I have debated writing this several times as I don’t want this to be a doom-and-gloom post, however, I feel like the only way to get my feelings out fully is to share them here (and a good cry). I’m not going to give you a play-by-play on our treatments as you can read about those in previous posts, but more a reflection of this past year, mentally and emotionally.
Today makes one year to the day since the break-up phone call with my OBGYN where she diagnosed us with infertility. To give you the long and short of it, this past year has been rough, probably the hardest of our lives. From pure fear to unknown answers, heartache, new doctors, needles and more, these things have all added up to so much stress that we could never have prepared ourselves for.
New Doctors and Fear
These are two things that I have struggled with for as long as I can remember, and two things that made this year so hard. I absolutely hate all doctors for the same reason – they can give me the worst news and I just have to deal with it. Which if you think about it, is fear of the unknown. When you feel something isn’t right, you schedule an appointment with your doctor to get things checked out. I’m sure most humans walk into an appointment hopeful they will have an answer and be on the road to recovery. Not me though, I get so worked up over appointments that I make myself sick to my stomach starting about 24 hours ahead of time. This happens before appointments with my dentist, primary doctor, dermatologist and most definitely my OBGYN. However, no matter how afraid I am of the appointment and the outcome, I’ve always had the constant of knowing my doctors (and dentist) for several years, so there is a small sliver of comfort somewhere. But not this time, having to choose a specialist for something that we never thought would happen to us, that was scary. Knowing all of my fears and having to learn to trust someone new with something so scary, that was a huge pill to swallow. And yes, it did take me quite sometime (explained in this post), but I realized that no matter how fearful I was, without the help of a specialist, our dream of becoming parents was non-existent.
Learning to recognize this fear is the first step in me overcoming it, which I am slowly working on. I’ve made progress with J’s support, love and understanding every single day, reassuring me that I can handle anything that is thrown our way. What I’m about to say next may come as a shock, but I know that part of the reason I have been able to get conquer some of my fear is due to our RE and the incredible staff at our clinic. I never thought I could feel so comfortable and uncomfortable at the same time, let alone in a doctor’s office. But the comfort and support that the our RE and nurses give us is incredible. They hold my hand when I cry, they makes jokes to lighten the mood, and the reassure me that one way or another, with their help, we will accomplish our dreams of becoming parents. I joke with J at every appointment that I’m going to ask my favorite nurses to be friends, which makes sense being that we are at the clinic more often than we are at the grocery store. Of course, the support of our family and friends has helped us, too. However, they don’t quite understand what we are going though nor are they with us at every appointment.
“Infertility is the kind of heartache you can feel in your bones.” – quoted from one of my favorite fellow infertility bloggers, @while_we.wait on Instagram
There are so many emotions that come with being diagnosed as infertile, 99% of which are hard emotions to deal with. These emotions have led me to more tears than I can count and more bad days than good. However, no matter how hard it gets, we have realized that we’ve only got each other. No one else knows what we are going through, unless they have walked this same journey, and unfortunately for us, those are only people we’ve met virtually. My heartaches come and go, naturally they are worse when I see a pregnancy announcement which fills me with anger, but then sometimes they are better when I hear a playful child laughing. I’ve learned that I don’t need to conquer this battle all at once and that I need to take it one step at a time, one day at time. And sometimes, I deal with things one hour at a time, but I’m dealing with it at my own pace, like baby steps, if you will!
Losing Myself Full disclosure – these next few sentences will probably be the hardest ones I write on here.
When you’re handed a diagnosis like this, where all of your hopes and dreams were just ripped away, you can’t help but start to have pity on yourself. Which is exactly what I did for a few months, I had pity for both of us as we both have issues. Once I was able to get over the pity, all of my energy turned into an obsession. Infertility was every thought that came to my mind, every word out of my mouth, every Google search, every conversation I had, every tear that was shed. I bought self-help infertility books. I started following every infertile account I could find on Instagram. I join half a dozen infertility support groups on Facebook. I told my Twitter family. Infertility began to consume me. I hated it, every single bit of it. I hated that I always sounded like a downer constantly talking about my problems. I hated that I couldn’t think of anything other than what I was doing wrong, what could go wrong, why it won’t work, etc. However, I always say “admitting it is the first step,” so by me admitting how all-consuming this was, I was justifying my thoughts and actions. I say that infertility began to consume me because this was just the beginning of it. 365 days later, I’m no better about it, no less consumed.
From this all-consuming obsession, I realized that I lost myself. You may not understand what I mean by this, but imagine not knowing who you are anymore. Of course, I know who I am, I know all of the blessings I do have, but that doesn’t erase the fact that I’m no longer who I used to be and I’m not yet who I want to be. Who I used to be was carefree, I didn’t think twice about having a glass of wine or an unnecessarily large serving of ice cream. Things used to excite me, seeing friends was a top priority. But not now. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy life to the fullest; I countdown to the next time I see my family; I love catching up over Facetime with my best friends, I’m crazy about my job, but I also live with so much worry. I constantly worry about what I’m doing or eating or drinking and wondering if that is negatively impacting everything else I already have going on. I worry about everything J eats and drinks too. I still enjoy seeing friends, but the majority of our friends have children of their own, and being around them is harder than you could imagine. It’s become easier on me mentally to not make plans with friends instead of sitting through the heartache of a dinner with them and their children. I hate going to the grocery store in fear of seeing a newborn baby or a pregnant woman as these are the two biggest triggers for me. But again, admitting it is the first step. I know I’ve lost myself and I’m able to call myself out on this, especially to family and friends. It’s never easy to admit your faults or short-comings, but I know that things can only get easier if I’m open and honest.
I know I said this post was going to focus on the mental and emotional parts of our past year, but I want to share a physical part (no, not what you’re thinking)! In the past year of sticking to my medications and diet changes put in place by Dr. F, I have lost 20 pounds! Now some of that could definitely be stress related especially as I’ve shoveled down my fair share of french fries, but knowing that weight plays such a huge role in any woman’s fertility journey, I knew I would be foolish not to take his advice and work on losing weight!