Posts Tagged ‘The Emotions’
So, we’re stiiiiiiill waiting.
Since learning about our male factor issues, we’ve kind of been on hold. The preliminary moves in the urology department have basically just included a repeat of all the tests that were required from the original visits to the fertility center. The fertility center can’t move forward until we have clear answers from urology on the issues they determine, and the urologist can’t move forward until our insurance approves everything. There is a lot of back and forth, (and copays), between primary care doctors, specialists, and test centers.
And I’m annoyed. For a few reasons.
An Ass Out of U & ME
I’m irked that we fell for the okey doke and relied soo heavily on the issues we knew I had, rather than looking into the male factor issues sooner. The sheer intensity of my PCOS and thyroid complications led us all, (doctors included), to assume that it just had to be only me at the root of this crap. I’m annoyed at myself for not “going wit my first mind”, and being thorough.
My Timeline is Askew
I’m irritated that there really is nothing I can do right now but wait. Again. I’m non-essential personnel at the urologist. If I want to know what step we’re on, I have to pry the information out of the spouse’s one-word answers. LOL Not that he’s being a jerk about anything, but I’ve been the captain of this ship for oh, about six, seven years now…so to not know our itinerary, is eating me alive. Like for real, can I at LEAST be in charge of the drinks on the lido deck or something?
No, Really. My Timeline is Jacked Up.
It’s March, people. MARCH. aka Third month of the year. aka, even if I do get pregnant this year, I still might don’t have a kid until 2015. So in my mind, it’s March, and I’ve lost yet another year. Go me. Cue the band.
It is extremely tiring to go to work every day, or do assignments, or just “be”, when you really want to wrap yourself up in a warm blanket, grab a trashy novel and a glass of wine, and just stop being an adult for like 45 minutes. I’m kind of over adulthood lately. It is NOT keeping up its end of the bargain. Or at least not from what I saw when I was watching television and reading books as a young girl. I mean, we should be living in a hip urban brownstone, working freelance jobs at swanky companies, hosting dinner parties, and on our second “accidental” pregnancy right now, right? I mean, at least that’s what Thursday night lineups of years gone by said. It’s literally exhausting trying to keep the thoughts of your real mind, from seeping out. I don’t want people to know how much of my day is in this mental place, but should the opportunity to speak my truth come about in everyday conversation, I can’t really lie and say I’d know how to stop myself.
So as usual, I’ve just decided to stay busy, busy, busy. All this noise and thought running rampant in my head, has to come out sometime, and hopefully it may benefit you. Stay tuned for more info, including some very special events/blog posts for National Infertility Awareness Week 2014!
In the meantime, check out this month’s Sister2Sister Magazine for an article on Egg Freezing, The Egg has a brief mention. Thank you Shahida Muhammad for thinking of me!
Featured image courtesy of stockimages/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
This morning, I shared my feelings on infertility and depression. I gave the option for any of my followers who may not wish to share on their personal pages, or who didn’t have their own blogs to share with me and that I would post on their behalf. I’m SO proud of these individuals who answered the call. THANK YOU.
IF often left me feeling empty, hopeless and depressed. Sometimes I felt numb as if I had nothing left to give. I was in mourning and didn’t realize it. It helps to talk to someone who understands and/or can empathize with you whether they are a professional or not. There is light where there is knowledge & understanding. -Tasha L.
I Need Not Suffer Alone
There came a time in my process of infertility where it began to win. I was depressed beyond words. I was in a dark place and unable to see the light. Very shortly after arriving to the dark place I sought therapy as infertility is a disease and they’re is an emotional aspect that needs to be treated. After spending almost a year in therapy I found out a lot about myself and infertility. 1. No longer would I walk in shame. 2. I did nothing wrong. 3. I need not suffer alone.
I called a counseling center this week.
As many times as I’ve told myself to call, or to look into it, or to move forward with it, this time I wouldn’t let myself back out. I need someone to talk to. Someone who isn’t my friend, or my mom, or my spouse. They’ve heard all my gripes before, and they can apply a temporary salve, but they can’t help me “do my work”, as Iyanla would say. They can’t help me unfold and unwrap all the things I’ve bound inside of myself.
