When we set out on this journey, our doctor suggested we commit to three attempts at artificial insemination – or as the pros call it “IUI”. After the first failed attempt, I was tempted to pull the plug immediately and make the move to IVF. The feeling when that test comes back negative can only truly be understood by someone who has walked this road. The disappointment is palpable – it’s unlike anything you’ve experienced before. It’s harder than failing an exam, worse than tanking your driver’s license. The disappointment fills you up, it’s like a weight in your soul. It compresses your lungs and pushes all the air out the room. Your tears are hot – they sting and burn the backs of your eyes and your heart feels like it is literally splitting in two. Those two little words – “It’s negative” – have the power to bring you to your knees, to push you down so you feel you might never be able to get up again.
The first time our doctor called to give me the results I was completely shattered. We’d been so convinced! I’d been sure I’d felt… something happening in there. I was adamant I’d felt life. And who knows, maybe I did. Maybe for some brief moment I was pregnant, but the timing was wrong and the universe decided it was not our day. Either way, we’d been so sure and when the results came back negative, we were completely and utterly devastated and totally unconvinced that I’d be able to go through that disappointment again. I felt like I’d completely let the team down. Like it was somehow my fault it hadn’t worked, like there was something I could’ve – should’ve – done differently to give us a better chance. Of course there was nothing I’d done – or not done – to affect the outcome, it just wasn’t our time. Some time later I learned a friend had fallen pregnant at roughly that time and I remember thinking to myself, “that’s why…” It gave me a sense of comfort to believe that our little miracle hadn’t just disappeared, it just simply hadn’t been our miracle.
Whether it was self-preservation or that it really was different, I’ll never know, but the second time we tried I was nowhere near as convinced that we’d have any kind of success. When the doctor called me to say it had come back negative, I was prepared – expecting it even. It didn’t affect me nearly as much as the first time. By the time the third negative came back I was an experienced hand. I took the news in my stride, thanked the doctor for her time, wished her well over the festive period and committed to enjoying our December holiday. We’d look at it again in the new year and when we did, we’d try IVF.