Remembering the past to redefine the future

I want every woman out there going through infertility to know that I remember. I know how strong you are and what you’re going through. I hope you are surrounded by love and support as you fight for your BFP or “big fat positive.” Until then, let’s continue to lean on each other.” – Bobbie Thomas from Bobbie Thomas on pregnancy after IVF

I remember.

Those words stuck in my head.

As someone who has faced infertility and pregnancy loss, I will always remember the BFNs (big fat NEGATIVES), pills, injections, surgeries, tears, grief and sorrow.

You don’t ever forget what you have been through.

You may lessen the depth of your feelings associated with the struggle of your journey. You may even completely let go of those feelings, but you never forget.

It becomes a part of your story – your journey to now.

My mantra for this FET cycle is: One day at a time.

I’ve been feeling quiet, yet centred lately. I’m grounded and going with the flow of my current FET routine (Three pills in the am, two pills in the pm, healthy eats, lots of sleep, pending ultrasound and blood work Monday next week…)

You do what you gotta do.

But, you also remember.

The hardest part of our fresh IVF cycle was the 2WW and beta limbo.

My biggest goal for this FET cycle is to make it through the 2WW without (or with minimal) anxiety. Going through the meds and the transfer seems like second nature now. It’s the waiting that builds the anticipation and fear.

This time, I’m recognizing where I lacked support or self-care during previous cycles to ensure I feel supported and well-cared for in this cycle.

During any fertility treatment cycle, you need to surround yourself with love and support as YOU define love and support.

Know who you can lean on.

Don’t be afraid to ask when you need help or set boundaries when you need space.

Recognize when your mind is entering crazy territory and know how to bring yourself back.

Find peace amid the chaos; find calm within the storm.

Remember who you are and how far you have come.

Sending much love & light to all of my other cycle buddies, recently prego infertility sisters, new Mommas, and especially those who are patiently waiting for the next phase of their journey to begin. XO 

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The inner demons of infertility

Anxiety, shame and guilt are feelings I have battled with on my fertility journey.

Anxiety overwhelms the infertile mild. It leads you racing to figure out what you can do better next month, or reviewing what you did last month over and over again. Anxiety makes you strive for control in a situation that is beyond your control. It’s the ultimate path to insanity.

Shame appears when you have to explain that you are doing fertility treatment because something is wrong with your inherited ability to pro-create. It’s even worse when there is no official diagnosis.

Shame comes into play when people ask “why”. The shame lies in the blame. Is it him or is it you? Do you even know how to conceive? Maybe you just need to relax! 

Guilt stems from both shame and anxiety. You feel guilty for being ashamed of something you would never choose and can’t change. You feel guilty for blaming him or yourself or your genes or even God.

You attempt to ease your anxiety by identifying your needs and setting boundaries. You take the first step towards progress and they all don’t understand why you are being so selfish. Guilt steps back in.

You take the supplements, eat the diet, practice yoga, and meditate. Once in a while, you take a break. You give into that bite of chocolate or that glass of wine. You take a few days off of exercise.

You let the anxiety creep back in. You feel ashamed that you didn’t stick to the program. You feel guilty that your actions may impact your outcome. The cycle begins again.

Add pregnancy loss for a significantly more complicated equation. Intensify those feelings x1000, then intensify them again by 1,000,000. Add sorrow and grief to the mix. A real recipe for disaster.

Then, take a step back. Toss those demons aside. Throw them in a fire. Stomp them with your feet. Do whatever you need to do to remind yourself that you are human.

You are doing the best you can do – for yourself, your husband and your future children.

Infertility is beyond your control. You are being pro-active in managing the aspects of your lifestyle that are under your control.

You can do this no matter how hard each day seems.

You are strong.

You are capable.

You are almost there.

You got this.

Today, I choose joy

I would like to send a million loving hugs, warm wishes and immense gratitude to each and every one of you who reached out to me in regards to my last post.

When I feel like I’m lacking support, I always need to remind myself that I am SURROUNDED by support. My support doesn’t come from my biological family though. It comes from the family I’ve chosen – my close friends and especially you, my infertility sisters.

joy

Today, I choose joy.

I choose to own my happiness.

I choose to live in my special moment.

I choose to go to bed tonight and wake up tomorrow knowing that no matter what the outcome, I am blessed.

11dp5dt. One sleep to go…

Planning for IVF (Part 3)

Things are falling into place and we are almost ready for the IVF trip.

