I wish I could say that the whole insemination process has been great, because I am so very in-tune with the wonder of my feminine cycle. In reality, it is a frustrating pain in the ass.
I tend to ovulate late. My cycles are kind of long, and last month I got a positive ovulation kit on day 18. So when the nurse suggested I come in on day 10 so they could measure my follicles and predict when I would ovulate, I balked. I explained that my cycles were on the longer side, and my ovulation on the later side. But what if it wasn’t late next month? She countered. Okay fine, good point. So I agreed to come in on day 11, which was Wednesday, and have the follicle-measuring sonogram then.
Only, as I predicted, it was too early. Or I wasn’t going to ovulate this month, but I tried not to think about that. Either way, there were no follicles developing at this point, but it was too early to tell why. So I had to wait, and come back later. Usually, they will ask you to come back in three days, but three days from Wednesday was Saturday, so they scheduled me for today, Monday.
Saturday night, I got a positive ovulation kit. This was on the heels of a family-wide fight about the new baby and the bedroom arrangements (which ended beautifully, by the way, as our family-wide fights tend to — with long pent up feelings expressed on all sides and a new understanding of each others’ viewpoints). So here we are, all of our emotions raw, needing nothing more than a little down-time as a family. I pee on the stupid stick, and I get that fucking smiley face looking back at me. Of all the times.
What this means, though, is that I have to go in on Sunday and get a sonogram before they can thaw my sample, to see if I have any follicles at all, or if I am surging but not ovulating. Then, if the timing is right, we would wait while they would thaw the sperm and we would do our first insemination. HOWEVER. We have three kids and a new puppy, and do not actually want to bring all four of these creatures to the insemination. AND it’s Sunday, so it’s not our normal doctor.
Also, it’s our one-year wedding anniversary. And have I mentioned we are on vacation on an island, which is only accessible by boat, and where there is a decided lack of appropriate child-care?
Without even really thinking about it, we decide that we will take the ferry off the island, pile everyone in the car, drive to the doctor’s office, and leave the kids with the dog in the parking lot watching a movie on the iPad. Hooray for electronic babysitters, and a stellar parenting moment. Only when we go to get in the car, the battery is flat. It’s possible at this point that I chucked the dog’s towel across the parking lot and announced that it was hopeless. We are now late as well. We decide to compound the lateness by stopping for bagels, much to the delight of everyone in the car except the dog, who is not allowed a bagel. I figured that once you’re already late, there is no point in being late AND HUNGRY ALSO. This chaos is our life. I wish I could say it was abnormal, but to our kids, this was just another Sunday. Good thing we are having another baby.
We jump the car, get the bagels, and drive to the clinic, with my wife artfully dodging “slow” drivers the whole way. When we arrive, our oldest daughter loudly asks, “Why are you having a meeting at a building called HUMAN REPRODUCTION?” Oh yeah, did I mention that we had vaguely told the kids we had a “meeting” to go to, but did not go into detail as to what it was? We figured that the oldest, at least, would figure it out if she wanted to, being nearly 13 years old and well aware of the fact that we are trying to have a baby. So, I’m guessing that she figured it out. Our general approach to questions we do not want to answer is to either not respond at all, and hope they get distracted, or to respond with words that are beyond their vocabulary, in order to confuse them even more. Before she can ask again, the dog goes ballistic, trying to get a bite of the little one’s bagel, and everyone is appropriately distracted. Success.
We go in for the sonogram, which is…. inconclusive. My follicle’s at 17mm. Some people do ovulate with 17mm follicles, but not all that many, I guess. Usually it’s around 20mm. We hem and haw. Do we do the insemination, and risk that it’s too early? It is our anniversary, after all, which is bound to be good luck, and we did drag the kids and dog here to sit in the parking lot all morning. We decide to go for it. The doctor recommends that he also take blood to confirm the hormone surge, and anticipate when I should come back.
My wife runs outside to check on the kids, and recommends that they move from the overly-hot car to the shade of a nearby tree. She leaves them lounging on the grass, playing with the puppy and watching Wall-E.
An hour later, and I am lying on my back, while my wife holds my hand, waiting for the doctor to come back in. And you know what’s playing on the radio? “I see a red door and I want to paint it blaaaaaaack.”
“Do you think we are allowed to ask them to change it?” I wonder. “This is creepy.” I am so nervous.
My wife just looks at me and starts imitating sperm to make me laugh. It works. Also, the song changes to “Bobby McGhee,” which helps.
The insemination itself is uneventful. The doctor makes a joke about the speculum. It feels like a pap smear and mild period cramps at the same time. It is over before I know it.
I drink a glass of champagne that night, because it’s my anni-fucking-versary, thankyouverymuch, and over the champagne and the review of wedding photos, I look at my wife. “I’m totally pregnant,” I tell her.
“I know,” she says. “I can feel it.”
The next morning, we get a call from the doctor’s office, saying that my blood work showed that it was almost certainly a false positive on the pee stick, and I should go in for another sonogram because the insemination was in all likelihood way too early.
So, this afternoon, I go in for the third sonogram in under a week. Thus, this man is the third stranger who has looked into my vagina in 5 days. He informs me that I’m NOT totally pregnant, because I haven’t ovulated yet. But my follicle is a ripe 21 mm, so I’m going to ovulate any day now. He offers me a shot to make me ovulate in the next 24 hours, which I decline. It seems a little early to me to have shots of hormones and who knows what injected into me. It’s the first month!
On my way back to work, I run into our old babysitter in the subway. I say “old,” but I mean she used to be our babysitter and isn’t anymore, not that she is actually old. She is actually the same age I am (which is YOUNG). We make plans to go to the beach. I am forced to tell her that we are trying to have another baby because I am so excited I can’t NOT tell her, and also, what am I doing on the upper east side in the middle of the workday?
I go back to work, and pee on the stick again. It’s an O, not a smiley face, so I am not surging (according to stick). Apparently the smiley face guy does not know about my 21mm follicle. Maybe I peed on the stick too early? I decide to try it again tonight before bed. I have decided that I will not get pregnant this month, and that I should not get my hopes up. This is the month where all the crazy shit goes wrong, not the month for getting pregnant. But it is also the month we figure out the timing, which will help us in the future months.
I call my wife, and tell her about the babysitter and the 21 mm and the pee stick. “You’re definitely getting pregnant tomorrow,” she says.
“I know,” I say. “I can feel it.”
So much for not getting my hopes up.