“Maybe we should just take a test,” my wife said to me on the eleventh day after our last IUI. It was three days early, but we just couldn’t wait any longer because when you’re in the thick of IUI waiting can be torturous. If you have ever waited for something in your life whether it be a baby or something else entirely, you know it can be hard to be in the waiting period, so how do we handle that in between, what keeps us going?
For 11 days, we had both been agonizing over every little thing my body was doing. Every sign of nausea. Each sign of fatigue. Anything out of the ordinary that we could anchor our little boat of hope to. This was the fourth time we had done the dreaded “two-week wait”, the time after a fertility procedure before you can take a pregnancy test. Anyone who is trying for a baby knows what that wait can be like between taking a test and conception. We told ourselves that this time we wouldn’t Google every possible early pregnancy symptom every five minutes (spoiler: we still did). We tried to stay distracted and pass the time. But no matter what approach we take, the two-week wait seems to get harder every time.
We took that test on day 12, which was also New Year’s Eve. One line appeared – our fourth failed try. We had a very quiet morning as we both worked through our disappointment and heartache on our own. This journey can be really personal, even within a couple.
The Thick of IUI
After that morning, it occurred to me that we are in the thick of IUI. I’ve been here before with other big life things like grad school, job searching, dating, heartbreak, and you probably have too. There comes a point in every single important thing we do in our lives that it can feel nearly impossible to see the other side. There are so many unknowns when you’re in the thick of it. What if I don’t get a perfect GPA? Or if no one hires me? What if I never meet “the one”? What if I fail at this thing I want so badly I literally dream about it?
Changing Your Perspective to Perseverance
A lesson life has taught me over and over is that even the most difficult things always work out in the end. Sometimes they don’t work out how you wanted or expected. You get curve balls that throw off your best-laid plans. Sometimes, albeit rarely, these hard things can work out better than you even expected. But more often, you find obstacles that end up being lessons, opportunities to emerge a stronger, better person.
But, when you’re in the thick of it, it’s easy to forget this and to instead tell yourself that maybe this will be the time things don’t work out in the end. Maybe this is the start of my life’s decline into unending misery and suffering.
I’m not trying to sit here and say that every storm cloud has silver lining or some other toxic positivity cliché. Not at all. Sometimes really terrible things happen that take a long time to sort through and recover from. Sometimes things happen that completely alter our lives forever. But I do know that things are always okay eventually, even when the worst possibility becomes a reality.
As I sit here doing my best to not “what if” myself to death about our fertility journey, I’m trying to remember that even though we’re in the thick of IUI right now, this is an adventure unlike any I will ever experience. Even if we end up having to go down paths we never anticipated in order to grow our family, it will be our story. And there’s something really hopeful about that. But for now, we’re in the thick of it. And that’s completely, totally, absolutely okay.