A never-ending battle

 

Today, I’m struggling with infertility.

I am looking at my son who is so contently playing in his exersaucer. I know he can sense when Momma is upset. He is my miracle. He is my greatest blessing.

But, he can’t take away the emotions.

Last week, a friend lost her first baby off her first IVF cycle. It was the only embryo to make it, but it only made it so far. ❤

Yesterday, another friend told me she just experienced another loss. It’s her second pregnancy and her second loss since 2016 began. ❤

Today, another friend found out her 3rd baby has also become an Angel. It was her 3rd pregnancy, the one we thought was THE ONE. This pregnancy was the farthest she has ever gotten. ❤

My God. Why is it so hard?

Each time, my heart just breaks.

It’s

NOT

fair.

With each blink of your eyes – whether there’s tears streaming from them or not – you are surviving. And some days, surviving is all you can do.

brokenhearts

What does beating infertility mean to you? Read this post about Beating Infertility from my friend Sondra at a Calm Persistence. 

 

 

Attending our first Perinatal Loss Support Group

Since our ectopic pregnancy loss, I have seen a grief counsellor twice and began working with my fertility coach again. The grief counsellor recommended that my husband and I consider attending our local Perinatal Loss Support Group that meets once a month.

Last Tuesday (which also happened to be my first day back to work), my husband and I went to our first group session. The session was 2 hours in length and was held in a conference room at a bereavement centre (meaning office building).

There were 13 people in attendance including the grief counsellor, 8 sets of couples, 3 mothers and 1 grandmother. I was relieved that there were 3 other men in the room as I know my husband wouldn’t have been pleased had he been the only one.

Since I am a highly energetically sensitive person, I could feel the intensity of the grief as the room started to fill up. Lesson learned for next time. I need to protect myself better before we go. 

The session started out by introducing yourself and telling a bit of your story. I dreaded this moment. I was almost last to go and I knew I would burst into tears the second it was my turn. And I did. 

As I regained my composure, I made a joke about only wearing mascara because it was my first day back to work and apologized for the black streaks that I’m sure were about to appear on my face. The thing is, once you’ve cried in public as much as I have, you actually learn how to avoid those black streaks even if you aren’t wearing waterproof mascara. I highly suggest the blotting approach to dry up those tears.

After introductions, there was an open discussion where you could bring up issues, scenarios or feelings to share with the group. The newcomers tended to keep to themselves and were less open to start (me included which is a surprise). The regular attendees all knew each other and openly shared their worries, wishes and experiences.

As the conversation flowed, the highlight for me was actually seeing what my husband was getting out of it. I was quite relieved that he could relate to many of the other husband’s stories (i.e. crying when alone in the tractor). I was touched that these men were willing to share their vulnerability and emotion. That takes strength. 

As for me, I was torn between a sense of commonality and a sense of aloneness. As a grieving mother, I belonged with the group; however, I was the only infertility patient which made my story a bit different than the rest.

When discussing the concept of guilt, I spoke up about how I actually didn’t think there was anything I could do to prevent my ectopic. During our beta limbo, I made it quite clear that I would not end my pregnancy without proof of an ectopic. After I shared this story, I felt like I received blank stares from everyone except another woman (who I had previously met but that’s another story). This woman agreed with me and said she held no guilt either.

Also, there were only 3 couples (including us) who didn’t have other children. It was a bit difficult to hear the woman share stories about their growing their families, but it made it quite clear that another baby will not just magically make the feelings go away.

Overall, what I got out of the session was the following:

  • Many women continue to grieve their pregnancy losses years after they happen
  • There are many ways you can commemorate and celebrate the life of your angel baby
  • Even after you have other children, you will always remember your previous losses
  • Men show their grief differently, but it affects them nonetheless
  • Everyone deals with the grieving process in their own way

Was attending the session worth it? Definitely for both of us. This experience brought my husband and I closer together as he was more willing to talk about how he felt after our loss once we got home. It also helped me to see that grief is acceptable and normal following a pregnancy loss. I had been telling myself to pick it up and get my act together. After hearing some women talk about how it still affects them years later, I realized that this loss will never leave me. I will grow and learn to deal with it, but I will never forget my baby.

Would I go again? I struggled with this one for a few days, but I decided that yes, I will return for at least one more session. I feel like I need to give it a second chance. Different people come every month and maybe next month another infertility patient will be there who can better relate to my experience.

As for individual counselling, I’ve decided to not reschedule for now. I’m working with my fertility coach once a week and I prefer her approach over the other counsellor’s.

Would I recommend a loss support group to you? Yes, I would recommend attending at least one session. I think there is lots of value in hearing other couple’s experiences as it truly does make you feel less alone. You do not have to share any of your own story if you are not comfortable doing so. If you are looking to find a  pregnancy loss support group, I’d recommend contacting Resolve (in the US), IAAC (in Canada) or your local hospital.

