Posts Tagged ‘Coping’

If You’re Happy And You Know It…Or If You’re Not And Don’t Know Why?

If youre happy

I’m so happy to be here.

I’m going to start by saying that, even though the next thing I say will undoubtedly make someone believe that I’m contradicting it.

And that is, that for the past 24 weeks, I’ve had multiple battles of emotion where I found myself thinking:

“I’m supposed to be happier than this. Aren’t I?”

I know that it sounds like the most ungrateful and irresponsible thing I could possibly say, when finally reaching the position that I’ve been trying to reach for so many years. And I really struggled with writing it down at all, but I felt that it was important to stop hiding behind the pressure of being pregnant after infertility and be honest.

For the past few months, I have fought extremely hard with anxiety and fear.   Pregnancy already comes with its own hormonal and emotional changes.  I’ve read a lot of articles and we’ve all seen the commercials and movie scenes that show pregnant women crying over commercials and even happy songs.  I was okay with that, and somewhat expected it, because I know it comes with the territory.  Being pregnant after infertility, however, I believe comes with an added level of stress and trauma that weighs heavily on the heart and affects not only how I view myself as a pregnant woman, but how I feel about everything. These weren’t just pregnancy hormones, this was finding myself so scared and anxious all the time, that it started to feel paralyzing.

For the beginning of this new journey, I was in survival mode.  Every day was another day of questions and worry, brought on because through all the years that I’ve been in the world of infertility, I’ve seen the elated highs of announcements, and also the devastating news when something has gone wrong.

I found myself wanting to be excited, but internally, painfully sad.  Because I wanted this so very badly, and felt like “I’m no better than any of the amazing people who’ve gotten to this point and then had to say goodbye to their little one far too soon”, what makes me different?  Feeling as though I didn’t deserve to be on the other side, I’d be praying for the best, while always emotionally preparing myself for the worst.

Before appointments, I would talk myself through what to do if there was no heartbeat this week. I’d plan out what to say to my office, or how I’ll tell the select few who already knew.  I wanted to prepare myself to be strong, at what would be the most devastating moment of my life.

And I was doing so, because in a way, I’d lived through it before.

When we were planning to adopt, I’d never felt so close to being a parent.  There was an actual, human baby that was being given to us.  Even then, we were careful to only tell a select few, just as we have now.  We were cautiously optimistic.  To get all the way to the hospital, and to holding her, and to hearing this birth mother say out of her own mouth, “Oh, she’ll be just fine with you all”, I made the mistake of letting my guard down.  Of getting excited.  Of getting attached.

So when two days later it was all snatched away, I believe a part of me just wilted. Such an abrupt ending to such a slow and steady hope.  I couldn’t go to work, and I couldn’t leave my room.  I couldn’t be the same ignorant person I’d been before having it happen, and I couldn’t figure out who the informed person was going ot be on the other side of it.

And I NEVER want to be there again.  Because I almost didn’t come out.

So while I knew full well the risks involved in IVF, and although I decided to do it anyway, I’ve been cautious and tentative every step of the way.  My own doctor said I had a pleasant smile, but that it was clear that underneath it she could tell I was petrified and sad.

At times where I should have been bouncing off the walls with excitement and joy, I’d look at the ultrasound monitor and usually say out loud, “Thank God, there’s something still there!”  And the nurses and the doctors always look at me like, “Of course, silly!”  And then I just start the countdown to the next appointment, when I’ll probably be just as terrified.

My patient and caring husband has been dragged along in my issues as I kept us from announcing until a whopping 20 weeks, though I’d designed an announcement somewhere around week 8.  I just couldn’t get the thought out of my head that if we were to once again get people’s hopes up, including our own, and then have to turn around and let everyone down again, I didn’t think I could handle it.

While listening to a podcast that I love, “The Friend Zone” I heard this statement:”Most of us are spending so much time fearing the loss of something, that we can’t even enjoy it.”

“Most of us are spending so much time fearing the loss of something, that we can’t even enjoy it.”

 WOW.  What a word.  That’s exactly it.

I have felt extremely isolated in my anxiety out of guilt and shame.  Guilt for feeling as though I should NEVER find myself anything but elated when so many of my friends are still fighting to get to this side.  Ashamed that I was “allowing” the anxiety and worry to rob me of the experience I’d waited for, or that my emotional state would be harmful to this little life, which then made me feel even worse. Also, I worried that to tell these feelings would be offensive or hurtful to those who have followed me, or prayed for us, or who are at times seemingly more happy for us than I’ve been able to be for myself.

