Cycle Day 3 is the new Cycle Day 1. It’s the beginning of the next round of fertility treatments: bloodwork, ultrasounds, Clomid, OH MY! If you go to enough appointments, you might receive the honor of the ultrasound tech offering for you to insert the wand yourself, which is the most baffling and ridiculous request I’ve ever received at a doctor’s office (and I get told to take my pants off, a lot). Is that not what the tech is there for?? If I could ultrasound myself we wouldn’t be here right now. It’s like going to a restaurant enough times that they know your name, but instead they know your preference of insertion (and probably don’t even know my name…something’s wrong here).
On my first CD3 appointment, I ended up asking the tech to do it, which I felt far outweighed the embarrassment of saying “is it in?” at a doctor’s office. My second time around, I wasn’t given an option, so I assume they wrote “refuses to be a team player” on my chart. The tech straight up said, “You’re going to help me insert this.” Oh am I now?! It wasn’t that weird…buuuut it was also super weird. Look, this isn’t an enjoyable experience for anyone, but you’re kind of making me feel like you’re super grossed out by this when I’m the one with a wand up the cooch, and I figured in this line of work you’d have to be pretty okay with getting constant crotch shots. Can’t we all just be adults about this?
The bloodwork is standard (thankfully they haven’t asked me to draw my own blood). They’re checking all that good stuff: FSH, AMH, HCG, TSH, LSD, PCP (I think I got lost somewhere in there…). This month, I was fortunate enough to be gifted with a lovely online portal courtesy of 2018 that gives me ALL of my blood test results. No more just what Doctor Kate deems “notable”, but everything that I’m shelling out cash for. So even though the nurse who left me a voicemail said that all my hormones were “normal” and that they didn’t discover any of those creepy tumors with hair and teeth living in my ovaries, I was able to see my not-actually-normal results for myself.
Not Normal Thing #1: My first FSH wasn’t just 12. It was a 12.8. You know, as in 0.2 away from THIRTEEN. I feel like I was more than a little misled about these results last month. I presume doctors are familiar with the term: rounding, and the fact that if you’re 0.2 away from another terrible hormone range, you round up.
Not Normal Thing #2: This FSH result wasn’t much better. Oh heeey 10.96. Yeah, it went down, and almost by 2 “points”, but then I have to factor in that my previous blood work was done on CD4 and this was CD3 so maybe by day four I’m back up to the rotting eggs category. Also, you’re really going to tell me that everything came back “normal”??? I was thinking I’d be blessed with an 8, or a high 9, not an almost 11! Though, given that online it shows that their current normal range is 1.79-113.59, I can see why everyone seems to think I’m in the safe zone.
So, slightly less horrible quality this month (maybe). Go me.
Doctor Kate is still completely delusional about my level of fertileness, so I was given the green light to again try to go through with IUI, and was told to take 50 mg of Clomid on days 3-8. When Doctor Kate first mentioned going on Clomid (surprise! Even though you ovulate on your own we’re going to pump YOU full of hormones and make YOU go through all these procedures) she mentioned on the sly that most women experience bloating and moodiness, but those are the only main side effects. Bloated and moody? Sounds like a typical day to me!
It was not a typical day.
I read a lot saying that you can avoid the Clomid Effects by taking the pill at night, but that must be advice for women who actually sleep. I, on the other hand, spend my evenings sweating and thrashing around – fighting the urge to shove my husband awake and scream at him for breathing too loudly. On the plus side, I think this means that I’m prepared for menopause (which, according to my FSH levels, is going to be here before I know it). After reading all the “Clomid is a bitch” posts, I expected my head to start spinning around while I spewed green vomit everywhere after taking my first pill, so this all seems not so bad. If I am blessed enough to sleep, the side effects will lay dormant and spring hot flashes and headaches on me while I’m at work. Thanks infertility!
Last month, I was an unintentional participant in the Clomid Challenge, which sounds like a cleanse I’d be into for about a day. This is when doctors give out Clomid “just to see how women handle it”. Er, what? So you just…take Clomid…for funsies? At least throw in an IUI for good measure! In my case, Doctor Kate was (as always) THRILLED that my first IUI attempt was thwarted by my polyp because then she got to see if my body responded to the 50 mg of Clomid, which as of CD11 last month – I had two tiny follicles on my left side. Because that’s a thing that I wasn’t aware Clomid did, beyond “encourage” ovulation in women who don’t ovulate on their own. I had no clue it caused you to produce more eggs (hence why an AMH test is V important) and that it increases your chance of multiples. My husband has gone completely infertiley insane and literally said, “Twins wouldn’t be so bad.”
Says the man who isn’t the 5’2’’ (on a good day) 100 lb (on a GREAT day) woman who would have to carry said twins. I know what he’s thinking – we could knock out our “ideal baby number” all in one go! Two birds – one stone (or more like two embryos one IUI). But come on man. I know you learn to adapt to whatever life throws at you, or IN you, but twins sounds a lot like being on fire while you’re drowning. Sure, that doesn’t make sense, but I have twins in this twisted fantasy and I can barely keep my head on straight!
Since Clomid is forcing the potential of multiples on me, I’m left to hope that I’m not developing several mediocre eggs instead of one good egg. I also have no idea where I go from here (which is a lie, I have my next ultrasound on cycle day 10, but I mean after that). Going through with fertility treatments is very much my Jesus Take The Wheel moment. The controller has become the controled – not that I had much control over this to begin with. Gone are the days of determining ovulation and timing intercourse – now I’m onto ultrasounds and trigger shots and IUIs to take care of all that for me. So long world of sticks and lubes – helloooo endless doctor appointments. I can’t even take pregnancy tests early for fear that the HCG in the trigger shot would in turn trigger a false BFP – so this experience sounds like it’s going to really test my anxiety. The only thing gained is taking something that was completely out of my control, and giving someone actual (almost) full control. It’s a relief to know that someone else is responsible for the tracking and timing of events, but the worry is still all mine.
Some days though, it feels impossible to move forward when everything else feels so fresh. I’m still the girl posting about her TTC anxiety in Month 3, publicly crying over her first negative test in Month 5, believing pineapple would cure everything in Month 6, and letting out a harsh broken sob when I got home after the worst day of my life. How are we already here? We don’t have to go through with IUI yet, but I’m in the “it can’t hurt” mindset. I’m trying to look at it as a little boost to our journey – more eggs, more sperm in the right place, but it’s also more appointments and more money and more frustration if it doesn’t work after all that. And it won’t work. The odds are not in our favor for the first round of IUI, so might as well get it over with if it’s so unlikely to conceive the first time. Man. First-triers, how do you do it?