After a Failed IUI

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It has been two weeks + one day since my first IUI procedure. I did everything people said to do. I stayed away from the message boards and kept myself busy. I prayed more than ever before. I really tried my best not to think about it and get my hopes up. Yet, here I am in a puddle of tears at the onset of my period–my first official failed IUI.

I promised myself this wouldn’t happen. I reminded myself over and over again that it usually doesn’t work the first time. I forced myself to expect my period and thought that maybe, just maybe, when it came this time (as it always does) I wouldn’t be so broken. But here I am, still reeling from disappointment that I promised myself I wouldn’t feel.

Let me tell you something that this journey to motherhood has taught me..

Disappointment is the number one feeling above all else. There is lots of anger, sadness, jealousy, confusion, worry–you name it. But disappointment is the prime emotion that marks the woman battling infertility. Disappointment in our own bodies. Disappointment with God. Disappointment at another failed attempt. Disappointment that we can’t seem to control our emotions. It’s everywhere and never goes away. The trick, I’m finding, is learning to take the setbacks in stride and recognize that disappointment in life is inevitable. We are just becoming masters of it, and it will make us all the better in the end.

So, as I sit here still grappling with my failed IUI, let’s talk about how to remain positive, shall we? I’m going to be honest, this is just as much an effort to convince and teach myself. I hope my attempts could help you as well after your failed IUI. I’ve written before about the ugly side of infertility, and as ugly as this is we need to take steps together to remain positive. So let’s figure those steps out….

#1 –> Allow yourself to cry. Then move on..

You are going to be sad when your period rears it’s ugly head. It’s inevitable. Don’t fight it. Have a good, long cry. Take as long as you need. And then, when the tears begin to subside..do something. Do anything. Get out of your house, move away from the mirror, do some jumping jacks. I don’t care what it is, but distance yourself from the sadness and self pity. For one, it’s messing with your cortisol levels, and we all know you need to keep those in check. Second, while crying releases that pent up frustration, it will do nothing productive left unchecked. That is exactly why I am writing this right now. I had my cry, and now I need to move on and focus. Speaking of….

#2 –> Focus on next steps..

Every woman’s journey to motherhood looks different. I don’t know what your next steps are. Perhaps you will attempt another IUI. That’s my plan. Maybe you will take a break for a while and give your body a rest. Some women go back to trying to conceive the old fashioned way. Perhaps you will be moving on to IVF. Or maybe adoption. No matter what your next step is, draw your attention to it. I have found that the more we look back on the journey, the more we give in to those feelings of disappointment. We cannot wallow in it. It’s counter-productive. We don’t know how long this journey may be, but remaining in the present and future moments as much as possible can help to ease the pain of the past.

#3 –> Consider your long-term plan, and set a timeline..

Sometimes when you are trying to conceive and going through fertility treatments, there seems to be no end it sight. There can be so many pills, shots, transvaginal ultrasounds, bloodwork, and appointments that it makes your head spin. This can’t go on forever, you might say. And, in my opinion, it shouldn’t. There are only so many failures we can take before we give up all hope completely. That’s why I think it’s important to sit down with your partner and come up with a long-term plan. That plan will look different for everyone, but it needs to be talked about..

Will you give up after x amount of treatments and enjoy other aspects of life? Will you try a certain number of IUIs before one round of IVF? Will you stop all the treatments now and look into adoption? Those answers are yours to come up with, but make sure that your ending is one you can live with. Don’t leave options on the table if it will lead to regret in the future. Find a way to motherhood if that is the ultimate goal. Foster, adopt, take in stray cats (just kidding, but maybe not)…make it happen if that is what you want!

#4 –> Find peace in the present..

In order to find peace in the present we must remember this… For us, this journey is a marathon, not a sprint! And as difficult as a marathon is for the runner, think about the sense of accomplishment at the finish line. It cannot be compared to that of a sprint. And while you didn’t have the same “training” to prepare for your marathon, every month brings with it new lessons should you choose to learn them. Sometimes those lessons are hard to see through the tears, but I promise they are there. Believe that you will be a mother. Make it happen, and take in every heart-wrenching second along the way. I truly believe the end of our long race will make it all worth it.

