AngelMom, TTC

Anxiety Power Struggle

  • Cycle Day: 42 (17 days past possible late ovulation)
  • Pregnancy Tests: Infinity ⛔️
  • Mental State: Impatient 

This week’s excerpt has been one of the hardest for me to complete. Which, is astounding when you consider the very personal and detailed information I’ve shared over the last few months.

This week not unlike others, I struggled. I was emotional, confused, scared, angry and fearful about nearly everything but mostly the uncertainty of what lies ahead in the future. Being stuck in an extended holding period like I am, causes a lot of anxiety– apparently.

This cycle is lasting a very long time which is both good and bad. It’s good, because there is still a glimmer of hope that I could turn out to be pregnant, but bad in that despite my period being late I have not yielded a positive pregnancy test. This uncertainty tends to unhinge me a bit, and it causes the less rational and destructive parts of my brain to take over the controls.

I have never even realized that this alternative psyche existed until recently. I’m very rough on myself. Far more critical to myself than I would be to anyone in the outside world. I tend to have the highest of expectations, and very little patience for failure or for waiting in general. Not a good thing when your primary goal involves mostly waiting!

I found myself mid meltdown this week trying to figure out what tipped me over the edge…. and I couldn’t! I sat crying in a bathroom stall at work, feeling afraid, sad, and guilty for feeling all of the above! Nothing specifically happened to me, other than this sudden tsunami of emotion, that may have been purely hormonal.

Luckily, since my loss in December I have started seeing a therapist. I have regular appointments set every few weeks and while some times I see her with nothing serious or upsetting to report, others like this week I was able to work through all of these feelings to a constructive end. There is no measure for the benefit I have realized with therapy.

In times like these, the only thing to do is: LABEL the feeing….. “I am anxious because I do not have control of these circumstances”. Then, TAKE AWAY THE POWER, by doing anything that you CAN control. Any distraction is typically GOOD distraction. The last thing to do, is to reaffirm positive statements to yourself. For me, the internal voice comes at a whisper and usually I don’t even realize it’s happening until the damage has been done. It whispers of failure, paralysis, weakness and all at once I am consumed by a deep fog of doubt, fear and sadness. The only way to prevent or reverse the hostile take over is to remind myself that this place is not permanent. My journey is far from over. I am doing everything I can to make my dreams come true– and I am.

AngelMom, TTC

Babies in public

  • Cycle Day: 35
  • Days Late: 2ish
  • Pregnancy Tests: 5 (I’ve been impatient) all negative 
  • Mental State: Impatient and a bit anxious, but I think we covered that with the amount of tests I’ve taken…..

On my way home from work on Wednesday I was thinking about what to have for dinner. I’ve been going pretty hard on a daytime juice fast– so by the time dinner comes around I’m crazy excited for whatever meal Is going to happen- yay food!! I decided to whisk my husband away for a midweek date– ’cause we can. One of the benefits of not having kids that we frequently cash in on, is that we can do whatever we want without having to also consider a wee one.

We find ourselves at a local Mexican food eatery, and at the table closest to us is an adorable baby, probably 8-10 months old. Adorable. Squishy. Chunky baby!

She’s locks eyes with me and for the rest of our meal is giggling, smiling and reaching for us. Not an uncommon reaction I might add. My husband is always so cute with little ones, making faces and raspberry noises at them. He’s a giant kid, so naturally they all gravitate to his playful and hilarious charm. It’s the cutest damn thing ever.

There is a nuts part of me that just tends to linger on these fleeting moments and wonder…. where the heck is our chunky baby!?? And it’s hard not to feel shafted, angry, sad, resentful… and a thousand other things. For now, I’m focusing on her beautiful smile, how her giggle echoed and clanked off the walls of the restaurant and how good it felt to draw her attention even if only for a few moments, for whatever reason. She picked us.

For now, I can do nothing more than mentally pin that baby to my vision board… and hope the universe makes good at some point! I’m real exhausted, keeping the faith is my cardio!


Secret Baby Pinterest board full of cute babies!! Helps me remember how exciting and worth it this all could be! Can’t go near the thing though once AF hits! 

AngelMom, TTC

Karate James

  • Cycle Day: 29
  • Status: Two Week Wait in full effect
  • Mental State: Hopeful 

I’ve never really told the story of Karate James…. I figure now is a good time. Since, some day around this time he would have been born.

