*If you are squicked by female anatomy, a warning: some of it is discussed in this post*
I have just returned from my first insemination. All in all, it was a pretty straightforward experience. I turned up and got into a gown, then the nurse explained the procedure to me and asked me to double-check that the donor number matched that on the vial (a tiny tube with maybe a centimetre of clear, colourless liquid in the bottom; i was assured that there was about 4.5 million sperm cells in it, which was nice and high – they only need 1 million). I lay down on the bed and put my feet in the stirrups, and she inserted the speculum and then the catheter, through which she would inject the sperm. The sperm is washed, meaning that it was pretty much only sperm in that vial (and, I assume, saline or something in which it is suspended – I am unsure about that).
She told me that it would be “just like a cervical smear, but a little less uncomfortable”; however, I found it to be rather more uncomfortable. (Mostly) not painful, just uncomfortable. Apparently the cervix often has slightly misaligned openings – the visible one on the vaginal side does not always line up with the opening on the uterine side, meaning that there is some poking and prodding required before the catheter pops through – I guess kind of like training yourself to insert earrings the first few times before you get the hang of it. But more sensitive. And every cervix is different, so no matter how experienced the nurse there may be a learning curve with regard to getting it through. There was, in fact, a brief moment of pain when she finally popped it through to the uterus, but it wasn’t too bad.
After she had injected the sperm into my uterus, I had to lie on my back for 15 minutes (they gave me a trashy magazine to flip through), and then I could leave (I had paid before the procedure began).
Apparently the look of the cervix indicated that the insemination was well timed, although I still had to do another blood test this morning and tomorrow morning to make sure that my LH levels weren’t still going up – there is a small chance that I might have to go in again tomorrow for a second insemination.
The nurse told me that mild cramping is common (but to call them if it gets severe), and that there may be some spotting, as the cervix is rather delicate at this time of the cycle, and a tube was just pushed through it. I am allowed paracetamol for the cramping, but I think I will try to avoid it.
And now the waiting begins. I am advised to not start a new, strenuous exercise regimen, and I should try to keep my body temperature as normal as possible – no spas or long hot baths. I should have asked if a wheat bag was included in the list of “bad temperature changer things”, because I find that it is a great thing to use with cramping. But I didn’t ask, so I will just assume it is not okay, and try to find alternatives.
Also, I should avoid chlorinated swimming pools (these can increase the risk of infection), and, obviously, alcohol/smoking/caffeine/drugs. They also said that I should stick with whatever feels right with regard to “normal” exercise and work/social outings – I can go as normal or I can give myself the cotton-wool treatment – whichever seems right at the time.
In two weeks’ time, I have a blood test to determine whether I am pregnant. I am obviously hoping that I am, but I am trying to be sensible about it – there is only a 20% chance at best, so I will probably have to go through this at least a couple more times.