Monday, June 30, 2008

The Art of Positivity

Today I was inspired by a Joel Osteen sermon I caught yesterday as I was waking up - it was one of those moments when you're convinced that God is literally screaming at you personally through the television. The theme of of the sermon was the importance of "tuning out" negative thoughts in order to allow for positivity in your life. He likened it to the radio dial - when you hear music you don't enjoy, you simply change the chanel. He suggested that our thoughts are like that as well - we need to change the frequency instead of ruminating on the negative.

This sermon was on the wings of a Saturday night breakdown in which I lost it when I thought about all the people around me who are either a). currently pregnant or b). on their way to becoming pregnant after trying for less than 3 months. Needless to say, in spite of his typical patience, L. was a little annoyed with me because these meltdowns always happen at the most inopportune times (we were on our way to dinner, and he was very hungry)

Looking at they "sunny side" definitely doesn't come naturally to me and, frankly, I'm kind of caught up grieving this whole TTC thing. Sitting in the RE's waiting room continues to feel surreal, and I still look around in disbelief because I can't believe this is happening. I haven't reached the acceptance stage - okay, I'm nowhere near the acceptance stage. I'm hanging out somewhere between bargaining ("God, if you'll just let me get pregant from IUI this month, I'll do anything You want me to do for the rest of my life...") and pretty intense anger ("God, I know I've done some bad things in my life, but what did I do to deserve this??!!")

So, in light of my ongoing struggle with negativity (which I think is more reality, although L. doesn't agree), it's been a challenge for me to redirect myself to the positive on this Monday. I tried anyway by formulating the following list of things I'm very thankful for today:

1. An unexpected phone call from L. today
2. A telephone conversation with my sister
3. A telephone conversation with my mom
4. Receiving a really thoughtful e-mail from A. today
5. Hearing from my wonderful Aunt N. yesterday (several times)
6. Receiving supportive comments on my blog

My mother-in-law would love this particular blog as I think she's sometimes overwhelmed by the fact that I don't even own a set of rose colored glasses. Maybe today I've made a little progress toward believing that we will be blessed with a baby when the time is right. Here's to tomorrow and the ongoing countdown to the 28th day!!!

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Joys of Dealing With Pregnant People

  • Today I am wondering about the line between supporting my pregnant friends and taking care of myself by limiting my exposure to the swelling bellies around me. I just did some googling on this subject (my greatest new coping mechanism), and found a posting in which a woman shared her feelings of resentment about being surrounded by pregnancies and baby talk. The responses were staggering – other women attacked her and said that she didn’t deserve to be a mother and that she should force herself to share in the joy of others’ pregnancies.

    I am shocked at this. Perhaps I don’t understand as I am not pregnant, but if I was and I had a friend who was struggling with infertility, I can’t imagine coercing her to be a part of my pregnancy. Frankly, I think ambivalence about frequenting Baby’s ‘R Us with my pregnant friends is as natural a human emotion as the happiness that must accompany a positive pregnancy test. Heading the Baby Shower Committee and bringing the biggest gift seems unnatural, illogical and like a dramatic example of a Freudian defense mechanism. I mean, come on, when you’re struggling with fears that you may never actually be able to conceive a child, is it really natural to sit surrounded by pregnant women at a baby shower discussing breast feeding tips? Why is it not okay to own a feeling that is perfect natural?

    I had dinner with a pregnant friend last night. Undoubtedly, our relationship has been rocky since she called me with her news almost 5 months ago. Our situation was further complicated by the fact that she went through a lot of this infertility stuff with me as her baby is the result of IVF#2. One would think this would make her especially attuned to my feelings, but this is not the case. She expressed to me last night how "sad" she is that I haven’t been an active part of her first and second trimesters. She even expressed resentment that when I do indeed get pregnant, I won’t have to worry about hurting anyone with my happiness unlike the way I guess I’ve "jaded" her experience.

    After thinking this over today, I am once again flabbergasted at her response to our situation, particularly considering that she’s been where I am. I suppose that when one is blessed with an embryo, it is socially acceptable for her to feel whatever she wants. Meanwhile, my empty uterus apparently doesn’t entitle me to take care of myself. Let me clarify by saying that I have been congratulatory and as supportive as I can be of her pregnancy. However, emotionally, I can’t handle the day-to-day baby development stuff, designing the nursery, and hearing how her husband sings happy birthday to her belly every week.

    I believe that self-care and self-preservation are key to overcoming infertility. I refuse to believe that the natural feelings that undoubtedly accompany this situation make me an ugly, bitter woman. To the contrary, I think I’m a healthy example of someone who loves my pregnant friends but who loves myself, L., and our unborn child more. What's so wrong with that?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Here We Go!

