So, on Monday morning Ian and I were officially oriented on IUI. This 2.5 hour orientation is a requirement before undergoing IUI at UCSF and was very informative. There were about 6 other couples and a few single women also in attendance, and the orientation is held weekly, so it really gave us a sense of how many other people are going through this at the same time we are. We were surprised to see how many of the women there had already been on Clomid at some point in their treatment - folks for whom IUI was maybe a 2nd or 3rd step for them, as opposed to a 1st, as it is for us.
In addition to the IUI Orientation we had a couple of other things to take care of. The final tasks before we were officially Good To Go. I had to have more blood drawn - this time fasting blood, so I hadn't eaten or drank anything for the past 10 hours. A mere 5 vials this time. I swear, I look like an intravenous drug user at this point with the number of holes in my arms. Anyhow, they also had to press a weird thing against my forehead and measure the oil (another something odd for the study). So there was that.
And Ian had to "produce a sample," as we know now to call it, to be sent away and refrigerated for all time (for the study). Anyhow, he was going to be late to the orientation due to the sample production required, so he missed the first 30 minutes or so, during which I got this sort of NSFW photo as a text from him:
Well, alrighty then! Looks like the UCSF Fertility Clinic takes better care of their male patients than the lab where he produced his first sample where they stuck him in a regular bathroom while sirens went off and someone was having a Code Blue outside the door. Sexxxy.
Anyhow, aside from a plethora of information, at the orientation we had to learn how to give injections. I will be getting one injection a month, for sure, at home. And I have a 1 in 3 chance of ending up with a drug that requires daily injections for 10 days each cycle. For some reason in my head we would just learn how to do this, like in a watch and learn kind of way. Maybe, I thought excitedly, we'd get to practice on an orange! Um yeah, no. We get to practice on ourselves. Ok ok, maybe I should have figured that out. Perhaps it was obvious. But I went in all naive and innocent. And left, having poked my own belly with a needle, all innocence lost.
In case you wondered, Ian had the option of poking me or himself, and I made him poke himself. First. I was totally freaked out and scared, which was strange, since I'm not afraid of needles at all. I'm just not good at inflicting pain upon myself. When I finally got brave enough to do it, I sort of chickened out at the last second and made things way worse. Basically, the needle went in way easier than I thought it would, so when I tried to back out, it was too late. And I sort of bounced. BOUNCE BOUNCE BOUNCE aka POKE POKE POKE. I made three little bleeding holes in my tender belly flesh. Then I injected myself with the salt water, or whatever it was, and all was fine. Lesson learned - it really doesn't hurt, so don't fuck around. Just poke! Once!
I'm still not sure if I'll do my own or have Ian do them for me when the time comes. It'd be nice to let him play nurse, but the truth is I am way more scared of lack of control than I am of needles. So we'll see.
So, what's next? Well, day one of my next period, I give our coordinator a call, and she makes an appointment for me the following day. I get my drugs and instructions and we're off! At that point they will nearly continuously be monitoring my response to the drugs (by ultrasound and blood test) to see when my follicles are filled to bursting with egg. Then I inject myself with the trigger shot, which triggers ovulation, before bed on the night they determine. Not the next morning, but the morning after that, Ian goes in and "provides a sample" and later that day I go in and receive said sample. If ya know what I'm sayin'. Then we wait 2 weeks and see if it worked. Repeat as necessary.
Ian is actually building a little program that'll help predict out for months at what point he'll be needed to provide a sample. This will help with travel planning, since he has a lot of work planning coming up. This first month is a bit unpredictable, since we don't know when Day 1 will be. I haven't tracked my ovulation this month, so it's a bit of a mystery. But once we plug in Day 1, the program will give us a calender with windows of likely timing. Each month after should be more predictable since the drugs will be regulating and controlling my cycle. My hubs is a smart dude.
SCIENCE LESSON OF THE DAY FOR THE NERDS WHO CARE:
I think one of the more interesting things I learned in orientation was how these drugs work. So, in a normal and healthy cycle, Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Leutinizing Hormone (LH) are released, and they do exactly what it sounds like - stimulate the ovarian follicles. Usually when one follicle is ready with a nice big egg, it releases estrogen. This estrogen tells the brain to stop producing FSH and LH and the rest of the follicles that had started to develop stop. So, the fertility drugs work by tricking the brain into thinking estrogen levels are low, which means LH and FSH continue to be released, which, if all goes according to plan, causes the follicles to keep on keeping on, hopefully getting another one or two nice and filled with a ready to go egg. Once that has happened, you take the trigger shot, triggering the follicles to release those eggs aka ovulation! So the drugs both potentially create a situation where you have more than the one egg to work with and they work to control the timing of the cycle very precisely so that insemination can occur at the exact right time. Ba-da-boom!