20.88 Million

Insemination #8 went fine.

I worked from home yesterday, which I do strategically to cloak my suspicious number of appointments.  At 9:45 am, while peeing on mute during a conference call, I suddenly remembered that I hadn’t called the sperm thaw hotline before 8:30am as instructed.  Dropped off the conference call, called the sperm thaw hotline begging them to call me back with confirmation, called Olga hoping she’d put in a good word with the lab.  Slight panic.  Can you imagine how ridiculous it would be to miss a cycle because of forgetting this easy step?  But, now that I’ve missed the deadline twice, I see that it’s ultimately negotiable and probably more of a guideline.  A nice lady in the lab called me back within 5 minutes and called me “dear”.  Olga also called back and said, “You’re all good!”

Phew.  Sigh.  Gratitude.  Thank you.

Half an hour before my appointment, I put on a ring from each of my grandmothers and hopped in the car to drive over to UCSF in the rain.  I was called in quickly and the procedure was much like every other time with Nurse Stephanie, although this time the number of sperm was roughly double the usual: 20.88 million.  They considered doing a second wash to weed out more of the slow-movers (a luxury option due to the high number) but decided it might compromise the overall number.  She said it’s great news because you always want more.  She showed me the vial and I saw that he donated on April 22, 2010. Earth Day.  This seemed significant and memorable.

I welcomed the 21 million sperm into my uterus and the nurse’s assistant kindly pulled my paper sheet over my legs and sort of tucked me in before they left the room.  On her way out, Nurse Stephanie said, “I hope this one goes all the way!”

I meditated. I listened to the cars going by outside on the wet streets. I thought about those 20 million dudes off to the races.  I hoped this egg was it. I felt not much else–no tears, no lightning bolts, no prayers.  Just mostly peace.  When I sat up, the first thing I saw was a calendar that said 2013 in big numbers and my eye went to October.  Please.  October please.

On the way out, I remembered the woman who caught me at the elevators last time and told me she was sure I’d get good news.  I told her last week that she’d been correct, but that it didn’t stick, and she said she seemed to have a knack with reading people–including the gender of babies in utero.  I told her I’d swing by her desk for a reading on my way out this time, ha ha.

In the moment, I was kind of hesitating (wouldn’t she be obligated to give a good outlook?!) but when I took a few steps backward to peer around the corner to her (empty) chair at the front desk, who appeared but Dr.T!  I have never seen him outside of our set appointments.  Viewing him in that moment felt like the ultimate sign of good luck.  He said hi and asked if I’d already had the procedure or if I was just arriving, and I got flustered and said something awkward like, “I was just exiting,” and he wished me luck.  I swooned as I exited.

And, just like that, I’m back in the wait. It is a more emotionally serene place than the previous few weeks.  Meditation the other night did help to center me, tears spilling out the minute I sat down and saw H, our teacher.  I felt the dust settling around me, a pause in the chaos, a reprieve from the stress.  Refuge.  It was the most needed medicine.

I held a baby last night for a while, went to deeply relaxing acupuncture today, ate mint chocolate chip ice cream while writing this tonight.  My dentist gave me a green toothbrush because she said it’s the most fertile color.  Everything is humming along.

Update: months have passed since this post, and that cycle was a negative. Now I’m in the middle of my first IVF. Three weeks from transfer!


2 thoughts on “20.88 Million”

  1. For me, the story is so similar…. 9 months of hopes and signs and clinical tables and wonderful people wishing and rooting. Of acupuncture and wives tale tactics including no ice cream because it made the ” uterus cold”. Of 20+ million sperm. Of follicles present or not… Of peeing on the 5 day early stick and assuming the negative was just because it was early. Of crying. Of convincing myself that my boobs were tender. 9 months of ups: this one will work. 9 months of downs: I was not meant to be a mom.

    And on the 10th month. The 10 th try. I sat in the waiting room, pumped full of some fertility meds, possessing two ripe follicles, and Israel kamakawiwi’ole’s rendition of “somewhere over the rainbow” came on and a peace came over me. Good sign. 4 days later I boarded a flight for Italy for an 11 day business and social trip. I brought no tests. Convinced after a week it didn’t work, because I felt my period coming on, I gave up. Drank some wine. Googled IVF. Got home went to church and cried. Waiting for my period which was so evidently coming soon. 3days late. Finally, I tested and there it was….the plus sign! I am convinced that finally relaxing on my trp helped!

    Now my son is nearly 4 and there is a reason 1 to 9 didn’t work. Because they weren’t him. He was my meant to be.

    Keep trying! You will get here and you will have clarity as to why!

  2. I hope you will be able to carry your own baby very soon!!!!! I had my son on the 1st try with IVF. He is 7 years old now. 🙂

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