Disclaimer: If you are in the midst of trying to conceive and reading about pregnancy could be triggering I wanted to send you love and a warning about the content of this post before you embark on reading it.
We got pregnant via turkey baster (just kidding, but not really). This is our story about how we conceived via IUI (Intrauterine Insemination).
My husband, Mike asked me if I was going to share that we got pregnant via IUI and I said, “of course”. Our fertility journey has been so private, that I’m ready to share and talk about all aspects of getting pregnant. I’ve been quiet about it for so long I’m ready to talk!
So I shared two days ago that I have a whisper of PCOS. My LH or luteinizing hormone is higher than my FSH or follicle-stimulating hormone at the beginning of my cycle and throughout. Which in simple terms means, my body never really knew when I was ovulating.
I literally tried every gadget on the market to try and figure out when I was ovulating. I’d pee on ovulation strips for an entire month and it would tell me I was ovulating the entire month because of my high LH. I bought the Natural Cycles thermometer and ended up throwing it out in frustration after a year of trying. Also, the thermometer would beep loudly every morning and it would disturb Mike who would sometimes sleep in later than me. I also bought the Ava Bracelet which I’m actually still using to track my pregnancy because it tracks way more than just your basal body temperature. But in the end, none were able to predict ovulation because my hormones were so confused.
See in a “normal” female cycle your FSH is higher at the beginning of your cycle to develop follicles (hopefully containing an egg) on your ovaries. During the ovulation phase, your LH hormone would then spike and signal to your ovaries to release an egg. Since my LH hormone was higher at the beginning of my cycle an IUI cycle with hormone injections meant we were able to simulate a normal cycle for my body through synthetic hormones.
Did I want to conceive “naturally”? Of course!
I had started seeing a fertility naturopath around the same time as all the fertility testing started and had a great protocol. I was taking specific supplements to help regulate my hormones. I was doing weekly acupuncture appointments. I was working at reducing my stress at work. But I was informed that I would have to be patient and wait at least 6 months to see if it would work. And after trying for a year and a half and being conscious of my age, I was ok proceeding with fertility treatments that would not have harmful side effects on my body vs. waiting to see if my body could re-regulate.
So after hoping we had conceived naturally in October and feeling the disappointment come on as waves of my period cramps started, my husband and I had to make a rush decision if we’d start an IUI cycle that month. It was a rush because if you decided to start a cycle you had to call on day 1 of your period. So on day 1 of my period on November 2nd, I wiped tears from my eyes and I called the Ottawa Fertility Centre and began my first IUI cycle. We also applied for government funding for an IVF cycle at the same time. I was prescribed FSH injections (that are normally used for IVF). These started at approx day 6 of a cycle. Near the end of my follicular cycle, I went in for daily ultrasounds to see how the follicles were growing. Nearing the end of my follicular cycle I had developed 2 large follicles that were ideal for IUI. I was then prescribed an injection that would trigger ovulation. I was instructed to take it at 11 pm on a Friday night and then it was timed that the insemination would happen at 11 am on a Sunday morning.
Mike and I went in together for the procedure (cause I would like my husband to be there at the time of “conception”) and he held my hand throughout the procedure. It was a really easy procedure. A nurse inserts a catheter, takes your partner’s washed sperm and injects it. You then have to lie there for a few mins and are sent on your way. I even went on a hike later that day with my friend Susy. We were also told to have sex that day as well so of course, we indulged (TMI?). I was also then prescribed progesterone suppositories. I actually took 3 rounds to safeguard against miscarriage (you normally only take one box – 1 round).
So at the end of the day, our procedure was extremely successful. We are extremely lucky and know it. Both follicles that developed were fertilized (I don’t know why typing that makes me giggle). Also, at the end of the day, we actually have no idea if the pregnancy resulted from IUI or natural sex.
And last but not least, we’ve been joking around that we bought one baby and got one free. LOL. They literally are a BOGO. We are also part of the 15% that conceive twins from an IUI procedure so how bout them odds.
If you have any questions about what an IUI is like I’d be more than happy to answer them in the comments!