The first thing Mike did when he got home that night was cancel the testicular biopsy. We made arrangements to pay the back storage fees for his sperm, and I booked an appointment with a fertility specialist at a clinic near us. While I loved the doctor at the Vancouver fertility clinic, I began to have nightmares about transporting the sperm. Instead of having the sperm come to me, I decided to go to the sperm, and by the next summer we had an appointment with the clinic in Calgary.
All my tests showed I was healthy, so the doctor decided that a simple intrauterine insemination (IUI) would suffice. We’d given permission to thaw and test one straw of frozen sperm—we had 20 total—which showed that Mike’s swimmers were in good shape. Because of this, we’d only need to use one straw per IUI attempt, and they would let us try three times before we would need to consider more high-tech methods.
To prepare for the IUI, I did waking body temperatures, monitored my vaginal fluids, and used an ovulation test to determine my cycle. I also took a low dose of Clomid during the first days of each cycle in order to stimulate ovulation. After a few months, I called the doctor’s office in Calgary and arranged to do the IUI during the next cycle.
On December 5, 2006, 12 days into my cycle, my ovulation test turned positive, indicating the hormone surge right before ovulation. I booked a flight to Calgary for the next morning. There’s only a small window of opportunity for fertilization, so timing was crucial—I had 24 to 48 hours to get Mike’s sperm into my body. The IUI appointment took about 15 minutes and I flew home that night.
I was told to take a pregnancy test 18 days later. My first pregnancy test came up negative, but when I called the clinic they told me it was still early and to keep testing until I got a positive test or my period.
I tried to stay hopeful, but on Christmas morning I woke up with my period. I sat by myself in the bathroom for a few minutes and cried. Mike held and kissed me; he understood my disappointment and heartbreak. The unsuccessful pregnancy attempt felt like my failure.
During the next IUI attempt, everything went wrong, starting with the price of the plane ticket, which had tripled since my last trip. Then my early flight out of Vancouver was canceled due to freezing rain in Calgary. Luckily, I got on another flight and made it to my appointment on time. By the afternoon, the weather hadn’t let up, and flights out of Calgary were being canceled. I finally found a flight home, and as I exhaustedly looked out the plane’s window onto the dismal evening sky, I was sure that this IUI had failed, too.
Eighteen days later I got up to do the test, knowing that it would be negative. Instead I stood there watching the two pink lines appear, thinking this couldn’t be right. I ripped open another test and carefully peed on the little stick again, making sure I was doing it accurately.
I replaced the cap, held it at the correct angle, and again, two pink lines appeared. I couldn’t believe it. I ran into the living room and tossed the pregnancy test at Mike. “Two pink lines,” he said. “What does that mean?” I said, “It means you’re going to be a daddy.” We hugged, kissed, and cried.
Jacek Michael Allan Kuzminski was born on November 1, 2007. Mike and I joked that we should get a DNA test just to make sure there weren’t any lab mixups, but one look at our baby was all it took for us to know that genetic testing was unnecessary. Mike had gotten his wish; he could definitely see a bit of himself in this beautiful little boy.
To think that there was a time when we didn’t know if we could have a baby of our own and to now hold my biological child in my arms is overwhelming. I hope that Jacek can give reassurance to everyone out there trying to have a baby, whatever method they are using, that this amazing miracle can happen for them, too.
This article was originally published in the Summer 2008 issue.