5 days a week.

As previously mentioned, we are on a a pause; the length of which is still yet to be determined. During this time, I have decided I need to bring some normalcy (and sanity) back into my life.

Over the course of my adult years, I have regularly had an on-again off-again relationship with the gym. I started to remain more regular with my gym attendance over the two years leading up to our first (DE)IVF cycle and it became a lifestyle for me; one which I really enjoyed. I felt stronger and healthier than I had in years. That being said, my weight still fluctuated as it would be an understatement to say that I. LOVE. FOOD. But I was healthy and was not overweight in any sense of the word.

After our first failed cycle, I began doing some reading and found that maybe I shouldn’t be pushing myself so hard at the gym. I spoke to my RE about it and was informed that I could do more body weight style exercises but I should slow down on my cardio and weights. Unfortunately, I struggle when it comes to balance and I started to get it in my head that if I couldn’t do what I wanted at the gym, there was no use in going at all. I spent nearly 8 months being extremely sedentary and eating all of my emotions. Very quickly I started to notice changes in my body; I was no longer balancing my love for food with keeping active. It got to the point that walking up a set of stairs was making my heart rate increase quite a bit – something I hadn’t experienced since my high school/college years.

I have been ashamed of how sedentary I’ve been, how much weight I’ve gained (I would need to lose 20lbs to get back to where I was when I used to think I needed to lose weight!!!), and honestly, where I’ve let my mental health get to. You see, I began really taking the gym seriously after struggling with migraines and headaches for a spell of FOUR MONTHS STRAIGHT(!) – every hour of every day without relief. After seeing my family doctor every other day for weeks, and then a CT scan and referral to a neurologist, it was discovered that I was actually just suffering from tension headaches. Awful, horrible tension headaches caused by stress. Rather than choosing to medicate constantly (which would barely even touch the pain), I worked out and the tension began to ease. So even when I started to wane in my interest with the gym, within a week I would get a headache that would send me back to work out.

Undeniably, physical fitness does such amazing things for my mental health. Silly me, let this coping mechanism go by the wayside during THE most stressful time of my life; and my mental health suffered considerably. My anxiety has increased, I have struggled with feelings of mild to moderate depression, and, as previously mentioned, my relationships have suffered as well; compounding the aforementioned issues. I have tried a couple of times to get back to the gym between our December and March cycles, as well as following the most recent failed March cycle; however, nothing seemed to work for me.

I was struggling with some significant anxiety related to the gym because, as it was later pointed out to me, it felt like just another area of life in which I had failed. Prior to (DE)IVF, I had always been a leader at the gym amongst my girlfriends; creating workouts and pushing them to keep going. While I had relegated myself the my couch for eight months, my girlfriends had actually kept going together and were well beyond my current fitness level. This has been rather difficult for me to accept.

So nearly a month ago, I made the decision to switch gyms and it has made a WORLD of difference. I feel like my girlfriends struggled with this decision but they have come to accept that it was what I needed to make the change in my life. The new environment has been motivating and I am 100% happy with my decision. Since starting, I have been attending the gym 5 days per week and have already noticed a significant change in my mental health and physical fitness level. Now, in saying this, I still haven’t lost one pound on the scale – in nearly four weeks – which at times is extremely frustrating; however, I am stronger and happier. I know the rest will come in time.

How I’m failing.

This post could be focused on so many different aspects. Failing to get pregnant, failing to let it be, failing to save more money, failing to keep the weight off… the. list. goes. on. What I’m actually want to focus on is how I’m failing everyone around me.

 

Infertility is hard. Staying sane through infertility is hard. Keeping even a shred of your former self is hard. Over the last year, I have come to realize that I have been drowning; however, it has been a slow realization. A part of me thought that I was handling things rather well, and maybe considering the shit storm that is infertility, I actually am; just not in everyone else’s eyes. I know it’s easy to brush this off (as I have done for the better part of a year) and rest on the fact that I need to focus on me throughout this journey and who cares what everyone else things because THEY JUST DON’T GET IT. This is 100% true; however, I have tried very hard not to let infertility become my whole identity. Since I have been drowning in my own feelings, I have forgotten about the feelings of those around me and the affect that this has had on them.

 


I have been having some rather difficult conversations over the last month with those that I love and have been failing. My husband, my closest friends, and my family.

 

My husband and I do not fight a lot. Communication is key for the place we work and as a result, we do our best to communicate as effectively as possible at home too; unfortunately, because I have been in cycles and so emotional, there have been some things that my husband has just chose not to bring up. He finally shared those thoughts and feelings with me and although it hurt, it hurt mostly because I didn’t realize the ways in which I was neglecting him and hurting him with my actions or non actions.  I have been doing my best to take what he said and work toward making improvements. It helps that I haven’t had an abundance of hormones in my system lately and am able think a little more clearly. He wasn’t rude in telling me, he didn’t use mean words; yet I knew that he was feeling hurt and left behind. It’s hard that the focus has been on me for the better part of a year and although I tried to check in with him to see how he was doing, I didn’t do everything I could to really ensure that he was okay too.

