The IUI That Didnt

May 11, 2010

This morning, my little OPK test failed. And I figured, what the hay, it doesnt matter. I had a shot last night and I’m getting an IUI this morning regardless of whether the OPK or positive or not. My fate is pre-destined. So, Wifebian helped me load the tank into the car and reminded me to unlock it. I left for the place and arrived fifteen minutes late.

Then, I talked to a lab tech about the tank. Unlike the first lady, yesterday, she said I could drive around back and bring it in. So, I did. Only one other patient saw me and she had the decency to avert her eyes. The lab tech said, Wow I’ve never seen one that big. I said, Great.

Then, I had to wait 2 hours to be seen and that only happened after I said, “Hey, I’ve been waiting two hours.” Then, the PA who would be doing the IUI asked if had questions. I asked how big my follicle was yesterday and she said 2.2 centimeters. Then I asked what she could tell me about the sample. She said she didnt know anything about it. I said could you find out? (Once I have to ask you to find out information for me that you couldve offered to find out for me, we are no longer on friendly terms.) She said yes. Then, she put the speculum in and told me to cough. Then she said, Did that hurt? I said, Yes and she said, The cough was supposed to help that. And I’m wondering how sending your body into a spasm is supposed to be a pain reliever. She said my cervix was closed “tight as a drum”. I was in a lot of discomfort. “Do you want me to go get the doctor or do you want me to do a vaginal insemination?”

I said, I am not the kind of person that makes decisions quickly and I have never made a decision with a speculum in my vagina and could she take it out so I could think clearly. Then, the PA asked the lady assisting her how much time was left on the sperm. I said, That’s a good question. The lady said 6 minutes. The PA took something off or out. In my head I thought, well, if my cervix isnt open, that means I’m not “fertile”, so we can wait until tomorrow. I was also really uncomfortable. And I felt pressured. I didnt want her to take it out and then have to go through the doctor putting it back in. I knew it was going to hurt.  I mean that’s what she was really asking, right? “Do you want me to get the doctor and have him hurt you? Or do you want me to just put it in and have it not hurt?” I asked what she was doing. She said she took out the tenaculum. I told her, Just do the ICI, just get it in there. The catheter was making farting noises and she said, That’s just air. I was laying there wondering how this all compares to childbirth and how if I can’t think straight during an IUI, then fuck me. And then I thought, maybe there is a difference between pain that is supposed to happen and pain that is not supposed to happen.

They were done and left the room and I cried.

Then the lady who was assisting came in without the PA, luckily I had moved on to reading a magazine. The lady told me that the sample had a motility rate of 20% which means 20% of 37,000,000 is only 7,400,000 living, swimming sperms inside me. She said that when I come in tomorrow I should have a male doctor do the IUI because they are rougher and they can get the procedure done. She felt guilty for saying that and explained that it’s just that females know how it feels and can’t be as rough. What was I supposed to say to that? I thanked her. She told me to come out in 10 minutes and wait in a certain area. Five minutes later, another lady, a third lady, came in and told me it had been 20 minutes. She told me to wait in the room.

Every member of their staff shouldve been incinerated by the white heat of my disdain by this point, but they werent. Maybe Wifebian should come with me to these appointments. I wondered if this is how my clients’ parents feel toward me.

Then I got dressed. And waited. In the room. Then, I left the room and said, Can I leave? Then, I was told to meet with the PA. I met with the PA. I asked her how much it would cost. She called a fourth woman. The fourth woman said it would be the same price as an IUI. I said, “So, I am paying $125.00 for something I couldve done myself at home?” She said she put the sperm in the cervix and that’d wouldve been tricky to do at home.

I went to pay. The lady had to talk to a fifth person to make sure I was paying the right amount. And I’m standing there, fighting back the tears. Three and half hours later I’m finally in the car, crying.


I don’t know why I didnt just do the IUI. I think I was afraid. I was trying to do body scans and breathe, but I was really uncomfortable. I’ve always prided myself on being pretty chill during pelvic exams, I’ve even had an uneventful colposcopy, but for some reason this was a little more difficult. But really, why didnt she just go get the doctor? Why did she give me the choice? Was it because of pain? Why didnt she just say that? You are choosing between a less effective procedure and less pain, or a more effective procedure and more pain. It also would’ve been helpful to know that I was paying the same amount of money either way. And what did she think of the connection between the cervix being closed and my fertility? And couldnt they do an ultrasound to see if I had ovulated? It was like nobody cared whether I got pregnant or not but me.

But the real suffering in this situation results from the belief that I will have control if I try hard enough. I occasionally succumb to the mindset that with enough information one makes choices that lead to an outcome. But this is not the case. There is no amount of information and no one decision that will lead to any given outcome, much less the one I want.



9 Responses to “The IUI That Didnt”

  1. metalstork said

    ugh i’m so sorry. that sounds absolutely awful and makes me want to cry too. the people at these clinics too often forget how uncomfortable and stressful it is to be on that table. i hope you do something nice for yourself tonight.

  2. Nicole said

    I just read this and only have a second but oh my god, this is AWFUL. Like really, really awful. Like I would have been crying and screaming and cursing all at the same time kind of awful. Like I wouldn’t blame you if you returned there tonight with a sack full of literal shit and chucked it at their door kind of awful.

  3. Ms. Loaf said


    Strange as it sounds, I have way more fear of vaginal exams than I do of giving birth. One doctor told me this was because I’m a lesbian and have never been penetrated. I told her, “I don’t think you understand how lesbians do it.” It’s true that people saying weird things to you with a speculum in your vagina makes any response difficult.

    Sorry things didn’t go like you hoped they would. I definitely think Wifebian should come with you.

  4. Ugh. So sorry that was all so shitty.

  5. Sarah said

    Oh god D. I’m mortified for you. If Wifebian can go with you, please have her there. I’m just so sorry you were by yourself and wish you had a hand to hold. It will be better tomorrow. xoxo

  6. meridith said

    Outrageous. I hope that next time(if there is a next time with these folks) you have the opportunity to ask for the doctor exclusively. This should not have hurt mentally or physically. I’m sorry that happened.

  7. NO NO NO! as a veteran of tenacula, NO, i say! the correct answer to “what happens next time” is NOT “we get the mean doctor to jam it in.” the correct answer is “we give you a valium, so your cervix relaxes and makes it easier to get the catheter in.”

    ASSHOLES! those fuckers hurt like shit, and that coughing business is bullshit.

    i was seriously traumatized after my first IUI, because it was like what you describe (except with some ultrasound leaning on my belly and yes, jamming the catheter in.) even though my HSG was much more painful, the IUI was more upsetting, because i hadn’t expected it to be bad and because i felt like feeling pain and allowing myself to admit i was feeling pain was sending bad vibes/prostaglandins at my poor egg and that would mean it wouldn’t feel safe to fertilize. (thanks for the head trip, stephanie brill.)

    none of my other IUIs were like that. some of us have cervices that are trickier to get through, but it does NOT have to be that way. they should give you valium — oh, and not treat you like dirt.

    i am so sorry that happened.

  8. Ali said

    I’m so sorry for you.
    This post made me cry. I can’t imagine facing what you’re going through.
    I keep my fingers crossed for you and wish you all the best.

  9. I’m just catching up on your blog and am so, so sorry you had such a miserable experience. What a nightmare! I really hope that Wifebian is able to go with you to any future appointments (not that you’ll need them, because you’re totally pregnant right now).

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