Messy Middle

I keep waiting for the happy ending. The triumphant victory of two hard won pink lines that leads to joy with our loved ones and concludes with a gorgeous baby of our own.

It hasn’t happened yet.

We are still in the middle. The messy middle of no. The never ending cycle of grief. The countless, inconvenient, and unfeeling visits to the fertility clinic. Almost two years in, and we are still sitting in the waiting room.

So, while the writer part of me thinks this is a good time for the story to wrap up… It just seems to be getting longer. It’s becoming a very detailed story with character development, conflict, and plot twists. The story that I never wanted to be our story continues, and I while I want to write the happy ending, I suppose that first, I have to pen the messy middle.

We’ve just had our fourth failed IUI. That means intrauterine insemination. I don’t think I need to give a full run down of the procedure, but it’s pretty unglamorous. We tried a few unmedicated cycles to no avail. We stepped it up with more monitoring (read: more uncomfortable visits with the wand. And I don’t mean the magic kind.) and medication. The medication made me so exhausted, but I know so many others have had much worse experiences while taking it. I was grateful to just be tired. Then came the trigger shot. Yep, I had to give myself a shot. In the stomach. (I guess I better buckle up because I’ve got a lot more of that coming my way.) And I won’t even tell you what I had to do with the little blue pills to thicken my uterine lining. Our numbers were great. Everything looked so positive. We honestly believed IUI #4 was going to be the one. I even peed on a stick the day before our blood test because I was so hoping to surprise Dan with the news. Nothing about this journey has been the romanticized version of pregnancy you see in the movies or on your Insta feed… we get to have so few “normal” moments in all of this. I was physically shaking by the time the two minutes were up, thinking that this would be the moment I would find out I was a mom. And then I looked at that stupid stick. I was honestly shocked. In the worst possible way. Like I ruined someone’s surprise party and everyone decided to just go home. I can literally hear the sound of the balloons being deflated. How can this be?! There is no reason it shouldn’t have worked. So, instead of my husband coming home to the card I made him almost two years ago… he came home to me in tears. And then denial – cue up the music for the grief merry go round – as I start googling negative HPT positive Beta. Not to brag, but you get really good at lingo and acronyms in the infertility world. We still had a chance. The home pregnancy tests aren’t always accurate. We held on to the tiniest bit of wishful thinking. We decided to go to Disneyland after our Beta test the next morning. It was either going to be a day to celebrate or a day to survive, and Disney is our happy place. But when we got our official no… it was a lot harder to find our own happy surrounded by adorable children when we knew I wasn’t carrying one of our own.

You know one of the worst parts about it all? There’s no down time. There’s no time to grieve and process and decide what to do next. Because, like it or not, my next cycle is here. Time to call the clinic to let them know and set up my first ultrasound of the cycle. Because if I don’t, then we miss our opportunity this time around. We’ve taken a break once before. It was nice. And really needed. But truthfully, I don’t have a lot of breaks to take. My doctor discovered early on in our testing that I have low ovarian reserves. Which basically means I have fewer eggs to work with, less time to make this happen. Each cycle counts for me. Each cycle so far has been a dream slipping through my fingers. The picture of our future fading Back to the Future style with each failure. It doesn’t matter that I was 27 when we started trying. It doesn’t matter when people say, “but you’re so young. You have time.” Because the scary truth is that I don’t. No time to save up money or take time to process. The time is now. Or our baby might be never.

So, here we are. We have two IUI cycles left that are partially paid for by our insurance. Just two. We are giving it all we have. Despite the stress of scheduling and work and money and what if. We are getting aggressive. I’ll be taking injectable medication each day and going back to the fertility clinic at least once a week until we are ready to pull the trigger and pray that IUI #5 is the one.

It’s so messy, guys. It is hard and painful and every day I wonder if I can keep doing this. Then I force myself to remember that I am not in this alone. I have the world’s best husband who is going to be the world’s best dad. I have such an amazing support system of friends and family. I have my incredible Infertility Posse. I have the wonderful dreams and plans that have come to me because of infertility. I have a good, good Father who is reminding me daily that He is the author of this story, not me. That His ending will be far sweeter and superior to the one I would have written for myself. I believe Him. So, I’m surrendering the messy middle and trusting that He will weave it into something unspeakably beautiful. And that when He whispers, “surprise!” it will all have been so, so worth it.

4 Replies to “Messy Middle”

  1. You are brave for sharing, brave for continually showing up for yourself and your husband, brave for continually dreaming despite the pain. You are a joy and a light in this process my friend and I am praying for healing and sweetness in this next round. Thank you for wearing your heart on the internet💚

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Joanna,
    I’m so sorry for what you are having to go through, and so real for sharing your story. I have been and will continue to keep you and Dan in my prayers, God’s in control, and I can’t wait for Him to to shower you with His blessings.
    Love you,
    Aunt Jennie

    Liked by 1 person

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