It was 10:30 on a Wednesday night. 90 minutes until the online registration for my upcoming swim meet closed. I signed up for some of my usual events, the 100 m butterfly and 50 m free and figured I'd be swimming in at least two relays. Then I remembered the words of advice from my teammate Stewart, "At each meet, you should enter an event that you've never done before. That way you have no expectations for yourself." I looked at the schedule of events. After the 100 m Fly, I'd get a short break during the 100 m breaststroke and then would have the 50 m Free, followed immediately by another relay where I'd have to swim another 50 m Free or Fly. The last event of the day was the 800 m Free. I figured that I'd probably be swimming that distance in my cool down, so why not enter it and maybe earn some points for our team. (I was thinking that not too many would compete in this race) I entered a rather slow estimated time. After all, I had no expectations.
I decided that 'no expectations' would be my mantra for this cycle. I'm not expecting that this cycle will work, but I'm also not expecting that it won't work. I'm staying neutral and I'm not venturing into optimistic or pessimistic territory. Although our IUI TMI data does offer a little encouragement.
On my day 10 monitoring, my left ovary was once again in the lead with a 14.2 mm follicle. As usual, my right ovary tries to do too much only to come up short, and had two small follies at 10.4 mm and 8.8 mm. I returned three days later and my left follicle had grown to 18.2 mm and to my surprise -the right follicle caught up at 16.4 mm! My right ovary gets on the board! My spontaneous conception occurred when I ovulated on my right side -maybe it's my lucky ovary. Additionally, my endometrial lining recorded it's thickest measurement to date at 12.2 mm. It's the only place I don't mind being fat. Go ovaries! Go endometrium!
My RE instructed me to trigger on day 14 and plan for IUI on CD16, which is actually two days later than previous cycles. I brought reference to the fact that I suspected I may have ovulated early on my last IUI cycle. I received a long winded answer that amounted to 'yeah...that can sometimes happen...' He offered that we could trigger that night and inseminate on CD15, but noted that he preferred to give the follicles another day to develop. Given, that this is my first opportunity to have two follies, I was inclined to agree.
While I was at the front desk scheduling my appointment, my RE approached me. He leaned in and said softly, "You and Husband should have intercourse on Wednesday night in the event that you do ovulate early." I don't think I've ever been propositioned to have sex with my husband, by someone other than my husband. Slightly awkward... but we were able to have scheduled coitus as prescribed. After all, it was Wednesday -the day designated for Business Time! We were anticipating his count to be a bit lower, and it wasn't too bad. Pre-wash was 14 million; 3 million were selected for insemination, and post wash motility was 86% -a personal best! I was impressed with his ability to perform under pressure twice in less than twelve hours. In turn, I am being compliant with my luteal phase support. I am putting the P4 in my VG like a good girl.
Hoping to have a 'A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum' story on the morning of my IUI, I discovered that I forgot to pack underwear in my swim bag (I shower at the pool and go straight to the office). This was actually not a problem, as I keep a spare pair in my car in the event of such an omission (black and lacy in case it happens on Sexy Underwear Wednesday). The fact that I forgot to pack shoes was a problem. I saw my first few patients wearing my flip-flops (no one noticed) and Husband brought a pair of shoes to my RE's office when he went to drop off his sample.
Anyway, getting back to my swim meet... It was my first time ever swimming in a long course metre, proper Olympic sized pool...which looked really big up close in person. I began to feel a little nervous when other seasoned swimmers thought my schedule of events was ambitious. Nonetheless, I knocked them off. 4 x 100 m Free relay, 100 m Fly, 50 m Free and then another 50 Free in the 200 Medley relay. Just my easy 800 m Free, which was to be considered my cool down.
Only I forgot that the longer distance swims are seeded fastest to slowest (all regular events are slowest to fastest). I was in heat 9 of 12 and needed to wait two hours before my swim. Despite jumping in and out of the practice pool, I could feel the effects of prior races as my muscles became tight. It was now 5:30 in the afternoon and the temperature was cooling as the sun was setting. I had been up for 12 hours and at the pool since 7 AM. The vendors had left and the only people remaining beside the swimmers in the final three heats were the meet officials and some truly dedicated coaches.
Yet once I dove into the water, my muscles loosened and I felt as if I were in a zone. Interestingly, the 50 metres seemed shorter doing multiple laps than it did during my sprint races. At the advice of my teammate, I looked at the clock, which was helping me keep my pace and may just be the fix to my problem with intervals. As it was so late in the day, there were no volunteers to help count laps.
stroke, pull, kick..stroke pull, kick...blah, blah one...stroke, pull, kick, stroke, pull, kick...blah, blah five, stroke, pull, kick...blah, blah eleven..stroke, pull, kick...blah, blah fourteen...two more laps to go...
As I flipped into my turn to start my fifteenth lap, I heard a bell ringing above my head. It serves to wake up the timers at the scoring table to notify them of the final lap...but I think they just do that for the lead swimmer...OMG! I think I'm the lead swimmer! I pushed my tempo for a strong finish when I touched the final wall. I took a second to look back at the swimmers still finishing in the other lanes before I looked up at the scoreboard and saw the number 1 next to my name.
I won a heat. It was heat 9 of 12, but I won my first heat. I started dancing on the deck to the amusement of the tired and cranky timers and stroke judges. My coach described my splits as "impressive". Somehow, the girl who sucks at interval training managed to get it right when it counted. With the exception of my first and last, my 100 m splits were within 2-3 seconds. My time was 38 seconds below my seeded time, which was notable as I forgot to convert yards to metres when I was entering my time. I placed second in my age group and not because there were only two swimmers competing. I beat out two other swimmers. When I returned to practice the next morning, Stewart was one of the first to congratulate me, "You know, the danger of swimming a 'no expectations' race is that you may end up with a new event..." Perhaps.