It was our third attempt at IUI. I was several days late and had already tested negative a few days prior. Feeling some symptoms, I reluctantly bought a “good” pregnancy test – anyone TTC knows there are good ones, and the ones you buy in bulk cause who can afford the “good” ones at the rate we blow through them! I sat there staring at the digital hour glass waiting expectantly for “not pregnant” to appear like it always does… bitter and annoyed that obviously any minute it would pop up and ruin my day…. and then all of a sudden…. the greatest word appeared, “pregnant”. “What!?!?” I audibly asked this thing I just peed on… “WHAT!???”

We’ve always joked and never quite been in agreement about what we’d name our kid some day. At times there were names we both could agree not to hate. In the end we figured that was a problem for “Future Us” to solve so we never really negotiated to completion on the subject. One thing I knew, was that our kid would need a really awesome name…

While watching the Olympic summer games there was an athlete named Karani James. Except, every time the announcer called his name it sounded like Karate. We both laughed and agreed that’d be a badass name for a kid. We’d never actually do that of course… would we??? No of course not that would be ridiculous…… 

I swear, the minute we knew I was pregnant, even though we didn’t know the baby’s sex we started calling our kid Karate. It was the perfect name for our “pre-kid”. Karate, was obviously awesome and James is my husbands middle name so we’ve covered our basis there with some tradition– BAM!? Perfect!  I mean sure, we’d come up with a real, suitable name for him in the next several months, but for now —Karate James was all that mattered.

I got to hold Karate for a grand total of 8 weeks. Thanks to a troubling ultrasound at 5 weeks, half of that time was spent worried that it would all end. Wondering if it was ever even real. And knowing that as fast as it all began it would soon be over. I did consciously decide to enjoy how much time I was granted, but it was really tough being given an open end on something so precious. “Maybe this will work out – and maybe not”. 

I have found out a lot about myself since I lost Karate. It’s ever unfolding and evolving, but I persist. In the pursuit of a family, I know in my gut we will have some day.

Every single day, I see something that reminds me of those 8 amazing weeks were I was a mom, and I’m desperate for that feeling again.

I went for a walk the other day, and a breeze kicked up and all around and I felt him there. I closed my eyes and let the wind blow my hair and face, and I felt a powerful peace sweep over me…. I’m thankful for moments like that. Times where I can connect with him somehow, and I feel him nudging my life forward.

For now, I cherish the miracle that we had to give back. Because, no matter the outcome he sure was a miracle. Happy Unbirthday Karate.

AngelMom, TTC

The will to believe

  • Cycle Day: 13
  • Days to fertile window: Brace Yourself…..
  • Mental State: Clear, hopeful

I did some decluttering at work today. Just trying to make my outward self match up with my inward one. Cleaning out junk that doesn’t belong. Trying my best to think thoughts independent of infertility and just enjoy whatever is going on RIGHT NOW.

I was relishing this rare moment of clarity, and just as quickly as it began I was jolted back to reality when I stumbled on something that whipped me around and stopped me in my Fung Shui tracks, cold.

It’s been nearly a year since I started treatments with my current specialist. Through each cycle, I buried myself in positive thoughts. Not that I was actually feeling positive or enlightened during this time, but I felt like I could trick myself into feeling that way and it would be better for me and ultimately help me conceive. Not sure exactly where the notion came from, but I was committed to it. Sure, there were times where I couldn’t be fooled and things were just shitty…. but my whole plan was to psyche myself out and end up really believing by accident.

A big part of this plan was written affirmations I left for myself at work. My way to sort of a Jedi Mind Trick myself…. (yes I’m a huge Star Wars geek— and this is only 1 of of the things that makes me awesome). I changed them periodically, always written on a big sticky note and placed on my computer screen. I never cared who saw it or what it would mean if they did. It was my way to own my feelings, the choice to “try” and to remain positive! Also, as a bonus side effect it made me feel like I had a smidge of control- which I desperately needed.

When I lost my baby in December, I was out for about 3 weeks to recover. I came back to work still broken, still teary eyed, still sad… and the first thing I saw was my yellow sticky note….. I shattered.

I was not the same girl that wrote this note.

I felt so betrayed, those words mocked my very existence. Before the tears could spring out, I grabbed the note and shoved it in my drawer under a bunch of nonsense with a dozen others just like it never to be seen or thought of again… until today.