Breaking the silence

I haven’t spoken to my sister since my birthday on July 23. I referenced why I am not talking to my sister in this post.

Between our egg retrieval and our transfer, I received 1 text message from her. She stated that she was still mad at me. She heard I was feeling nauseous and wanted to suggest I ask my doctor for the anti-nausea medication that she’s taking for her morning sickness.

I didn’t reply because:

  • My nausea was not pregnancy-related. It was due to medication (Doxycyline and Dioxin). In fact, we hadn’t transferred yet so there was NO WAY it could be pregnancy-related.
  • She clearly is still self-absorbed if she started her text with drama-filled words

Tonight, she called me.

Surprisingly, I answered.

She’s been on my mind lately. I thought maybe she was coming around.

She pretended as if nothing had happened. She told me that Dad told her I was going for my blood work this week and she wanted to know if we knew yet. I told her no, but that we were hopeful that things would work out. She asked me how I was feeling and a few other questions before dominating the conversation with tips and tricks from her own pregnancy experience.

At first, I didn’t mind. It was nice to be able to share in this experience with her. She also highly recommended the snoogle body pillow like AndiePants did.

But then, it continued to be ALL about her.

Her energy started to drain me.

The conversation came to an awkard lull and I decided to speak up.

I told her that I was still upset with her and that she couldn’t just pretend like nothing had happened. I had hoped for her support throughout my IVF but she had MIA throughout the entire process on top of telling me she didn’t agree with it before our cycle started.

She told me that her intentions were not to upset me. It was just my perception that upset me and I owed her an apology (HUH?).

I told her especially since she got pregnant with such ease, she should be supportive of whatever way we choose to pursue achieving our own pregnancy. As my sister, she should want the same happiness for me that she has found for herself.

She said she just didn’t agree with the financial cost of the treatment.

I told her how I spend my money is my own fucking business.

She said that she didn’t call to fight with me.

I told her that I appreciated that she called to check in on me, but if she can’t apologize, I can’t continue talking to her.

She told me she was going to hang up.

So, I hung up before she could.

Am I wrong to be so persistent?

She is the only subject that has brought me anxiety during the past 3 weeks. I felt it tonight and I felt it the day we arrived home when I tried to share my frustration about her text message with my Mom.

I’ve asked my parents to NOT share any information about me with her. They clearly can’t follow this request.

I’m not sure what to do. 

Do I back down (like always) and apologize (for what I don’t know?)?

Or do I have a right to cut her out of my life?

I don’t have the strength to play her games. I don’t want to be a part of any game with her.

I think that HAS to be my choice. I need to do what’s right for me, my husband and our baby.

Peace is what we desire and my sister only creates chaos.

IVF: what does it mean to you?

I just came across this article on Facebook: Bobbie Thomas: No more whispers, I’m going IVF and I’m proud of it. What stood out for me was her pride. Proud of IVF? Huh? 

In vitro fertilization (IVF).

Fear, guilt, shame, why me? 

That’s the zone I’ve been living in lately.

Now, it’s time to change.

Earlier this week, I watched a webinar hosted by Zahra Haji from YogaGoddess and Molly Nichols from The Mind Belly Connection. The webinar focused on how to restore faith in your body’s ability to conceive, whether through natural conception or ART. If you are interested, watch the Fertility Faith webinar replay.

This webinar made me rethink the way I’ve approached my (in)fertility. I’ve spent too much time focusing on the negatives and looking for outsider reassurance that everything will be ok.

The change needs to come from within me – and me only.

Changing my mindset isn’t an easy task, but it’s necessary to make this journey less emotionally taxing.

(In)fertility is not dirty or shameful. It’s a medical condition that many of us can not control and could not have prevented.

I am proud of my husband and myself. We are strong. We are capable. And, we are taking control of our diagnosis by choosing the next best path for us on our journey.

To me, IVF means:

  • Hope
  • Courage
  • Strength
  • Determination
  • The right choice

IVF is not the worst thing to happen to me. In fact, it could be the best thing if it helps us to conceive our child.

What does IVF mean to you? 

(In)fertility & motherhood: a cycle of emotion

Yesterday, Infertility, why me? posted this video:

 

I 100% agree with Missy Lanning when she says, “Motherhood started the second I decided to conceive my child. That’s when the love began to form.”

I have never lost a child.

I have never been pregnant.

But…

Deep down in the essence of my soul, I know that I am a mother.

I love my babies, who are not here yet, but will be someday.  

Each month, I feel:

  • Joy as we prepare for ovulation
  • Hope we as we wait out the 2 weeks
  • Grief when the cycle ends unsuccessfully

This wheel of emotion builds my love even stronger.

My heart longs to feel my babies inside me and finally hold them in my arms.

If this month isn’t the month, we will continue to wait until the time is right. And when that time comes, our hearts will overflow.

Momma loves you.

Xoxo

New year, new cycle

CD 6. Clomid Day 2.

