes, and the entire area surrounding these organs.

During this study, a special dye is injected into the vagina, which travels through the uterus and into the fallopian tubes going against the natural flow of fluid.

In which causes the woman to experience mild to severe cramping. For me personally, it was very painful. It feels like someone is twisting your uterus and trying to pull it out. I am not trying to scare you from this test, as I feel it is vital, but just know it is not pleasant.

Then a X-ray tech will come in to take a series of x-ray images while the dye passes through the uterus and fallopian tubes. These images can reveal an abnormality or an injury to either of these vital reproductive organs.

They can also show whether or not there is a blockage that is preventing an egg from passing from the ovary into the fallopian tube and ultimately into the uterus (or preventing sperm from reaching and fertilizing the egg).

An HSG can also detect if there are any problems within the uterus that is preventing the egg from attaching, or implanting itself, to the wall.

This test is often performed before any recommendations to proceed with artificial insemination procedures, as it will help determine the course of treatment, if any are needed, before undergoing those procedures.

 The Aftermath:

After ALL this initial prep work with the blood tests, getting the donor sperm ready and getting my prenatal vitamins on hand… the next thing to do was go through a couple times of my menstrual cycle and monitor when my peak ovulation days occurred.

This is VITAL and a bit frustrating.

To begin testing my next menstrual cycle, I purchased the Clearblue Fertility Monitor from Amazon.

Clearblue Fertility Monitor 1 CountAlso to add to that you will need the Clearblue Fertility Sticks 30 Count.

Here is where I got frustrated.

I read and re read the entire booklet for this monitor and just could not figure it out. I was having a moment.

It took my friend to read it and then tell me how to use it.

I can’t even tell you why I had a hard time but I did. I was having a hard time with setting the window for testing. I’ll explain below what I mean and how to use it. It is actually really easy.

Maybe I was frustrated because I was just flustered with this whole situation and the stress wasn’t allowing me to focus.

So I ended up messing the first go up and had to wait until my next cycle… another month down.

How To Use The ClearBlue Fertility Monitor:

Ok lets get started.

First thing to do is READ the booklet ALL the way through. Get a feel for the information and for the monitor. Re-read if you have to, just don’t attempt to touch the monitor just yet.

Did you do that? Ok. Now we can grab the monitor and set it up.

#1. Answer this question… What time do I normally get up and use the restroom for the first time in the morning? This answer will dictate when you set your window for stick testing.

For me, I usually got up around 8am. SO the morning I started my period (meaning the first day of actual blood flow NOT spotting) I got up and set the “M” button (you already know what this because you already read through the booklet).

Therefore, my testing window was from 5am-11am. This function just tells the monitor that you started your period and that you have a window of time to pee on that stick. The monitor will ask you for that when the time comes. Just turn it on every morning to see.

I kept the monitor and a test stick right next to the sink for easy grabbing.

That’s it.

Now you wait for the monitor to ask for a test stick. Be careful here because you want to test your first pee of the morning. So make sure you turn that monitor on before you pull down your pants to pee and make sure its asking for a stick.

For me, the monitor asked for the stick on the 7th day of my period. My peak days were from day 11 to day 13. Day 12 being that “perfect” day for the insemination.

Using The ClearBlue Digital Ovulation Test Kit:

These are self explanatory. The directions are virtually the same for these sticks. Make sure you follow the directions! READ first!

I messed this up the first time too! You need to insert the test stick into the digital stick, THEN pee on it… THEN hold it straight up and down with the pee stick facing down until it reads it.

Pretty sure it will say to start the process on your 7th day. If I were you I would begin doing this in conjunction with the Fertility monitor too. I NEEDED to make doubly sure it was accurate. Look for that “happy face”!

UPDATED: Back To My Story!

Like I stated in the beginning I did my IUI with a bit of low hope. Let me tell you why.

As you know you have a 3 day window to do this. Those three days are your “peak” or high fertility days. Day 12 being the best.

Now I want to stress to do at least 3 cycles when monitoring your ovulation cycle. I, personally, did 2.

So on my second time around the fertility monitor “messed up” and showed my day 11 to NOT be peak. Even though I knew that day 11 was the peak day on my previous monitored cycle. This was the day for me to call the IVF center to let them know so we could schedule the IUI for the next (12th) day.

But because I saw that day 11 didn’t show peak I waited until the next day when it showed I was ovulating. So I called to make the appointment but felt that my chances would be slim doing the IUI on the 13th day. For this center, they require the IUI to be 24 hours after for the appointment. That’s why I say low hope.

