When the glass is always half empty

I’ve been feeling a lot more down lately- mainly defeated and frustrated. Maybe it’s just PMS. Maybe it’s because it was just Mother’s Day. Whatever the reason, I am failing to see the good in things, and that is not the “old me.” And since I am starting a new cycle, I really need to be in a better frame of mind. So I write this post for selfish reasons, as a way to help myself.

I’m still trying to improve my wellness- eating better, working out, meditating- but this time I have so many other things going on in my personal life that I just feel overwhelmed. Most things are good things, but I am getting hung up on the deadlines. I will be “graduating” my current job and moving on to a new one, which is great! But now I have to wrap things up with my current job and get onboarded with my new one. It seems like every day I have more tasks added to my to-do list. I also have to go house hunting since I will be moving to a new state. It was fun in the beginning but once we involved our parents it became way too many cooks in the kitchen. I can’t afford the house I want, which is frustrating because I put in so many years into my education and training, yet it seems I would have been better off getting a job straight out of college. I have a few conferences lined up where I will be speaking, which is also exciting, but that also means working on my speech and presentations.  All this during a second round of IVF. During my first round of IVF, I was pretty relaxed and hopeful. Now, I feel super tense and doubtful. I don’t know if I am doing this as a defense mechanism, like if I expect to fail, then maybe I won’t be as upset if I do fail. But this is such negativity! And I don’t like it. I literally have to remind myself about all the good things in my life to temporarily get out of my negative state. But the negativity always comes back.

Well, this didn’t particularly lift my spirits, but it did give me an outlet to vent. Thanks for listening.

Can I start IVF already?

Ah IVF. I hoped I wouldn’t need you. But now that I know I need you, I need you NOW. Why are there so many things getting in the way of our love, when we are clearly meant to be together? One thing I wish I knew about IVF- not only is IVF itself a process, but the checklist prior to starting is a process too! I have been ready since September 2018!!  Here are the things that got in my way:

-To my biggest surprise, I got pregnant in September- no complaints there! But then I miscarried in November. I lost a potential child and also months off my TTC timeline. It was (and still is) a VERY dark time for me.

-My hcg needed to drop from the thousands, to <2. And it took months for it to get there.

-Next, I needed a sonohysterogram. That didn’t take long at all, but I couldn’t even schedule it until my hcg was low, which, see above, took months.  I totally understand the reason why, but still, more waiting.  Side note- I got some pretty bad cramps from the SHG! Despite taking motrin before!

-Next I needed to wait for authorization approval, attend an IVF class and pick up my meds. All done, but boy did I make sure to move this along.

-Next, I needed to take estrace before my IVF cycle. And guess what- it messed up my periods. My periods were FINALLY occurring every 28-30 days for the past few months. And now on day 34, still no period in sight. No I’m not pregnant again. I now need to take provera to induce a bleed, so here goes another few weeks or so of having to wait.

So can I start IVF already? I’ll let you know when I know.

Frustrated With Your Fertility Clinic? Comment Please!

Hi all, happy new year. I was going to post something sappy about reflecting over last year and my hopes for this year, but no.  A lot of bad things happened to me last year including a miscarriage at the end of the year, so I’m not in the best place to be sappy.

I’ve been going to my fertility clinic for over a year now. The more time goes on, the harder the burden of infertility weighs on me, and I am trying not to let that tarnish my view of the fertility clinic that is supposed to be helping me.

But I am pretty frustrated with my clinic, and I want to know if this is a systemic issue across all/most clinics, or if I just have bad luck.  Like most clinics, bloodwork and ultrasound monitoring  is done in the morning. When I get my monitoring done, I usually get a call or email from one of the nurses to relay results and plan. This is fine. My problem is getting in touch with my doctor. If I want to talk to him, I have to go through the nursing line. I leave a message with the nurse, she talks to my doctor, he answers her, and the nurse relays the message back to me.  I trust the nurses, but when you pass along a message, who knows if things get lost or misinterpreted. This is not my doctor being a jerk– at least, I hope not!– this is how my clinic works. All doctors in my clinic communicate with their patients via the nurses. But getting a message relayed to you is not the same as having an actual conversation with the doctor! If I have any follow-up questions, the whole thing becomes a back-and-forth nightmare. And I am tired of it. Is it that hard for a doctor to get on the phone? I am lucky to be in a clinic that has a respectable name. And when I have an actual appointment with my doctor after a failed treatment, he does spend a lot of time with me. But if he orders tests and results come back after the appointment, I do not hear them from him. When I had the miscarriage, and they were unable to perform genetic testing on the products of conception, I did not hear this from my doctor. Not even a courtesy call to apologize or explain why.

