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Chapter 4 - Morning Monitoring

We were starting the first IUI process. Dr. Lombardo and his team of amazing nurses and staff explained to me that I needed to take the Clomid on days three to seven of my period. Then, on day ten of my cycle, I needed to go into the clinic for blood and ultrasound. The ultrasound is the wand looking thing that they shove up your vagina to see your uterus and your ovaries and, if the medication is working, your follicles that are growing on your ovaries.

What do you mean I need to go to the clinic for blood and ultrasound before work? Before work? I left my apartment for work at seven in the morning, what could possibly be before that? Ok, I can do this, we can make this happen. Trevor and I left the apartment at six-forty-five in the morning. We drove up First Avenue, he waited in the car, so that I didn’t have to pay for parking. I went inside to get stuck with needles and a wand shoved up my cooter.

My first day of morning monitoring I thought I would be the first person there. It was four minutes past seven in the morning, in the city that never sleeps, that’s still pretty crazy early to be at a doctor’s office. I walked in and that’s when I realized, holy shit, everyone is infertile. I was probably the eighth person in line. There was a computer to sign in. I took my seat in the waiting area. No talking, no smiling, no eye contact with the other patients – unspoken rule.

I was surprised to see what these other women looked like. No offense to the entire female sex, but I was expecting older women. Older women who were career driven and didn’t decide to start families until later. Or older women who maybe just found their mate later in life, oh and lesbians, I was expecting lesbians. But this was different. There was every type of woman on the spectrum. There were girls that looked like me with mediocre blow dried hair, pants from the Gap, flats and large tote bags (I tried to smile at these women before I knew The Rules). There were young girls that looked like they had jobs in fashion or marketing or something that didn’t involve helping children wipe their noses. There were older women. There were lesbians, but not as many as I expected (I also tried to smile/make eye contact with them, but no go.)

In the order in which you signed in on the computer you are called back to The Blood Room. They actually call it that, The Blood Room. This is where the nicest, friendliest, and most awake people in the morning are. They asked me the same questions every time, name, date of birth, etc. Then they took one vial of my blood quicker than I can even tell that my shirt sleeve is rolled up. They are amazing. Afterwards they put me into a regular ob-gyn looking room. I undress just from the waist down, hop onto the table and once again put those feet in the stirrups. Say hello vagina! Don’t be shy vagina.

The doctor comes into the room, asks me some bedside manner questions, and pretends to actually be listening to the answers, even though he/she is not. They look at my chart and before I can say, “hi, I’m Sarah,” they have a lubricated wand up so far up my cooter I’m pretty sure I can taste last night’s sushi dinner again, mmm spicy tuna roll? They first leave the wand in the middle and press buttons on the ultrasound machine (I later learned that they are measuring my uterine lining at this time). Then sometimes with warning, but mostly without warning, they shove the wand to the right so much so that I almost fall off the table in that direction. I hold onto that faux leather cushioning (what material is that?) and pray to God that I don’t fall off this exam table while this doctor has his/her hand attached to the wand that’s practically knocking me over. They look at that ovary, measure, press buttons. Then WHOOSH. Over to the other side and opps almost off the table I go. I give a little smile like, it’s ok, I didn’t need that ovary anyway, you’re the fertility doctor, you can get me pregnant without the one ovary that you just bludgeoned out of my body right?

They smile back and say slowly, “some light pressure”.

Light pressure? The tip of the wand that you inserted into my vaginal canal is practically touching my hip bone. MY HIP BONE. Think about it people, that’s like some crazy Cirque Du Soleil shit. Not really my idea of “light pressure.” So I smile back as I hold on for dear life staring at the ceiling taking deep breaths like I’m in Lamaze class. Wait if this is just morning monitoring what’s actual childbirth going to be like?

“All set,” says the doctor as he/she takes off the sanitary condom of the wand that was just inside me and throws it in the trash. As I look at it I think it looks like it could be used for pleasure, so why was that experience so NOT PLEASURABLE? The doctor tells me to wait for the phone call from the nurses and they will tell me what to do. Once the blood results come in for the day they take the information from my blood and from my ultrasound and determine what my plan is for the next few days. “The Call” normally came anytime between one and three in the afternoon. I stand up and with the blue cloth that was just “covering” me I wipe away all the lube like an eighteenth century whore, if eighteenth century whores were allowed lube.

Why they give you that blue cloth I really don’t know. I’m naked and you’re down there chilling like a villain with my vagina. Why cover it up? Is it to depersonalize the vagina? So if we put this blue drape between the woman’s torso and her vagina then we will just see the vagina? We won’t see the woman that we’re talking to and smiling awkwardly at? I don’t get it. I put my clothes back on and head to billing and check out. At which time I exit the clinic through the waiting room and further check out all the females that are there. Crazy! It’s everyone.

I go downstairs to my husband, who’s in the car waiting for me. I drive up to the United Nations building, drop him off so that he could walk to work. He doesn’t work at the U.N., that would be cool, his job isn’t cool. Then I continue on the FDR to get to work in Westchester. This was morning monitoring. In January it was this process on days 11, 13, & 14, of my cycle and then the insemination. Once my blood was looking “good” and my follicles were of the right size (anywhere from 17-20mm) they told me I would be inseminated the next day.

If you don’t know anything about fertility, an insemination isn’t what you think. I thought artificial insemination when I first heard it, but no, that’s for lesbians. Basically they take my husband’s perfectly working sperm (you’re welcome again honey) and shot it up inside of me with a glorified turkey baster. I’m sure there’s a medical term for what that’s called, but like the disclaimers at the front, back and subliminally watermarked on every tenth page of this book (or blog, or whatever this pipe dream that I’m writing is, while my kid is in in her jumparoo and I’m on maternity leave enjoying life in yoga pants) will tell you, I’m not a doctor, so glorified turkey baster it is.[1] (Footnote)

When we first met with Dr. Lombardo he explained the IUI process to us. He told us that once my eggs were ready, which was determined through the morning monitoring and blood results process. He would give me a trigger shot that would release my eggs, which were now the right size for ovulation, down the fallopian tubes. The next day Trevor would go to the clinic and “give his donation”, which is the medical term for jerk off into a cup. Dr. Lombardo then explained that my husband’s sperm would go to the lab on site. There they would clean it and buff it (he actually used the word buff which naturally made Trevor and me picture little Oompa-Loompas with white gloves buffing each individual sperm, I’ve been told that’s not exactly how it is done, but it’s still what I picture).

Then they take his clean, shiny, new car smelling sperm and shoot it up inside of me with the turkey baster and maybe, just maybe one sperm meets with one of my newly resized, remodeled eggs and we make a baby!!!

Or maybe not. Our first IUI had negative results. No pregnancy. No baby. I drank a bottle of wine that night (a bottle) and cried. Trevor told me not to respond like that, but I didn’t know what other way to respond. I did the HSG, I did the monitoring. I didn’t drink. I watched what I ate. No luck. I allowed myself my one night of wallowing. Back to the drawing board.

[1] Let it be known that I wear yoga pants because they are comfortable and they don’t give me a muffin top. I do not actually “practice” yoga. I also just wanted to add a footnote so it seems like I’m writing something of substance, which I know I am not.

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Do you have a hilarious story about your struggle with infertility? Or even just a quasi-funny story? How did you feel each morning getting the ultrasound wand shoved up your cooter?


How did you handle that delicate dance of the Day 2 blood and ultrasound while bleeding and unsure if your should have a tampon in or not? Email me!

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