Have you experienced a failed IUI? How did you cope? Did your journey result in a pregnancy? Let’s talk about it in the comments below, or jump over to the IUI discussion board.

Sending all the luck and love your way,

 

The Ugly Side of Infertility

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The Ugly Side of Infertility

If you’ve landed on this page, then you  are most likely struggling to have a baby. Or maybe you were at one point, but your miracle finally came. If so, congrats!! If you’re like me, then having a baby is something you have wanted your entire life. For as long back as you can remember. You spent years stopping it from happening with birth control or condoms. You may have even had a few “scares” along the way. And yet, you happily assumed that when you finally wanted to get pregnant it would happen. Just like that. I mean, teens get pregnant by accident, right?! But here we are..

No one tells you about this growing up. No one prepares you for this kind of disappointment in life. We face hardships like divorce and death, which of course are heart-wrenching in many ways, but this type of pain is something that to many people seems so foreign. With the loss of a loved one, for instance, we all have our handy stand-by comments: “They’re in a better place..” “They’re waiting for the rest of us..” You’ve heard it all before. It certainly doesn’t take the pain away, but you can recognize it as an attempt to ease the tension and bring about some glimmer of hope in an otherwise dreary time. But infertility is very different.. Let’s talk about the ugly side of infertility.

You suddenly become unrelatable to many people in your lives–people who you are very close with. People who suddenly feel guilty to even talk about the three months they tried to conceive or their “oops baby” around you. What were once harmless questions all of a sudden send you spiraling.. “Long time no see! Congratulations on your marriage…when are the babies coming?!” People seem to talk about marriage and babies in a single breath. I was VERY guilty of this faux paus..

BUT, this juncture in life makes you so acutely aware of social protocols that you never even knew existed. And many people still don’t get it–they see this type of questioning as a harmless probe, not one that confronts you with the ugly reality of your current predicament. Not the type of questioning that could bring you to tears in a public place. My favorite is when you do hint at your struggles to people with children and they try to give you advice. If one more person tells me I have to relax more and stop trying because that’s when it will happen I’m probably going to throat punch them. Not even kidding. Like, really moron, you think I haven’t thought of or tried that? Get real.

And yet..it’s not all pessimism and crying into a pint of ice cream. There are moments when your struggle can almost seem beautiful. You learn to appreciate the miracle of child birth in a way you never thought possible. Every baby’s laugh makes your heart soar (even when there’s a twinge of jealousy) and you want to shake every parent who complains at all. Don’t you know how lucky you are?!

I’ve yet to encounter any point in life that mixed hope and despair so seamlessly. And it’s not even on a daily basis. These emotions can fluctuate within the same hour. It makes you dizzy at times. Sometimes it’s as if you are standing outside of your own body trying to urge yourself to remain hopeful. There are moments when you convince yourself it will never happen. But there are also times when you become overly optimistic when chances are slim that a procedure will take. And when it doesn’t you sink back into that realization that you may really never become a mother.

I’m at an interesting point in my journey right now, and I chose this blog post as my first to really talk about the ugly side of it all. Today was my very first IUI (intra-uterine insemination). I’m not going to talk about the details of the procedure and the roller coaster leading up to it. I’ll save that for a future post. However, I will say that I absolutely hate having to be at this point. In my wildest dreams, I never thought conception could be so sterile and unromantic. After years of trying to conceive the old-fashioned way, though, you kind of gotta do what you gotta do to take that next step. I’m hopeful, but also realistic. I’ve done enough research to know that the chances of this working aren’t great. But isn’t bringing life into the world kind of miraculous anyway?

Even though it seems to happen around us all the time (especially when you’re the one trying to get pregnant!), babies are still like little presents that we don’t feel worthy of having. And hopefully one day we all will be mothers, and we will look back on this journey, the ugliness that is infertility, and realize how grateful it made us. Love, prayers, and baby dust to all of you! Feel free to leave some comments =) We are all in this together.

the ugly side of infertility