Waiting for my next ovulation cycle seemed to take FOREVER! When would it come? Yes, I know it would be on the 15th day of my cycle, but that day seemed to take forever to arrive! I felt deep down inside that once inseminated I’d get pregnant. I was very confident and all I wanted was that day to come. And so, starting on my twelfth day of my cycle I started the process of checking for my surge by peeing on a (ovulation) stick every morning. Because I had to use my first pee of the day some mornings were quite challenging. There was nothing like really having to pee first thing in the morning and having to hold it until opening the wrapper to the ovulation stick. And on top of that being nervous. Yep, not a great combination for me because when I’ve got to pee really badly it’s hard for me to think straight (yea, no pun there either). Let me explain to you what happens to me when I have to pee really badly and I have to do another task on top of it. On the morning of the 14th day into my cycle I was trying to open the wrapper that had the stick inside. I was standing over the toilet (because I knew if I sat down on the toilet it would have triggered me to pee. AND I needed that pee for the stick not for the toilet. So, I had each corner of the wrapper and pulled. Just as I did the stick flew (yes, it flew) out from the wrapper. It ricocheted off the back of the toilet and landed slap dab into the toilet. I was so frustrated. I needed to pee and I couldn’t think. By this point I am doing the potty dance AND squeezing my legs together like a 3 year old does when they have to go. I remember thinking how ridiculous it was. But, I had no time to delay. I needed to get open another stick so I could pee. Again, I was afraid to sit on the toilet for fear it would trigger me to go but I had to take that risk. I couldn’t have another one fall into the toilet. And so as I sat there (on the toilet) I did my best to concentrate to keep me from peeing. Again, I had each corner of the wrapper of the ovulation stick and again I pulled to open it. Folks, you would NOT believe what happened next. When I pulled the wrapper, it again flew (yes, it flew) out of the wrapper. It then ricocheted off the bathroom wall in front of me and landed in front of our dog who was sitting in the bathroom with me. Thinking I had a treat for him (as the wrapper simulated the same sound as a candy wrapper which this dog LOVED), he grabbed the stick and ran downstairs with it. What was the freaking deal? Why was this so difficult? On my third attempt to open the wrapper I was much smarter to use a pair of scissors to cut it open. I am happy to report I was able to successfully pee on that stick and even more so I was SO relieved to have emptied my bladder. Now let me tell you. Those damn ovulation kits weren’t cheap! I had just wasted two of the sticks which I needed to test myself the next day. OK, maybe I had ruined more than just two of the sticks from the time I had started testing for my surge. What can I say? I couldn’t help it. Things just happened. Meanwhile, because of those things happening, I ended up having to buy another box. I didn’t want to tell Carol what happened, so I never told her. I was embarrassed. Well, I never told her until now.
Anyway on the fourteenth day of my cycle I became nervous because it was a Thursday. That meant if all went as planned and I surged (as I typically did) on the 15th day that would put my insemination procedure over the weekend. OY! I hoped more than anything the on call doctor would NOT be the woman doctor who had performed my vaginal sonogram. OK, I know I said earlier I wasn’t going to worry about what I couldn’t control but as my insemination day got closer, I couldn’t help but panic. What that doctor did during my vaginal sonogram effected me more than I had realized and I was scared she’d be the one doing my insemination. So much was riding on my insemination. I wanted it all to go perfectly. I didn’t want to have to worry about it. I had to focus.
The next day morning was Friday. I peed on my ovulation stick (without any problems opening the wrapper) and guess what? I was SURGING! OH MY G-D! I WAS SURGING! I felt panic come over me. This was it. The day had come! While holding the stick in the air I yelled to Carol, “I’m surging! I’m surging!” It was only 6am in the morning and Carol was still asleep. My yelling woke her up out of a deep sleep. Carol (this time) jumped out of bed and ran into the bathroom. She kept saying, “It’s time, it’s time.” It was funny to see her excited. I wanted her to be excited too. After all this was going to be her baby too. Carol and I stood in the bathroom holding each other (and the ovulation stick- I know- gross) for a good 5 minutes. Finally, Carol told me to go call the infertility clinic for instructions as to our next step. Oh yeah. How could I have forgotten about that part? I was so wrapped up into me surging I forgot I needed to call them.
When I called the infertility clinic to the specific number they had given me, a nurse answered. When I told her I was surging, she told me I was to come to the clinic the next morning between 8:30 – 9:00 am. She confirmed our donor number to assure they had the correct vial so they could prepare it for my IUI procedure the next morning. The nurse told me their clinic had moved temporarily while they were remodeling another building and she gave me the directions. She told me it was hard to find so we needed to give ourselves some extra time in the morning. I wrote down the information and I handed it straight to Carol so it wouldn’t get lost. After I hung up the phone I think Carol and I both remained in a daze the rest of the day. It felt surreal. After all of those years of talking about wanting a child and then all of the hurdles we had to jump over and through, here we were. The day had arrived. I still felt confident it was going to work. I felt it in my gut it was but in my head I doubted it. I just kept telling myself, “If it was Bashert (meant to be), it would happen.”