But, being in my head all of the time is the true culprit here.  I can’t just put my head down and barrel through this like I once believed.  I have to speak, because that’s my therapy. I decided to share these feelings because I’ve prided this blog, and really all of BBE on being honest.  On saying those things that others may be thinking but may not feel they have the right or even the platform to say.  This is no different.

Pregnancy depression and anxiety is a REAL thing.  It actually affects about 6% of all pregnant women and is sometimes more common in women who have experienced infertility.  After the emotional highs and lows of infertility, we’re so used to safeguarding ourselves from the worst, that we can sometimes have a hard time adjusting.  Feelings of isolation and not fitting into the “naturally” pregnant world, or belonging in our infertility circles anymore can become overwhelming.

If you’re like me, and fighting off sadness, I want you to know you’re not alone.  Your feelings are valid, no matter how off-putting they may be.  They don’t take away from how amazing of a parent you’re going to be, or how wonderful of a parent you already are. Wherever you are on this journey, I’m rooting for you, and I’m praying for all of us!

I am so very grateful to God that I’m here now.  That I’ve seen the heartbeat and heard it with my own ears.  That something we’ve waited for so long, is finally within our own reach, just a few months away! Sometimes I’m so excited I could literally run down the street like a crazy person, because June can’t get here fast enough.

The feelings I’ve talked about here today, don’t take away from that.  They don’t make me second guess my choice to take the crazy IVF ride, or to even be a parent at all.  They remind me that I’m human, and that this whole thing is so much bigger than babies.  That our emotional and psychological well-being is intimately tied to our ability to grow our families in the way that we choose.

And here’s a small treat, and the Christmas Gift my husband and I bought for ourselves the day after Christmas.  We went to a commercial ultrasound facility for a gender check, AND they added the heartbeat to a stuffed animal for us.  THANK YOU for sticking with us.

He Is

 

Resources:

Depression is Common Following Successful IVF
Coping With Anxiety and Depression During Pregnancy
Depression During Pregnancy: Signs, Symptoms And Treatment
The Dark, Dirty Secret of Prenatal Depression – Thanks KEIKO!!

And as always, you can always talk to ME.

 

 

Things that Could Mean Everything,…or Nothing At All.

Things That Could Mean Everything

I had to take a few weeks to myself while nearing the end of our IVF journey because I was battling extreme anxiety and wanted to be as focused as possible.  But have no fear!  I have been documenting all the while, so that all my thoughts would be fresh and that I’ll be able to share with you what has been going on once I was a safe distance from it. The following are my actual thoughts while enduring everyone’s dreaded two week wait between transfer and beta testing.

Regina

 

Because what is infertility without panic and superstition?

Things that could mean everything, or maybe nothing:

  • Going to pee and then after sitting right back down, feeling like I forgot to pee when I was in there.
  • Extreme and relentless boobage somehow.
  • Black person myth-busting necessity: Dreamed of Salmon…though I don’t know what the rules are about the whole “I dreamed of fish” thing.  Do the fish have to be swimming along having a good time?  Or does my dream of perfectly cooked salmon last night not count?
  • Dizziness.  I could have just been tired though.
  • Nauseatingly warm.  Not nauseous. But boiling.

Coincidences that made me smile momentarily and then just creeped me out:

Spiders are supposed to be good luck, right?

  • Spiders in the doctor’s office on the day of transfer
  • Spiders in the bathroom at home the evening after
  • Spiders at work the next day
  • Spider in my CAR the next evening
  • Spider in the hallway of my building the next day

When visiting my doctor’s office for bloodwork and ultrasounds, there was always music playing in the ultrasound room:

  • We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off by Jermaine Stewart
  • If You Think I’m Sexy by Rod Stewart
  • Danger Zone (this one actually played the day they found out I was hyper-stimming a little)
  • We Belong Together by Pat Benetar
  • Sweet Dreams by Eurythmics
  • Lady by The Commodores
Times I freaked out and assumed I’d ruined everything:
  • The day after the transfer, Wendy’s under-cooked my chicken sandwich and I almost had a conniption and believed I’d ruined everything by eating under-cooked meat.
  • Upon returning to work that day, I also moved a piece of furniture in the teen room at work and once again had a conniption and believed I’d ruined everything by overexerting myself.
  • Bought pineapple to try and do the pineapple diet, but forgot it was in the refrigerator and didn’t eat it.  So of course…I’d ruined everything.
  • Then, I dreamed of fish, but it was cooked. So once again, I had a conniption and believed I’d ruined everything.
  • Oh, then I drank a glass of ice water and took my socks off to fight the aforementioned boiling point…then read a blog about PCOS during the 2ww that said, you should NOT drink ice water and you should have socks on 24/7 to “keep all your energy going to your uterus”. So then I had another conniption and believed I’d ruined everything by taking precious energy from my uterus to warm my water and feet.

