When you're getting an IUI next month and you're married, queer, & ex-Mo
June 9, 2018 6:09 PM   Subscribe

Mrs. Timp and I are hoping to be parents next year. I'm all set to start this journey by getting an IUI next month, after months of meticulous ovulation and BBT tracking. I know that stress affects fecundity. What do I need to remember, meditate on and overall be peaceful about irt to this journey?

July will be our first IUI attempt with anon donor sperm (we're lesbians). For months, I've been carefully tracking all of my dates, exercising, eating healthy and abstaining from things to prepare myself for this next step i.e. getting preg for the first time. I still feel slightly distracted, which I think is because things are still up in the air and pregnancy can't just "happen" out of the blue for our specific situation.

Part of this is that I grew up in a very conservative Mormon household and I know my parents, in-laws and most extended fam will be, uh, not thrilled with pregnancy news from us, even though it's what we have wanted and we could, technically, not care what they say or think. We've dealt with anti-lgbtq sentiment from all sides of our fam before, so this energy be nothing new but I'm hoping it's not comparable in any way to when we got married.

This all brings a couple Qs to this space.

My question is twofold:

1) What helped you when you were getting an IUI or related treatment? I want to not to focus on the situation for two weeks until I test for a result. I want to keep being healthy, meditate, do simple yoga and walks, and just feel peaceful during that time. Since I'm under 35, ovulate regularly and don't have any related medical issues that would cause issues I'm hoping I can get preg in 1 - 3 rounds doing IUI.

2) The second question is, I've read some on how to explain to relatives and friends when they ask probing, judgemental questions, but any good one liners or info from your personal experience on curtailing this so I can just be peaceful up to and when I do get pregnant? I know thinking about this second question directly contradicts my focus and contemplation in question 1 but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

We haven't told anyone but my best friend that we are starting this process so the cat is not out of the bag... TIA
posted by timpanogos to Human Relations (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The years leading up to the birth of our second child were the most difficult of our marriage. I already gave away the happy ending: we did have a second child after many IUI we finally ended up with a donor egg. You are younger enough than my was when we started that I am hoping that you will have a much easier time than we did. But I would say we were on the more challenging end of the spectrum.

The most important thing was that we were in total agreement about each stage of the process. There were no fault lines in our relationship about wanting a second child or about each technical escalation, or about when we were going to call it quits.

For my wife and I it was mainly a renewed seriousness about existing support mechanisms that helped. But I do not think that one person would be enough for me to talk to. We didn't post it on Facebook, but all of our circle knew what we were going through and when we had miscarriages that helped. We were surprised how many people have had them but they are taboo to talk about.

As for judgie relatives I want to say: give them my number so I can give them a piece of my mind but that would not be appropriate.

One of the hardest things was thinking: I'm not trying to get a private jet here, I just want a baby and there is no guarantee I am going to get one. WTF God?

Your family is perfect, baby or no baby, and I would suggest trying to hold onto that if things get hard.
posted by shothotbot at 8:42 PM on June 9, 2018 [2 favorites]

Regarding #2 - Just don’t share any pregnancy details or plans with anyone you may perceive as potentially being judgey until you are quite far along. I was born and raised in the church - and am currently quietly leaving it in the dust - and honestly, I felt judged by family even when I was attending and doing everything “right”. I was never faithful enough or spiritual enough or I missed having family home evening once or I didn’t force my kids to go to every youth activity or I didn’t go to every single meeting even though I was sick (if I were faithful and spiritual enough I would have gone). I remember once, when I was really devout and doing every damn thing I was supposed to and then some, my mom pulled me aside while she was visiting my home and said to me “I’m worried about your spirituality.” My point is - whether you are in or out of the church, doing every little thing you’re “supposed” to be doing or not, people gonna judge and be assholes.

One little quote that has served me well when people get judgey or overly concerned about my eternal livelihood: Worrying is assuming God doesn’t know what he’s doing.

That quote throws it right back at them. They can be all judgey but hey, seems like they are lacking in faith and trust in God that everything’s gonna be ok.