I was too nervous to even eat breakfast the day of my insemination. I think I was ready to go to the clinic by 4am! It was a cold, rainy November day… it was Saturday, November 16th to be exact. I told Carol I had hoped the rain wasn’t a bad omen. She laughed at me and told me to stop being so negative. Nervous about finding the place (since the nurse told me it was hard to find) I was ready to leave the house by 7:30 in the morning. I told Carol we had to leave early because the nurse said the location of the clinic was going to be hard to find. She was able to convince me to leave at 8 instead. The fact the clinic was only down the road from where we lived there wasn’t any reason to leave so early. We did have a little problem finding it but even so we got there well before 8:30.
The building was definitely an old one. It looked like a 1960’s office building. It was brick, one floor and was long with about 8 doors equally spaced apart. The building had no number on it or name to identify it. The only reason we knew it was the right building was because Carol saw a piece of paper taped to one of the doors. When I got out to look at it it had typed same address as the one the nurse had given me on the phone the previous morning. But there still wasn’t a name on the paper. It seemed so strange that there was no building number nor was there a sign indicating it to be the infertility clinic. It was also strange the nurse wouldn’t have told me that too. And being a Saturday morning the area was deserted.
When we went to the door, it was locked. Next to the door a sign read, “Please ring bell.” We did. It took a few minutes and then a middle aged woman peered out from the window which was next to the door. She motioned for us to wait a moment. I’m glad we had our umbrella because the “few” minutes turned into a bit longer. Meanwhile, we still didn’t know if we were in the right place. When she finally opened the door, we asked her if this was the infertility clinic. She smiled and told us it was. I was relieved we were in the right place. She asked my name, looked me up in the computer and then told me we were early. I didn’t care. We were there and that was all that mattered to me. Dreading to ask who was the on call doctor, I knew I needed to know. To be honest I had a gut feeling who it was going to be. And so I asked the receptionist. Well, sure enough it was the woman doctor who did my vaginal sonogram. As the receptionist was telling me the doctor wouldn’t be there until 9, I was quietly cursing up a storm. DAMN! DAMN! DAMN! It had to be the woman doctor! DAMN! My cursing was interrupted by the receptionist who was telling us we had to pay for our procedure in full before we had the insemination. The cost of the insemination was $500.00. After we paid her she told me it would take 45 minutes to thaw our specimen (the sperm) and to get it prepared for my IUI procedure. She pointed to the chairs in the reception area and told us to make ourselves comfortable. Now, here’s where I have to describe what the inside of this building looked like because when the nurse said for us to make ourselves comfortable, um, there was no way. There was wood paneling everywhere and clearly worn carpet on the floor. There was a musty stench to the place as if it had been closed up tight for many years. When you looked beyond the secretary’s desk you could see boxes stacked in all of the open areas. I remember looking at Carol’s face after we had looked around the place. I knew we both were thinking the same thing. It felt as if we stepped back in time and were in some back alley clinic. It felt creepy. It didn’t help it was a dark, dreary morning but, old wood paneling, worn carpet, boxes every where with the smell of mold I’m sure contributed to the back alley feeling.
While sitting in the waiting area I tried to occupy myself by looking at a magazine. But, I was so nervous all I could do was to quickly flip through each of the pages. I couldn’t even relax enough to look at the pictures. Carol wanted to calm me down but because we were “incognito” she was afraid to hold my hand or to do anything that appeared we were more than friends. Meanwhile, we were MORE than friends but we couldn’t afford to have them know that. Listen, I’m sure they suspected but we didn’t want to give them any reason to know for sure especially before our insemination. It wasn’t easy at all for Carol to sit there watching me so nervous and unable to comfort me in a way a spouse was supposed to do. At the same time I was trying to be strong and to not show Carol how terrified I was of that doctor. It was tough all around.
At 9:15 the woman doctor opened a door which went into the back. She called my name. Funny because it was only me and Carol in the waiting room. I stood up, walked towards the doctor with Carol following right behind me. The doctor looked at me and then at Carol with a bewildered expression on her face. She asked who was the patient and when I said it was me, the doctor asked why Carol needed to come with me. I felt my stomach turn. I thought she wasn’t going to allow Carol to come with me. Carol had to come with me. My doctor said it would be OK. What the fuck? So many things were rushing through my head. Folks, it was nothing less than chaos in my head at that moment but outwardly I was calm. I told the doctor with confidence that Carol was going to be with me during the insemination and my doctor gave me permission to have her there. Oh boy, folks! The doctor didn’t seem very happy about that! No, I have to be honest. The doctor was NOT happy with me having Carol with me. Why though? Was it because she could tell at that point we were a gay couple? I don’t know but it was very clear she didn’t like it. Her demeanor got very cold and distant from that point forward. She told us to follow her to one of the examining rooms. While we followed her down the hall, I was taken aback by all of the boxes that were stacked everywhere. There was just enough space to walk to each room. I understood this was a temporary location but never had I seen a doctor’s office (where medical procedures were done) also used as a storage facility. And in this case not just storage for sperm.
