When we started this process of building a family, we said two things:
- The first was that we wanted to avoid any unnecessary medicalization. We planned on trying for six months or so with unwashed, frozen sperm. At home. No doctors. No tests. No drugs. Just the two of us and a little help from a generous donor. It might take a bit longer, we said, but when it happens, it will have just been us.
- The second was that we wanted to listen to what the universe told us. To be guided not just by what we wanted (exerting our will over a magical and beyond.us process), but by what seemed open and available to us (surrendering to God/the universe/the accident of existence). To be willing to hear if a particular path wasn’t our path.
J is probably going to ovulate tomorrow, and after dealing for days with several small problems (timing, mishandled paperwork, incompetence on the part of our health center, mistakes and miscommunication on our part), we’re left with three expensive vials of unwashed sperm and no place to go for insemination. We didn’t handle this news well at first. This is the last cycle that could give us a child in 2011. If J got pregnant this cycle, she’d be due in December, on Christmas Eve, four days after our second wedding anniversary. We don’t have unlimited resources. And we’re so much more ready this cycle than last.
So we went for a walk to try to get some perspective, and those promises we made ourselves two years ago came back to me in an epiphany of recollection. I think of these obstacles (the ones that spring up frustratingly between you and your perfectly laid out plans) as brick walls, and I’ve always held to the “hit a brick wall, turn left” ideology. So what’s “left” of here?
The two of us, alone, in our home. No doctor’s office. No flashbacks to all that doctor’s offices have meant to us this year. A lot less stress for J (which ain’t nothing in the conception game). A return to the long.ago.abandoned notion that trying to conceive can be fun. (Fun. It’s like a revelation.) A lower chance of success, sure, but not that significantly so. The studies I’ve read recently give each IUI try an 18% success rate, and two well-timed ICI tries a 14% success rate. We’re doing three ICIs at roughly 18 hours, 31 hours, and 40 hours after J’s Lh surge. We have excellent sperm samples (80 million per vial, with 50% post-thaw motility). We’ve done a lot of research in this department, so we know we’re good at ICIs. I know research doesn’t support this idea, but I’m not convinced that we’re not better off this way.
When we were first trying to make Emmett, we abandoned our plan for six months of ICIs pretty quickly, but that was largely because we were working with a donor with not.great numbers. Once we started down the IUI road, we just stayed with it, without ever asking ourselves if that was best. Now we find ourselves pretty far from the no.unnecessary.medicalization plan. But it doesn’t have to stay that way, so we’re taking a leap of faith. We could keep pushing against that wall, and it might yield enough for a Monday morning IUI at the clinic, but I believe in us. Where we started before all of this pain. All of this confusion. The terror and horror of loss. It was just the two of us planning a future, and trusting ourselves and each other with the weight of all that future meant.
So TTCers (and non-TTCers) out there: We could use all the encouragement you’ve got. Stories of successful ICIs. Times that you surrendered to a process that had gotten away from you. Tales of turning left, and what came your way when you did so. I have so much faith in J’s body. She is strong, and brave, and beautiful. I believe that the egg she’ll release sometime in the next 8-44 hours could contain half of the DNA of our second child: someone I would very much like to meet. And I believe that trust is just as important as science (though it’s infinitely less measurable) in this still.miraculous process of making a person. Any words of wisdom you have in such matters would be oh.so.appreciated, as all of our friendships and connections have been of late.