That’s the operative word on repeat in my brain recently. Not only am I doing IVF, but I’m doing a retrieval for a second time. How did I even get here? Why is this so hard? If these embryo’s don’t work out, what then? I can’t wait another year to try again. My girl parts are a ticking time bomb. Right now risking cancer to achieve pregnancy is okay, because the tumors are slow growing, but the longer I put it off, the more likely it will be I will develop ovarian cancer. At some point I will have to give up the dream.
I know these aren’t the thoughts I should be having just a few short days before I pump myself full of hormones for a second time. But it really hit me today. I’m ready to go, waiting to schedule my baseline appointment. I can take the physical pain, that’s nothing. All the needle sticks, blood draws, and trans-vaginal ultrasounds, those are nothing compared to the downright fear that this will all just fail again. That my body just will not cooperate. That I will be let down again, like I have been on so many other occasions in my life. I’ve mostly stopped setting far-fetched goals, but I never thought or dreamed that experiencing pregnancy and building my very own family would be so hard. I’ve been robbed of so much, I really just want this one thing to work. I want to build my family, in the way I’d hoped. That shouldn’t be too much to ask.
All I can say is I hope this is the last retrieval. I hope something finally gives for me.
In my race to the end of the year, I finally have some control back on my life for the moment. Or at least a sense of control. While everyone else is experiencing the holiday rush, I am ignoring my crappy holidays by plotting my next IVF cycle. Compared to last time, everything is working out smoothly so far. The only hiccup I’ve had is that my compassionate care discount for my medication expired, so I had to reapply. I finally got our tax forms and sent them over last night, so hoping to hear from that within a week.
Everything else is set. Akron General still does same day bloodwork if it’s marked stat, Cleveland Clinic got the fax of my baseline ultrasound standing order, and I’m winding down on the last few birth control pills after my 7 week sprint on them. Then it’s just waiting for my period to get my baseline and the stimming can commence.
Now I’m left to catch my breath and fret over doing this all over again. Just hoping this time it will pay off in the end.
This holiday season has been especially hard for me. Facing the ticking time bomb that is my body, pinned against the financial burden that is reproductive assistance has turned me into a bitter, angry, scrooge this year. I feel I’ve reached a point where “fake it till you make it” no longer gets me through. There is no faking it through this. I am upset and miserable. And I have every right to be.
It’s because of this that I’ve been proactively searching out counseling and practicing self care. I can’t even tell you how critical it is to take care of you first. It doesn’t make everything better, but it makes things bearable.
This month my peer-led support group focused on dealing with the holidays. In preparation for that meeting I put together a little packet for them. An “Infertility Holiday Survival Guide” of sorts. Reality is though, this information is useful for anyone having a hard time. So I wanted to share. Enjoy.
In the lead up to Giving Tuesday this year, RESOLVE has invited bloggers to write about a specific topic each month prior to December 1, 2015. December‘s is RESOLVE to Give Hope. If you would like to participate, you can find more information at the RESOLVE Giving Tuesday blogger information page.
RESOLVE to Give Hope
Today is the day. Giving Tuesday. A charitable day of giving after the debauchery of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. The idea behind Giving Tuesday is that towards the end of the year is the perfect time to make your tax deductible charitable donations, and while you’re busy spending on your family and friends, why not also donate to your favorite charities?
My charity of choice is RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association. Granted, a lot of my donation is spent in time, as opposed to monetary contributions. I use my social media presence to educate people about infertility, I host a monthly infertility support group, and I spend a couple days in May on Capitol Hill trying to pass legislation to recognize my disease as just that, a disease.
Hope even through all of this though has been a struggle for me. I have issues with the way we frame hope, specifically in the infertility community. My struggle is with the idea that hope only means continuing treatment until a baby is conceived and born. It doesn’t hold out room for those that stop treatment and choose adoption or childfree.
I want to change that.
Hope means finding peace in your ending, whatever that ending is. Each of us needs to own our own story, and find the peace we need to live our lives how we see fit. Making that peace should give anyone hope, even if the story doesn’t end how we dreamed it would.
RESOLVE helps us further that goal, through helping us pass local and national legislation, fighting bills that infringe on our treatment process and reproductive rights, and educating the masses on the disease of infertility. They need our help. So I ask you to make a donation today. 1 in 8 people are currently struggling with infertility, the majority silently. Donate today to make a difference tomorrow.
I’ve recently gone back to finding a therapist. It’s not necessarily the thing one should stop doing when dealing with major depressive disorder, but a person can only take the frustration of finding the right therapist for so long before they give up for a while. With the holidays and another cycle approaching, I knew now was the time to pick the search back up as I’d been growing increasingly snappy.
So a couple weeks ago I went to my first session with the new therapist. Yesterday I had another session with her. 2 sessions in and I do think this one may finally work out. She’s already pinpointed a couple of my issues, and doesn’t let me use humor to scapegoat out of sitting with my feelings. She’s also reminded me that just because I might know about my issues, and some of why they are there, it doesn’t mean I need therapy any less. That even therapists have therapists. Knowing your issues and being able to manage them are separate things.
The thing she first picked out though, was something I didn’t really understand or acknowledge. My mind has used the idea of “being strong” to become a crutch to hide behind. I have always had to be strong for those around me, which has made my method of coping with everything to hide my feelings. Stamp them down, box them up, save them for later. Which has lead me to a point now where I don’t really know how to work through my feelings. My go to emotion is anger, because anger is powerful and forceful and strong. Anything else is just seen as weak. None of which is healthy.
Now comes the hard part though, figuring out how to retrain my thought process, and allowing myself to be sad, upset, frustrated, and not just angry and viewing everything outside of anger as weak. I don’t think that of others when they express those emotions, so why isn’t it okay for me to feel that way. Retraining 20 years of emotion processing. This is going to take a while.