The room we were taken to was no different. It was stacked with lots of boxes and there in the middle of all of the boxes was a table with stirrups. Folks, I’m not kidding. The room smelled old. All of the walls had wooden panelling and the floors were discolored, cracked linoleum. In fact some of the linoleum tiles were missing. It was SO strange. What the hell? Where was Alfred Hitchcock because I just knew we had walked right into one of his stories? I was very clearly nervous but the woman doctor did nothing to try to comfort me. In a curt tone she told me to undress, to put on the gown (that was on the table) and then said she’d be back shortly. Before I could even ask her a question she had left and closed the door. Carol was horrified by the doctor’s behavior. I was so nervous I couldn’t even talk to her about it or acknowledge the doctor’s behavior to her. I asked Carol to ignore it. I needed her to ignore it. While waiting for the doctor I remember Carol wanting to look in some of the boxes to see what was in them. Because of the back alley feel to the place she made up a story of what could be in the boxes. She made me laugh. I needed that.
It was a good 20 minutes before the doctor came back into the room. Still distant and seemingly angry, she told me to lie down on the table and put my feet in the stirrups. Because I was so nervous and scared, I started making small talk with the doctor while she was preparing all of the instruments for the procedure. I have to admit it was what I did best especially in a nervous situation. I asked her where she was from. When she told me NY, I felt comfortable that maybe I could connect with her since I had family from there. I was also familiar with that area. If she was angry about me and Carol I wanted to get her to connect with me in hopes she’d soften. I didn’t want any chance for her to ruin my chances of getting pregnant. By the way, I must tell y’all? Would you believe the doctor was from Greenwich Village in NY? And yet she seemed VERY disturbed by us. Ironic, yes?
As I was lying on the table with my legs in the stirrups the doctor held up the syringe of sperm and asked if the number on it (which was the donor’s ID number) was correct. We told her it was. I signed a paper to confirm they were inseminating me with the sperm we ordered. Well, actually Carol was the one to remember the correct number. I couldn’t remember. Thank G-d for Carol! However, I’m sure it didn’t help our cause when Carol knew the number and I didn’t. So much for being careful to not let on we were a couple. Oh well.
The next step was for the doctor to insert the syringe, however I should have known this doctor had other plans. Instead, she stopped and began a long shpiel on how rare it would be for me to get pregnant on the first try. She spent a good few minutes giving me all of the (negative) statistics that my doctor had already given me a number of weeks prior. Nothing like keeping me thinking positively RIGHT BEFORE my insemination. Nothing like making me feel relaxed RIGHT BEFORE my insemination. Carol was pissed. How dare she do that right at that moment. Carol is NOT a violent person nor does she anger easily BUT, I do think she wanted to slug that doctor and give her a what for at that moment. I on the other hand ignored her. I just looked up at the old ugly ceiling and started counting the tile. When the doctor was finished talking, she asked me if I was ready as she was going to begin to insert the syringe. I started to cry. There was just no way to explain the range of emotions I was feeling at that moment. Just as Carol took my hand to comfort me, I felt an excruciating pain and in response my bum (on it’s own accord) jumped up off of the table. Carol leaned down towards me very concerned and asked if I was OK. The doctor told her I was fine and that it just was the cervix contracting. I could see the steam coming out from Carol’s ears by that point. I wouldn’t say anything and just lied there quietly. (To not scare others who may have this procedure I want to say the pain I felt was because of this doctor. The insemination should NOT have hurt!)
When the doctor was finished, she told me I needed to remain lying down 20 minutes before getting up. She told me she’d return after the time was up to let me know. When she left the room, she turned off the light. Here’s the very awkward part. During that time they’d like for the woman to orgasm. The constricting cervix can help immolate the action that occurs when having sex and it can help the sperm do what it needs to do. However, not to disappoint any of you, I just lied there while Carol held me. She even rubbed my tummy to send good energy waves to the sperm to make a baby for us. We waited together quietly until the 20 minutes was up. Wait, I take that back. I was ready to get up after 5 minutes and was restless to get out of there but I did as I was told.
When the 20 minutes was up, a nurse knocked on the door and told me I could get dressed. Carol helped me and then we hugged for a moment. She told me she felt good about us getting pregnant and she told me to not listen to what the doctor said. She gave me a kiss and we left the “storage” room where I was inseminated. As we walked out of the “clinic” we noticed it had stopped raining. Carol took my arm, pulled me close to her and said, “It will be OK.” And then she made me laugh when she said, “It’s not as if anyone can say they had a back alley insemination. Only you, MaLea could give us an adventure like that one.”
When we got home Carol’s mom made her usual Saturday call to see how we were doing. She knew we were going to try to get pregnant but she didn’t know when we were going to have the inseminated. She had no idea we had gone or were going that day. As she always did when she called us she asked Carol what our plans were for the day. I chuckled when Carol was telling her we had a bunch of laundry we needed to do. When Carol hung up with her mom, I jokingly said, “Gosh, what’s on my to do list today. Lets see… need to clean the house, do the laundry, go to the grocery store to get some milk and there was one other thing on the list…hmmm…what was it? Oh yeah, have an insemination!” We both sat on the couch and laughed and laughed. Now that the insemination was behind us (no pun) we had a great since of relief (and silliness). The laughter was a well deserved treat.