Am I being unreasonable? Am I just losing my faith? Also, is your fertility clinic like this? What do you like/dislike? I think it’s good we know about the options available to us.

Infertility, Miscarriage and Grief

I will start this post the same way I ended my last one, by stating that there is no right or wrong way to grieve.  My recent miscarriage made me reflect on my fertility journey and I realized that I was grieving throughout the entire process, but in different ways. I’d like to share the different ways I grieved with you. Maybe you have felt the same. Maybe you have felt completely different. But if you are reading this my guess is you have gone through some sort of loss or heartbreak and I hope that sharing my experience can somehow provide you comfort.

1. The first time I grieved was after my first miscarriage. This also happened to be my first pregnancy. I was heartbroken,  I cried a lot, and took off work, but I was able to get “back on my feet” relatively quickly, with the help of rationalization. This was an early first trimester miscarriage. The baby would not have been healthy. This was nature’s way of doing things “for the best.” Also, so many women have miscarriages and go on to have healthy babies– at least that’s what doctors and non-doctors kept telling me. I’ll just keep on trying. I was sad but I had hope.

2.  Over the next 2 years, my hope was completely destroyed. Not a single pregnancy after trying on our own or with the help from our reproductive endocrinology friends. During this period, I grieved much more frequently, but on a smaller scale.  I was able to go to work, but sometimes I would cry on my commute to and from. I could get out of bed and function on a day-to-day basis, but if I checked social media and read about a new pregnancy, I’d be in a bad mood for most of the day. I found myself declining invites to baby showers and other baby related events. I was slowly withdrawing. During this period, I wasn’t grieving over a loss per se, but over the same endpoint- nothingness. I felt hopeless and helpless. The lack of control over my situation tormented me.

3. A second pregnancy, with a heartbeat detected, followed by a miscarriage (actually I’m still waiting for that to happen. That’s another story). This one hit me hard. I still cry daily. I couldn’t go to work for a while. I could barely get out of bed. I could barely eat. I did not want to see anybody or talk to anybody except for my husband. I was sad, devastated and angry. I strongly questioned my faith. I was in a state where absolutely nothing could make me feel better. I am still in this state and I don’t think I will ever fully recover. But one thing that helped a little is the passage of time. It made me realize that there are things I cannot change. I am in the midst of another loss, and I cannot reverse this. It will always be heartbreaking and devastating. I feel what I feel. But I have to move on. See my doctor, come up with new plans, take care of myself, go back to work and get things “back to normal.”

I  will end with this: if you are going through something, ANYTHING, that is getting you down, tell someone. A loved one, a friend, a co-worker, a therapist, a counselor– anyone. You might be surprised how supportive they can be. Support is so important during a time when you are most vulnerable.

When the Only Gains are in Weight

Confession: I love chocolate. LOVE. I honestly think I have an addiction to it because I must eat it every day. When I was younger, I went shopping with my family and, for whatever the reason, got into a bad mood. I came home, had some M&Ms and I turned into the most pleasant person in the world. My family teases me about that to this day.

Don’t get me wrong, I am very happy with my body now (well, except for my reproductive system that seems to be on vacation, but I digress). But here’s the thing- given the nature of my schooling and now my job, I had an awful schedule over the past 8 years or so. Working 24 hour shifts, alternating between working during the day and overnight- just horrible timing! I found myself starving and then over-eating as a result. I barely had time to exercise because the second I got home, I would sleep. Yes, I could have “made” time. But I didn’t. My weight began to fluctuate a bit, but whenever I gained a few pounds, I had a very easy time losing them.

Last year, I gained 20 pounds. I started a new job with long work hours including taking calls from home. I would be woken in the middle of the night and was not sleeping well. I still wasn’t eating well either. And I still had no time to go to the gym. But this time, despite my attempt at lifestyle changes, the weight would not come off.

This year my schedule lightened up a bit. Here are some of the lifestyle changes I made:

I practice portion control.

I don’t skip any meals.

At least one of my meals is a salad.

I take a 24oz thermos of water with my to work and drink it by the end of the day.

I limit snacks to 0-1 per day (let’s be real, I can’t cut out chocolate completely)

I go to the gym twice a week (I go with the hubby so there is some schedule coordination involved).

Despite all this, my weight has not budged. In fact, I sometimes gain a couple of pounds, lose them, but nothing more.

I don’t have a negative body image, but I know the importance of a healthy weight when trying to achieve pregnancy. When certain fertility treatments have not worked for me, I sometimes wonder “would they have worked if my weight was more stable?”

I’m not giving up. I’m going to continue to practice healthy lifestyle habits, because ultimately health is what matters most. But if anyone has any healthy and safe weight loss tricks up their sleeve, I’d love to hear them!