Living in the moment

I should be living in the moment, but I am not.  I think about the past, I think about the future.  First let me say that I am very grateful that we have this chance, that I am finally pregnant. I know there are many women who want to be in my position.  I have been where you are.  But it is not easy, so bear with me whilst I explain.

The past should stay in the past, but I can’t help but question why we went through everything that we did to make our baby rocky (I wonder why anyone should have to go through that, and for some even more).  We still don’t know the cause of our infertility, and this is difficult for me to deal with.  Why did it work this time?   Out of 25 embryos we made, 1 decided to implant itself in the correct place.  1 survived. 1 made it.  But why didn’t the other 24 make it?  Just because I am pregnant, doesn’t mean I have closure on my infertility, why my body doesn’t want to do what it is meant to do.  I was on the edge of losing hope of any medical resolution.  We treated the symptoms, but we didn’t treat the cause.  We are still unexplained.

And all of this is in the past…right?  But then there is the future on my mind.  What if this baby dies inside me?  What if this baby is still born?  What if all this medical intervention has created a baby that cannot survive, that never had a chance or is severely damaged in some way?  What if we go through all this and get to the end with nothing in our arms, nothing to put to bed and kiss every night, but left with a heart of love, broken into a million pieces.

The future is still an infertile one for me.  I do not have confidence that we figured out how to resolve our infertility.  I believe what has happened was a result of simply try, try again and we got lucky.  Luck was on our side?  This is really hard to deal with because, I may never be this lucky again.

It is hard at times to live in the present right now.  I mostly do, but the past and the future sneak into my mind occasionally.  When I catch myself doing this, I remember the things I have learned in yoga and meditation.  I bring myself back to the present.

Suggestions for keeping your sanity on the Emotional Roller Coaster of Infertility Treatment

In our pack of homework there was a little article from our fertility clinic’s resident psychologist.  I am sure she wouldn’t mind me copying it to my blog to share with everyone else if it helps anyone else.  Thank you Dr Barbara Kersey for your wise words….

1.  Lower your expectations of yourself at this time.  Infertility treatment is stressful.  Learn to say “no” to other commitments that are not absolutely necessary.  Chris and I both agreed we need to do this more.

2. Don’t listen to “horror stories” from other patients or friends.  Keep your own counsel in the waiting room.  Exchange only helpful, positive suggestions with others.  I haven’t heard too many horror stories on the blogs.  I don’t go to forums too much because this is where I have come across horror stories.  I’ll be honest, I tend to find bloggers a bit more educated in their opinions compared to those who may be posting on forums.  That doesn’t mean all people on forums are not educated, I just find that sometimes forums can be a little laisez faire behind posts.  So far we have not spoken to anyone in the waiting room, and we probably won’t; it’s quite a daunting place, but you never know if someone there has just had a miscarriage or just found out they are pregnant.  I’m not inclined to start any conversations here.

3.  Make it your business to be as calm as possible when you are here for treatment.  This won’t guarantee that you will get pregnant, but it can only help.  Whenever I have an appointment I have had my blood pressure taken – there is definitely a correlation behind the type of appointment and my increased blood pressure!  But I have noticed that it was lower for my third IUI.  Hopefully that is because I am relaxing a bit more.

4.  To  help develop your sense of calm, try yoga, meditation, full body massage, journaling, walking etc.  ANYTHING that helps keep your balance.  I love yoga, blogging, walking – I think one can always add in a massage or two here or there!

5.  Recogonise that the staff is here to help you.  Anxiety and anger are natural feelings, but won’t help you (or anyone else) to let staff bet the recipient of these feelings.  We spoke with a nurse once about this issue.  I said that they must have a very difficult job when dealing with such sensitive patients.  The nurse said she finds it hard and there are very difficult days, but equally a number of rewarding days.  She never knows how a patient will react so tends to keep very reserved.  My hats go off to the doctors and nurses working in this industry for the challenges they face everyday.

6.  Get outside support.  Try Resolve, the national support group for couples who deal with infertility.  For information go to www.resolve.org.  Once softball league is finished next week, we might go to one of our local meetings.  We both agree it might be a good idea to meet some others and get some support.

7.  Recognise that infertility is a COUPLES’ issue.  Keep the lines of communication open with your partner.  Infertility is a huge stress on marriage.  Get outside help if needed.  Well Chris wrote a blog post about this the other day…so I won’t say much more other than he is a great rock to me, I hope I am to him too.  I hope we can keep doing this all the way until we have a little F. (Obviously keeping the whole marriage thing up afterwards too 😉 )

Happy Friday Y’all!!! (Check me out with my American speak!!!)

I need my safe place today

14 days past IUI round 1 and I have one negative pregnancy test in front of me….we were good and didn’t test until day 14.  But I’ve known since Saturday it would be negative because I have been having those well known period pains.  But maybe, just maybe I was confusing them.  But no. I was not.