A big shout out to Infertile Girl in a Fertile World! This amazing woman (and travel agent) helped me score a better deal on a rental car ($585 instead of $700).

Done list

  • Book flights
  • Book rental apartment
  • Book rental car
  • Receive meds in mail

Still to do list

  • Receive meds in mail
  • Start stimming – TOMORROW
  • Instruct mother-in-law on how to take care of 2 chihuahuas and 1 ragdoll for 2+ weeks
  • Plan sight seeing activities, local eateries and shops I want to visit
  • Pack!

I can get overwhelmed easily. I tend to look at the big picture instead of focusing on the next step. My best friend pointed this out to me this past weekend. She was right. Last week, I wasn’t as busy as I felt. I just needed to take a deep breath and focus on what’s next, as in, immediately next.

Tomorrow is a big day. I have my Estradiol and Progesterone blood work, followed by an ultrasound. Then, when the results are in and everything is good, I begin stimming that evening.

How am I feeling? Well, pretty good. I truly have found a sense of peace with this IVF journey. Not sure how long it will last for, but for now, I’m embracing it. 

I can credit this peace to journalling, meditation, yoga and a fertility coaching program I’m taking with Zahra Hadji from YogaGoddess called Becoming the Vessel for IVF Success.

I haven’t mentioned much about my coaching program, but I’m 2 weeks in. Zahra and I meet once a week via Google Hangouts. I have homework in between which ties in the journalling, meditation and yoga. So far, our sessions have focused on discussing the blocks or emotional issues that are coming up for me around our IVF cycle and dissolving these belief systems via energy work. Just my kinda of thing.

It’s obvious that I felt like I was lacking support going into this cycle. Since I’ve started the coaching program, I’m feeling 110% better about this. I’ve realized that my husband and you – my infertility sisters – are truly the only extra support I need now.

I can do this. One step at a time…

Awaiting Autumn: Always believe that something wonderful is about to happen

I found this little sign at a card shop on the weekend. It’s sitting above our headboard as a reminder that miracles are on their way. 🙂
 

In like a lion, out like a lamb

CD 2.

Aunt Flo came in like a lion. I can only hope our IVF cycle goes out like a lamb brings me our little lamb.

I got my period yesterday afternoon. We were on our way to spend the afternoon with my husband’s family who are camping about an hour away from our place.

Cramps! Oh the fucking cramps! Gotta love putting that fake smile on and pretending you are fine, when it feels like someone is removing your uterine lining with a dull knife. My periods aren’t always like this, but I had a feeling this month would be “one of them”.

Anyway, I couldn’t completely hide my discomfort. Cramps make me have to pee and shit like every 10 minutes, but I managed to escape to the gross campground washroom about once every half hour to an hour.

Before we left, I packed myself a gluten/dairy-free supper as I knew my husband’s family would have NOTHING I could eat. And boy, was I right! The only thing on the entire table I could eat was a few cut up veggies and the potatoes. My mother-in-law knows about my diet restrictions, but like usual, she didn’t seem to care. Good thing I know them well enough to know I need to take care of myself.

Overall, I made the best of the afternoon. I laid in the sun for a while telling myself that the heat from the sun would subside my cramps like a heating pad would (positive visualization works right?). Then, I convinced myself movement would be better. My husband and I beat his brother and a friend in a round of bean bag toss. I also got to spend some time playing with my niece and nephew. I love the toddlers years. There is nothing that compares to when a child smiles and giggles.

image

My husband and our nephew

The downfall of the day was that my husband got drunk. And somewhere in his drunken state, he decided that it made more sense to support his family than his wife. 
Why, oh why universe do you keep challenging me on the concept of support? 
He started by trying to convince me to have a drink all afternoon. I politely declined each time, reminding him that I’m 100% off the alcohol since my period has arrived.
On the way home, I mentioned how I was glad I took my own food out because there wasn’t anything I could have ate. I also mentioned how surprised I was that they feed their children so much junk food. In this moment, my husband turned on me. He told me I was rude and should have ate their food for supper. He said he didn’t understand why I was being so strict. He called me a complaining bitch and said he will be feeding his own children junk food. 
Whoa there. 
As you can predict, the evening blew up into a big fight between us. Anytime my husband is around his family, he comes home with this arrogant, defensive attitude. I know being the son of an alcoholic and a codependent mother calls for some unsettled feelings, but I also know that he needs to deal with his shitHe didn’t want to listen to anything I had to say last night. He just kept acting childish. I truly believe that his behaviour stems from some unresolved issues that he has lodged deep down inside of him. I also believe that I don’t need to be the brunt of it. 
I’ve ask him to go back to counselling. He will be around his family a lot this month as they prepare for harvest season.  He needs support to be able to handle his issues with them, and his fears as we start our IVF cycle. Perfect timing. I just hope he follows through with it. 
I’m praying for peace and calmness for the rest of our journey. And some strength for my husband!