The last time I got the courage up to call a therapist, was about a year ago. I had browsed and studied GoodTherapy.org for about a month before finally deciding on someone with a pleasant enough face, and a close enough location. When I finally got her on the phone, she said that she’d recently moved to Atlanta, and that she had a therapist she trusted back here, who I could call.
I decided that was a sign that I didn’t need a therapist. I mean obviously, if I’d done all that research, and the lady wasn’t even here anymore…
So I went back to business as usual.
And just what is business as usual for me?
Well, I work a lot.
I don’t think you understand.
From the minute I open my eyes in the morning, I immediately find a project to complete. I start in on whatever I can get done before leaving for work, and then once I’m there, I boot up whatever I was working on the day before, plus a few extra things I’ve just thought up, and then I’m mentally booked until around 3pm, when we start getting kids in the library, and wouldn’t you know it, that’s when it’s time for programs and meetings.
By the time I make it home, I try to continue whatever items I didn’t finish at work. If there’s nothing left to really do, I throw myself into a video game, Netflix binge, or Pinterest session(yes, session. My pinning is the stuff of legend. LOL).
I usually do these things until I’m too tired to stay awake. Most nights, I get about four hours of actual sleep because I have a hard time closing my eyes and shutting my brain off at the end of the day. After practically wringing it out like a rag all day, my mind rattles with everything from world peace, to job and sorority tasks, to what kind of schools I want my future children to attend.
And it does not stop or pause.
And when I wake up from that four hours, I start it all over again.
Because if I stop, for one second, I will completely fall apart.
The million tasks I do every day, are my coping mechanism. They distract me from the things that frighten me, and frustrate me, and utterly devastate me. I use them to invent things for myself to hope for, because I’ve lost all ability to do so without them. If I don’t have an event planned for next Saturday at 2pm, I’m not confident that there will be a Saturday.
Half of my day, every day, is looking at other people and wondering how they are so calm. I wonder how they are able to get up and go to work, or meetings, and smile, and have ideas, and just not seem to worry as much as I know that I do. My fears and anxiety levels get so high, that I can barely complete simple tasks.
February of 2013 was hard for me. I was severely depressed. Frustrated with not only my body, but this world in general. Then there was a short glimmer of hope as we planned to adopt, but then that went very sour, very quickly. And while having that little girl in my home for the following six months was special, and healing in many ways, it was also a horribly devastating experience. One that I suppressed into myself.
I am a person who suppresses my own grief. This is a symptom of depression.
I did not allow myself to grieve. I did not have time or interest in it. I just went back to work. With all my disappointment, and all my fear, and a double portion of my anxieties tucked into my tote bag.
I was, and still am, disappointed that for all my positive thinking, things still failed. I am constantly fearful that things may never work. I worry that I’ll continue to plan and hope and have the door closed on me year after year. I am always anxious that I will run out of time.
A year later, February is grueling in my heart. I’m uncomfortable, and sad, and just all around off of my game right now. Most days, I’m literally petrified. I’m tired of it. And more importantly, I’m tired of living in the dark about it.
Infertility is a quiet force within the African American community, and so is depression and mental wellness. Culturally, we are conditioned to internalize, suppress, and work through our feelings on our own. We are taught to keep “inside business, inside”, and to never let others know what we’re going through. Those things we know require outside help, are usually directed to our spiritual leaders, and not to medical healers.
I had a hard time writing this post.
Because I hate to be soooo depressing. Ugh. I HATE IT.
I really don’t like talking about the sadness, and the fear, and the emotional voids that have come into my life. I especially hate that I feel as though I’ve allowed them to. I am angry at myself for not being strong enough to not feel this way, and that too, is something those of us who suppress, do.
Instead of reaching out for help, I tell myself:
“You should pray more.”
“You’re being weak.”
“You just need to write it out or talk it out.”
“If you have time to sit here and mope, you aren’t working enough.”
And once I’ve done such a great job of thinking myself out of moving forward,…the feelings pass for a short while. Then, like I know they will, they always come right back.
Infertility, is bigger than babies. I tell people this all the time, and I doubt they really hear me. It is SO much bigger than bellies and bumps.