I found my personal affirmation hope chest. Every time I turned something over in that drawer I would find another one!! Sheesh Past Me– how much positivity does one really even need?!??

Reading though them, was reminded of a girl that truly wanted to believe that it was all just a case of mind over matter. Believe these wonderful things, and they will be real. In my heart, I do still believe… I felt my body relax and I felt happy. Perhaps my mind trick worked? Clearly I knew then that I was capable of believing again. After all I only stashed the notes. I could have easily thrown them in the trash, but I tucked them away beneath everything else somehow knowing I would need and want those positive words again eventually. Feeling a well of hope bubble up inside, I picked one out of the crowd and proudly displayed it on my screen… it feels good to believe. It feels familiar, and warm.

In the end… we are all just looking for something to believe in. It worked for me once, and it will work again!

Also… it’s clear I owe my work a pack of sticky notes…. 😳

AngelMom, TTC

Somewhere I belong…

  • Cycle Day: 12
  • Days to fertile window: 5- tick toc man!!!! 
  • Mental state: Amazed 

So, as we’ve previously covered my husband and I have been trying to (or in some cases trying not not avoid) start our family for about 8 years. We began as most couples do, just expecting that it would happen.

I was brought up believing that pregnancy would surely happen if I didn’t keep my lady bits under lock and key! After all, with no skill or plan involved I was conceived by an impressionable teen who had no thoughts of children or family in the immediate plan, so naturally I was terrified of perpetuating this pattern before I was ready to do so.

Here we are, years later still unable to just let this happen to us! It’s heartbreaking to want something so badly, and feel like you’re broken, damaged, unlucky or inept at just making this seemingly simple thing happen for yourself.

It feels so lonely!! No one talks about it!!! Ever!!! The fear, doubts, anger, and isolation I was feeling couldn’t possibly be unique to only me?!! And if not, where the heck were all these women and why weren’t they speaking up, DAMNIT!???

Now, since starting my blog it’s purpose and direction have changed several times – already!!! I’ve only been writing consistently on the topic for about three months! It took a month of writing for me to gain the courage to publish some of it to the internet and even today my focus and direction seem to be an ever evolving animal that I’m getting to know as we all go along together! Now that I’m writing about it, and speaking out I’ve been looking for others that have been doing the same… and what I found is staggering. There are extremely limited choices in the category of relatable books on infertility that focus on humor, intelligence, sharing experiences and helping others to cope, thrive and survive it!

In my research, on this and other topics, and ways to share my own writing I stumbled upon a Facebook group for Infertility and Loss. With one simple (and albeit reluctant click) I fell down into a deep rabbit hole where I would find over 16,000 women, just like me that were looking for answers, friendship, camaraderie, help, and a way to share and discuss their experiences! What!?! How could I have been missing out on this amazing untapped resource!?! I felt like I had stumbled into the bar in Cheers and instantly been accepted as a regular. Everyone there was completely different than me… but yet somehow exactly the same!

That is one thing I will give infertility credit for… diversity. There are women every size, shape, color, ranging in background, lifestyle and location! Yet, every single one of us could relate to the feeling of loneliness, and rejection that is ubiquitous of whatever type of infertility we are facing individually.

We make connections, answer questions for each other- for all I’ve been through, here are women standing on square one of a road that I’ve traveled!?! I actually have legitimate insight and answers for these girls!?! I find myself constantly wishing I could go back and warn myself about things— and I can do that for these people!?? What!?!? We support one another on good days, on bad days, on days where we’re just waiting for future days to happen. We make jokes — yes jokes???!!! Ones only we can relate to! I chuckled with one gal, “Wondering when my Bachelors Degree of Reproductive Sciences would be coming in the mail-we’re all getting those, RIGHT?!?” Because seriously for all the research and development I’ve done on the subject I truly think i should have at least earned a degree of some sort for my troubles!! It felt good to joke… it felt good (and foreign) to know these people would get it without explanation or judgment!

For the first time, in a long time… I belonged somewhere. Among a sea of strangers, I felt like I was accepted and understood.

