And The Hits Just Keep On Coming

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Ah Facebook, my worst frenemy. I know I should really just deactivate it because it causes me more heartache than anything, but I do keep up with some friends, and people message me on there rather than email or text. I know they would find another way if I suddenly disappeared, but I am addicted.

Tuesday my cousin’s wife had their twin boys approximately 7 weeks early, so of course Facebook was all a-buzz about that. Then my Aunt sent out an email to the family officially announcing it, with a couple of photos of the teeny little boys. Yesterday two brand new baby photos (one of a set of twins, and one of a singleton) showed up in my news feed, and they belonged to people I don’t even know. Two different friends of mine had commented or liked one of their friends photos, and you know how it does that thing where stuff your friends interact with show up in your news feed. Gawd, I wish it didn’t do that.

*Update: another friend announced a pregnancy on Facebook…of twins! This will be the third set of twins for people I know, over the course of a year. WTF?!

Today a friend of mine, that I don’t see very often (because him and his wife live in the US), posted a throwback thursday photo. It was the two of them dressed up as Bleeker and Juno from Halloween back in 2008, and captioned with “foreshadowing for 2014” as their subtle pregnancy announcement. Someone had wished him a Happy to-be Father’s day, but no one else really commented, and he didn’t really respond so I sort of just ignored it for the time being, though it obviously ignited my suspicions.

Someone commented on the photo that they should wear the same costumes this year, because it is so funny when a pregnant woman dress up as a pregnant person (har-dee-har-har). He commented back that it might be too late by Halloween. I immediately start counting on my fingers…she is probably about 4.5 – 5 months along already. I am surprised, and not, that they hadn’t shared yet. Her husband loves social media and is constantly posting links, and pictures, ect. But, they are fairly private people about their personal business.

It shouldn’t have been such an unexpected shock to me, they got married 18 months after us, bought a cute little fixer upper house last year, got a dog; a baby was the next “logical step”. But I am still surprised. They live their lives like J and I, doing what they want, enjoying their relative freedom. I sort of expected them to carry on their merry child-free lives for a few more years. I do forget, though, they are in their mid 30’s and don’t we all know time is off the essence?

His wife was actually my roommate when her and I were living abroad. I was 18, and it was my first time overseas, and my first time being on my own. So her and I formed a fast friendship, being that we were both in a sea of unknown, together. We’ve kept in touch over the years, her and her then-fiance came to Canada for our wedding reception held here (since our actual wedding was in Jamaica). We went to their wedding the following fall, and visited them again last May. We don’t keep in close contact, but I would consider her a treasured friend.

I’m not offended that they didn’t tell us separately (we’re not that close), but for some reason this announcement has bothered me a lot. Maybe because in them, I see myself and J. Although fundamentally, we are not very similar couples, I relate us to them. For once I don’t feel an ounce of jealousy (ok, maybe a smidge) but they are the sweetest people, and if anyone truly “deserves” a baby, it is them. Not because they had to struggle for it (though I don’t know that), but because they are really awesome people. If only that’s what really mattered in procreation, right?

I’ve been having a lot of ups and downs this week, and I suppose it is not hard to see why. I am not an outwardly emotional person, so even though I have been feeling very anxious lately, one would never know it by my demeanor. I hesitate to say I’m having a down week, because it hasn’t been all down. It has been bumpy. I am more intuitive with my feelings and emotions lately, which leads me to try to mold them.

When I feel myself getting upset, or anxious, I try to calm myself by working with my destressing techniques. And a lot of the times it works, for a little while at least. But, because I am able to observe my feelings, rein them in, and bounce back, it leads to a lot of yo-yo-ing. I suppose this is the road to being more even. First it was anxiety, and sadness most of the time, now it is more unstable ups and downs, but balanced at the same time (if that makes any sense).

I am 19 days away from CD1. We did our serology labs last week, J did his updated SA today (I am hoping Dr. M calls to give us the results, even though at this point by doing ICSI it doesn’t entirely matter). There is a stronger underlying nervousness for me. I haven’t had as much of an appetite lately, and I’ve been getting stomach aches more often. A sign I am familiar with when I am under a lot of stress. I spoke to our clinic today to clear a few things up, questions I had, based on the info they had sent. I’m just trying to manage it all, and not let my emotions get out of hand before we even hit the starting gate.