Infertility is trauma. Every part of this journey has its own scars and sounds, and memories that for many of us will never ever go away. They haunt us, and hurt us, and cause us to drastically change from whoever we were or at the very least thought we were.
Infertility hurts so far beyond the baby. It’s about my marriage, my friendships and my ability to picture a future. It’s about my body, and whether everything I’ve been told about personal power is true. Source
Because we want to be parents, and because we want to be the type of parents we always dreamed we’d be, we suppress the parts of us that are sad, or angry, or frightened. We wrap those feelings up, and we pack them away, so that we can plant a smile on our faces and keep going. But you cannot build a strong new house on a bad foundation.
I’m trying to walk into 2014 with more hope and faith than I had last year. I want nothing in my way. So I am going to do my best to rebuild my foundation.
Are you suffering from depression? Are you suppressing the emotional toll that infertility has taken on your life? You do not have to fight alone. You do not have to be alone. Here are a few resources that will help make sure you aren’t.
Coping With Infertility and Depression
GoodTherapy.Org Fertility Resource List
Resolve: Mental Health Resources
Infertility and Depression 101
#DayOfLight Info and Resources
- The #DayOfLight Campaign is the brainchild of blogger Brandi of MamaKnowsItAll
- Visit my good friend Natasha’s blog for the post that inspired me to participate here.
Would you like to participate?
- If you are a blogger, write a blog post sharing your personal experience of depression and/or share resources to help others. Add the #DayOfLight hashtag in your post title. (If you don’t have a blog, but want to speak about infertility and depression, please send your thoughts to The Egg and I will post them anonymously for you.)
- Watch the #DayOfLight Google Hangout on Wednesday, February 5th at 11 AM EST. Tweet and ask questions. (http://bit.ly/1ilifbP)
- Participate in the #DayOfLight twitter chat on Wednesday, February 5th at 9 PM EST (follow@PushingLovely, @NotoriousSpinks, and @BrandiJeter for more information)
- Turn your social media avatars black and white on Wednesday, February 5th so we can visually represent all of those affected by depression.
- Share inspiring tweets, posts, and photos on social media to encourage those who are suffering with depression to let them know that they are not alone. Use the hashtag #DayOfLight.
So, last month, I returned to the hospital for another hysteroscopy. YAY!
I get to the post-op appointment two weeks later…Gyne says there was no polyp that she saw. Just my uterine lining stocking up for the apocalypse again.
So this giant lapse (a month and a half, which feels like eternity), was for nothing. Or at least that’s how I felt instantly. I know it wasn’t really, and that it was good to make sure everything was clear anyhow, but damn if it didn’t feel like a waste of time. A painful waste of time at that.
But whatever, it was what needed to be done.
So the next move was to return to the RE for our IVF consult. This meeting is where we sign all the legal paperwork regarding cryo-preservation, legal intent, and consent forms. This is also the meeting where most people learn of their IVF protocol. Meaning, what medicines their RE has determined will be best for them, and some start dates.
Notice how I said, “most people”.
Because as I told yall before, “if I haven’t learned anything in this infertility battle, I’ve learned that NOTHING on this journey can be simple for me. NOTHING.”
So, after we came in, she got right to it and said, “You’ve got three things working against you right now that we have to fight.”
I took a deep breath, and she continued.
- Your thyroid. We have to get it down because it’s too high. We prefer it to be >2.5, yours was at three.
- Your PCOS. Which is apparently a ROUGH case.
At this, I cringed. I have done my reading. I know that with PCOS and IVF there are risks of hyperstimulation, and even an increased risk of miscarriage. PCOS is a jerk. A hairy, fat, jerk. So I held my breath as she told me that my particular case of PCOS has already acted a complete ass.
The normal range of follicles a woman with normal or average egg quality has, is around twelve. 6 on one ovary, and 6 on the other. But Regina? Regina has Thirty-flippin-one. 13 on one ovary, and 18 on the other.
AMH stands for Anti Mullerian Hormone. This hormone gives doctors an indication of the estimated number of eggs a woman has left. It gives the RE an idea of how many eggs they can expect to retrieve from you. The normal AMH levels of women my age, are between 1.0 and 3.0. In PCOS patients, AMH levels can run high. My doctor has NEVER SEEN A PERSON WITH AS HIGH AMH LEVELS AS ME. My AMH was 21. Not 2.1, TWENTY ONE.