Clearly I’m neurotic, and making hellafied mistakes with this whole thing I’m sure, but whatever the case…stick around, kid.  Stick. Around.

2WW Grief & Anxiety

 

2ww Grief 2

I had to take a few weeks to myself while nearing the end of our IVF journey because I was battling extreme anxiety and wanted to be as focused as possible.  But have no fear!  I have been documenting all the while, so that all my thoughts would be fresh and that I’ll be able to share with you what has been going on once I was a safe distance from it. The following are my actual thoughts while enduring everyone’s dreaded two week wait between transfer and beta testing.

Regina

 

The 2WW.  I’ve heard tales of it, but honestly, each person’s experience with it is their own I’m learning.  I have my moments of frustration and confusion, but overall I’m too busy to really focus on it much.  I’m not quite ready to pull my hair out, or prepared to run through the pregnancy test aisles of my nearest convenience store.

To be honest, I’m hopeful, but also cognizant of the fact that this may not work. It’s a fact that we all have to acknowledge when embarking on fertility treatments of any kind.  We have to be honest with ourselves and our partners.

I know his/her name.
I know who I believe they will be.
All I don’t know, is if my thoughts align with God’s will.

And in my moments of doubt, I start to feel very strongly that if this doesn’t work,  I will want and need to apologize.

To my job,

Although I’ve tried so hard not to actually take any days off other than retrieval and transfer, I know that mentally, I just wasn’t there for the past couple of months. Working in a child-heavy environment, I have worked SO hard for soo long to keep my fertility issues out of sight, that even with a sore backside and absolutely no energy after driving 40 miles roundtrip for bloodwork, I’ve been still attempting to keep things quiet.  I worry that when this is all over, if I have nothing to show for it, I’ll feel even worse to see that I’ve let my work fall to the wayside.

To my family,

For taking some of them on this fragmented roller coaster ride that I’ve ridden solo for years previous.  I knew this ride was dangerous, so any stress they’ve taken on for me was clearly my fault.  My mom worries, and I’d just be so sorry to have made her take on so much extra stress.  Because, there isn’t much they can actually do.  The shots, the meds, and everything else falls on me and my husband, so really all I’m doing is giving them (possibly) false hope, and I would hate to have done that.

And even

To myself.

For putting myself through shots everyday for the past 60 or so days, and sometimes twice a day.  For irritating my skin with the adhesive backing of estrogen patches.  For almost choking myself with these oddly circular estrogen pills that get stuck in my esophagus four times a day.  I’ve given myself time to process every piece of this journey, by taking myself out of my normal social circles and isolating myself to the point where people have started messaging me and asking if I’m alive and well.  I’ve had to close myself off so that I can focus on these things I’m doing that are so far outside of my comfort zone, (shots, anyone?), and it’s made me feel awkward and anxious.  If this doesn’t work, I’ll worry that I’ll have to repair those connections, while privately licking my wounds, and I wonder how that will change me.

But, I’m sure this is all normal, right?

All these feelings of trying to protect myself from hoping too much, while trying to keep myself at optimum performance.  Resisting the urge to POAS because I know that if it doesn’t say what I want it to say that I’ll lose the will to keep moving forward.  All of this, from the highest peak to the lowest depth, are all normal feelings.  And hopefully, at the end of this two weeks, they’ll be irrelevant.

Opening The Door On…Infertility & Depression

Opening The Door On - Infertility and DepressionThe following is an anonymous submission for The Egg’s 2015 National Infertility Awareness Week Blog Project, #BehindClosedDoors.  This brave and powerful entry is one that will resonate with many, and one that I had to share.  THANK YOU to the Eggshell who sent it in, because she could be saving someone’s life with it.

If you are experiencing dark thoughts and need someone to talk to, please seek help. GoodTherapy.org offers a great search tool that will allow you to find help near you that specializes in the cares and concerns of those afflicted by infertility.   Remember “You Are Not Alone”.