I’ve been taking a break lately. Trying to not discuss or focus on much of anything fertility-related. I didn’t even read any blogs from Christmas Day until yesterday afternoon on our drive back from our mini-vacation.

Overall, our vacation was nice. My hubby “forgot” the snowpants, so we didn’t venture outside for too long. We ate lots of junk food, had a nice bath in the double jacuzzi tub and watched the entire first season of Orange is the New Black. My hubby said he hopes we get to see Alex’s boobs in the next season as hers were the only ones we didn’t get to see. Not joking. I couldn’t believe he was THAT into the show. haha 

For an instant, I wondered if my life would be easier if I was a lesbian? Would I still have the desire to have children? Well, the answer is yes. I think the desire to have children is inherent no matter what your sexual orientation. After reading blogs written by gay couples who are trying to conceive, I give them extra credit!

On the drive home, I also was thinking about my sister. Due to some medical complications, she’s not sure she will be able to have children. She recently asked me what she should do to get tested. I explained a bit about our journey and encouraged her to speak with her doctors sooner rather than later. Then, it hit me:

How would she feel if she discovered she was not able to have children?

Wow. I sincerely hope she never has to go through that. Even though we have unexplained (in)fertilty, I’m confident that we will conceive a child one day. But, you never know what may come your way next.

Christmas Day was a bummer for me. My period was not the gift I was hoping to receive. On the 27th, I received my call back from the fertility clinic. Yeahhhh!!! It was my nice nurse! *whew* So relieved to hear her voice and not the voice of whoever was covering for her on Monday. 

Turns out, my specialist – the one who does my monitoring locally since the clinic is 2 hours away – is on vacation until January 10th. Thanks for informing me, local doctor. My favourite nurse said it wasn’t a problem. She booked me in for my follicle monitoring ultrasounds at another local clinic. First scan is scheduled for this Friday, January 3rd.

She also said I could switch my Clomid from CD 3-7 to CD 5-9. This meant I didn’t have to start my pills until the last day of our weekend getaway. *cue my hubby doing his happy dance* Although my husband didn’t straight-up admit it, I knew he was dreading being stuck alone in a hotel room with Clomid-crazed me.

Clomid and I are getting along better this time. The only side effects I’m experiencing are slight bloating, hot flashes, mild bitchyness, some anxiety and a headache tonight but that may be sugar-induced since I just wolfed down an entire box of Milk Duds. 

We  have no plans for New Year’s Eve yet except for going for supper with another couple. We’ve been invited to a few house parties, so we’ll see where the night leads us. I am one of those people who does not drink on clomid (but no judgement if you do). I just don’t want to risk any set backs and figured if I’m investing this much time/energy/emotion/money into the whole process, I might as well be as “good” as I can be. Yeah, I know. Milk Duds aren’t exactly good for me. haha

I know this post was a bit all over the place, but that’s exactly how my mind has felt lately. Happy, then sad. Willing to do all that it takes, then wanting to give up. This weekend away was much needed, but jumping back on the Clomid bandwagon has left me fuzzy-minded (or is that just emotional) again.

I plan on taking some time tomorrow to set some clear intentions for 2014.

If I don’t catch you before then, have a wonderful new year’s eve! Enjoy the night and embrace the magic. Xo.

Riding the emotional roller coaster

I was beyond emotional last week. I cried at least once a day for 6 days straight.

I was feeling uncertain, scared, confused, ashamed, impatient, frustrated, hurt, helpless.

I had no choice but to process each emotion that I had stuffed down since we started our fertility journey.

Through many conversations with friends and family, I was able to uncover the root of my pain.

Infertility treatments do not make me a lesser person. I know this. I understand the journey will give me strength, but that doesn’t make it any less of a challenge.

A change in plan can be devastating. Guess I didn’t realize how strong it would affect me. I am grieving the loss of my original vision. I need to allow myself the time to grieve, to feel the pain. I must allow patience and gentleness into my soul.  I do not expect to overcome my feelings overnight.

Hard is not relative. Hard is hard. Someone else might have an easy time letting go of the stress, the pain and the agony of waiting, but that doesn’t mean that I will have the same experience.

It is hard for me to let go of the hope of conceiving naturally without fertility drugs. I’m willing to try out more invasive options because my desire to become a mother is strong (that and I’m an overly impatient know-it-all – the concept of not understanding WHY just kills me). Once my baby is here, will it make a difference how they were conceived? No. It most definitely won’t.

We still have a chance this month. We are done follicle monitoring. Yesterday, I had one measuring 17mm, one measuring 15mm. The doctor expects me to ovulate, drug-free, within 2 days. I have a requisition to get a progesterone test done next Wednesday to confirm.

So I’m signing off to go home and do the baby dance with my hubby. Then, we’re onto the two week wait. This time, I’m not dreading it. I’m embracing whatever comes. Pregnancy would be the miracle we’ve dreamed of, but my period means we are taking a big step forward into IUI.

Wish us luck either way.