I honestly think the waiting to begin might cause more anxiety than the actual stimming will. Of course there will be new and different stresses, plus the retrieval, number of eggs, fertilization and transfer will be worries of their own. But for now, I am standing in the warm up area, with nowhere to go, just psyching myself out.

I’ll leave you with this thought, that I read on The Journal the other week, in an article by Trevor O’Sullivan;

“To those who understand childlessness an explanation is not needed, and to those who don’t understand it an explanation is not possible.”

He also cited a fantastic quote from Laura Bush, in her book Spoken from the Heart;

“The English language lacks the words to mourn an absence. For the loss of a parent, grandparent, spouse, child or friend, we have all manner of words and phrases, some helpful some not. Still we are conditioned to say something, even if it is only “I’m sorry for your loss.” But for an absence, for someone who was never there at all, we are wordless to capture that particular emptiness. For those who deeply want children and are denied them, those missing babies hover like silent ephemeral shadows over their lives. Who can describe the feel of a tiny hand that is never held?”
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Exposure

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There is a lot of garbage on T.V. lately, and unfortunately I partake in watching some of said crap. One particular fascination of mine is Hoarders. I don’t know why, but this is one train wreck that I can’t take my eyes off of. I know it is a legitimate disease that causes people to behave this way, but holy dead-cats-under-the-garbage, I can’t wrap my head around it sometimes.

The family of the “hoarder” will rally around in support, but they are usually too close to the situation to be calm with the friend or family member they are trying to help; this is where the therapist comes in. Generally a therapist is present to help the person deal with the strong emotions they feel while trying to sort through all of their belongings. One of the techniques the therapist will commonly use is exposure therapy. The hoarder is asked to choose an object to discard, and just think about getting rid of it. At this point, they will be asked on a scale of one to ten what their anxiety level is. Usually during the first exercise it is pretty high. The therapist will let them just sit with the anxiety and once it comes down to a five or a six they move on to the next step. Usually the steps get progressively harder, and produce more anxiety. They may watch something of perceived value being thrown in the trash or, be asked to discard it themselves. The therapist monitors the progress along the way, helps them deal with, and lessen the anxiety so that the clean up efforts can become a life long change and not just a band-aid solution. I realized earlier this week that I have inadvertently applied this technique to my own life.

As I’ve previously mentioned, there is a pregnant woman in my Sunday yoga class. By now she is mega pregnant and I was pretty sure she was due fairly soon. She generally sets her mat on the opposite side of the room than me, which suits me just fine. Last class we had been using props (blocks, straps, ect.) and they are all stored in a closet on the far side of the room, right where pregnant lady’s mat is. It gets a little congested at the end of class when everyone is trying to return their items to the closet. So as I was standing to the side, waiting to put back my blocks, I found myself right next to preggo’s mat. Since I was sort of awkwardly standing in her way with nowhere to go, and I was curious, I asked her how far along she was. “Hmm, 35 weeks now.” was her reply. I congratulated her on still continuing with yoga, returned my props and went back to pack up my mat.

It was a small interaction, but one that I would normally avoid at all costs. But because I truly was curious how far along she was, and I was already in an awkward position being in such close proximity to her I figured I may as well take the leap. There was a small burst of anxiety but it dissipated fairly quickly, and now I know I have at the most 5 more weeks of her bump attending “my” class.

It made me think of some of the other things I avoid because of IF, and that maybe I should try to deal with them instead of putting myself, or other people out, to try to protect myself. Although we will shortly be starting our IVF process, who knows how long we’ll be on this IF journey. And we all know that even after a successful IVF/Pregnacy/Birth/Adoption/Ect. that surviving is not without its battle scars, and most come out the other side a different person, so I’ll still have to deal with the repercussions of IF for the rest of my life.

I have also sort of been avoiding Best Friend. I probably haven’t seen her since before Christmas, as her pregnant belly has been ever-expanding. I knew that I was avoiding her but I kept making excuses for myself, that I was too busy, or she was too busy. So a few days ago I sent her a text, as she has a schedule c-section in a little over a week now. I asked her how she was doing, and if she was ready. We chatted a little back and forth, I told her I had some goodies for the baby when he arrives, and that I would offer her an extra pair of hands once the new one comes home and she has two little ones to contend with. She seemed genuinely happy to hear from me. I think she had been hesitant to reach out to me, as I hadn’t heard from her in a while either and when I did it would be sporadic and brief. She had always been my IF confidante, but when she became pregnant things changed somewhat, and then when our third IUI failed I pretty much stopped updating her. I’m glad to have bridged the gap somewhat, as I will be visiting her and the new baby (as soon as he arrives), I may as well take some steps towards that point.