So do I have a great possibility for egg retrieval? On the surface, yes. But having done the research, I knew what that really translated to: I am at high risk for hyperstimulation during IVF.
In other words, my follicles may get a taste of those sweet hormone meds and go “fat kid at the buffet”, and my cycle could be cancelled. She even mentioned that she may have to cut my doses in half just because of my risks. WTF, lady bits? What are you doing?!!
My body’s a damned overachiever in every area except weight loss.
But remember, she said there were three issues.
After all this time, the next blow, is that we now have male factor infertility also! YAY!!! We won!
We have been referred to urology now. To which we won’t get in until next year. Depending on what is required, that pushes the IVF process to at least February.
So, all the craptastic news out of the way, we continued with the other parts of the consult and learned all about the risks of IVF, had the painful discussions about things like selective reduction, and even what to do with our embryos if we divorce or one of us passes away. Then came the great layout of costs for preserving embryos, $1100 up front and $450/year after, and the cost of preserving “backup” sperm for retrieval day, $350.
And then to add insult to emotional injury, I got some yucky news about the little one who we were planning to adopt earlier this year. She’s fine! But the info was yucky nonetheless.
I got in my feelings for a hot second. Mostly angry, not sad. Angry that we’d waited before following up with the male factor information. Angry at the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, yet again. Angry to be on hold yet again.
Then I just stopped. I reminded myself to calm down. I reminded myself that now was the time to focus on others and not myself. Prayers for that precious baby girl, and love to my husband who got his own bad news today.
That being said, I’m giving myself permission to be a tad p’d off today. And prescribing my OWN meds for a change. Thanks to my sorority sister for the appropriately named gift.
Featured image courtesy of digitalart/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
The great Erykah Badu has a song called “Out My Mind, Just In Time”, where she laments, for close to eleven minutes about losing herself in a man she thought she loved, and how she gave more of herself to him, than she even gave to herself. It’s a beautiful song, really, that drifts in and out of changes that reflect the growth and depth of this over-thought and overwrought relationship.
And while she is clearly talking about a man who wasn’t worth the stress, this is a feeling I had about my own damn self recently. That I had been in a relationship with myself and my feelings about infertility for some time now, at the expense of my husband’s feelings. A relationship that it was clearly time to move on from.
There are things that you get to be selfish about in this journey.
You get to be frustrated when the medicines don’t work.
You get to be annoyed when you have to have a painful procedure that no one else could possibly understand.
You get to be angry when you’ve spent six months losing weight to prepare for IVF, only for the hormones to put the weight back on.
You don’t get to be so wrapped up in those feelings, that you forget to think about your actual wellbeing and progress, OR that you forget to think about any person who is on the journey with you.
It is very easy to assume, after going through so very much, that you are the only one who gets this. You and the other women who have had the pleasure of enduring shots, and invasive procedures, are the ONLY ones who can truly understand your particular pain. Your loving, but clueless partner has no idea what you really feel like.
He is not hurting in the way that you are. How could he be? The most he had to do was get friendly with himself.
And can he rattle off the names, addresses, and phone numbers of the doctors, nurses, and phlebotomists?
I didn’t think so.
That means he doesn’t give a damn about it.
Can he quote you the appointment dates for the next three appointments?
I knew it.
He’s practically not even in the game.
But, as we start to think those thoughts, here’s the thing though…
Did we ASK him how he felt about everything?
Have you ever really thought about how it feels to him that he can’t make you know how sufficient you are to him, when you’re basing every piece of your worth on this?
Or how hard it must be for him to not know what to say when you’re gushing the details of how you feel, out of fear that you’ll only tell him he doesn’t understand, or that you won’t listen when he tells his own feelings?
Or how terribly, terribly embarrassing and uncomfortable it is to do something so private and intimate, and know that everyone in that clinic/office knows what you’re doing?