Dealing with insensitive (in)fertility comments

Yesterday, I had a mini-meltdown after my husband’s Aunt asked me how things were going and then proceeded to give me her opinion (or observations as she put it) about our fertility situation.

I defended myself over and over again until I broke down into tears and my husband told his Aunt to drop the conversation.

As I went over the conversation in my head later on, I found myself having to remind myself of the following (in)fertility facts.

1. Relaxation may help the process, but it’s not the main reason why you haven’t conceived or carried a baby to term. 

“Just relax”. Those are fighting words. Straight up.

Resolve.org has the best response to this statement: Couples who are able to conceive after a few months of “relaxing” are not infertile. By definition, a couple is not diagnosed as “infertile” until they have tried unsuccessfully to become pregnant for a full year. In fact, most infertility specialists will not treat a couple for infertility until they have tried to become pregnant for a year. This year weeds out the people who aren’t infertile but just need to “relax.” Those that remain are truly infertile.

2. A vacation may help to ease your mind and give you some time to reconnect with your spouse, but you are not guaranteed to come home pregnant. 

Fertility treatments eat away at finances and vacation time. Each month, we require time off for appointments and extra cash to pay for treatment and drugs.

If any fertile would like to speak to my boss about paid time off and donate a nice all expenses paid trip to us, I’d be more than willing to test our their ridiculous theory that vacations = babies.

We’ve taken many vacations throughout our journey, but that hasn’t changed where we are at today: still (in)fertile.

Since my husband and I are going out of province for our upcoming IVF cycle, we are actually considering it a vacation of sorts.

3. Minimizing the situation or offering your fertile (meaning unsubstantiated) advice is not supporting us on our journey. 

I can handle when a fertile shares a hopeful story of a friend who conceived via fertility treatment.

I can’t handle when someone offers advice that doesn’t make any sense at all!

Example: “Maybe you should stop acupuncture? Going to all of those appointments must just cause you more stress”.

Couples going through fertility treatments have a ton of appointments and a very strict schedule: follicle scans, pills, needles, egg retrievals, transfers, blood work, etc.

You may think that adding an extra appointment for acupuncture or yoga here and there may create more stress, but these activities are known to reduce stress and compliment fertility treatments.

I do my best to follow our doctor’s recommendations. I wouldn’t be doing anything that decreased my chances of conceiving. I know myself, my body and my limitations. If something is too much for me, I’ll make the decision to cut it. Thanks for your opinion, but that decision is not yours to make. 

4. (In)fertility is not anyone’s fault. 

Throughout our journey, I’ve felt like both side of the family have tried to pin our unexplained diagnosis on the other half of the couple (meaning my parents thought it was my husband’s fault and his family thought it was mine).

Statistics from Resolve.org show that (in)fertility cases are divided into:

  • 35% female factor
  • 35% male factor
  • 20% a combination of male/female  factors
  • 10% unexplained

It doesn’t matter what factor defines your diagnosis. You chose to pursue the path to parenthood. As a couple, you are on this journey together.

I truly believe that anyone who faces (in)fertility ends up being a stronger person in the end. We learn to communicate better with our spouses, our friends, our family and our doctors. We become advocates for our health and wellness. We recognize our limitations, but continue to push ourselves further than we ever thought would be possible.

None of us asked to be (in)fertile. We were diagnosed with a medical condition that is beyond our control.

If you are faced with nagging, insensitive comments, or ignorance from your friends or family, just remember that you don’t have to tolerate it. Your emotional well being should always be top of mind. Excuse yourself from the situation, leave the premise, tell them you don’t want to discuss it, or defend yourself and shed a few tears – like I did. Whatever you choose, just remember that there is no reason to be ashamed.

(In)fertility doesn’t define you. It’s just a part of your journey, your story, your life at this moment.

And when the going gets tough, always remember: us (in)fertiles are in this together.