I called them saying I wasn’t comfortable doing it this time around and I wanted to cancel.

BUT somewhere along the lines the communication was broke and they frantically called me the next day asking where I was because my appointment wasn’t cancelled!

They already thawed the vile. I had to go in! I was mortified and upset because I felt my chances were next to nothing being on my third day, mid day. But the doctor assured me that her hopes were high. I, however, didn’t feel the same.

I felt like I wasted all that money and time. I felt that my partners baby girl would not have that biological brother or sister. The vile I had was the last one! So you can see that I was so nervous.

So I will see if this worked or not in a few weeks when I go for my blood test…

October 6, 2014 I went in for my blood test to see if all this work worked.

It was rough I will say, the wait I mean.

UPDATE: IM PREGNANT!

I am happy to say, YES it did!

I just found out Im pregnant and I go for my first ultrasound October 27, 2014. I will update here with that as well, so bookmark this page!

For the way I was feeling prior to even knowing if I was pregnant or not was that of cramping like I was going to start my period. It was sporadic and if I was to lift anything slightly heavy I would get sharp pains.

Also I will add that if I was sitting for more than a couple hours, I would have to lean forward because of the cramping and pressure I would feel.

I could not stand up straight during these first weeks.

UPDATED!

October 27th, 2014 went in for my first ultrasound (internal) and saw my little baby for the first time. I saw the little flutter of a heartbeat and I melted. I am truly in disbelief about all of this and the fact that this whole process was a success. They told me I was 7 weeks to the day!

my first internal ultrasound

I will keep updates here on a week by week basis to tell you all how I am feeling, to what I am eating, to how much weight I am adding, to how I am exercising and all everything else in between.

Let me preface by saying that prior to the blood test I was getting a bit of cramping like I was beginning my period.

It was tolerable but it was all day consistent. This lasted until the trans vaginal ultrasound and for whatever reason they stopped.

Only a few times I would get small sharp pains every now and again.

They told me it was normal.

My Pregnancy Week By Week – FUN

8 Weeks Pregnant (November 3, 2014) – I feel completely exhausted. I feel totally nauseous (all day everyday). I have now stopped wearing a bra. I use black hair ties to hold my pants on. All the things I used to love to eat now make me want to just gag.

I smell everything.

Now I am even wondering if I am still pregnant and worry all the time that there is something wrong.

And they say its normal!

Ugh is what I say, and my mom says “do I need to call the WAAmbulance?” Very funny.

If you are overly nauseous, here are some things I was doing to help ease it. I will say it does not go away.

I found that any hot cinnamon candy helped, ginger pills (eat with these if you can), spearmint gum, saltine crackers, eating juicy oranges/grapes and thats it for me.

There are my good days and my so bad days with feeling sick.

I will say also with nausea comes no eating and no eating comes with more of a loss of energy. Its a lose lose. So when you are feeling ok, try and drink as much and eat as much as you can.

Morning sickness or ALL day sickness is a killer.

I also noticed a semi dark line running from my bump button down. Is this my pregnancy line or linea nigra?

Week 9 (November 10, 2014) – Bad idea on my part but I stepped on a scale to see how much I weigh. I have gained 6 pounds since the beginning of this process. I thought it was odd due to the fact that I hardly eat. I am always nauseous.

Even the foods I listed above are no longer relevant! I am now eating cereal, graham crackers, oranges, ice cream, tater tots, white rice with any type of sauce and junk food.

Drinking water is scarce but using straws to sip help a lot.

My breasts have become increasingly sore and larger and my pooch is a bit more stiff.

Week 10 (November 17, 2014) – For this week I feel about the same and eat the same. I am trying to walk more but that is hard with the exhaustion and feeling sick. This week I ordered some ginger pops from Amazon.com to try and help with the morning sickness.

I’ll let you know if this helps or not.

UPDATE: those ginger drops were not a help at all. Only due to taste. YAKK!

Week 11 (November 24, 2014) – Goodness. I have got myself a cold. I am utterly miserable. To my understanding, being pregnant doesn’t allow for taking any type of OTC medication other than Tylenol.

This is entirely up to your doctor. I would ask. I ended up getting a bad sinus infection and I suffered with it for over a week because I thought we couldn’t get antibiotics or anything other than Tylenol.

WRONG.

I went to my OB and she prescribed me  the antibiotic called, “Z-pack” right away stating you are most certainly allowed to take antibiotics and most OTC meds BUT I highly recommend you ask your own doctor to make sure YOU are able to take something.