Just today at the pharmacy when I was picking up my thyroid medication, I inquired to the (young, female) pharmacist if they stock fertility medication, as I would be cycling in a couple of months (actually 5 weeks, but whose counting). I know it’s not a big deal discussing fertility meds with pharmacy staff, but when going through my IUIs I would discreetly get my clomid, and then disappear, pharmacy bag stuffed in my purse. I basically do not discuss our infertility with anyone willingly, except for my doctor, nurses and psychologist, so this was a big step. We chatted back and forth a bit; they can order them in but I don’t know that it would be timely enough for me, that most people get them from the pharmacy the hospital recommends because they would have everything in stock, but I get points with the store loyalty card through my current pharmacy, and $5k plus of meds is a lot of points. It was a pretty casual, easy conversation even though I was openly discussing my infertility treatments (other people could have heard me, gasp!)

Now, I obviously didn’t expose myself as an infertile to the yoga preggo, and best friend already knew, but I am hoping that by slowing increasing my discomfort threshold, I may eventually feel more comfortable openly discussing it with other friends and family. Time to start exposing the IF chunk of my life, a little bit at a time.

Two Sides of the Same Coin

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Leading up to our appointment with Dr. M this past Monday, I had been feeling anxious, but sort of looking forward to it. Not in a “yay I’m excited to go to the fertility clinic” sort of way, but ready to move on and have a plan. I had a lot of my own ideas and research floating around in my head, but needed to have it validated to help me make peace with the decision to do IVF.

After hearing everything Dr. M had to say, and discussing it with him, I do feel a lot better. My general anxiety has reduced (though the closer we get to August, I’m sure I’ll get all worked up again). I just take comfort in knowing the direction that we are headed (even though we have two possible scenarios), or rather that we have some sort of direction. I can sort of start to make plans for the future. When I have order, all is well with the world.

On the flip side of things, I think J is having a harder time, now that we’ve had our follow up. All along, after our failed IUIs I had it in my head that we would have to do IVF, and J and I vaguely discussed this. I think in his mind it was still a far off and foreign concept. Now that we’ve met with Dr. M, and have the protocols in place it has become much more real.

He was quite upset the day after our appointment, and I asked him to talk about it but he said he’s not even sure how he’s feeling (been there). He just wants to fix it, and he wants to know why. How did this happen? Why us? And although I’ve wondered that myself, there is no good answer and at this point it doesn’t matter, to me at least. Even if we knew why his swimmers are subpar, or why the IUIs didn’t work, it wouldn’t really make a difference. I don’t know how to help him, and it makes me sad.

I am normally the type of person who wants answers, but an answer of why or how isn’t going to make me feel any better at this point. I want answers in what to do now, and we have those, to some extent. I do want to know what I can do to better our chances, and I have some of those answers, but the closer we get to IVF I’m sure the more I will want to know. The answers we have, and the direction we are headed doesn’t necessarily offer resolution (is there ever really resolution for IF?), but they offer comfort, hope and strength.

I’ve also been able to physically know the failure every month, I read the blogs of the failed IVF, and I understand the processes of ART. I am a pessimist by nature so I have come to expect failure. Even then, it still hurts, and that sneaky hope creeps in to plant those seeds of doubt in my mind. I almost feel better to lower my expectations, as a way to protect myself, a depressing form of self preservation.

J mostly understands the basics of IUI and IVF, he has come to every appointment with me, and he tries to know what’s going on, but it is still different for me. I physically feel the process, I understand it better because it is happening to my body and I feel as though I am ahead of him in the greiving process. I’ve moved into the determined phase. I am ready to go, while he is still trying to wrap his head around everything. It’s like an out of body experience, looking in on our lives and wondering how we got to this place.

He understands the basic principles of what happens in IVF and but not necessarily the exact process, or what the difference is between ICSI and IVF. I’ve explained it to him and Dr. M showed us a really good power point on it, plus gave us a lot of take home material to read over that gives specific stats, and details about the process as a whole. But it’s just a pretty foreign concept, and a rather new one to J. I can see how the whole thing is a struggle for him to grasp.

