A swirl of emotions

First off, I read this post and then headed over to what was posted about infertility etiquette. What a great website. What a great piece that I’d love to share with many people. Who knew it was Infertility Awareness Week? I’m aware of my own issues, and definitely have been struggling with them over the last few days. Here’s what I’m feeling:

1. Talked with the IVf coordinator who works with my doctor. She is super nice. She gave me the briefing, all of which is not new the second time around. I have this great sense of confidence in myself because I know what’s coming. My hubby knows how to give injections like a pro. I know what meds go where and when and why. But …

2. Talked with the financial lady. Again, she was super nice, but this is where my confidence and my positive outlook started to fade. I still cannot, not even a little bit, get over the upcoming cost. What an impact this will have on our life. I do wish we lived in a state that mandates coverage for IVF, but we do not. We have nothing. Not even office visits are covered, so as the financial gal rattled off the details and the numbers added up, I felt myself doubting this cycle, doubting our desire to become parents, doubting my faith in myself. It’s an awful feeling. My hubby has said we just need to embrace the cost. It is something we cannot control, but IVF is something we’re committed to one more time. But still. When all is said and done, we’ll be in close to $16k. Mix in the $14k we’ve already spent this calendar year and I feel horrible. Like make myself sick. Throw-up. Cry at random times. Horrible.

3. In the midst of all of this shit came some pretty wild news: the students at the high school where I teach voted me as the graduation speaker. My school does not invite outside speakers to graduation, rather one graduating student and one faculty member address the students and parents and friends. I got the news last Friday and at first I was in such a grey mood from previously mentioned thoughts that it didn’t really sink in. But then I saw some students who were excited and eager to hear me speak, and I thought — this is pretty fucking cool! That’s when I realized that I am hormonal without the help of meds, I am emotional as we head into IVF #2, but I cannot let this cloud every aspect of my life. I must compartmentalize all that I am feeling about my infertility, deal with those feelings, and then let the other parts of my life shine through. It is those other parts, those parts that are pretty fantastic, that will carry me during my times of doubt and dismay.

4. So it was in yoga, this evening, that I had this clarity. (ding! ding! ding! I get it why my BFF has fallen head-over-heels for yoga and dedicated much of the last decade to mastering it and teaching it.) As my teacher said — Embrace who you are. Accept where you are. I let out a HUGE sigh as I recommitted to both of those ideas. I am not good at this right now. I want to fast forward five months, maybe even just two, so I know how this all turns out. But, seeing as Doc from Back to the Future is nowhere to be found in my life, such a feat is not possible. So instead, I will continue to breathe into what I’m feeling and figure out how to let it all go …

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The fear factor

Ok, maybe this picture is a bit over-the-top, but there are moments during all of this infertility stuff when I feel exactly like this. The caption changes from “What the fuck?!” to “I can’t handle this anymore!” to “Does anyone else feel this way?”, but underneath most of my feelings about infertility and motherhood or the possibility of the former keeping me from the latter is fear.

I’m afraid that I’m not going to become a mother.

I’m afraid that June’s IVF will fail.

I’m afraid that we’ll get over-stretched financially.

I’m afraid that I don’t know if my real fear is not being a mother or not getting something I think I want.

I’m afraid of my own judgement and what I think of myself because I cannot get pregnant.

Today my doctor tried to allay some of my fears. Yes I have a low AMH (.91), but I never had childhood cancer. None of the women in my family struggled with infertility or early on-set menopause. All of my other test results are within the normal limits. So why then, my doctor wondered out loud, was I faced with infertility? “It doesn’t matter,” he said. “There’s nothing in your record that says you cannot be successful.” His comforting way is the reason a friend recommended him, and his comfort surely helped squash some of my fears. But, and please don’t judge me as overly cynical, I’m still scared. I feel like life in the grey of infertility — you’re not in the black of motherhood or the white of being childless by choice — is a place I am eager to get out of. More importantly, I’m eager to move out of this state of fear and into a place of even greater acceptance and gratitude for my life.

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Practicing Stillness

After our January IVF failed, my dad told me my body just needed more time to become a mother. I had just finished my first ultra-marathon not four weeks before starting stims (I did have the race of a lifetime!!), and while I told myself this wouldn’t impact my IVF cycle, sometimes I wonder if it did. My dad’s not a doctor, but he questioned my body’s ability to move from marathoner to mother in such a short time. So, I changed my training plan and moved into yoga with the hopes of helping my body move into mother mode. And it was in what has become one of my favorite classes (Yin Yoga) that I was reminded how important it is to practice stillness.

For me, stillness comes when my husband and I sit down to eat dinner. This might sound wacky, but it is at the table that we find silence and a moment of togetherness unlike the rest of our day: we read the newspaper. Sure some people see this act as an act of avoidance — no need to talk to each other when you can read the newspaper — but in fact it’s one of the moments when we share more than ever. “Listen to this …” or “Can  you believe …” are the common phrases of the meal as we share what we read. Of course those moments are punctuated with silences. But those silences are not uncomfortable or awkward; rather, they’re the welcome moments of respite from a hectic day.

I am constantly thinking about finding that moment or two of quiet, that moment when all thought fades away, and I am just left to be. That is what I loved about running. The clarity. The silence of my mind. The clean sweat not just from my pores but the sweat from the clutter of my day. In finding a new and less physically stressful way of moving into that stillness I’m hoping to be better prepared for the mother part of my life. The marathoner will return, she is my best self, but for now I will embrace stillness in the yoga studio and in the small corners of my day. I will practice it daily and give into it with grace. From stillness I know I can only grow stronger.

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