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,