It’s a mantra that I try to keep, but gets so hard during this time in my life. I’ve read so much about coping my head spins. I am blessed to have the unconditional love and support of my husband, who has also suffered during this year of my body physically rejecting motherhood. I’ve not given up, but do not want to be told to “never give up!” It’s our choice if we want to stop trying, and to be told that we shouldn’t end the chapter is just plain offensive. I’ve been amazed at how few in our lives have truly made an effort to understand what we are going through, and how many have dropped off the radar altogether. We’re not talking about acquaintances -we’re talking about certain friends/family on both sides who we trusted implicitly. And then, the other day we got a sucker punch that was the icing on the shit we’re already going through. The new counselor we had shown up to talk to about what we’ve been going through and where we are headed? She doublebooked us on our first appointment, then rather than trying to make it right, told us to (verbatim) “go find another doula” (which, btw, we weren’t looking for her doula services, as we’re not fucking pregnant), and then five hours later, after we posted our experience on Yelp, she TEXTS us her half-hearted regrets then copies/pastes it into an email, including referring to this as a “proper apology” – and never takes accountability for her comment to go elsewhere for help. It had my husband biting his tongue as he said he had nothing but curse words come to mind, and for me just had me completely crestfallen from the rejection.
Coping With Rejection and Seeing the World in New Ways
Every morning my husband and I, before we get up, lie in bed snuggling and talking about where we’re at in our lives, what is coming up, etc. It’s my favorite time of day, the quiet time together before we start everything, with the dog nearby (she’s our alarm clock, 6:30am every day she’s up, in our room, first rubbing her snotty eyes against the comforter back and forth, tail wagging so vigorously it sounds like a broom banging the dust off a carpet, then snorting next to us – taking turns to visit both sides – to get a scratch behind the ear from one of us) and the light peeking in on the edge of the curtains. It centers me, and prepares me to take on the world.
The morning after that counselor rejected us, I asked him how he was doing after yesterday and he articulated what was in my mind perfectly. He said, “You know, beyond feeling hurt or angry about it, I just feel defeated.” So spot on. The rejection I’ve felt, both internally (my body) and externally (the people who we have lost trust in or who have disappeared), over the past year of infertility, has hit me hard.
My husband has never had huge expectations of his family or friends. He’s shielded himself from that hurt, and would rather not try to reopen things with people who’ve never been all that supportive to begin with. As for myself, I’ve often trusted too soon, confided too early, assumed there was more strength and integrity to those I felt close to, and found disappointment along the way. And I’m learning – there really aren’t that many people who you can truly, truly trust to be there.
But it is what it is, as the phrase goes. It’s not worth the battle – I’m too fucking tired as it is just dealing with my own reproductive system’s road to retirement. i don’t have it in me to ask for any more. I have to focus on survival. I have to find a new normal.
New Roads to Relaxation
So while during the first IVF cycle (and the IUI attempts before that) I was trying to turn myself into a Magical Fertility Machine, thinking that a cup of coffee or a glass of wine would be the downfall of my treatment, and I would not get pregnant if I didn’t eat more of X or less of Y, it’s a different stance now. At the start it was kind of fun to follow a fertility regimen – kind of like training for an athletic event – but when it still fails, and you realize you did all that for nothing, it makes you reevaluate. Well, it made ME reevaluate what I want this process to look like.
Because, fuckin’ oath (my hub’s favorite term), I want to enjoy my life as much as possible each and every day!!
Because I don’t want to hate myself when I get an attack of the emo-eating that comes with hormone jabs to the ass every morning.
Because at the end of this all, whether it works or not, I don’t want to look back at think, “man that was the worst year of my life!”
I’m still getting my monthly “mental health session” via a 90 minute hot stone massage, which has been going for 4 or 5 years now, and am scheduled for an acupuncture session with my naturopath next week. Our next IVF cycle should be starting by then (today is day 24 of my cycle, and the first day of my period is when I call the doc to say let’s get this party started for the FET cycle), and so now I just want to make sure I am breathing.
