Wherein I get Voluntarily Stuck with Needles


Okay, I am writing this fully aware that many of you are probably sick of hearing about my uterus. I get it, I too am getting sick of hearing about my uterus, but unfortunately this is what is currently on my mind and my heart so you have to hear about my uterus for a little bit longer. I’m sorry; I won’t be offended if you decide not to come here for a while.

I know many of you are curious about my IUI so I thought about giving a bit of a recap, since I think about 60% of people think I had IVF and I understand it’s easy to confuse the two…… but I thought it would be a little much, especially for a Monday. Instead, quickly, here is the main difference between an IUI and IVF:

IUI: man gives sperm sample. Magic is worked on sample to make it perfect and then sample inseminated into woman’s uterus with a catheter so it gets as close to ovulating eggs as possible. And then you wait to see if egg and sperm met and a baby was made. It’s just about as sexy as it sounds. For unexplained infertility, IUI has a 4-9% chance of working, according to FertilityIQ.

IVF: woman’s eggs and men’s sperm are collected and eggs are fertilized by doctor outside the uterus: an embryo is formed and the embryo transferred back into woman. And then you wait to see if baby continues to grow inside uterus. Also about as sexy as it sounds. For unexplained infertility, IVF has a 30-50% chance of working, according to Fertility IQ. My doctor recommends a few IUIs before IVF. The cost of IVF is staggering, especially when your insurance doesn’t cover any of it.

There you have it: a terribly worded explanation of what the road to babies looks like for the O’Malley family. Obviously this is a very general and not at all scientific way to explain the difference and I’m sorry if you already knew this and just received an unwanted lesson in fertility procedures. Trust me, I didn’t want this lesson either, but here I am.

Also, related but not, I started acupuncture on Saturday. I’m there: I’ve reached the point in the infertility journey where I’m so desperate that I’ll let someone stick needles into my body to try and have babies. No less than 472 people have told me to try acupuncture, but I have been incredibly hesitant for a few reasons, the main ones being:

1.       I am terrified of needles. I don’t care how thin or harmless the needle is, if it’s being stuck into my body I’m not about it. Ask the poor nurse whose job it is to take my blood before every round of Clomid: I’m near fainting every single time. And don’t get me started on giving myself the trigger shot. FULL BLOWN PANIC.

2.       I have placed my uterus in the care of a very wonderful, very qualified and very capable doctor, who I trust and respect. I have not felt the need to pursue outside therapies while in his care.

Over and over I tell myself “you can’t fix something that isn’t broken”. Over and over I remind myself to be logical and also faithful. Infertility is a numbers game but also a game of chance. There is only so much a physician can control in the human body: there is only so much they can do to guide you, your partner and your bodies towards conceiving…..the rest is up to chance, faith, God, wizardry, Oprah, timing, fate, divine intervention, whatever it is you believe in. And yet, on Saturday I put on my big girl pants (literally, the Clomid has made me gain weight and I am uncomfortable) and tried acupuncture. And if one person tells me “I told you so” I’m going to lose my shit. 

Acupuncture was a whole new experience for me and it’s too soon to tell if this will help/be as life-changing as everyone says it will be. I did a 30 minute consult with the acupuncturist then she did the treatment and I laid there with the needles in for 30 minutes where I learned I am not very good at being still or relaxing. All and all, the whole appointment was a hour and a half. I didn’t feel more relaxed afterwards (I’ve had people tell me they leave feeling relaxed) but I’m hoping I will after future appointments. The acupuncturist was extremely nice, very knowledgeable and specializes in acupuncture for infertility. She is also planning to treat me for my anxiety and some of the depression I’ve had from everything we’ve gone through in the time we’ve been trying. Though I’m still feeling skeptical and not entirely convinced this is going to help us conceive, I’m going back next week and will keep going back because I’m determined to see this through. I also know that it’s impossible to fully gauge the success of something new after one time so I’m keeping an open mind.

Lindsay from Bourbon, Lipstick and Stilettos wrote a great post about her experience with acupuncture. You can read it here for another take on acupuncture.

If you are interested in reading more about acupuncture for infertility check out this course from FertilityIQ.

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