TTC

Humor and a infertility…

  • Cycle Day: 11
  • Days til fertile window: 6
  • Mental State: Centered

I’m the kind of person that can and  will find humor in any given scenario. It’s a gift, but no matter where I am or what I am doing I can find something hilarious to laugh at! Luckily, I provide myself and others with a ton of hilariously awkward opportunities for laughter. My husband, also has this gift. On more than one occasion we have had to avoid eye contact because a single glance would cause us to tailspin into laughter in a place where it would not be appropriate to do so (these instances are almost always in a church).

So naturally, infertility would be just as hilarious?? Yes?! And also no. This is the only time in my life where I have not been able to just giggle my way out of whatever was troubling me. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of stuff here to laugh at. But there have been times, where even I just can’t seem to find the humor in this bullshit.

It’s also not a good time for you, [anyone other than me] to make a joke. Most of the jokes that can be made by someone who’s never faced infertility are straight up rage triggers. It’s never ever funny to tell us “you can have my kids”, or “oh you’re lucky you don’t have to deal with [insert idiot bullshit nonsense here]” or anything that starts with the words “at least”. Last of the terrible things that isn’t funny is fake pregnancy announcements. I know a handful of people that have done it, and I don’t hold it against them, but it’s just a bad “joke” in my opinion. I could really do without it. Real pregnancy announcements are hard enough, now I have to deal with being psyched out and feel like an idiot for falling for some dumb joke on top of it!?? Really???

As a sidebar to that, pregnant people… a little kindness goes a long way. Please understand that every pregnancy announcement is another blow to an already painful existence. We want so much to be happy for you and to take joy in your miracle. But every single time I see one, I die a little inside. I can’t speak for the entire populous of women trying their hearts out to have a baby, but it really is kind to warn your infertile friend in a quiet respectful manner so she can have her reaction privately and later she will pull it together and congratulate you properly. It really does work better for everyone involved. Be kind, if they’re brave enough to let you in on their struggle the least you can do is not ruin their day by dropping a social media bomb on them unexpectedly– or worse slapping it on them in public in front of people! Please please please don’t put us on the spot like that, it’s so cruel!

I also know it’s kind of lame we even have to ask for this courtesy. But please understand I want to be happy for you, I really do. But it’s not my first reaction. My first reaction is sadness for me. I tried explaining it to my husband, he didn’t understand why these announcements hit me so hard… until…. one day he came home from work. He’d been going through a grueling interview process for a promotion for which he did not get. He came into work shortly after getting rejected to find a buddy of his had gotten a promotion in another department. He came home that day with his head slumped, “I think I finally get it” he mumbled to me. It was one of the most validating moments of our journey to conceive. So hard to communicate to people- even my own husband what I feel on a day to day basis!

The good news, is if I find something here in infertility to make a joke about, it’s totally ok, for you to laugh. In fact, please laugh it’s one of the only things you actually can do to help!

AngelMom

These eyes….

Current Status

  • Cycle Day: 1
  • Fertility Treatments: None… and likely will go natural this cycle
  • Emotional state: Contemplative

Shout out to these eyes… they’ve been working over time for the last year. They’ve cried an awful lot of tears in this very hard time in my life. They also have to work extremely hard to not look as tired as I truly am. They have to put in over time to hide all the feelings that are not suitable for any given situation I find myself in. It’s not always a good time to let someone know you’re struggling– it’s the eyes’ job to convince them “there’s nothing to see here folks!”.

They hide my pain, my struggle, my jealousy, my rage and my fear. These eyes have a tough gig, for sure. 

Living in this skin, managing the pain from loss, and lack of offspring is tough. Sprinkle in fertility hormones, which not only magnify my own feelings, but additionally cause outbreaks of synthetic emotional turbulence. These eyes really never had a chance! 

Some days I cry over real things that are bothering me. Sometimes I cry over nothing, and everything. Sometimes it’s caused by restraining many things over time to a point where it all bubbles up, over and out. These eyes, have it rough believe me. 

Like every other part of me that has to work hard to keep pushing on, I make promises to my eyes. Just a little farther. Just once more. It will be worth the price of those tears! We are almost there… I promise these eyes, I lie to them to keep them from giving out on me. Hopefully they don’t get wise…. I promise them that if we can just get through this, the beautiful things we will see will outweigh all this pain we have to endure now. 

Perhaps, someday these eyes will gaze upon a chubby screaming baby with eyes like mine…. and I will wipe those tears and have to strain to remember how much it hurt to wait for that moment. Perhaps.