Category Archives: Coping

Today I’m Tapped

It was just a matter of time before I used that pun.  After getting back to a pretty painful place late last night, I spoke with my nurse this morning and she wanted to lay eyes on me.  Jess was so so sweet to rearrange her afternoon and take me in so that Hubs wouldn’t have to cancel his work day again.

So back we were at the clinic, and of course that led to being tapped again.  Another 1800 mL!

I feel a good bit better, have some new nausea meds, will be starting lovenox shortly (to further prevent blood clots), and am praying praying praying for my body to equilibrate to these changes — and to the hopeful little one causing all this trouble.

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Today I’m Opting for Dandelion Tincture

In my last post I lamented about the digesting bitterness of dandelion tea.  Well my acupuncturist also recommended dandelion root tincture (those little drops you put in water) and — lo and behold — it barely tasted like anything!  In fact I’ve faithfully partaken (if that’s a word) most nights since then.

I’ve been noticing lately that things can seem really crappy initially, and overwhelming and impossible, but with time perspective comes and things seem to work out or at least feel more tolerable.  I have a way of working myself up initially, as if I need to worry and be wound up in order for things to make the best decision.  What if I took this laid-back, I will be okay no matter what attitude from the get-go?

Now, I’m not saying infertility isn’t serious or is something to be minimized or simply mentally overcome.  I’m just wondering if sometimes I work myself up over things prematurely.  Today something stressful was beginning to happen and I told myself out loud, “It’s okay.  Whatever happens it will work out.”  This doesn’t mean it will be easy, and — I won’t speak for you, but for me — what I have in my head tends to be way worse than it actually plays out.

Of course this switcharoo happened with the dandelion root, but I’m also beginning to notice it with other things.  Like the idea of taking a few months off before we start IVF.  As I thought more about this option last week it felt impossible, unbearable to wait.  Any.  Longer.  (Reference: Phil Davison video, watch it all but especially 2:45-3:10.)  I’m beginning to think, though, that I would be okay and maybe it would even be helpful to give my body a break, use my lighter schedule for fun things and not appointments, not talk about IF all the time, maybe resume running a little bit.  And at the very least that if we’re a month in and time off does not equal a mental or physical break, that decision can simply be undone and we can schedule IVF for the following month.  Things aren’t always so permanent and dire.  I’m kind of tired of myself for always taking things so seriously.

Then there’s the family situation I referenced a while back.  I finally took the time to address it yesterday and, within hours, someone had responded expressing understanding in my point of view and is going to bat for me.  I suddenly feel completely free from taking responsibility for that situation.  It is still as rocky as I initially perceived, but it’s not up to me to carry the burden.  Similarly with work — if things don’t unfold in a way that works for me, that’s not the end of the world, I have other options, life goes on.  Not as bad as I felt to begin with.

I’m also finding myself more in the Christmas spirit, which I definitely did not see coming two weeks ago.  This will be our third Christmas trying to conceive, third Christmas certain we will have a baby by the next one.  I was struggling to muster up the energy to care about putting up the lights and tree, preparing for our annual cocktail party, even opting for NPR over Christmas tunes.  But this week I’m feeling more at peace, partaking in some Christmas cheer (elf yourself never gets old) and enjoying the excitement of buying gifts and putting out the Peanuts nativity scene.  My killer pandora station with melancholy Christmas songs doesn’t hurt either, you know, what with “Wintersong” being more fitting for an infertile at Christmas than “Santa Clause is Coming to Town.”  (Might I suggest Mindy Smith and Sarah McLachlan holiday as seed artists?)

For whatever reason, I’ve felt happy today unlike I have in several months.  A gift, I think.  An answer to the prayers of so many people who are pleading with the Lord for relief and a baby for us.  I’m enjoying a brief reprieve from it, however temporarily, and giving myself the permission to not have it fill my mind for a few moments.  So in closing, I again turn to Phil.

“Drastic times require — what?  {Drastic measures!}  Right!  Who said that?!  Yes!  Drastic times require drastic measures!”  Infertility is serious, IVF is certainly a drastic measure, but today I’ll choose the longer-term view.  And I’ll choose the tincture approach over getting all Phil Davison about it.

