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.

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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.

I hate what infertility has done to me.

I HATE infertility for what it has done to me.

I broke down this morning, alone and in the shower, because everything just got a little too hard; a little too heavy.

I am a happy and outgoing person; I refuse to use past tense because I will not admit defeat. I WILL NOT give infertility the power of defeat over me. Not yet. I am a happy person, an outgoing individual who has always believed that there’s a reason behind everything. I am not religious, so personally I do not believe that reason is any form of God controlling my destiny. That being said, I always lead my life with the belief that life handed me lessons and it was my job to learn from those lessons and move forward; thus, everything happens for a reason.

I am losing sight of those reasons lately. I am losing sight of myself.

I have been finding social gatherings more and more difficult as there are SO MANY triggers. How do I make this stop? I’ve been turning down more offers to hang out with people because it is so FUCKING hard. Nearly all of my friends either have kids or want to party like they’re in college. Going through DEIVF, I have significantly reduced any drinking that I do, or if in a current cycle, I don’t drink at all. It’s just not my scene any more (not that it was ever really my scene but I’d imbibe once in a while at social events). So that leaves the other half of my friends, the parents. Unfortunately, children are a trigger for me, even the ones that are nearest and dearest to my heart. HA. What a joke that is.

I have been fortunate to be surrounded by Ah-mazing friends and family, who I know just want me to be successful in this journey. Unfortunately, none of them will ever understand. There’s always a huge elephant in the room when I get together with them and so I have unintentionally been pushing them away. As time passes and we do get together for a social event, the growing distance between us becomes even more evident and I start to feel left out; though, I know I’m the reason that is happening. I know they are here for me but how long are they really going to wait to get their friend back? For me to go back to normal? Let’s face it, will that ever really happen? Even if I ever do come out successful at the end of this infertility journey, I’ll never be the same again will I? Infertility changes you.

The deeper we get into this DEIVF journey, the more fearful I become that I won’t be able to pick up all of the pieces of my former self. I’m scared that I won’t recognize who I have become, because really it’s already starting to happen.

Who is this woman who gets home from a day at work and doesn’t have enough physical or emotional energy to do anything else?

Who is this woman that holds it all in until one day the walls break and tears are shed in the shower; only to then pull herself back together for a little bit longer to prove to the outside world that everything is fine.

Who is this woman who feels so alone, yet is surrounded by so many loving and amazing people?

Who is she? I’m afraid I don’t know anymore.

FET Cycle #1 – 6dp5dt

Oh. My. Goodness. This has been the longest two weeks ever. OH WAIT, I’m only six days in.

I really don’t know how much longer I can wait at this point but I’m torn. The longer I wait to take the test, the longer I can hold onto the hope that it worked; however, as soon as I see that negative I know it’s over for this cycle.

 I was silly and bought some pregnancy tests the other day, I should have waited longer as then they wouldn’t even be in the house and testing early wouldn’t have been an option.

I read an article on Pinterest yesterday called “The 8 Stages of the Two Week Wait” and it couldn’t have been more accurate:

  • The No Big Deal stage
  • The OMG I just know I’m pregnant stage
  • The Ugh, I just don’t think I’m pregnant stage
  • The Google is my best friend stage
  • The Boycott Google stage
  • The Ok, let’s take a home pregnancy test stage
  • The Gloom and self pity stage

And wait for it….

  • The Total insanity stage

This is my first ever two week wait and it fits me perfectly so far.

Now I’m just stuck at the stage of taking a home pregnancy test stage – to test or not to test, that is the question.

I’ve become a lot more quiet… 

Sometimes,  when my anxiety is sitting a little more in the forefront and my thoughts often flit to all things infertility, I find it so much more difficult to have the energy I need to give to other areas of my life. It can feel all consuming.  I believe I have previously mentioned that I work in a youth detention/custody – a place that requires a lot of emotional energy and personal effort to make a shift run smoothly – and some days I struggle to find that in me. I wish this wasn’t the case but there are days, more so than not lately,  that I just don’t want to go into work because I don’t have the energy I know it requires. 

Sometimes,  it presents itself in my struggle to tolerate other people’s negative dispositions,  moods or attitudes. I want to scream at some people that I really care for because I try my damnedest to have a good attitude despite everything on my mind and in my heart – yet they’re sitting there complaining about everything and having such a negative attitude about life and it’s absolutely draining. 

