Taking a Break, Some Unexpected Detours & IVF #1

As you can probably tell from the title of this post, our third attempt at IUI was a bust. It was still a huge bummer, but oddly I had an easier time dealing with the disappointment this time than with IUI #2. It was the first time I actually went in for a pregnancy blood test, because I was on progesterone and my period didn’t come early like it usually does. Waiting for a phone call telling you if you are pregnant is strange.  I had a feeling I wasn’t pregnant – I had taken a home pregnancy test at 10dpiui and 11dpiui, and had gotten faint lines that I assumed were the trigger still in my system (the same thing happened with IUI#2, so as exciting as it was to see two lines, I was pretty sure they weren’t the real deal). In addition to that, I had mild abdominal cramping and some of the other usual signs that my period is on its way. I wasn’t sure what to make of these, as I was on progesterone at the time and had no idea if I was feeling progesterone symptoms, pregnancy symptoms, or my body trying to have a period despite the progesterone supplements (is that even possible?). But enough about that. I am ready to bid IUI’s goodbye and move on to the next stage in our journey.

JULY 2015: A month of FREEDOM (mostly). Alex and I decided to take July OFF.  While it took some effort on our parts, I think we successfully took much-needed  mental break from the whole fertility world. We celebrated our 4 year wedding anniversary with a date-night at a ramen house, checked out an art museum, found a new favorite bookstore, and spent plenty of time with our friends. We also took our first week-long vacation since our honeymoon – a trip to Acadia National Park in Maine. That vacation was the first time in a long time that I haven’t thought about or cared about not being pregnant. (more on this later)

Full Disclosure Time: I know I said we took the month off, but it wasn’t quite that simple. We did experience a few bumps in the road.  During our 3rd IUI cycle, I realized that thanks to several super-short medicated cycles, my period was going to fall smack-dab in the middle of our vacation to Maine.  I had originally tried to plan our vacation as far from my period as possible. Not only do I have MAJOR cramps (potential endometriosis), but I also felt that after spending 17 months obsessing over my cycles I didn’t want to suck it up and “make the best of it.” I had already been “making the best” of periods and surgeries and my-body-on-fertility-drugs. I didn’t want to do it on vacation. So, at the last minute,  in what might have been an act of complete insanity, I managed to  move our vacation one week earlier in July. Same hotel, same itinerary, just sans-menstrual-cycle. When I did this, I didn’t know if my 3rd IUI had resulted in a pregnancy or not, but I wanted to plan so that our “worst case scenario” wasn’t really “worst” at all.

A few days later I got the call that I wasn’t pregnant, and also found out something new: I was going to have to get blood tests during my month off. This shouldn’t have been a big deal – I needed day 3 and day 20 blood work before I started the estrogen priming part of my IVF cycle (estrace pills). Unfortunately, that day 20 blood work ended up falling RIGHT in the middle of the vacation to Maine. So in my effort to avoid vacationing on my period, I had just created an even bigger problem. If I didn’t get that blood work, I couldn’t start estrace, and my first IVF cycle would be a no-go.

 In my quest to rectify the situation, I discovered:

(A) That there are no Quest Diagnostic OR LabCorp locations anywhere near Acadia National Park.

(B) I would have to go out of network and pay out of pocket for this bloodwork.

(C) Even the out-of-network, local hospitals near Acadia National Park do NOT do same-day (or even NEXT DAY) results on their bloodwork. 

I was at the end of my rope thinking that I would have to cancel the cycle or cancel the vacation. Thankfully, after hours of making phone calls, I  stumbled upon Eastern Maine Medical Center – a hospital in Bangor that was AMAZING in every way. Yeah, I know it was only blood work, but everyone on their staff was so helpful in ensuring that I was pre-registered and could get results back to my doctor STAT. My awesome nurse from my local fertility clinic was also crucial in this process – she knew I was going to encounter problems as soon as I told her where I was vacationing (I think she was a bit skeptical we could pull this off) – but her realistic advice allowed me to find the solutions we needed in time.

So, yeah, we did have to get up at 5AM on our 4th day in Maine, drive 2 1/2 hours round trip to the hospital, and get blood work done. Not exactly what I had envisioned for our Break-From-TTC-Vacation. But it all worked out and didn’t significantly detract from our enjoyment of the vacation.  The results got back to my doctor by noon, and I was able to start the estrace that night. And while I had been kicking myself for moving the vacation around in the first place, it turns out that I made the right decision. My period actually ended up coming a bit early AGAIN in July. If I hadn’t moved the vacation to avoid my period, I would have ended up being in Maine for the first week of my cycle and probably would have had to cancel the IVF cycle anyway. So, I guess this was a lesson to trust my gut  – I knew what I was doing, even if I didn’t always feel like I did.



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