I’m sitting down at my computer tonight in a house so silent you can hear a pin drop, with a glass of rich, red wine next to me, and a plate of crackers and brie, which may or may not be pasteurized, in the fridge ready to serve as tonight’s supper.
To some of you, this might sound like heaven. To someone who began her TTC (trying to conceive) journey back in December, it’s the sound and sight of disappointment.
I’m known for my optimism, so I guess it’s no surprise that I thought I’d be pregnant by now. It’s also no surprise I’m not. Statistically, the odds are not in my favor each month. For someone my age, the ancient 35 that I am, IUIs have a 10-20% chance of working each month. But after six months, for couples or singles with no known fertility issues, that percentage hits about 80%. Being that rosy-glassed girl who nearly flunked statistics in college, I figured that meant by try number three I had nearly even odds of being successful, multiply that by the 100 mg of Clomid, a new donor, and the lucky Wonder Woman socks, and it was practically a done deal.
Then I ended up in the ER with a cat bite requiring antibiotics less than a week before my IUI, caught the stomach bug I’d managed to avoid all winter the day before my procedure, and moments before sticking my legs in the stirrups learned my new and improved donor had even lazier sperm than the last dude’s. Still, I stayed positive.
And my body responded perfectly. I had high temperatures, a few cramps (implantation for sure!), a bit of lightheadedness, and no spotting. It was the first time I made it all the way to my beta test (the blood pregnancy test) without Aunt Flow arriving first. Unfortunately, Mother Nature is a nasty shrew, who made all the signs of pregnancy identical to PMS, so despite my negative at-home pregnancy tests, I still held out a shred of hope right up until the nurse called this afternoon. Another negative. Thanks a friggin’ lot, MoNa.
Wonder Woman socks aside, my optimism felt more like a super gut-punch than a super power. Hope hurts.
I felt I’d managed the first two months’ disappointment with grace and dignity, but this month I just don’t have the strength. This month I’m a teary hot mess who wants to curl up in her sweats under a blanket with her cat and cry. Maybe it’s the added hormones. Or maybe it’s the added pain of coming home to an empty house with no one to rub my back and give me that “you’ll be okay” hug and later, when I’ve lingered on moping too long, to tell me to suck it up and move on. Or maybe it’s the fact the savings I wanted to have for the baby is dwindling and insurance won’t kick in until I suffer three more NTTs, which stands for not this time, the positive spin TTCers put on a negative test result.
Or maybe it’s just that this process is hard, harder than I ever really understood despite having friends and family who’d gone through much harder infertility treatments after years of trying on their own.
It was because of them and their greater struggles that I almost didn’t write this post. Who am I to complain after a mere three attempts? Granted they were expensive, perfectly timed, clinically executed attempts, but three, just three.
But then a friend helped my realize what I knew in my heart. Not writing about the hard months of this journey, not trusting others to understand and to forgive my little pity parties, was far worse than ignoring it. The women who’ve gone through more are the ones most likely to understand and forgive. And those just starting out, or those in the midst of this journey along with me deserve honesty. They deserve to know that even the most optimistic and upbeat feel beaten at times. Tonight, I’m beaten.
But tomorrow is the start of another stretch of this journey. And it’s one I intend to continue down, despite a few road bumps (and a potential hangover). I know in my heart I’m meant to be a mom. It might take longer than I’d hoped, but I’m guessing when my time comes, it will be even more wonderful than I imagine. I won’t quit trying, or smiling, or being foolishly optimistic. Even though such traits occasionally come back to bite me, they’re worth passing on, which is exactly what I intend to do—just not this time.