Granted, most of what we do as women in this area, is invasive and humiliating. Just getting through the preliminary workups, our pocketbook, as my grandmother would call it, is known from here to West Leviticus, and has made happy times with many an ultrasound wand or speculum. But to be honest, as women, we are somewhat familiar with the stirrups. For a man, so much of this has to be new and fast, and terrifying.
The more I started to think about that, the worse I felt.
I had made this entire thing, about me. I want this so badly, and I am so very tired of waiting, that I have become incredibly sad but ridiculously headstrong. I will not waiver, because I feel like I cannot, even if it is just to stop and acknowledge that he’s lost his footing. I will drag us both over the finish line before I stop at this point.
And worse still, I’ve been so very tight-lipped about my feelings with everyone else, that he was catching ALL of it. All the frustration, and the angst, and the polarizing aggression. I was pouring everything onto him and leaving absolutely no room for him to feel anything of his own.
And as usual these days, that emotion led right back to anger.
I was angry that this stupid, stupid thing had once again made me a monster. It had made me cold, and irrational, and impatient, and…
I was back in my head, making everything about me. Making every emotion I was feeling, the fault of something or someone else. It was my pity party, and I wanted to just cry and cry.
I couldn’t let myself off that easy. I was wrong. Point blank and the period.
I was wrong for being in my head. I was wrong for internalizing everything to the point of insanity. I was wrong for stealing his voice and swallowing it into my own.
So why am I telling you this? You’re a perfectly respectable infertile, right? You handle your stresses far better than I do, and would never dream of making your partner feel isolated and forgotten. Right?
But just in case you ever find yourself being the raging lunatic I discovered I was capable of being, remember these words I said to myself:
The worst battles we will ever fight, take place in our minds. We play the hero and the villain. We project words and actions and even thoughts onto those around us, based on our own insecurities and fears. We lose sight of reality, and sometimes our partners pay the price.
This path is exhausting, and scary, and rough, and a whole heap of other adjectives I could throw in. I am grateful that I don’t have to move down it by myself. I have to remember to appreciate and acknowledge that, before I ostracize the person who is walking beside me.
Get out of your head. Quickly. See things for what they actually are.
If he honestly isn’t doing everything in his power to really be on the journey with you, then say so. Don’t yell it or accuse it. Address it.
If you discover, however, that you just weren’t seeing the full picture, because you were too busy writing a new script in your head, then address that too. Apologize, and move on.
This is just me. You are perfectly clear-headed, and in control of your thoughts and emotions these days, right? You would absolutely, positively just never, ever, be this person. I know.
As I was pulling off from my doctor’s office last week, I couldn’t help but search through my Spotify playlists until I had the right music blasting. I was so invigorated and proud of myself, that I couldn’t move until there was an appropriate soundtrack accompanying my exit. I mean, if you really look at this thing, and some of the moves we have to make, infertility fighters deserve our own theme music.
Some of us are doing more with our day before we even get to work, than others will do all week. Go ahead, toot your own horn. You deserve it.
On the day in question, I’d just had a marathon medical week in terms of getting my ducks in a row.
Where else to start but at the beginning.
So first of all, when you start the fertility center process, one of the first things they’ll have you do as a woman is have preliminary blood work done. Because this testing includes monitoring your hormone levels, it is required that you have them done during the first few days of your menstrual cycle. Now, my once insane cycles have gotten themselves under control in the year after my d&c surgery last fall, so it was a nice change to be able to tell my doctor exactly when I expected my period to arrive. So we smiled and talked, and I was all confident when I told her when it should be there, and planned my next week around getting the ball rolling.
And do you know that heffa period had the nerve to not show up?! All this time we been riding together, and improving our relationship with one another, and now when I need her to be on her game, this broad takes the month off! Like, actually did not even hint at arriving any time soon.
Lost the entire month of September waiting for a period that gave no cares about me and my timeline. Moved into October, and just as my calendar was getting hectic again with work conferences and family obligations, etc., the prodigal period returned. Great, right?! Now we can move forward right?!
In between conference sessions, I call the fertility center to schedule the blood tests within the window of days, and they tell me that all of a sudden my insurance company is requesting a referral from a primary care physician. So, I call my primary care office, and before we even get to the nitty gritty, the nurse decides to go back and forth with me for twenty minutes about how I shouldn’t need a referral at all, and I have to tell her repeatedly that I’m only telling her what the fertility center told me that the insurance company told them! Finally, she transfers me to some voicemail system to leave the referral request.