 

Two of my really close girlfriends (one was my maid of honour and one I became super close with in the years following our wedding) are aware of my infertility journey. I’ve spoken about each of them before as they have always made an effort to be supportive but aren’t always sure how to do so. They both have two children each. They both live a different life than I do because of those children. Don’t get me wrong, I love their children, one of which is my Godson whom I absolutely adore; however, as you all know, it is not easy being around children when you’re going through this process. Mix that with me getting frustrated about having to schedule my life around their ‘mom schedules’, it all became too much. I spent more time at home, and spent more time segregating myself from others; to the point that I would just binge watch tv shows because it was just easier than hanging out with people. As time passed, I became jealous of their friendship with each other – which I know was just a product of my actions, the fact that they are both at the same place in life and their schedules lined up much easier with each other. I was sad that they were working out together the whole time while I was staying out of the gym to try to benefit this infertility process.

 

Both of these girls are amazing friends and I don’t know what I would do without them; it’s hard knowing that I have been pushing them away for so long and the effect it has had on our friendships. I approached my best friend a few weeks ago, on a particularly low day and burst into tears, telling her that I was worried that I was losing her, that I knew it was my fault, but I had absolutely no idea how to make things better because I was so wrapped up in this infertility bullshit. She assured me that she wasn’t going anywhere, that she was still my person, and that we could work it out. Since then, I have been putting forward a better effort to be a better friend and be there for her, as much as she has been for me.

 

Just this week, I spoke to my other friend while we were working a shift together. It was hard because she’s not as outwardly with her emotions and it was difficult to get her to really open up and be honest with her feelings. I knew I had hurt her with my actions and really wanted to sincerely apologize so that we could begin moving forward and getting back to where we used to be.

 

I have another friend who is long distance, she lives about 4 hours away from me and we only see each other 2-3 times a year. Again, since I have been so wrapped up in my own shit and have become reclusive, I have let our friendship down. Another failure of mine. When in a cycle I internalize everything and it’s hard for me to open up. I’m physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted all of the time and have very little energy for anything. I’ve allowed this to keep me from reaching out as much as I should, and that’s not right or fair to her. Since we don’t see each other very often, I need to be making my best effort. It’s been obvious that I’ve upset her too, so I have been making more of an effort to reach out to her and keep in touch.

 

Infertility sucks. It’s hard to navigate. Half of the time I don’t know my own feelings and yet I’ve put expectations on others to be able to navigate them when they’re around me. How is that fair?  I have started working on me again lately, and with that, working on who I am as a wife, a friend, and a co-worker. Let’s hope I can stop letting people down, because, honestly, I want these people to still be in my life when this infertility journey is over; I have sacrificed so much during this journey and I don’t want these relationships to be on that list.

The Pause. 

I know I have been MIA for a while, mostly because there hasn’t been anything to say on the TTC front. We’re on a pause. We’re not sure how long this pause will last at the moment as I haven’t even spoken to our RE for a follow up to our last cycle yet. As I’ve previously mentioned, our RE/Nurse/Clinic does not even make a follow up call after final bloodwork of a failed cycle; it’s up to us to make contact. My husband and I still need to sit down and come up with a list of questions to ask when we do call in. I have started one, but need his input to make sure I am not missing anything. In the mean time, we’ve been getting quotes for roofers in our area as our shingles are literally flying off our roof at an alarming rate; the best part is that it has not stopped raining in weeks it seems so if it wasn’t leaking before, it probably is now.  Some days I hate adulting.

 

Following our failed cycle, I chose not to go back on birth control for a bit (something that I have ALWAYS been on as a hormone replacement #bumovaries) to see just what my body might do on it’s own. The answer to that folks is NOTHING. My body chose to do NOTHING on it’s own. I shouldn’t be surprised, but like always I held out a little bit of hope that I might get a natural cycle (without ovulation as I don’t have eggs). Well, thinking back I guess it’s unfair to say that my body did nothing, what it did manage to do was start going through menopause. See, that is why I have been on hormone supplementation since I was 11 years old; my ovaries suck so I have been keeping menopause at bay constantly since then with the use of birth control. Let me tell you, menopausal hot flashes are no joke (I cannot tell you how much jokes about hot flashes/menopause piss me off – if only people knew how shitty it all is…). Not only have i been experiencing hot flashes, but I have also been experiencing dryness *ahem* down there. After not having sex for the six weeks of our cycle, this is not something that is welcomed. So finally, after 36 days, I decided enough is enough and started back on birth control. It’s been a week now and yet I’m still dealing with the hot flashes. I guess patience is a virtue…

 

I have been talking with my close friend about different medications and approaches that we might want to consider moving forward to help with thin lining and implantation issues. She is dealing with very similar situation and has been excellent in the research that she has been doing. I’m guilty in of getting tired of reading the same information over and over again and sometimes take a break from it; whereas she sticks to it and tends to stumble upon new ideas. So my list of questions/suggestions is growing for my RE and I guess I need to get on with booking a follow up appointment with him so we can start working on a plan. A plan that probably won’t be implemented until the end of summer, but we shall see.

 

It’s not easy taking a break, yet at the same time I think it’s necessary. My husband refers to me as a fighter that he, as a coach, keeps putting back into the ring no matter how beat up I get. He feels bad and wishes that there is more he could do. He’s wonderful and it’s good that he makes me step back and breathe every now and then; otherwise, I’d be jumping head first into the next cycle and that might not be best for my mind, body, spirit or wallet.

Sometimes it takes the person you love, not just to pick you back up, but to hold you back from the fight once in a while.