Also, it’s helped me to listen to other ex-Mo’s stories and situations. Makes me not feel so alone and gives me strength. So, perhaps dig some stories up. I like the Mormon Stories podcast by John Dehlin. You may find some pointers and ideas on how to navigate talking with believing Mormon friends and family on various topics.
posted by Sassyfras at 12:00 AM on June 10, 2018 [2 favorites]

While my circumstances are a bit different from yours (imminently arriving IVF-baby after years of losses and infertility), the advice I'd give any couple undertaking assistive reproduction is this: in your quiet moments, when you are reflecting/meditating/preparing for the procedure(s), don't fixate on the hope of a child. That way madness lies (unless you are truly lucky to be successful from the get-go). Instead, focus on you and your partner as a couple -- your strengths, the joy you bring each other, how you are already a "family unit." And then keep taking care of each other. I wish I had done more of this earlier on in my, uh, "journey," because ultimately our relationship is what got us through to "success" -- and it's the only thing that we would have left if we hadn't been successful.

Plus, in your case, I suspect this would be really helpful preparation for riding out any family-drama storms that may be on the horizon.

Hope that helps! And best of luck to you and your wife!!! Not that I had much luck with IUI but happy to chat if you ever have questions.
posted by Mrs. Rattery at 6:01 AM on June 10, 2018 [3 favorites]

You are doing great by starting out already tracking ovulation and BBT. My periods are very regular, I ovulate around the same time every month, and it still took us 9 months to get pregnant with frozen, donor sperm (4 tries at home, 5 IUIs). But I didn't start tracking my BBT until 5 months in, and it took a few months before I realized that I was ovulating later than most women. According to my temps I ovulate at least 2 days after getting a positive ovulation test. We were inseminating the day after my positive ovulation test, usually 12 to 18 hours later - way too early, since frozen sperm only lives around 24 hours. The last time we tried I waited an extra day before getting the IUI (more like 36 hours) and I'm now almost 9 weeks pregnant. It is really like threading a needle, the more data you have the better!

Some of the things that helped me:

I made sure my husband was aware of how much disproportionate emotional and physical effort the process required of me. I was the one continually tracking ovulation, cervical mucus, temperatures, worrying every time I went to the bathroom if I had started my period, etc. etc. Just having that acknowledged and validated helped a lot.

He made at least half of the appointments - it is a lot of coordination. We were lucky that we have a sperm bank nearby so we didn't have to pay for shipping, but depending on when I expected to ovulate we would still have to pick up the LN2 tank, or just the vial of sperm, make a last minute doctor's appointment for the IUI, or call to renew our prescription for the sperm. After a while you get good at it though.

On that note, I had a fantastic doctor (queer, like us), in a fantastic practice. The nurses were always happy and encouraging when they saw us. It really helped that I didn't dread going into the office to have the procedure done. And my doctor used to be an OBGYN, so she did a fantastic job with the IUI, no pain at all just some mild discomfort. When she was out I had to have another doctor do the IUI twice, and it was very, very painful. It doesn't need to be!

Sometimes I was able to force myself not to take a pregnancy test, and just wait to see if I got my period. I think it was easier for me when I did this. It was difficult for me to get negative tests, and your brain can really twist itself into knots convincing you that you could still be pregnant. I hated that! It made me feel desperate and irrational.

Overall I let myself feel the things that I was feeling, and talked it through with my husband. He supported me no matter how I was feeling, and kind of took his cues from me. I couldn't have gotten through it all without him, or our friends, who were a great support system when I needed to vent.

Happy to talk to you about any of it if you want, my MeMail is open :)
posted by dinofuzz at 4:46 PM on June 10, 2018 [2 favorites]

For (1), I never really managed not to obsess, but it helped to schedule plans to look forward to each month, whether big or small things, and not to change my plans or behavior "in case I'm pregnant by then". I mean, maybe don't book a non-refundable skydiving world tour 9 months out, but I'd keep making travel plans and career plans same as always, keep buying clothes that fit now if I needed clothes, etc. There's lots of advice out there for surviving the "two-week wait" that isn't focused on people in same-sex relationships or doing fertility treatments, but mostly still applies.

I also tried to keep reminding myself that the odds each month were like rolling a die, but that the odds over 6 months to a year were pretty good. I was 34, ovulating regularly, hormone tests all came back excellent, and it took 6 tries over 9 months, all IUI at a fertility clinic with frozen donor sperm. The other three months either we were out of town at the wrong time, or I didn't get a positive OPK. I was just timing things with ovulation tests, not monitored with ultrasounds or bloodwork, and my doctor was having me test in the morning, but some months the morning tests never quite turned positive, but I could see by temping that I ovulated. Like dinofuzz said, frozen sperm has a pretty small window. If your doctor is timing things with monitoring/trigger shot, that definitely improves the odds, but it's still maybe a 20-30% chance per cycle at best.

Good luck!!!
posted by songs about trains at 11:32 AM on June 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

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