Welcome back to Fertile Fridays! So we did it – we had the IUI this week. I feel vulnerable even saying that because then there may be an expectation around the results (mostly in my own mind), but I found the IUI process quite interesting so I thought I’d share it.
I had thought that if you decide to do a cycle of IUI, then you do a cycle of IUI. I had not realized that there were any number of points along the way that the clinic could say “nope, sorry, not this month, come back next month”. Shows how much I knew! Instead, it was quite an uncertain process, where frequent ultrasounds were the decider of whether or not we could proceed.
I only found this out during the first ultrasound where the doctor told me that there is a certain number of follicles they want to grow (more than 1, less than 4). She prescribed the FolliStim medication, but also told me that we were going to start with the lowest dose and see how things proceeded after 3-4 days because we didn’t know how my body would respond to it. When I went back for the next ultrasound, it all looked quite good, but there were 3 follicles of medium size. They wanted me back the next day to keep monitoring. The next day, there had been some growth, but still borderline. At that point we were faced with the decision of doing the “trigger shot” that night, which is an HCG shot that promotes ovulation, or wait another day. If we waited and 4 follicles grew beyond 14mm, we were out of the running for this cycle; if we triggered too early and only had 1 follicle of a good size, we were minimizing the benefit of the cycle. The doctor and I talked it through, and decided to wait a day, but reduce the dose of the Follistim I took that night.
The next morning there I was again – the follicles looked ok, and hadn’t grown that much, but we had 3 over 14mm. 4 over 14mm would have put us out of the game. So I was sent home to do the trigger shot and was told to come back the next day for the procedure.
For the fourth day in a row we traipsed into the hospital, and that was the day we would actually do the IUI procedure. The procedure itself was five minutes, and no big deal at all – not painful, and not stressful because by then we knew the follicles were ok and we were good to go. They did say that there were only 2 follicles by then that were viable, but they were 18 and 19mm so they were a good size. The whole thing also was not as expensive as I had first anticipated – less than $2000, where I had been expecting about $4000.
For me the most challenging part of the process was going in every day for a few days, hoping that the follicles were ok, growing big, but not to big, some but not too many. It seems that the parameters were fairly narrow to be on the safe side of not having multiples. Each visit I felt very nervous as to be “risked out” would have been a big disappointment.
Now it’s just the waiting game, which is hard, but I’m staying hopeful and positive. I’d be game to do it again next month should we not be successful this time around – but hopefully it won’t come to that. I put off doing any kind of fertility treatment for several months because it all seemed very overwhelming and intimidating, but at the end of the day, IUI was much less so than I had first thought, and it feels good to be more proactive in increasing our chances of getting pregnant. Fingers crossed!!