after miscarriage · grief and loss · Infertility · iui · pregnancy loss · sermon takeaways · trying to conceive

The valley of “should be”

I can’t help but think about the fact that today I should be halfway through my pregnancy. We should already know our baby’s gender, we should be planning for baby showers and where to fit a crib in our apartment…I should be starting to show and…and…and…

I thought when my period came a few weeks ago that things clicked into place and that I was ready to be okay again. In some ways, I have been; I’ve at least been able to be productive and not zone out in front of the TV for hours on end (see previous post).

But every time I see a baby I want to cry. Every time I hear about another pregnancy it’s a gut punch. Every day of my cycle feels like it’s another day closer to be reminded of failure; because at this point I really don’t have a whole lot of confidence that we’ll be able to conceive completely naturally.

I’m just so tired of this being all consuming. But I honestly don’t know how to think about anything else.

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On a separate note, at least things are in process again with infertility treatments. It was super stressful for a couple weeks; I was beginning to be afraid that our new insurance wouldn’t be accepted anywhere (though technically I didn’t even know enough about our plan to get accurate information from any of the clinics I called).

But after a bunch of phone calls and (unnecessary) stress…I was able to switch our insurance ‘group’ to the one that is accepted at the clinic where our previous RE already works. I’m very hopeful that because she knows us she will just let us jump right in to another round of IUI with my upcoming cycle and not make us go through all the testing again; though if it’s a matter of getting insurance to cover things maybe she’ll still have to. I don’t know. I’m just grateful to be able to go back to her; it’s a small blessing in all of this.

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I’ll close with a couple reflections from one of my pastor’s recent sermons. He just finished going through Psalm 23; and the sermon on verse 4 (“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me”) had some especially helpful observations.

First was just the quote that he started with…an ancient proverb or something. “All sunshine and no rain makes a desert.” Enough said about that.

He also pointed out the following observation, something I’d never noticed before. The first three verses of the psalm refer to the Lord as “He.” (he leads me, he restores…etc) After the valley…after the first part of verse 4, David refers to the Lord as “you.” (“You are with me, you prepare, you anoint…). Walking through the inevitable valleys of life deepen our relationship with our shepherd and make it personal. We’re not just sheep being herded around…we are children walking through life with a father who pursues us with goodness and mercy. (that was in today’s sermon; the word for follow in verse 6 actually can be translated as “pursue.”)

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And as I pondered a title for this post I realized that the whiny first part is it’s own type of valley…so I guess I need to actually take what I just shared to heart. Hopefully it encourages someone else but apparently I also needed to be reminded of it again.

how to · Infertility · iui · journal entry · Resolution update · trying to conceive

On ‘exciting’

Couple updates before the main content of the post.

  • I gave up on the resolutions. I found I didn’t have the motivation anymore once my cycle started; it was supposed to get me through a cycle and it did, and I’m not sure I want to continue it for now. It definitely helped get some better patterns in place though and I have been reminded of the variety of activities I can use to fill time when I am so inclined.
  • Took my last dose of Clomid today. No significant unpleasant side effects thus far; though I guess it maybe hasn’t started working yet. Had hot flashes one night; and the last 2-3 days I’ve been abnormally tired.

I noticed something at the start of this cycle that irked me. I shared with several people that we were beginning a medicated/timed IUI cycle (as my period had arrived)…and two of the responses (from someone who is currently pregnant and someone who had no trouble conceiving at all) were essentially, “Yay, that’s so exciting!!” 

No, it’s really not. It’s not exciting to be disappointed again, it’s not exciting to have to pursue assistance with getting pregnant. It’s not exciting to anticipate going on hormone meds with potentially nasty side effects; to anticipate having to go be inseminated at the doctor’s office just to increase our chances (not even a guarantee!) of conception.

I wanted to respond with, “oh yeah, it’s the best; isn’t it a bummer that you haven’t had the opportunity to do it too?” 

See, getting pregnant is exciting. Hearing the heartbeat is exciting. Getting to start decorating the nursery is exciting. Having a baby is exciting. Starting an IUI cycle? Not so much.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m so grateful that we have the resources to pursue this option right now. I’m hopeful that it’s just this little boost we need to finally make a baby.  But I’m also sad that we have to, and very afraid that the disappointment if it doesn’t work will be worse than all the ones before it.

