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How to Make a Baby

29 September 2009

Throw out everything you know about the birds & the bees.  We’re going high tech.  After all, last time was completely spontaneous and unexpected, so we might as well plan this one down to the point where we know the precise moment of possible conception, within hours. Right?  I wish it was a matter of preference and not a matter of whether or not we want to have another kid before Keyven graduates from high school. 

After going back and forth on the timing of things ever since… well, pretty much ever since Keyven was born… a couple of months ago, we officially decided it was time to start trying to add to our family.  We figure that now, while we’re both in school and schedules are more flexible, it would be easier to deal with the baby-phase than later when we’re both trying to start new jobs.  So, we’re trying to aim for next summer as a due date. In fact, if I don’t get pregnant in the next few months, Plan B is probably going to be waiting until we’re done with school.

Here’s the part where, if you don’t want medical details, you should stop reading. 😉  We decided to share because it’s not something people talk openly about often.  And if it helps someone else out who is going through this, or about to, then it’s worth it.

Knowing that I have a history of fertility issues, we headed to the doctor’s office to get things checked out.  No surprise that I’m not ovulating.  I was prescribed Provera (to kick-start my period so we didn’t have to wait for 60 days or more for it to start) and Clomid for helping to stimulate my ovaries into producing some follicles instead of just sitting around doing nothing all cycle.

As any couple who has been through fertility treatments can tell you — but probably won’t, because men seem to be much more sensitive about these things — we also found out that Tim would get to participate in this phase of testing.  Needless to say he wasn’t super-thrilled when I came home with a plastic cup and instructions for um… specimen collection. The morning we had to take the sample to the lab was borderline bad comedy, complete with him holding the cup in his pants waist and us driving like mad to the hospital.  Where there was, of course, a mix-up and all sorts of confusion because in our rush to leave the house we forgot the lab prescription. 

When the results came in, we found out that his “count” is great, but the survival rate ain’t so hot.  His count was actually so spectacularly high that it registered “abnormal” by the lab’s standards.  The max number in their range is 160 million per sample.  Tim’s had 265 million.  It seems a little odd that having a lot would be considered abnormal.  As my doctor put it, “You can never have too much sperm.”  The problem is, they don’t seem to last long.  The number left by six hours (which is about how long it would take them to reach an egg, if one miraculously popped out) compounds our fertility issues further.  Tim likes to say, “They’re sprinters, not marathon runners.”  You really have to have a sense of humor about this process.  Especially when they tell you you’re going to have to do IUI — intrauterine insemination — to have much of a chance at this working.  IUI is a nice way of saying “artificial insemination.”  I think they stopped using that term because it hurt too many daddy feelings. 

Last week, I started my Clomid, taken cycle days five through nine.  Monday, I had an ultrasound to see if it worked.  I did have one mature follicle. That means, even with the fertility drugs, my ovaries only eked out one!  At least we don’t have to worry this time around about multiples!  They gave me an hCG injection at my appointment to make me ovulate (meaning, to get an egg to pop out of that mature follicle).  As fair warning to anyone who might have to do this: it’s a butt shot. And it doesn’t hurt at first, but by the time you’re walking out of the office through the waiting room, it could cause you to announce loudly “Ow, my butt hurts!” to a roomful of very confused strangers.  On the plus side, it’s a great excuse to make your partner rub your butt all day.

Anyway, hCG is not the hormone that would normally make ovulation occur in the body, but apparently that hormone is so hard and expensive to manufacture that no one does it.  hCG does the trick.  Unfortunately, it also makes you feel like you’re pregnant and makes any pregnancy tests you take in a week likely to be positive, even if you’re not. 

Today, we went back to the doctor’s office for our IUI.  This requires another donation from Tim, so it can undergo a process called… are you ready for this? Sperm washing.  Talk about world’s worst jobs.  Basically the sample is spun in a centrifuge and separated, then concentrated and placed in a new medium used to place the sperm during the IUI.  This time, though, there wasn’t the option of doing the “preparation” at home.  We were granted an unused suite of exam rooms and a sticky note on the door that said, “Do Not Enter.”  Funny how you don’t notice that the doors in exam rooms don’t lock until you’re in a situation like this. 