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Today I’m Buying Out Whole Foods

So I have been a big-time grumpy grouper this week.  My mental life has been a bit of a wreck.  I’m playing some quite destructive mind games, like defending myself over and over in my mind to a colleague who had a negative response to news about my infertility (downplaying it, weighing whose suffering is worse, and criticizing my financial decisions).  Doubting and feeling guilty about my efforts to make life more manageable right now and worrying others also believe things about me and infertility like aforementioned colleague.  And premourning next week and already freaking out about it.

Throw on top of that unexplained snippiness with my husband, likely related to both the hormones and these bad thought patterns, and uncomfortable physical symptoms (including terrible breaking out and weird uterus feelings ever since the IUI — is this normal?) and I can hardly stand myself.  Thank goodness I did actually get decent sleep this week.  (And that my candidate won the election!)  I guess the unifying theme is that I’m feeling alone, feeling some distance between me and the world.

As someone in a helping profession I’ve always had difficulty feeling comfortable talking about myself, and with infertility I find it really hard to know how to convey to others how I’m feeling or doing on any given day or at a meta level, how awful infertility is.  Sometimes, then, I end up feeling down and a bit stuck inside myself, believing others don’t understand or care enough to understand.  I wish there were a book out there to give to others explaining infertility, the work it requires, the continuous feelings of loss.  Maybe some of the IF community’s blog posts could be compiled someday to create this.

At the support group I recently joined (yep, you heard that right) one of the women mentioned how her doctors consistently remind her that her stress is real and legitimate and that research shows that stress levels in women with infertility are equivalent to those with cancer or HIV diagnoses.  These days I’m really wishing people got that.  I worry that others might see my feelings as overblown or overdramatic, so really, I wish someone else would communicate this for me.  Having research saying it helps.  I guess I’m wanting both understanding and validation of my pain from others.  I want them to say, “I know this is terrible for you.”  And maybe “What do you need?” like we do when people get a scary, life-changing medical diagnosis.

I ended up realizing slowly over the week that some of my thoughts are askew and that there really are a lot of people in our corner.  My friend Wesley faithfully sent another email checking in on me, I remembered a few people Sunday really meaning it when they asked how I was doing and in fact noting how awful this process is, a friend let me cry to her and followed up with a card the next day asking how she can advocate for me, my dad texted yesterday to let me know he was thinking of me, my co-worker left delicious toffee in the break room for me with a note.  Why do I continue to feel all alone and doubt whether others care when I can recount things like this almost every week?

No idea, but I think it shows the depth and power of the fear and longing and deep need.

I realize that this long road takes a good deal of endurance for our support systems too, and I of course do not want to wear people out as they walk with us.  I hate being grumpy with my husband and not knowing exactly why.  I hate the feeling of needing to explain myself and not being able to do it.  And honestly I hate needing things from other people.  If I’m learning nothing else in this process, it is that I am desperate and dependent and that is something I’ll never escape, even and especially if a baby comes along.

As I’ve begun to let in these kind things from others this week, I’ve slowly felt a little lighter.  I spent the morning dropping off canned goods people from our church gathered and talking with some dedicated people there who care a lot about homelessness.  I prepared for the arrival of my pal since 5th grade, sat in the sun that’s back in town, and let myself go wild at Whole Foods.  Pear cider, ginger dark chocolate, pumpkin seeds…so excited.  Today I’m choosing not to believe everything I hear — from others or myself — and today I’m choosing joy.

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Today I’m Prepared

You know you’re infertile when your shopping basket looks anything like mine did last night.  Pregnancy tests?  Check.  Feminine hygiene supplies, unnecessary beauty accessories, and desired caffeinated and alcoholic beverage for when it’s negative?  Check check check.

I felt like the cashier had to know she was in the presence of an (in)fertile woman.  So the negative was there as expected this morning but as you can tell from the photo, I’m doing a-okay today with my new headband and purple nails and with champagne night on the docket.  (I’ve been craving the champagne since my friend’s bridal shower recently.  I hereby declare that all showers, bridal and baby alike, must involve champagne for the well-being of all attendees.)  I’m also a firm believer in being prepared with your very own infertility survivor kit.

I would enjoy hearing from you infertile women, and friends of, out there how you would finish that sentence stem: “You know you’re infertile when…” and/or what your favorite indulgences are.  Mine are helping me today!

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