As an aside; my mom and my sister responded much better to the initial news. My mom’s text was, “I’m sorry, that’s not what we were hoping for….are you feeling peaceful about this next step?” My sister echoed the apology, asked how I was holding up, and then when I shared the above ‘exciting!’ responses, she says, “yeah, careless choice of words; it’s emotional, heavy, and little (big) glimmer of hope to you.” 

I guess what I (re) learned here is that it is so important not to assume you know what others are feeling. Just ask them. Don’t project your emotions onto a situation; and realize that by doing this you risk simplifying a complicated emotional reaction. And this doesn’t just apply to infertility; though it’s my journey right now so I’m rather focused on that aspect.

 

Infertility · iui · journal entry · trying to conceive

It’s not a competition..

but I’m sorry…it kind of is. At least in the sense of being able to sympathize.

For the purpose of this post:

  • Sympathize: feel sorry for someone because you understand that person’s problems. Requires you to have experienced the same thing.
  • Empathize: choosing to feel the same things the other person is feeling. Does not require you to have experienced what they have.

I know that no matter how long someone tried, anything longer than immediately getting pregnant can feel like ages. I don’t want to invalidate anyone’s journey…I’m not living in their story (see previous post) and I don’t know how hard even just those few or several or eight months were for them.

But for heaven’s sake; if you are talking to someone that you know has struggled to conceive longer than you have/did, acting like you know exactly how they feel because “we tried ____” is just infuriating.

My sister-in-law likes to over-dramatize their struggle to conceive. She also has a tendency to make it longer than it was; technically they started trying February of last year (it takes time to regulate after a miscarriage) and they conceived in late July/early August. By my count, 7-8 months. She talks about how they tried for 9 months and that it was ‘the worst’ and thereby implies that therefore she understands exactly how we feel. I want to say, “No, you don’t.  We’re going on 15-16 months, and looking at pursuing IUI if this cycle isn’t successful. That is not the same as 8 months.” And granted, the fact that she’s pregnant right now doesn’t help the situation, but the attitude is getting under my skin.

It’s one thing to empathize. To say, “Wow, that must be so hard; I know what I felt trying for ____ months and I can only imagine that those feelings are so much greater when you’ve been trying longer; would you want to tell me more about what it’s been like for you.” It’s quite another to attempt to ‘sympathize’ and to equalize your journey (that has ended) with the ongoing and longer journey of someone else.

They are not the same. 

I don’t pretend to know how it feels to try for longer than I already have. I don’t pretend to know how it feels to experience failed IUI treatments, to go through IVF, to miscarry again and again, to be told that there is nothing more that can be done. I can take my current experience and try to understand some degree of that pain, but I wouldn’t ever attempt to equalize my infertility struggle with someone who has gone through some or all of those things.

Maybe in a year I’ll be closer to sympathizing with some of the above. Hopefully not. But if not, I will make every effort to support those walking longer, harder journeys by simply allowing them to hurt and share their stories without attempting to make our journeys the same.

 

 

journal entry · trying to conceive · ttc

Tired

I’m tired today. Tired of waiting and wanting. Tired of stressing. Tired of overthinking and overanalyzing. Tired of being jealous and sad. Tired of not being able to shake all these feelings and patterns. None of it is helpful; none of it is healthy.

But here I sit. Mid cycle, I think…I’m really irregular and never get any clear ovulation signs. I stopped tracking everything last cycle just to give us a break and to see if ‘not trying’ would work any better.

It’s been helpful in some ways; it means that we can just be intimate when we want to be and my husband doesn’t feel the pressure of performing during my fertile window. But since I am so irregular it means I have no idea when to start looking for my period, when to start getting hopeful. It also means I have even less of an idea if and when I ovulated, and so any missed days of intimacy get me stressed out more than they would if I knew I wasn’t even fertile.

Started Fertil-Aid yesterday. Maybe it will help. Maybe it won’t. I know in my head nothing I do or don’t do will make this happen any sooner but I still can’t help doing something.

I just want this so badly. I want to be content with where I am now, where we are now; but I guess I want this more even with all the meh that comes with it. It’s not worth the ‘meh’ but I can’t move out of this place.