Thanks to everyone who called or e-mailed yesterday to wish us well. We really appreciate the support from each of you more than you know. Yesterday was ultimately a good day, a moving day emotionally and very full of love. I am once again reminded of how much love is flowing through my life, and that’s very important as we travel through this process. I feel so very fortunate to have you all – especially you, Mom.

We now begin the two-week wait time, which is always the worst for me. I don’t know how many times L. has said to me over the last 20 months that I am a raging loon through these 14 days. I don’t know what it is, but I become a demon from Hell while I wait for another negative pregnancy test. I know that doesn’t sound like my thoughts are coming from some positive, happy place, but let’s get real – when you’ve dealt with 20 months worth of (all) negative pregnancy tests, it’s hard to believe you’ll every see anything but that lonely control line. We often laugh that we have no idea how we would react to two lines or a plus sign. We would probably have to be revived from shock!

Nonetheless, here we go. Here’s to hoping I can keep the breakdowns to a minimum (but I can’t make any guarantees – please keep your cell phones close by!).

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

We're Having People Over

I’m realizing in this infertility journey that people ultimately react to you differently when you’re "childless" in much the same way I used to think that "marrieds" treated single people. Once people have a kid, all they really want is to be with people of their own kind, particularly when their child is old enough to walk, talk and generally have a personality. I’m fine with that I suppose. I guess it’s the natural order of events.

This morning I was told by a friend of mine (who is also the mother of a 1+ year-old child) that she didn’t have much time to visit this afternoon because they were "having people over" before she leaves for a long trip over the summer on Thursday. I couldn’t help but think about the fact that this time a year or so ago, we would have been "the people" and now I’m not even privy to who the hell "the people" are.

Of course, I’m processing this information as my body is desperately trying to manage raging hormones (on top of the ones I have naturally!) so maybe I’m a little over the edge here. It’s just that us being "childless" sure didn’t seem to matter to these friends when we rushed to the hospital to see their new baby or when we dropped everything to attend a first birthday party earlier this year.

L. says it’s just the way things are…when you have kids, you want to see your kids with other kids. Well, when you’re in your 30s and childless, the injustice of infertility sure doesn’t do anything for your social life, and on a more painful note, it really makes you question the depth of your relationships to begin with.

On to tomorrow…for those of you who read this blog (and are unofficially members of "Team Infertility" – our most faithful supporters), I know you’ll be thinking of us and our three follicles. Please whisper a prayer for us and the millions of sperm who will be joining us in the morning.

Monday, June 23, 2008

3 Follicles and a Kid at the RE's office

Well, we were sitting there trying to make the most of the clinic waiting room this morning (which is a challenge in and of itself) when in walks a couple with an INFANT!! Apparently, even the reproductive endocrinologist's office isn't safe anymore! The mother sat there and fed her infant with a bottle while the rest of us looked on, incredulous.

Overall, our visit today was a success. We have three mature follicles, and many others that have started to form. The RE said I was "responsive" to the medication. Good news. Horrible trigger shot tonight, and IUI scheduled for Wednesday.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

I Sure as Hell Didn't Expect All This When I Decided to Have a Kid

You know, when you start thinking about having a baby when you're like 5 years old, you certainly don't envision countless acronyms (IUI; IVF; TTC; BFP; BFN, etc.), catheters, semen analysis, progesterone levels and two week waits. So, when I recently found an intriguing blog during one of my millions of google searches about TTC (that's "Trying To Conceive"), I was captivated by a woman's (sometimes humorous) journey through the world of infertility. Today, it occurred to me that this might just be a therapeutic way for me to work through the highs and lows of this experience.

So, here goes: Tomorrow, at 8 a.m., I'm due at my RE's office for an ultrasound following four days of gonal-f injections. We're hoping for more than two follicles, as this is our second round of IUI, and according to my RE, we want more this time for success. Not sure I understand this logic as I'm a little frightened of ending up with more than we bargained for (i.e. triplets), but that's the nature of this crazy beast called infertility.

I have come to realize that infertility domineers when it strikes, and that it pretty much rules everything I do anymore (this I'm sure my husband, sisters and mother would agree with!). Today, I spent the afternoon with a good friend of mine deliberating whether or not I would be "up to" helping to plan and attend a baby shower of a friend of ours who isn't due for several months. I wanted to scream that of course I will not be up to attending a baby shower full of pink/blue, kids and a bunch of other pregnant women, but I didn't think that would be appropriate in the middle of a crowded coffee shop.

It's pretty ridiculous that I'm already worrying about this, but that's what you do when you're trying to get pregnant. After 20 months of disappointment, you pretty much learn to plan for the matter how far ahead it may be. I no longer think..."well, I might be pregnant by then..." Instead, I think..."well, by then I'll be in the middle of my first IVF cycle - I don't know if me and my hormones will be able to tolerate the pregnant bellies and onesies."