As you might imagine, trying to have a baby when you’re two women is quite difficult, and can end up being very costly. Well thankfully I got a new job this past summer at my local school district that made this process a lot less difficult. Holly and I started seriously talking about trying to conceive (TTC) back at the end of October and at the start of November when my new awesome health insurance kicked in for both of us, we jumped at the chance to get that process started. We got labs drawn to check and make sure everything was in order, and then in late December got the okay to begin searching for our donor and set a date for our first IUI (intrauterine insemination).
We meticulously searched for the perfect donor, although at one point I picked one that reminded me of Holly, and she picked one that reminded her of me. Obviously one of us didn’t understand how this process was supposed to work. Since I wouldn’t be the one carrying, we needed to find a donor like ME, not another version of Holly! Anyway, we found the right donor, a red head like me, and contacted our doctor to set up our first IUI. That was January 11, 2016. As you’ll observe, today is NOT January 11th, so I might be a little behind. That first two-week wait (TWW) , the period between insemination and the proper date to take a home pregnancy test, was a lot easier than we thought it would be. In preparation for it we had bought several movies, previously reading about how some couples had done the same or planned activities for a majority of the days to take it off their collective minds. Thankfully, it wasn’t like that so much and on January 22nd (4 days earlier than we were supposed to) we took our first pregnancy test.
Negative isn’t a word someone TTC wants to hear, ever, but since we were taking the test 4 days early, I remained positive that we would get our BFP (big fat positive). Each of those next 3 days held more negative tests and I must confess in the end I was starting to lose hope myself. On our doctor selected test date, we took one last pregnancy test and it was a BFN (big fat negative). Needless to say, we were very sad and disappointed. We weren’t entirely devastated, because we both belonged to TTC groups on Facebook and knew that these things could take time, especially when using the IUI process.
Fun fact: IUI procedures without the aide of fertility drugs are only 20-25% likely to produce a viable pregnancy. 20-25%. That percentage was so low, it was easier for both of us to not feel entirely destroyed at the idea of our first attempt not working, but a lot of self doubt crept in during those days immediately following our BFN. But we did not give up! Immediately we communicated with our doctor about the negative test and sought to know our next steps. We discussed and ultimately decided on using the fertility drug Clomid, which would stimulate an increased production of mature eggs for the next cycle, and by the end of the week had the prescription.
On February 6th we had our next ultrasound appointment to check and see just how many eggs had grown, and found that we had 4 mature follicles from which 4 eggs were likely to drop. Now I know what you’re thinking, “Four eggs, isn’t that going to increase your chances of having twins, or quadruplets!?” and the answer is not very much. We discussed with our doctor exactly how much and he said about 2-5%, which isn’t any more likely really then us being heterosexual and having twins, so it relieved my stress about that. We triggered, or administered the HCG shot that triggered ovulation to begin, two days later on February 8th and inseminated the next day.
This two week wait proved even easier than the one before, but that didn’t stop us again from testing early. Thankfully this time, it was just the day before, as we had been busy that weekend with our darling nephew Dean’s first birthday party. Monday morning, February 22nd, we woke up and Holly tested at her usual time (just before 6 am) and then came back to bed while the results populated. I walked into the bathroom to turn on the shower so I could get my day started, and went to look at the pregnancy test. I didn’t see a positive. As I looked back at Holly who was coming into the bathroom too, I felt a heavy heart as I shook my head. She looked so upset, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget that face. I handed her the test and got into the shower.
“AMANDA!” she yelled at me, seconds later from the other side of the shower door, “THAT’S NOT A NEGATIVE, THERE’S A FAINT LINE!”
My mouth fell open and I went to look at the test. Sure enough, there was a very very faint line indicating a positive pregnancy test there. You probably can’t tell either, but it was there, I swear.
Naturally, we flipped out. After only one failed cycle, we were pregnant! And of course, just to be sure, we had to take a few more test within the next day (on our actual test day; pictured below).That line just kept getting darker!
I can’t explain the feeling of knowing that our waiting, our disappointment after the first unsuccessful IUI, was finally going to be gone, because we were officially pregnant! So I guess that’s the point I’m getting to here.
(Graphic: Baby Hutchings-Coming November 2016)
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Now here are some fun shots from BEFORE our second IUI
(top left: Holly waiting for IUI; bottom left: Amanda with the remnants of our donor sperm transportation tank; right: our cat Izzy showing her love for her soon to be brother or sister ie. the donor sperm transportation tank prior to IUI)