I was having to be quite inventive at work coming up with excuses to duck out for various appointments. Fudging the truth with a mix of doctor, dentist, lunch dates and taking some holiday hadn’t seemed to raise any eyebrows so far, maybe because they had actually been quite spaced out, but it was making me feel a bit uncomfortable. I hate not telling the truth, and I’m not very good at it, but we weren’t ready to tell anyone yet before we really knew ourselves what was going on. Which is what our next appointment was all about.
The results of my HSG came back fine. Pipes clear. We sat down in the consulting room and were told that having had all the tests, we had what is termed ‘unexplained infertility.’ Basically this means the doctors couldn’t find anything wrong with us. On paper, according to test results, we should be able to get pregnant. But there’s many a slip ‘twixt cup and lip.
Again this news was a really odd feeling. They couldn’t find anything physically the matter with us. Science was on our side. But it wasn’t happening. Was it in our heads? You think all kinds of crazy things. I (for those who know me, you know how out of character this is) had sleepless nights wondering whether we were being punished for not believing in God, or for trying to have a baby out of wedlock. Or, perhaps, we had just been doing sex wrong all these years?!? I’m only half joking, it did cross my mind.
In a way, it was good. Fair. We were in this together. Neither one of us was to blame. Not that we would ever use that word, but if something had come up for me I would have felt incredibly guilty, that it was my fault. It would be hard not to feel responsible for everything. Our circumstances meant we were lucky to avoid that burden, that strain. Our relationship has always been solid but TTC tests the best and insecurities and paranoid feelings creep in. For us, having children has always been the goal, our raison d’être. But what if we just couldn’t? Would we adopt? You try and take it a step at a time, but your mind can’t help racing ahead. For the first time it crossed my mind that T might leave me for a non-barren younger model. Forget moving home, forget organising a wedding, trying for a baby has been the biggest pressure on our relationship. Holding onto your sense of humour and trusting in each other is what got us through but I can easily see how it could rip you apart.
And now we had choice. We could keep trying or move straight onto IUI. In light of all the information, we, masochists that we were, gallantly opted to give it another six months of trying to conceive naturally. If, after six months, we needed to go onto IUI, we would still be in the system. We wouldn’t need to start from the beginning and do all the tests again, we could just pick up where we left off.
Our thinking was that knowledge was power and that all the tests coming back clear might lift the worry and stress and you never know it might all just magically fall into place. We’d go on holiday. We would be in a more relaxed frame of mind. You hear all kinds of stories about couples nearly giving up and then it happening out of the blue and you cling onto that glimmer of hope.
I can’t speak for T, but I was still hell bent on making the moment of conception special and meaningful. Of course, this got harder and harder as time went on. We were well over two years in now without success. For starters, having sex on a schedule isn’t a recipe for my idealised romantic moment. But we kept plugging away. I was adamant I didn’t want our baby to come out of a test tube I wanted it to be an act of love. This felt hugely important to me for ages. Disproportionately so, and for too long, looking back now.