Regina


A month or so ago I actually tried to take my own life.  I wasn’t strong enough to explain it here or anywhere else.  I did write it out though, and I’m posting it now.  My journey will never give anyone hope because…well I’m not pregnant and I never will be.  But maybe my journey will save someone else from letting themselves lapse into a despair that seems insurmountable.  Anyway, I don’t remember the exact date or time, but below is what I wrote about it.

************ (more…)

Proactive Hope

For the past few weeks, I’ve been going back and forth with a couple friends and family members about how to get over the hump that finances have placed smack dab in the middle of reproductive progress.  I had qualms about applying for grants, for fear of taking those resources away from someone else who needed them much more, and trying to save has really not gone over as successfully as one would hope.  I wasn’t too keen on the idea of crowdfunding, while it’s another great option, because I’m just not that great at accepting gifts.

As with most things in my life, on this journey especially, I decided that I wanted my needs to be filled by meeting the needs of others.  Even if it’s in a small way.  I wanted to do more.

So, without any more flourish, I’m pleased to announce the launch of the “Carton of Hope” Apparel and Accessories shop.

Carton of Hope header 2 copy

I’ve always hesitated about having Broken Brown Egg related t-shirts or other items because I know that people are particular and private concerning infertility, and would rather not walk around in clothing that shouts about it from the mountaintops.  The items found in The Carton. however, are each designed by me, and there was special care placed in creating subtle yet powerful statements which speak to the fight of not only infertility, but life in general.

It is time to put my faith, and my hope into action.  It’s painfully clear at this point, (and it really should have been clear years ago), that if we want ANYTHING to happen for us in this, we’re going to have to step out and get it done.  Or if we can’t seem to get it done on our own, that we raise enough of a rally cry that it just gets DONE.

This is my rally cry.

Please stop by and take a look around.  The designs are all original creations by me, and featuring thought-provoking and inspirational concept art.  Any purchases made, especially from The Broken Brown Egg Signature Series collection will go towards paying for our urology and IVF medication bills.

And even if you don’t buy a single thing, I just want to say Thank you SO very much for supporting The Egg.  I appreciate your company.

Heart Attack.

Heart Attack

Last night I took off my smile, laid it on the nightstand and wept.

It wasn’t one of those heaving chest numbers, or the famed “ugly cry”, but rather a long, hot, steam-filled weep, where my eyes literally overflowed, and my nose erupted, and my heart jumped a little harder in my chest.

I wept for Endiah Martin.
I wept for Lenore Draper.
I wept for my city.
I wept for my family.
I wept for my dreams.
I wept because I can’t fathom a life for my children in this place where life is so undervalued presently.
I wept for how much these youth have to endure just to get through life right now.
I wept for all the children who will be overcomers of their childhoods and not beneficiaries of it.
I wept for all the parent-minded people, who may never be parents.
I wept for the idea that time is beating me over the head.
I wept for the idea of money being a barrier to my life goals.
I wept for peace of mind that I long for.
I wept for clarity of spirit.
I wept for courage that I feel distant from.
I wept from exhaustion.

Most of all, I wept because I had no idea what else to do.

I often tell people that infertility is bigger than babies.
I wish they would believe me.

Infertility affects who you believe yourself to be.  It chips away at confidence, and perseverance, and fight.  It is an emotional autoimmunity, forcing one to battle with their own very being.  It amplifies every hurdle, and every pain, and every sweetness, and in its wake, you have to force yourself to continue to be YOU, when it has altered everything you thought YOU were.  Everything that I believed about myself has been called into question as I walk through this.

But I’ve said all this before.  So why am I sharing it right now?
Quite simply, because someone needs to hear it.

Someone needs to know that crying themselves to sleep last night wasn’t weakness, or immaturity, but a release.  That these irrational feelings that come at us so quickly and desperately, are not for us to shove way down into ourselves, but to allow.

You have the RIGHT, to be heartbroken.  You have the RIGHT, to be afraid.  You have the RIGHT, to question everything and accept nothing about this.  You have the right to feel.

So many times we attempt to push down the fact that we are overwhelmed and distraught, as though ignoring it means that it isn’t happening.  This is damaging.  You can ignore your brakes screeching for so long, but eventually they will go out.  You have to take care of yourself.

You matter, and your heartbreak is not in vain.  When you add infertility on top of every other thing that is going on around us, it is a lot to digest.  You owe it to yourself to be honest about where you are, and take the time to address it.

I wish you all the support and love in the world, and then some.

 

Featured image courtesy of Master isolated images/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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