He is always very quiet when we meet with Dr. M, it is usually me fielding questions and having an involved discussion while J listens and tries to absorb it all. Dr. M always asks if we have any questions, which by the end of our discussions, I generally don’t. He is very thorough, and always gives us lots of take away information as well. I always turn to J to see if he has anything he wants to ask, but he just shrugs his shoulders and gives me a look, to say he doesn’t even know what to ask at this point.

It is sometimes difficult to reconcile that we are both experiencing the same thing, when we feel it and handle it so differently. In the big picture we feel the same in that we are upset, lost and grieving that we have to endure this process. But in the small details we view things differently, and have different ways of coping. And because of this we not only endure our own pain, by share eachothers pain by being at different places, mentally, with our journey. I wish I could help him, but I don’t know how.

Two Sides of the Same Coin

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Leading up to our appointment with Dr. M this past Monday, I had been feeling anxious, but sort of looking forward to it. Not in a “yay I’m excited to go to the fertility clinic” sort of way, but ready to move on and have a plan. I had a lot of my own ideas and research floating around in my head, but needed to have it validated to help me make peace with the decision to do IVF.

After hearing everything Dr. M had to say, and discussing it with him, I do feel a lot better. My general anxiety has reduced (though the closer we get to August, I’m sure I’ll get all worked up again). I just take comfort in knowing the direction that we are headed (even though we have two possible scenarios), or rather that we have some sort of direction. I can sort of start to make plans for the future. When I have order, all is well with the world.

On the flip side of things, I think J is having a harder time, now that we’ve had our follow up. All along, after our failed IUIs I had it in my head that we would have to do IVF, and J and I vaguely discussed this. I think in his mind it was still a far off and foreign concept. Now that we’ve met with Dr. M, and have the protocols in place it has become much more real.

He was quite upset the day after our appointment, and I asked him to talk about it but he said he’s not even sure how he’s feeling (been there). He just wants to fix it, and he wants to know why. How did this happen? Why us? And although I’ve wondered that myself, there is no good answer and at this point it doesn’t matter, to me at least. Even if we knew why his swimmers are subpar, or why the IUIs didn’t work, it wouldn’t really make a difference. I don’t know how to help him, and it makes me sad.

I am normally the type of person who wants answers, but an answer of why or how isn’t going to make me feel any better at this point. I want answers in what to do now, and we have those, to some extent. I do want to know what I can do to better our chances, and I have some of those answers, but the closer we get to IVF I’m sure the more I will want to know. The answers we have, and the direction we are headed doesn’t necessarily offer resolution (is there ever really resolution for IF?), but they offer comfort, hope and strength.

I’ve also been able to physically know the failure every month, I read the blogs of the failed IVF, and I understand the processes of ART. I am a pessimist by nature so I have come to expect failure. Even then, it still hurts, and that sneaky hope creeps in to plant those seeds of doubt in my mind. I almost feel better to lower my expectations, as a way to protect myself, a depressing form of self preservation.

J mostly understands the basics of IUI and IVF, he has come to every appointment with me, and he tries to know what’s going on, but it is still different for me. I physically feel the process, I understand it better because it is happening to my body and I feel as though I am ahead of him in the greiving process. I’ve moved into the determined phase. I am ready to go, while he is still trying to wrap his head around everything. It’s like an out of body experience, looking in on our lives and wondering how we got to this place.

He understands the basic principles of what happens in IVF and but not necessarily the exact process, or what the difference is between ICSI and IVF. I’ve explained it to him and Dr. M showed us a really good power point on it, plus gave us a lot of take home material to read over that gives specific stats, and details about the process as a whole. But it’s just a pretty foreign concept, and a rather new one to J. I can see how the whole thing is a struggle for him to grasp.

He is always very quiet when we meet with Dr. M, it is usually me fielding questions and having an involved discussion while J listens and tries to absorb it all. Dr. M always asks if we have any questions, which by the end of our discussions, I generally don’t. He is very thorough, and always gives us lots of take away information as well. I always turn to J to see if he has anything he wants to ask, but he just shrugs his shoulders and gives me a look, to say he doesn’t even know what to ask at this point.

It is sometimes difficult to reconcile that we are both experiencing the same thing, when we feel it and handle it so differently. In the big picture we feel the same in that we are upset, lost and grieving that we have to endure this process. But in the small details we view things differently, and have different ways of coping. And because of this we not only endure our own pain, by share eachothers pain by being at different places, mentally, with our journey. I wish I could help him, but I don’t know how.