Our First Round of IUI Failed: Here’s How I’m Feeling & What’s Next For My Fertility Process

Our First Round of IUI Failed

Everyone kept asking after our first round of IUI, “Do you feel pregnant?” I guess they were assuming that because I have a pretty deep connection with my body, I’d be able to feel the sperm fertilizing the egg and all the cells starting to do their thing. 

I didn’t.

Our First Round of IUI Failed

Honestly, I kind of just felt like shit for the two weeks in between the insemination itself, and the blood pregnancy test. But let me rewind a little, because the last thing I left you guys with was the post I wrote the day OF insemination. I wanted everything to be fresh, which is why the first thing I did when I got home from the doctor was sit my ass down and write it all out. 

Now we’re here, a little over two weeks later, with a negative test, sore boobs, and bloated belly. So what happened in between? And what’s our plan moving forward? Let’s get into it. 

Dos and Don’ts Directly After IUI Procedure 

Like I said, the very first thing I did when I got home from the doctor was sit down and write. My natural rhythm after that would be to do a light workout- some weights and yoga. But I paused. Should I exercise after this procedure? I thought. 

You’d think this would be something the fertility clinic would tell you, but no- they literally didn’t tell me ONE do or don’t when I waltzed out of the office. Keep in mind, this is all very new to me. Plus, I was on a bit of a high from just getting shot up with sperm for the first time, so it didn’t even cross my mind to ask….well, anything. 

This meant I just turned to Mr. Google, and furiously scrolled away through a collection of articles. And I’m happy I did, because let’s just say that I had to change some plans around after I learned more about creating the best possible environment for growth. 


-Eat healthy whole foods.

-Rest as needed.

-Low impact exercise like walking or gentle yoga.


-Try to reduce stress.


-Avoid caffeine.

-No high intensity workouts. 

-Don’t swim(?).

-No hot baths or saunas. 

-Try not to eat processed foods or foods high in sugar.

Basically, my body knew what the hell was up before my mind did. That’s why I felt resistance specifically around the weight lifting part of my day. Instead, I opted for gentle yoga and super long meditation where I continued to connect to my body, and tried to connect to the spirit of the babies. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, read this post on how I’ve been preparing for this first insemination for the last 9 months. 

I’m also lucky enough to have a great acupuncturist who’s supporting this process for me, and got me in for an appointment the same afternoon as the IUI procedure. She did a really gentle treatment, which allowed me another chance to meditate- working on connecting to the babies, and speaking really lovingly to my body. 

What Comes Next After IUI Procedure?

From the time they inject the sperm, to the first blood pregnancy test- you get to wait an agonizingly long 15 days where all you can think about is: am I pregnant right now? I’ve heard women going through their fertility process talk about this wait period being tough, but honestly, I was surprised just how hard I found it. 

I was equally peaceful, hopeful, and in this place of total acceptance for whatever might happen going into it. So, I didn’t expect for it to take up so much space in my mind with these looping thoughts. But it did. 

I certainly wasn’t stressed about it, it was just this ever-present wondering and question that I was dying to know the answer to. One that Google could never tell me, ya know? 

Three days after the IUI procedure, I started taking progesterone suppositories twice daily as directed by the clinician. This is standard protocol for fertility clinics (at least here in the States), to ensure the uterine lining is thick and supportive through the first trimester. Because no one knows if you’re pregnant or not, it’s best to start right away- just in case. 

From there, my skin proceeded to completely freak out.

I broke out like a teenager all along my jaw (telling me it was hormonal). I couldn’t sleep through the night because of the intensity of my hot flashes, unquenchable thirst, and incessant peeing. While all of these things were certainly annoying, and I was exhausted from the lack of sleep- I was also really happy, because these are all indicators of high progesterone levels. 

One week after the insemination, you go to the lab to draw blood and test your progesterone levels. The clinic makes it very clear that high levels are not an indication of pregnancy, but rather just something they want to monitor to ensure that you did, indeed, ovulate- which is clearly vital for conceiving. 

I got my progesterone levels back. They were high. Like super high. Which is definitely a great sign. While the clinic makes it clear that this does not mean you’re pregnant, other medical professionals argue that with levels as high as mine- that’s exactly what it means, because there’s no other reason they’d skyrocket that way. 

I tried not to let the good news get to my head, and to stay grounded in reality with the very real possibility that it didn’t work the first time around. But I gotta say, after the progesterone test, I was feeling pretty dang certain that this was it. It was happening. 

I was wrong. 