And with breathing, there are days that I feel like my breathing is just off. You know those times when you realize your breath is shallow and you just aren’t exhaling like you should?
Well here’s a confession: I’ve only gone to a yoga class once this year. Once. What the fuck, right? That was my baby, my comfort zone, my happy place…and then I hurt my back, and not long after that I found out my ovaries were empty. And along with that, my favorite yoga teacher left the studio, and the studio jacked up their rates to $15/class. I was sad, and frustrated, and pissed off at my life, and walked away from it.
When my flexibility went downhill, and my heart was all over the place with these baby making failures (and don’t say “it wasn’t a failure” because it was. Just the facts, y’all.), I actually lost the motivation to go back to my yoga practice. Those of us who do yoga know how they remind us that we’re only supposed to focus on our own selves, not compare your abilities to anyone else. But what about when we compare our current self with our past self? That’s the bitch for me. In the old days, I compared myself to my years as a dancer. And I remember how long it took me to return to yoga, to get into the zone and feel good again, and so, naturally, I mentally beat myself up for where I was now.
So I got out my yoga DVD. My husband and I just stopped and did it together one afternoon. It was meant to remind us of a few basic poses, to breathe, to find a bit of ourselves in our aching joints that are showing the effects of this struggle.
It did what it was supposed to do. It fucking hurt. Hurt like hell to feel what I’ve been through as I went into triangle pose. Hurt like hell to feel my body protesting. Hurt like hell as my body reached out to return to a place it’d been so many times and was refused by today’s body that was ignored for most of 2015. Sure I’ve walked and biked, but yoga has always been my place where I can go into my soul in a way that nothing else can. Why? Because it’s meditative, and integrates my body, my heart, and my mind.
And with that, I took one small step. I began to meditate for 5 minutes each day. Sounds tiny but it’s a step. It’s a small step to breathe easier before I head to sleep, or anytime I feel that shortness in my breath that happens when my mind takes over. Upon recommendation by another blogger in Infertility-land, I downloaded The Mindfulness App onto my Android smartphone (also available for iPhone folks here) and it has helped. It’s not a cure, but the lady’s voice on it is soothing like a (good) yoga teacher’s and when I open my eyes from it, there is a settled feeling in me so similar to coming out of a nice savasana.
Back to the Waiting Game
So anyhow, we’re back to the waiting game. This time, waiting for my period to come. It’s a few days late and it’s making me a little nuts. When you’re infertile you know that it being a few days late is not a cause for hope, it’s just your body getting more and more unreliable in its cycles. As soon as it arrives, I’ll be able to get the protocol from my RE to start the 2nd IVF cycle, to transfer in December and find out the results probably around Christmas or New Years.
And by the way, I am off the boards. I’m just so sick of embryos being referred to as “totsicles” or, worse, as babies. They are not babies. They are just a sperm and an egg that connected. They are a few cells, that’s it. They’re not people. And oh my GAWD if I hear the terms “baby dust” or “PUPO” any more I will puke. What’s PUPO stand for, you ask? “Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise”. Um no, that would mean I’ve been PUPO since I was 12, and proven otherwise every 28 days. You are pregnant if you’re pregnancy test is positive, and so much of these boards put in a “never give up!” type of rah-rah cheerleading that it makes my eyes roll.
In this infertility game, it’s never been made okay to end the journey, to give up, to go another route. Everything you see is about all the different techniques, with no one ever saying “Hey, this shit is taking a huge toll on you, and you are the MOST important person in your life. If you want to take a break, or stop subjecting your body to massive amounts of hormones, then do it!” Yes, I want to be a parent, but I also want to be one that is emotionally and financially stable, and if after this year is up and I’m still not pregnant? I just may leave those embryos on ice for a while, to maybe or maybe not return to them in the future. Because no matter what, it’s about my husband and I, and we have other ways to become a family that we are moving towards.
Oh yeah and you know what?
We are already a family. He and I ? We’re a family. We’re just making it bigger some way, some how.
“Having a place to go — is a home. Having someone to love — is a family. Having both — is a blessing.”