As it is my first time on all these hormones it has been a very confusing month.  My right breast grew significantly larger after I took the Letrozole (and it’s stayed like that); I’ve had horrible ovary pain around ovulation and a swollen abdomen; then after the IUI, sharp pelvic pains that stop me in my tracks, aching lower back, swollen breasts and nausea.  Damn you drugs.

But now I’ve figured all that out this time, surely, the second time round will be easier and less confusing?

Chris was dying as much as I was to take the test, but I knew already and woke up crying this morning because I just knew.  So Chris made me take the test to resolve it once and for all.  I’m not going to put all my thoughts down about how I feel right now, it would not make for good reading.  Maybe later this week when I’m a little more composed.

My safe place is my ‘anchor point’ I developed on a ‘Presentation Skills’ course.  We were taught to have an anchor point that reminds us of our safe place.  Some people on my course thought it was odd and just didn’t get it.  We were made to sit down on the floor and meditate, thinking of a place that makes us feel warm, safe and happy.  Whilst thinking of this happy place we were asked to hold our thumbs to our middle fingers.  We were guided through this meditation to visualise this happy place, smell it, listen to it and feel the warmth of it.  By associating this happy place with this action of holding our thumbs to our middle fingers, we can easily calm ourselves before giving a presentation.  I learnt this ‘skill’ almost 9 years ago and still use it today when I feel anxious.  Today I’m walking around with my thumbs to my fingers, a lot.

IUI round 1: My Big Fat Negative

IUI round 1: My Big Fat Negative

Into the two week wait with a little help

I am on cycle day 19 and 5 days past ovulation.  I think.  I think, because this month I decided not to do any tracking.  I am now regretting this!!

Today has been particularly hard.  This morning after I went to the toilet, I discovered a spot of blood.  I came out of the bathroom beaming at Chris.  I think I might have been a bit optimistic that this was bleeding from implantation.  The rest of the day I have had abdominal pains, and I am now sat here with a hot water bottle, still in pain.  I’ll see how tomorrow goes.

But today got me thinking about the two week wait.  At first they were exciting, and nerve wracking, but recently I have been so busy that I hardly noticed them except for a couple of days before my period was ‘due’.  Today I found this article, which I will attempt to critique from my personal perspective:

9 ways to make the two week wait a little more bearable By Catherine Pearson.

Here’s what Catherine suggests:

1.  Step away from the computer.  Yup, this is what I talked about in my blog post yesterday.  Today I certainly felt a little bit of heightened anxiety looking at some other blogs and articles about implantation bleeding.  When I am done with the blog I will do just that!

2.  Distract, distract, distract (and plan for it).  Usually I do have a distraction – my study for an online course, but I skipped this month’s module because of Christmas holidays.  We have started watching a new TV series – The Americans (love this!), so this has been a great distraction.  However tonight Chris is out doing some photography, and I can’t watch the next episode without him!!! With nothing good on TV, I have failed at distracting myself this evening.  I must be more proactive about distractions next time from cycle day 1.

3.  Write it down.  I’m doing that write now!!! Do I get bonus points for writing about writing it down??!

4.  Name your feelings.  I’ve never tried this.  So today, my feeling is ‘Anxiety’. I want to learn more about meditation techniques.  A few months ago I downloaded an app called ‘Breathe‘ to help me learn some guided techniques.  It has been brilliant at helping me to get to sleep when I have had work going around and around in my mind.

Defining my feeling - I am anxious

Naming  my feelings – I am anxious

5.  Stroll.  Sleep.  Take care of yourself.  Chris and I have started doing more p90x3 in the mornings, getting up earlier, but going to bed much earlier.  So I think this is another tick in the box.  But as of tomorrow, I will make myself go out for a walk at lunch times whilst at work.  I have been bad at this because it has been so cold recently.

6.  Give yourself sad days.  I have done this and treated myself to a monthly glass of wine.  I only recently started to do this because I had given up alcohol almost completely for about 9 months.  A little glass on the first day of my period can’t hurt as a treat.  Chris is also great to talk to, but actually he gets more sad than I do sometimes.  Our partners need these sad days too.

7.  Try an intention.  I do this at yoga classes when I go.  I haven’t been for a while, so I might try and schedule in a few more classes during this time.

8.  Practice a relaxation technique.  I learned breathing techniques at yoga class, and strangely enough, at a presentation skills course.  Thinking about your happy place and connecting it to a sensory point has helped me stay calm before big presentations.  Combining that with deep breathing is an awesome feeling.

9.  Try defensive pessimism.  This is a new one for me as I am usually a glass half full kind of girl, but a little less so recently.  I will try to work on the defensive perspective.

Thank you Catherine Pearson for your article, some great ideas I will put some into practice starting tomorrow.