Thoughts on Failed IUI

The Heartbreak of a Negative Pregnancy Test

One week after the progesterone test, we could do my first blood pregnancy test to find out if it worked. This day happened to also be my birthday. I thought I was in store for the best birthday present ever. 

Again, I was wrong. 

A little back story on my birthday, and the month of May in general: it’s usually a dark time for me. When I was a teenager, my best friend died just before my birthday, and the trauma of her loss has just sort of stuck around in my body since then. Additionally, my 24th birthday landed me in the hospital after a nearly fatal domestic violence incident with an abusive boyfriend. Again, these memories linger in my body and subconscious mind (usually showing up in the form of flashback night terrors once Taurus season starts). 

While I feel healed from both of these experiences, they live in me. And, whether I like it or not, May just tends to feel a little heavy and a little dark. I thought this whole conceiving thing would break the doom and gloom of gray May for me. 

Look, I’m not saying that we planned the timing of any of this in order to break the May-ness of it all. Keep in mind, we’re working around my cycle, and our (very busy) schedules. So, it really just happened that the first time we could try was in April. The day that I took the progesterone test just happened to be the anniversary of my best friend’s death. And the day that I took the pregnancy test just happened to be my birthday. 

Honestly, I took all of these winks from the Universe as a good sign.

Turns out they weren’t good or bad, they just were. But a little hope never hurts.

By the time I took the blood pregnancy test, I was back in Nicaragua, because I was going to teach one of my last retreats for the season. This meant that I needed to take the blood pregnancy test in Nicaragua. On my birthday. And at this point, I’m feeling pretty dang good about it. 

People kept telling me how I looked like I was “glowing,” even if they didn’t know we were trying for babies. I had thrown up a few times in the morning, which seemed like a good sign. My boobs hurt like all hell.  And, the progesterone levels were high! I did everything “right.” It was time to break the cycle. And it had to work. It just had to. 

The closest lab is an hour away from where we live. The drive there was filled with light, hopeful chatter. Alix and I both felt super positive about it. Like we had this little secret that we just knew all along. 

I was quaking by the time I sat down for the blood draw. Not because of the needle- I’m used to getting poked to all hell at this point in my health journey. But because this was it. I was finally going to know. 

They took my blood, and phone number- promising results in no more than two hours. Not too bad. One hour to drive home, and another hour for birthday lunch and cake. The time came, and went, with no call. No text. 

We waited for FOUR MORE HOURS before we finally got the results.

I asked Alix to film me, because I really just want to document it all. 

“Even if it’s negative?” She asked, carefully. 

“Yeah, I’ll cry either way,” I said with false confidence. 

And it was. It was negative. I felt like I’d lost something, even though I never even had it. 

My throat thickened, but the tears never came. I just felt this weird blend of panic, grief, and….relief. Not relieved that it didn’t happen. But relief in finally knowing. I no longer had to participate in the mental gymnastics of flipping back and forth between “am I/aren’t I?”

The truth is, I didn’t expect to take it as hard as I did.

I went into the experience knowing that most people need multiple rounds of IUI in order to achieve a successful pregnancy. I felt okay with that. And I didn’t feel like I was “different” or “special” by any means. I guess I just felt like it really worked. And when it didn’t, there was this feeling like my heart was a deflated balloon. 

What made it worse was people’s responses. I was inundated with negativity. A combination of people reminding me how hard this was going to be mentally, physically, and emotionally- as well as more stories of friends of friends where it took years for them to conceive. 

The thing is, I know that friends and family weren’t unknowingly shitting all over me when I was already feeling down. They thought they were helping with their commiseration. Plus, I was in this sensitive, fragile state where it felt like no one could say the right thing. So there was that. 

Well, I should say I thought no one could say the right thing, until people did.

Then I realized just how badly all of the other junk had hurt me. Suddenly, it was very clear as to why people do this privately, rather than publicly- everyone else’s feedback was just too much on top of my own disappointment. Not to mention the need to follow up with a bazillion people to let them know that the test was negative, and then bracing myself for their reactions. 

Everyone is so different.

So I can’t say that the reaction I was seeking is what your loved one will want. But I will share for the sake of just making you think about your words next time someone is going through this. 

Some of the best messages were the simplest that just read, “I’m so sorry. Let me know if you need anything.” Another favorite I have is the reminder that this is NORMAL, and most people- no matter how they’re choosing to conceive- don’t get knocked up on the first try. 

The messages that made me feel worse were the ones that inadvertently made me feel like there was something wrong with me- like this was about to be a long, bumpy road simply because it didn’t work ONE time. And, of course, all of the messages about the sad fertility stories- you already know how I feel about those. 