For me, I was able to take any and all cough and sore throat drops. I was able to take Sudafed PE, Robitussin DM and any Tylenol cold and Flu pills. Oh what a relief!

And if you want a deeper sleep I was able to take a Benadryl pill at night. That first night taking that pill was a solid 7 hours of needed sleep. I didn’t even get up to use the bathroom at all, which was happening at least 3 times a night.

Week 12 (December 1, 2014) – My sinus infection went away but I am left with a cold that I can’t shake. I just have a cough and runny nose. Could be allergies or just the norm when being pregnant.

I will say that the most important thing that helped me feel better when sick is keeping hydrated!

I took a weekend and drank nothing but water and lime gatorade all day consistently. DO that and you will feel so much better. BUT always keep drinking water.

The moment I stopped drinking water consistently, I got sick again.

Week 13 (December 8, 2014) – Yes, I got sick again because I decided to go shopping for the day and didn’t drink as much water as I have been. My throat got extremely dry but not soar. My lips dried up and I got sick. I began the regime of water and gatorade again and no infection happened.

I work nights so it was a good thing I could sleep longer.

Week 14 (December 15, 2014) – Water, water and more water. I do not want to be sick anymore. I still have a lingering mucus cough and runny nose. Preparing for Christmas too!

Week 15 (December 22, 2014) – BIG SCARE. I went to the bathroom this morning and had red/brown spotting. I continued all day to have this leaking when I would go to the bathroom and when I sneezed or coughed.

Called my OB and got a urgent ultrasound scheduled within the hour.

Went to the hospital and after everything was said and done, everything with the my little bun was ok. They said it was probably due to my massive coughing. Due to our cervix is very cardio vascular, that I might have busted some blood vessels and the old blood was just coming out.

Week 16 (December 29, 2014) – Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! – all is ok and I feel better. Just a lingering cough/runny nose.

Week 17 (January 5, 2015) – I feel ok and now have a pouch to show for. My breasts are HUGE and very soar. I do wear a loose fitting sports bra now at night to just keep them together.

It is very soar if they are left to their own accord. 🙂

Next week is my 18 week level 2 ultrasound.

Week 18 (January 12, 2015) – It is so surreal when I see there is a little body in my oven.

This ultrasound went well!

Let me say this about the money spent so far with my insurance with UHC. So far every ultrasound I do costs me roughly, $280 out of pocket. (because my deductible has not been met yet) But since this is now 2015 my deductible is only $700 with my new plan. Its almost met at this point.

Week 19 (January 19, 2015) – This well I am noticing a belly change. It now is a nice little bump and also I now weigh 158 lbs. *big heavy sigh* This is normal I suppose!

I have never weighed more than 135! Its always hard to see when I go for my OB visits.

Week 20 (January 26, 2015) – 5 months! Half way there! When I went for my OB visit he measured my baby bump at 22 centimeters, he referred to himself as “old school” for doing that.

Let me go through and list some of my food cravings so far:

  • pickles, pickles and more pickles!
  • peppercinis
  • cinnamon toast crunch cereal
  • hormel chili with beans

Though I am not nauseous anymore (thank goodness) I still get sick to my stomach with certain smells and most foods. Food that I normally loved I can not stand to even look at. Like eggs, bacon, broccoli…

Week 21 (February 2, 2015) – This week I am finding a lot of discharge coming out and my labia majora’s are stretching upward. Ugh. And are getting fat. Of course, I feel myself going to the loo a ton more. But my energy level is up.

UPDATE: I felt my first “gas bubble” today! I felt her! I most certainly called my mom all excited.

All week I have been feeling these gas bubbles… hard enough that they are felt if you put your hand on my bump. Even got a hit on my bladder!

Also I got sick yet again but I think the snowy weather here in Massachusetts has gotten to me. Its been 4 days of this and I am debating to head to the doctor.

I found that if I keep hydrated, I feel tons better. I normally do a liter of water, then a liter of LIME gatorade over and over again. And my colds don’t turn into infections.

I did go to the doctor and had yet another sinus infection and back on the “Z-pack”.

After about a week I feel loads better. HYDRATE!

Fast Forward:

Week 24 (February 23, 2015) – I am now at my 6 month mark! Went in for my checkup and heart beat of the baby was beautiful.

I had a 1 thing I wanted to ask that was causing me pain.

  • rib pain on the left side under my breast: OB stated that as we expand, so does everything else… including our abdominal muscles. What he said was that the top ab muscles separate and attach to the top ribs on both sides, which causes brutal pain. Good thing the pain I have is only on one side.

