I've been incredibly remiss in my blogging, but I have what I believe to be a solid excuse in that my best friend was visiting from out of town. It's not a great excuse, because Sarah wouldn't be my best friend if she didn't appreciate the need for frequent internet breaks; she probably would have understood if I had to stop and blog. So I'm just a terrible person.
Friday the 20th, after a nearly sleepless night of cervix-checking and syringe-testing*, Heather and I thawed a vial of football-playing DNA, betook ourselves to the bedroom, and squirted. Caught between Whitney's advice and that of The Essential Guide, we chose to thaw the sperm in a water bath, then draw it into the syringe without aid of needle or catheter. We skipped the speculum, so Heather inserted the syringe straight into her vagina, and I pressed the plunger, oh-so-gently. That was that.
We cuddled for a little bit-- yes, if you want details, Heather did experience uterine contractions thereafter-- and I left a bit later, anxious about missing work.
Employing the tender, time-honored tradition of texting one's healthcare provider, I went back and forth with Nurse Nina about our timing, meanwhile e-mailing our friend Jen, the clinic's admin, to cover all bases. We finally agreed to meet up at 4:30 for the IUI.
The meeting not only introduced more sperm into Heather's body, but also introduced a new round of tension with Nurse Nina. Thursday, when we had the controversial $85 USG ("Look, you have a uterus!"), we'd gotten an egg & dot on the fertility monitor, but, with Whitney's advice, relied instead on Heather's cervix as a timing cue. She wasn't ready, and we said as much to Nurse Nina. She seemed doubtful, suggesting we not wait past that night to do our ICI, then meet in the morning at the clinic for the IUI. We weren't sold.
Honestly, I'm not sure Heather's cervix was altogether ripe when we inseminated Friday morning, but old habits die hard and we were afraid to wait too long. Unwashed sperm lasts longer in the body anyhow, so we figured meeting with Nina late in the day would cover our bases.
What was funny is that Nina seemed surprised Friday afternoon that Heather's cervix looked so much more open. Not confidence-inspiring. However, we had some time to talk before the IUI and got a surprising amount of affirmation from her-- until she interrupted me to say that of course we were supposed to use a needle-less syringe and that she'd told us months ago. I wanted to kick her in the shins. We've gotten a lot of goddamn information from a lot of goddamn people, and to be honest Nina has been one of the least dependable sources. Sometimes I get long e-mails from her, sometimes two-sentence replies, and she seems to have more trouble tracking our experience-- with Heather's charts in front of her-- than we do with only a charting calendar and a blog to rely on.
Ambivalence towards Nina isn't new, but I'm struggling more and more to resist it. This past week has seen some serious compromises in that relationship as a result of her cervical-signal iffiness, followed by a very painful catheter insertion (I joked that she was lucky Heather hadn't kicked her, but Nina did not think it was funny). Where our relationship took a real hit, though, was when I checked my bank account online and saw I'd been charged $250 for the IUI. Motherfucker. So I e-mailed Jen-- Was this a mistake?-- and she said she would check, which I thought was weird since she's always taken our payment and it's always been $150. Monday afternoon, she called and explained that, in fact, there had been a change in the "fee schedule," such that the IUI was truly $250 and Nina had forgotten to tell us.
Because it was Nina's error, they refunded me the $100 difference (crucial to my ability to entertain my guest in style). Jen was super-nice about it, even when I couldn't help venting to her a little about Nina's tendency to forget fees. Heather and I were angry about the mistake, but also had to recognize that we had crossed a line financially. If this cycle isn't the one, we can't afford to have Nina provide another IUI. Are we done with IUIs or Nina or both? Friday we'll find out.
*I also experimented with the egg-white thing, but it was dicey and the last thing we need is something else to fuck up.