The raging hormones didn’t help the emotional rollercoaster happening inside of me. If you don’t know me personally, then you wouldn’t know that my first emotion is often anger. So, that’s the first thing that came up- as well as everything in the same vein of anger. Annoyance, frustration, and irritation. Underneath my anger is usually where my real feelings live. Of course there are times when I’m just mad, and it stays there in the anger zone.  But most of the time, anger is the reaction, and the truth is under the surface. 

In this case, sadness was buried under my initial fury. 

I found out on a Thursday afternoon, where I yo-yoed between anger and denial. Not necessarily denial that the test was wrong, but more so just like- let’s shove this shit down, rather than feel it at all kind of denial. My avoidant people will understand.

On Friday I woke up and somehow felt hollow and heavy all at once- a sign that sadness had surfaced. Sometimes if my sadness is “normal,” and then I wonder what the hell the golden standard for normal is anyways. All I know is that whenever I do get to that hidden layer of sadness underneath that big ‘ole pile of pissed offness- it tends to swallow me in a tidal wave of misery. 

How can you miss something that never was?

I don’t know, but it’s possible. 

My heart ached as if there was a loss.

All of Friday I felt I left Oz, and went back to Kansas as my world was colored with grayness. I kept moving, I kept breathing, I even finally cried- but somehow I still felt numbness more than pain. 

I decided to take the next few days off of social media, because that sure as shit wouldn’t help my mental health. As Friday progressed into Saturday, I woke up seemingly paralyzed with what I can only describe as grief. As the messages continued to roll in, I continued to turn my phone over and sink more heavily into my bed. 

How the hell was I going to teach a retreat in two days?

How was I going to face anyone, when I couldn’t even sit up?

A walk and a yoga practice later, I managed to get those heavy, stuck feels wiggled loose and flowing freely. This showed up in the form of endless tears, followed by intense tiredness. To which I succumbed. I stopped pushing through. I laid in bed the rest of the day, watching mindless television in a way that both fed the beast, and soothed me at the same time. You should know that I have a very hard time laying in bed all day watching TV. This behavior was so out of the norm for me, and Alix’s concerned glances somehow only made me feel worse. 

The real kicker was that I lost my appetite, too.

Trust me when I say this hasn’t even happened when I’ve been sick as a dog on my deathbed. 

After force-feeding myself some fresh pitaya while Alix gave me a foot massage, I somehow, magically, started to feel a little bit more like….me. 

My friend and co-teacher was coming that night. She knew everything that was going on, and I warned her I was feeling “sensitive,” as I lightly put it. My focus was to get rest enough to have energy first for her arrival, and next for our week-long retreat ahead. If that meant being horizontal for the next 48 hours, so be it. 

Failed IUI experience

Alix and I went for a walk with the dogs at sunset. We jumped in the ocean, and I swear it washed the last two days off of me. I wasn’t miraculously healed, but I was out of the throes of it. 

By Sunday, I was moving and grooving. I read, instead of binging TV. I laughed, cracked a few jokes. And enjoyed a lovely sunset swim with my friend. I slept like a rock, and woke up today- Monday- feeling like myself again. Which was good timing, considering I went back online for the first time in 3 days, and all of the leftover Mother’s Day posts were still at the top of my feed. 

Hope had re-entered the chat. 

Turns out I just needed to feel my feelings in order to let them pass. Who knew?

I will say that I was surprised by the intensity of my response to it all. I felt like I was in this vortex of mourning, which didn’t even make sense. Because nothing had even died. I don’t know if it was the hormones, or just the sweet sensitivity of my Pisces moon coming out strong in the face of heartbreak. But it was…a lot. 

I know you’re probably wondering why the hell I’m sharing this all now, when I said a huge part of the pain was from the public nature of it all. While I won’t be sharing the details of our next insemination, I will say that sharing helps me to stay out of shame. When I hold things in, I feel like the experience gets cloaked in shame- like my body can’t do what it’s supposed to. Like people’s pity casts the shadow of embarrassment onto my body. 

I don’t want that. 

I don’t want to lose hope. 

Hope is the life raft in my sea of sadness. It keeps me buoyant, and alive. 

I’m sharing this, because I know many of you out there have also had a negative pregnancy test that you so badly wanted to be positive. That you cried when you got your period, because it made it all even more real. I’m sharing to remind you to find your own life raft of hope, because we need it to bring this little being earthside.

Since the negative test, I’ve been in more active conversation with my body than ever before. I remind her every day that we’re in this together. I ask her what she needs from me. And I put my hands on myself, touching my belly and beating heart with the tender care of the mother I know I’ll one day be. 

You’ve got this. 



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