TTC

Not Pregnant

*Fyi – this post is a little more “cursey” than usual– I’m not sorry about it, I’m just giving you fair warning. *

There are few things more irritating than thinking without a shadow of a doubt that you’re totally pregnant only to pee on something that sasses you back with resounding authority — “Naw girl, you’re wrong.” Aka “Not Pregnant”. 

I’m trying very hard not to lose my shit over this cycle. This dumb cycle that is taking its sweet ass time to peace itself on out so I can start again. 

In the process of not trying to lose my mind, I’ve come up with a list of things that have helped me through this “two week wait”. These are just some things I’ve tried, some have helped me.  

Everyone’s different, and you know what — I bet most of these things would help whether you’re waiting for a positive pregnancy test or any other thing you’re sitting around waiting for. Accept #1– that’s fertility related only.


1. Don’t start testing too early

This is probably the most important thing. If you start testing too early, you’re likely to get slapped with the sass-back, and each day that goes by it’s harder to maintain your sanity. Wait at least until you’ve officially missed your period. Just Resist!!! Put the pee stick DOWN! 

2. Don’t lie to yourself

I have spent many a cycle promising myself that “it would all be worth it” or some version of that sentiment, that I can’t possibly guarantee. After all was said and done, everything seemed to be in vain. A more constructive mantra may be “You’re doing everything you can to get pregnant. And that is good enough“. It’s important to give yourself credit for working so hard– cause real talk- a lot of this is actual work!

3. Do – find some distraction(s)

Seriously, anything and everything that keeps your head and hands busy is a good thing!!! Run, walk, sew, crochet, color, play an instrument, go for a drive and crank your tunes– or all the above!! Whatever, just fill your time. It will help keep you calm, pass the time and unlike infertility YOU CAN CONTROL any of these things which feels amazing!! 

Lookie what I did in an afternoon of trying distract myself from waiting?!?

4. Plan a trip

I know not everyone CAN do this, for years we did without trips due to budget and work. If you can get away even for a day– do it! And plan as you’re heading into your TWW so that you you can look forward to that fun exciting getaway when the waiting part is hopefully done.
5. Figure out what makes you happy…and do that thing!

Think about the things that make you REALLY happy and go chase that feeling. Here’s a shortlist of things that make ME happy.

  •   Getting a Pedicure
  •   Getting a massage or visiting a day spa (cheaper than you think, most places give you access to all the amenities if you buy say a $60 pedi and you can spend all day at the spa livin in the lap of luxury!! Um hell yah!) 
  •  A clean house, pick an area and make it beautiful and pristine. Nothing better than an actual clean slate. 
  •   Making something, anything!
  •   Laughing- go to a comedy club or watch a funny movie

6. Breathe

Meditate, or just breathe deeply if that feels weird to you. I recently found FertiliCalm, there are tons of really good guided meditations, tips, affirmations and other helpful tools! 

7. Talk about it / Write about it

Here’s the thing. One of the worst parts about all of it is feeling like you have to keep quiet. Let it out. Whatever it is, and to whomever you can be it friends, family, a therapist, a journal, blog, or a support group of some kind— get that shit out in the open, it will not do you any good rolling around your own brain. 

Alright well that’s it…. my little shpeel for today. I’m still hanging on for dear life to this cycle… though the Magic Pregnancy Stick says “Naw girl”… I’m still just hoping that bitch cray— and misinformed. 

  • Cycle Day: 47
  • Mental State: Distracted and fairly satisfied with that. 
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

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.

AngelMom

Shockingly obvious observations and other things I know

  • Cycle Day: 7
  • Fertility Treatments: none
  • Mind blowing epiphanies: Infinity
  • Emotional State: Calm

One really gross thing you may not know, when beginning an IUI Cycle, the first order of business, alongside blood work is a very graphic and intrusive transvaginal ultrasound on the 2nd or 3rd day of your cycle. I mean, of course it is! I can’t think of anything else I’d rather do on the 2nd day of my period that have a dude jam a 12 inch rod up there and poke around a bit!! — Said no one ever! It really is terrible – and I’m sorry if that was more than you bargained for, but its reality man, deal with it! So it’s really no wonder why I wasn’t rushing to start a new cycle after the completely brutal failure from IUI #5. 

Leading up to the start of this cycle, I was running away from some very strange feelings. I tried to brush them off has hormonal nothings, and ignored some pretty clear messages I was trying to send myself. At that point the only message or feeling I was into was submission. I felt like I was being shoved into a locker by a bully and just decided it was easier to stay in there hidden in the locker instead of facing my bully. Just do whatever Infertility says, go along and somehow this will all be ok. The bully will go away and I’ll get through this! 

Finally the voice inside had enough, got irritated, spoke louder, and all of a sudden it was clear to me. “Stop. You just needed to stop. You need rest. You need to recover. You are not ready for more hormones, and everything that comes with treatments. And, all of that is totally ok.” Whoaaa!?! Voice in my head, that’s a lot to take in! The concept here is really scary and foreign to me! Anyone who knows me, knows if I’m in-I’m all in!!!! It’s been the same with fertility treatments, we’ve gone head first into this world and I just expected that if I just keep plunging forward everything will be ok. It’s not. Apparently, there is a breaking point and I had finally reached it. Fighting against it only made everything worse. 

Now, it was all starting to come together. I heard the voice, clearly and leaned into those feelings instead of pulling away. I was amazed, how easily I was able to own these words once I said them out loud. I expected them to be rough and poisonous as they left my tongue- I expected to feel ashamed, but instead l, felt a freedom and peace I have not felt in months- maybe years!?? 

That internal conversation has caused me to question everything I’ve felt for the last several months and years of my life. I’ve been consumed with making a baby that I have completely neglected to listen to even the most basic messages coming from inside for fear I would be judged, fear I would fail, and fear that I would miss my chance. 

Trying to make a baby has made me so frantic!!! It’s more than the cliche internal ticking clock. I had bullied myself into thinking that time is my enemy and it was quickly running out! “Can’t waste a single cycle!” “Try harder, you’re not trying hard enough!” “This is all your fault, you could have done this better” — jeez I’m such a jerk to myself!!! I would never talk to any of my friends like that?! Why was I being such a jerkface to myself!!?? 

When I really stop to think of all the times when I am depressed, saddened, lost, or confused it’s horrifying to realize that the reason is because the bully inside me has been saying these awful judgey things and I’m just going along believing them all!!!! 

Sure, going through this struggle with infertility makes me hyper aware and sensitive to shit most people don’t even think of, and that’s tough. But this whole time I’ve been made to feel like there is a whole suite of exterior pressure coming from others when in reality the only one applying any pressure is me

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.