I also gained a few pounds and came in at a whopping 165 lbs! I would like to say that I am 5′ 8″. Not too bad. Even where I work, no one noticed yet! I am hiding this very well with hoodies!

7 Month Mark! March 24, 2015 – Going through my 7th month and I exploded. This little baby girl is now doing alligator rolls in my stomach or just kicking and screaming!

She is moving all around like crazy.

She seems to favor my right side only. Snuggling up under my rib… Sleeping is now uncomfortable.

All I do now is stick a pillow on either side of me when I sleep.

Benadryl is my friend. It is ok to take when you want a deeper sleep.

32 weeks pregnant

I gained weight (which they say is a good thing!) I am at 170lbs. that makes a total gain of about 30 pounds since the beginning… its coming down to the wire now.

I am feeling ok. Walking slower and getting the Braxton Hicks contractions more severely and lasting around a minute. They are random but seem to come on when I am exerting myself in some way.

For example, if I walk too fast… if I pick up something heavy… if I get out of the car wrong… I can cramp real bad or very light.

Now I am getting nervous and anxious about giving birth for the first time… Until month 9…

UPDATE: Fast Forward To Month 9 – May 27, 2015

I am getting a bit scared but accepting that this is going to happen soon. I am ready for it now.

Now I am at the point of being very uncomfortable when walking, sitting and of course sleeping. The most important for me now is to stay hydrated.

Its a hard thing to keep in mind but my mom is here with me helping with household work and just being a mom to me.

My due date is June 15, 2015. SOON!

I have an appointment with the OBGYN tomorrow, now doing the weekly visits. Last visit, 2 weeks ago, I was told the baby was 5 lbs 13 oz.

I am sure she is passed 6 lbs. now and getting bigger… they predict I will have a 8 lbs. girl. Should I be happy?

YES! As long as she is healthy.

JUNE 1, 2015 – Water broke at 3:30 am

Here is what went down for my lovely Monday morning:

Freaked out. I wake up roughly around 3:30am to use the restroom.

I lay back down and felt a spurt of “something” come out and though I just wet myself. No biggie. I felt that a total of three times before I decided to see what it was.

So, as I am getting out of bed, standing up, I big gush of “something” comes right out!

I though, wait… this can’t be, I am not due for another 2 weeks… BUT needless to say, YES my water broke and from that initial gush, this stuff just kept leaking out.

I wake my partner in a panic and she just smiles and says, “here we go!” Then I wake my mom to drive me because we also have a 1 1/2 year old too.

I then called my OB and told them what was going on and she said, come on down! SO my mom and I are heading to the hospital but I am not feeling any labor pain. Just consistent leaking, no pain.

I though that was weird but later learned that every delivery is different for every mom.

Arrived At The Hospital

I get settled in at the hospital and everything is going ok. Still no labor pains BUT because my water broke they began to induce me with oxytocin. AND after about 20 minutes of that, I started to feel it. Ugh.

It was not that bad, felt like mini tornados twisting all over my lower tummy but felt nothing in my back…

NOTE: I have a low tolerance for pain.

I was the first patient to try Nitrous Oxide,”laughing gas” for the pain. Laughing gas during labor has become increasingly popular as of recently.

Yes this is me below!

For the remainder of the labor I was using the laughing gas ONLY if I couldn’t bare the pain and up until I got the epidural.

I got the epidural because I couldn’t take the pain of the pelvic exam! That was insanely painful! AND after a couple hours I was only dilated to 1 centimeter. JUST 1!

At this point I started shaking uncontrollably, got tense and so scared…

After 2 more pelvic exams and still not dilating after 15 hours of labor, I decided to do a c-section. I really did NOT want to do this but I had no choice as my water broke 20 hours earlier…

I will say during all those hours I was doing all kinds of exercises and standing positions to help with the dilation and none of it paid off. I still was not opening up down there! And, of course, I was exhausted.

Just utterly exhausted.

The Cesarean

After the decision was made, I was immediately injected with a spinal tap.

I had my partner in the room but the anesthesiologist refused to let my mom in. Either was I would have never know because I was in and out of sleep. I don’t even remember seeing my baby when they brought her to me. I was also vomiting the entire time due to the epidural and all the meds.

Needless to say, my little girl came into the world healthy.

Anani Pearl – born 10:33pm – June 1, 2015 at 7lbs. 9 oz. and 19 inch long!

Anani Pearl And Her Pinky

 

And we are living happily ever after 🙂

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