After we completed the first phase of our “mission,” as Tim liked to call it, we had to wait about an hour for the preparation to be done.  When we came back, it was in to a paper towel skirt and on to a table with me.  Tim stood by and held my hand.   And it was finished.  Actually quick and painless. The most uncomfortable part was that I had to lie down for 20 minutes afterwards on the exam table with my butt propped up.  Dressed again, and got instructions to not take a pregnancy test until two weeks from yesterday.  Ahh… the dreaded waiting begins.

So far, I have been totally exhausted, hungry, and crampy.  The first two, likely due to the hCG shot.  The latter, Tim likes to credit as my uterus’ reaction to the sneak attack of his highly trained elite soldiers on their infiltration air assault operation.  They reached enemy territory without the usual early warning system and he’s convinced they’re in there taking names and kicking butt in their quest to reach the hostage egg.  Like I said, it helps to have a sense of humor in all of this.  It would be wonderful if I got pregnant the first time around; however, the chances of that happening are only about 6%.  That low number is mostly due to the fact that my ovaries only produced one follicle — had there been three or four, our chances would have been closer to 25 – 30%.  I guess we’ll spend the next couple of weeks finding a balance between hopefulness and reality.  But now that we’ve shared it with the world, you guys can wait with us! 

Send us lots of baby wishes, good prego thoughts, and love.  We’ll keep you posted. 🙂

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Marge permalink
    30 September 2009 07:14

    Ad: “Supernormal guy desires to meet mature follicle female with idea of long sprints and shared interest in hostage capture.” A new twist on “boy meets girl”, but it works for me! May the artillary reach the hostage quickly, before too many hard-earned tax-payer dollars are spent. And, of course, we wish for mission success!

  2. Mandy permalink
    30 September 2009 09:15

    Yeah for babies (soon to be, anyway)! We obviously didn’t get to talk enough in Branson! We may join you on the baby journey soon…I did say “may”. Can’t wait to hear how it all goes…and how many multiples you’re going to have. =)

  3. .Bittersweet. (Aunt Night-Mere) permalink
    30 September 2009 10:43

    Quintuplets! YAYAY! 😉

  4. Tam permalink
    30 September 2009 14:48

    AHHHHHHHHHH! Another one!!!!! WOOOOHOOOO!!!! Best of luck!!!!!!!

  5. 30 September 2009 21:44

    This is the most exciting news I have read in a long time!!! I will be following along and awaiting every little detail:) -cuz I’m just that nosey 😉

    Good luck to you guys!!Here’s to super clean stealth sperm-
    May the best sperm win!

    Healthy prego vibes sent daily!!! Xo

  6. Jessica Olson permalink
    1 October 2009 08:31

    Oh man, this will be GREAT walk conversation! GOOD LUCK!!!!!

  7. 1 October 2009 08:51

    @ Marge: Your line about taxpayer dollars reminded me that I forgot to mention how fortunate we are that TRICARE is paying for about two-thirds of this whole process. Apparently that’s quite unusual for insurance companies.

    @ Mandy: I wish we had been able to talk more. Or rather, have conversations that weren’t interrupted by our toddlers. 🙂 Keep me posted on your status! The VanDyne Clan isn’t allowed to go too long without at least two pending great-grandchildren.

    @ Meredith: You can bet your smarty-pants stars that the arrival of quints would also mean the arrival of YOU as my live-in nanny.

    Edited to add (post-comment approval): @ Tams: Thank you! Hopefully someday we’ll get to meet your special guy and you can meet the kiddos!

    @ Jenni: Thank you for the prego vibes! I think/hope they’re working.

    @ Jes: Definitely good chat material… but first I want to hear all about Alison’s!

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