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not-so-failed cycle

Updated: Jul 14, 2020

Love is an act of faith and its face should always be covered in mystery. Every moment should be lived with feeling and emotion because if we try to decipher it and understand it, the magic disappears. We follow its winding and luminous paths, we let ourselves go to the highest peak or the deepest seas, but we trust in the hand that leads us…
~ Paolo Coehlo

Hi there.

Nice to see you again.

Well, guys, round one of IUI was a no-go. I missed the bad news call, so I received it via a one-line email – which is always an awesome way to receive bad news.

I called the fertility office to figure out the next steps, and the receptionist said, “That’s what we call a failed cycle, so…” And then I tuned out the next few sentences. I’m sorry, but there has got to be a better way to phrase that. “Failed cycle” feels like red permanent marker scratched shamefully across the top of a pregnancy essay.

Just before that call, I spent an hour talking with a new friend about our journeys to mamahood. She has been on a much longer journey than I have, and, toward the end of our conversation, she said quietly, “I’m not sure what else I’m supposed to learn from this.”

I let that float for a few minutes, before grasping at a few words, “You’ve already learned and grown so much...Maybe it’s no longer about learning.”

I didn’t really have a follow-up. I didn’t know what it was about. It just was.

We agreed to keep each other updated, so, after I called the office, fighting tears, and after I called D, in full-on breakdown mode, I took a few deep breaths and updated her. I processed a little, eventually arriving at the truth that I actually felt okay about it and was ready to try again.

She responded with something akin to (but much more eloquent): “Try to stay in the present, rather than thinking ahead. One step at a time…Leave some magic. And don’t cry! The baby is saying, ‘Why are you crying?! I’m here!’ The baby is moving toward you, in its own time. You moved a little closer to each other with this IUI, and you’ll both move a little closer with the next one. Eventually, you’ll meet.”

It’s true: the first one is the hardest. Then again, I’ve only had one so far, so that might not be true at all. Still, it’s hard not to fall when you think, “Okay, we’re taking the next step! Giving it some extra oomph!”...and then it’s apparently not enough oomph. You don’t go immediately from that to “Well, guess we just need some more oomph!” You shoot straight toward something like earth-shattering grief, bewilderment at how you can possibly grieve for someone that never existed in the first place, and temporary blazing fury at the Universe for not throwing you a bone already.

My friend said all of the things that I’ve been telling myself these past few months. However, you have to go through the emotions before you arrive back to where you’ve been working toward. In the end, as painful as that afternoon was, I was rather in awe of how okay I truly felt – and how quickly I arrived there. It felt like, well, resilience.

After I picked myself up, I thought, “Well, I am hands down drinking a lot of wine tonight.” I mean, you know. So, that night, I poured myself my first glass of wine in two weeks, and I poured it into my rose-colored glass with gold lettering that says: Whatever she tackles, she conquers.

I thought about the word “conquer.” In this case, it meant not fighting against. It meant letting go. It meant not only accepting, but somehow embracing what happened. It meant honoring that big (because it will be big, I assure you), beautiful spirit baby and trusting that it knows its time to join us.

I also thought about the date: 9/11. I thought about the overwhelming power of lack that reverberated through my bones when I visited the Memorial and looked into the footprints of ghost buildings. It will always be hard to fathom that loss.


I started that morning on the phone with Papa, who talked about waking up grateful and making the most of every day.

Gratitude is ever-present.

Mama told me that she has been wearing the matching necklace I bought for her, Leah, and myself in Greece “for positive energy.” Positive Mama energy. Positive mamahood energy.

Dennis bought me flowers and wrote a poem with his closet poet prowess that moved from me through tears to laughter.

My sister somehow missed my family group text about the IUI and responded with a video of her new puppy. Later that night, she texted: “Ok I’m not asking about your appointment but can you just tell me how we’re feeling?” (Thumbs up, thumbs down, or “content in the middle.”)

I wrote back: “Did you not see my family text?...”

She responded, “Um what...Hold please...Oh my god. NOOOOO FACK I’M SORRY! Omg sorry for totally missing that and sending Ollie pics!!! Jesus I’m the worst.”

For the record, you are so far from the worst, Leah. You added a good dose of healing levity, as always. You pick me up time and time again, and we always end up laughing – even as we’re crying. You’re an integral piece of this journey.

Yes, all of these things are the ones that make me cry the most, with gratitude.


Realistic optimism means maintaining a positive outlook within known constraints. Realistic optimism means foreseeing obstacles, but knowing that you will succeed because you believe in the capacity for growth. Or, to quote a writer of inspirational maxims:

The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
~ William Arthur Ward

My chances of becoming pregnant with the first IUI were about 15-18%. My chances might be a little higher with the next few IUIs, after which we will probably explore other options. I’m well aware of these statistics, which made this first IUI fall easier, but I choose not to focus on them. After all, I know that one of the key reasons I regained full arm function after my humerus break was the fact that I misheard the doctor in my drugged-out state when he said, “She has an 80-90% chance of full recovery.” Apparently it was much lower. However, I never, not for one second, believed that my arm wouldn’t heal 100%.

I think a part of D regretted getting so excited. As he put it, “The more excited you get, the harder you fall.” I looked right in his eyes, smiled, and, with genuine joy and thrill of each step that lies ahead, said, “I know this felt like a hard fall, but I’m glad that we got excited! I’m grateful that I was finally in a place to trust it. That's positive! And I’m going to continue being realistically optimistic.” We toasted to the journey and clinked wine glasses.

I have no doubt that our spirit baby is coming soon. Until that happens, I’m keeping the faith, and I’m putting it out there in the Universe by sharing it with all of you. I’m manifesting it, and I’m continually readjusting my sails as the wind blows us back and forth.

By the way, we officially started the next round of IUI on the Friday the 13th, which was also a full moon. And it gets even better, because it was a Micromoon. I just learned what this is. This full moon appeared a bit smaller and dimmer than most full moons, as it was at its apogee (farthest distance from the Earth). In other words, it’s the quieter, more subtle moon. Less known, more mysterious, but just as magnetic. Kind of an underdog.

Of course, as I typically do, I missed actually seeing it because I completely forgot about it until I crawled into bed...and then there was absolutely no way I was venturing four floors down and walking to the end of the block to try to find it. But I know it was there, looking over us and our spirit baby, honoring the circle of life.

By the way...that wine night? Two sips in, I stumbled into the wall. A glass and a half later, I stumbled into bed and had a pretty terrible night’s sleep. Upon reflection, I’d rather sleep better.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by. And keep sharing your stories, because someone wants (and needs) to hear them.


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