Yesterday I had a number of people approach me (who know me well and are aware of our situation)  to see if everything was ok as I was being particularly quiet (I withdraw when overwhelmed/upset/anxious/etc.) but I found that I didn’t feel like sharing that I was just having a rough day because of infertility. Period. Nothing particular had gone wrong,  we’re not currently in a cycle or anything but people just don’t get how emotionally draining infertility is and sometimes I find it pointless and exhausting trying to explain something to them that they’ll never understand. I don’t share all of my infertility/ivf thoughts with my husband,  family or friends because I hate the thought of that being the only thing they think I can focus on, or dominating all conversations. I choose the things to share with my husband because I want our relationship to be about so much more than infertility and IVF – plus,  I don’t want to force him to think about it nearly as much as it dominates my thoughts. It’s like getting into an argument in a relationship that you cherish – you choose your battles wisely; therefore, I carefully decide which discussions/thoughts are more important. Also, if anyone who isn’t struggling with infertility even had an idea of the thoughts and how all consuming they are, I’m pretty sure they would think I’ve gone off the deep end. 

When it comes down to it though, it’s exhausting. These feelings and thoughts are exhausting; especially for someone who withdraws when overwhelmed with thoughts and feelings.  Having the support of my husband, friends and family is wonderful but some days I wish we hadn’t told anyone because it would be less exhausting to fake my way through a smile when I’m struggling. It’s a win/lose situation really and there’s really no way around it.  

I certainly don’t want to make everyone think that I am unable to think of anything else – that’s not the case. When I’m participating in am activity, out with friends or involved in something particular, I’m usually all there. I can get away mentally from it all for certain periods of time, it’s the quiet times or the triggers that send my thoughts back to all things infertility…

My infuriating body

I wrote the following last Wednesday, Aug 3. I wasn’t sure if I would share it until last night when the saga continued ….

Some days I hate my body. There are times when I don’t want to get out of bed in the morning because of how I feel about my body. There are days when I could cry myself to sleep because of this body of mine…. And I feel helpless to change sometimes.

It might not be what most people are assuming right now. Yes, physically, I could stand to lose 5 pounds… or 20. Yes, I wish clothes fit me differently or that I was a few inches shorter or my hair was a little less flat…but that’s not at all what has such a profound effect on me. I’m talking about my body’s inability to do what it was designed to do. I resigned myself to need donor eggs because I was born with bum ovaries; however, I was told that with everything else going for me, we might be looking at a 70+%success rate with ivf and donor eggs. Now it’s been discovered I have an unresponsive lining. It stays real thin and they’re not entirely sure what to do for me.

In addition to all of this, I don’t get a natural period – only bleeding when I take a break from birth control hormones… Or that’s how it’s supposed to be. Today I started spotting for the second time in a week.

This might not seem like anything big but when I can’t seem to rely on my body to act normal even with meds coursing through my system, how the hell am I ever going to be able to trust my body when it counts.

Unfortunately it’s hitting me that I can’t. I have no trust in my body to do what it is supposed to do, to react how it’s supposed to react.

We all know that person who “if something could go wrong – it will” for them… Well, unfortunately that’s me. I’m that person that everyone knows. I’m tired of it and sometimes it just hits me at a low point and it’s hard to deal with. Today is one of those days.

Once I’m done my next cycle, I am cleared to go forward with an FET. For most people, that would mean a 4-5ish week wait…. Who knows what my body will surprise me with this time or how long I’ll actually end up waiting.

 

Written today Thursday, Aug. 11…

Well I ended up stopping my birth control and getting my period. It lasted from Wednesday to Tuesday which is NOT normal for me. Then, last night I started bleeding yet again; yet nothing so far this morning. WTF body?! Staaaaaaahp itttt!

Oh the stress

…of work, of life, of IVF… it’s a lot.

I work with teenage males who are, essentially, in jail; minimum security, thankfully. Unfortunately, that does not mean that my job is much safer than other facilities as we tend to get the same clients – just different charges…usually.

It would just be my luck that we are now starting our first ever round of fertility treatment (IVF with donor ovum) – our first ever time trying to get pregnant really since we never had the option to try naturally (stupid bum ovaries) – and now we have a client in our facility that is a ticking time bomb with a significant history of violent outbursts towards women. Awesome.

STRESSSSSS

I know I have options and could always take a leave, but it’s not easy. I’m very dedicated to my job, to helping these clients through the worst times of their lives; and on top of all of that, we are already financially strained going through this donor ovum IVF cycle – F*CK it costs A LOT!


*I started this post a number of days ago and am just now finding the time to get back to it. Thankfully our client was released yesterday and is no longer in our care – and to be honest, he was great while he was with us. It’s hard reading their history and knowing what could potentially happen but making sure you treat them with compassion. There is always a chance he could return and I will take it day by day if he does; or with any client, really.

Now to get back into yoga more often to clear some of this stress away…