I say on the message that this is a time sensitive request, and that if they can get back to me soon, I’d appreciate it. I put infertility-me into a little compartment and go back to my conference and wait for a reply from the nurse. At the end of the day, I get a message from her saying that even-though all my doctors at this point know that I have blocked tubes and have to jump to IVF, I can’t just get the referral, but that I have to come in for yet another appointment (can somebody say “copay hustle”).
And that appointment date? Yeah, nine days away. As though I didn’t already say that things were time-sensitive. I was discouraged to say the least. After the vacation my period took in September, it would be devastating to now have to skip October also.
So I started making last-ditch efforts. I called my patient coordinator at the fertility center to see if she had any advice on how to proceed. She was awesome, and double-checked every loophole she could find, but in the end, we were back at square one.
I hung up with her and headed back to my job. I’d just have to wait, I supposed. As upset as I was, I felt like maybe it was time to just chalk it up as a loss, but then something in me was just like, “We’ve come too far.” So on a whim, I decided to call my primary care office and see if there had been any cancellations. Someone had just cancelled for the very next day. I’d have to fit it in during a lunch hour, but I did not hesitate to tell her I’d be there.
I make it to the appointment, get all the way to the part where she’d get me the referral done, and the computer wouldn’t let her input it.
Sigh. So she prints me out the referral order anyway and tells me to call back the next day to make sure that it went through. Great. Because during yet another day at my work conference, I’d like to spend my lunch break on the phone with nurses and insurance companies. Nothing better to do.
I call back tomorrow and I’m on hold most of the day. I can’t get through to the referral nurse, and when I talk to the fertility center, they won’t budge until I have that confirmation. Finally, I’m able to get them to at least agree to let me come in the morning, if I have the referral in hand, BUT, just to gut punch me, the nurse explains that if I can’t make it then, I may have missed the testing window and may have to postpone my IVF cycle until NEXT YEAR.
Now, I’m aware that we are only a couple of months from next year. I know that we are running full steam ahead towards the holiday season, and the resolution gateway. However, after the year I’ve had, and having already postponed my life for the first half of the year, to tell me now that I’m so close I can feel the menopur, that I may have to wait until NEXT YEAR….
I’d been strong for a few days. I’d held on to my dignity and control. But when she said that, I just let the tears fall. All my power had once again been taken from the situation. This whole journey has been a list of “next year’s”. I cannot wait yet another year.
So as I sat there in the parking lot, prepared to go back to work, I was deflated, but I couldn’t let it go. So I called the primary care office just one more time. I don’t know if she could hear the desperation in my voice or not, but she sat on the phone with me until she found that damn referral slip and I didn’t care that I’d already driven all the way to work, I pulled out of the parking lot and hightailed it up the street to that office so fast that when I got there, she hadn’t even finished putting my name on the envelope.
I called the fertility center and told them I had it, and they said I may have to sit and wait when I got there the next morning for the approval code or whatever they needed to come through. I told her I didn’t care. I’d sit there and wait.
And I did. I waited close to an hour or so, and had a nice conversation with the billing office rep as well, (who was VERY nice and supportive), had all the blood drawn, then drove downtown to the last day of my conference and then back to work again to finish Teen Read Week.
And nobody knew. Nobody knew that in my personal life, I’d just moved a mountain. I’d just swam the English channel. I’d just knocked down a wall that had taunted me.
I’d just kicked infertility’s ass. All before I even got to work that day.
I hadn’t been concerned with “bugging the nurses”, or getting on their nerves. I didn’t care about sitting in their offices with checklists and requirements. I didn’t even care that they knew me by name by the time I left them. I felt powerful. I felt like a warrior. I felt,…relentless.
So when I pulled out of the parking lot that evening, with two doctor’s appointments handled and a third one already scheduled, I blasted that theme music without hesitation, and I dared anyone try and get in my way.
Are you kicking infertility’s ass? What’s your theme song?
Here’s one of mine:
Featured image courtesy of stockimages, / FreeDigitalPhotos.net