I do exist!

Hi there, blog.  Long time no talk.  When I started this blog, I mostly needed a place to vent.  I had a major negative force in my life that heightened everything that I was going through with infertility.  To give background on that force, I share this email that was sent to a mutual friend:

  I will be very blunt about my feelings. I am over, totally over, the infertility issue. Just because a person is infertile or struggling to get pregnant does not mean that they cannot get pregnant. They may have to work harder, spend more money via a bank loan or credit card, or endure an invasive procedure but ALL of pregnancy is an invasive procedure and all kids are expensive. If they truly cannot get pregnant, they need to go to counseling and deal with those issues. If they cannot afford it due to bad credit, you need money to raise a child and having a child can take years of pre-planning. No one should decide that because they cannot have a child or choose not to do the work necessary in order to have a child, that that gives them the right to act like a jerk to every parent they meet or act like a baby does not exist because they don’t want to deal with their issues.

As further background, I shared an office with the woman who wrote that email for about two years.  I used to consider her a good friend.  That feeling stopped when the day after I told her I was being treated for infertility and she told me not to worry about her getting pregnant any time soon as her body was too toxic, she called me to tell me she was pregnant.  She called the day she took a home pregnancy test.  Couldn’t even wait to confirm it with a doctor before telling me in one of the worst ways possible.  She did so after a mutual friend (not the same one that she sent the email to) very specifically told her NOT to tell me.  She has gone as far to tell me that I am not actually infertile.  Although, I would say the going on four years without a pregnancy would prove her wrong.

Throughout her pregnancy she only complained about how hard it was to be pregnant.  Once her child arrived, the complaints continued.  Nothing this woman has ever said in my hearing has been positive.  I got her a present once the child arrived and have sent emails in the past about him, but given her inability to recognize, an infertile friend is not the audience to bitch to about having a child, I put up a wall.  It was solely for my own protection and every once in awhile I would test it, only to discover my concerns about her continuing insensitivity were still valid.  I was willing to let all of her ugliness be in the past, but she has never been able to let go how much I “hurt” her.  My offenses were truly just me needing space and her never allowing me to have it.  Everything had to be on her time table and about her.

In February, we hit a breaking point and it was decided that I would move out of the office and into one of my own.  While I have kept all of my communications, which have mostly been emails purely professional, hers have been full of little digs about how badly I treated her.  She is an innocent victim in the situation that was her own making.  I’ve wanted to respond at points, but I recognize a useless endeavor when I see one.  I think writing a letter to her and burning it would be a more productive measure.  I get all my feelings out and dispose of them, but don’t have to worry about an endless response from her enumerating all of the ways I have wronged her.  I’ve only gotten a slight acknowledgment that she made “some mistakes” while claiming I have “hurt her deeply”.

Being away from her for the last two and half months has made me realize how much I was allowing her negative energy to infect my life.  Now that I am in an office by myself and not relying on someone who lies about where they are and uses their child as an excuse for not fulfilling their end of obligations (because she knew if she made it about the child, I wouldn’t seek further info), I feel like an enormous weight has been lifted.  I am able to get through tough holidays and days without the level of struggle I felt before.  I am in such a better mental state.  I am on better terms with not seeking further medical intervention.  I have lost around 40 pounds and clothes that I couldn’t pull up over my butt last year are too loose.  I actually look forward to my workouts rather than forcing myself to go.  I am in in really great place in life and infertility no longer consumes or defines me.  Words I thought I would never be able to say.

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Cycle Day: Whatever

I had an odd experience for an infertile yesterday.  My acupuncturist and I confused each other as to where I was in my cycle.  She was looking at my chart wrong and I completely forgot when I had started my cycle.  And it was actually last week…I had forgotten to put it on the calendar on my phone.  I have one of the tracker apps on my tablet, but didn’t reinstall one when I got a new phone.  I normally know the cycle day without even thinking about it.  I really had to put some thought into when trying to figure out where we were yesterday.  I finally remembered as it was last Wednesday (which is the only day I take our dog out for her morning routine as my husband has to be into work super early and I actually noticed I started when I came back inside).  I had zero PMS this month.  No headache, no cramps, no draggy feeling, just boom, hey I’m bleeding.  It was kind of surreal.  I’ve had PMS since I was a teen.  This was a very pleasant change!

I’ve now been gluten free for 21 days.  I feel pretty amazing.  I’ve lost 12 pounds since mid December.  I’ve lost an inch off my waist and 4 inches off my hips.  A total of 8 inches in body measurements.  My clothes fit better and I’m moving out of the peak size I had reached.  This isn’t just the gluten free life style.  I am also committed to a regular workout schedule.  I am going to up to five classes each week, including yoga and barre.  I really think the barre class is responsible for the inches off my hips.

I’m really glad that I decided to stay on with the health coach for the full six months of her program.  It was expensive for me, but well worth it.  I had let infertility beat me down and take over my life.  I finally feel like I am returning to myself.  I still have moments that I want to punch someone for being an insensitive jerk and moments that make me sad, but those are small and they pass quickly.  It’s crazy to know those gluten filled comfort foods I reached for in down moments in the last 3 years weren’t just making me fat, they were making me sad.  I am committed to moving past the frustration that I feel at not having a full mind and body health plan to combat my infertility until now.  This too, I shall overcome!

Inconceivable

I picked up a book from the lending library that the facilitator for my Resolve support group maintains.  I was sitting next to her this month so when she dumped the books on the table they were all right in front of me.  I casually picked up Inconceivable by Julia Indichova more because it landed right in front of me than anything else.  My facilitator mentioned that it was considered controversial and my curiosity was immediately peaked.

A fertility book that was controversial? Does she tell you not to have sex or something? Does she think you should always implant all of the embryos you have at once? Nope, it’s a holistic approach to infertility.  I’m still trying to wrap my brain around how taking care of yourself with diet and exercise that works for you is controversial.  Is it controversial to listen to your intuition and instincts when the medical treatment at hand is for your own body?

I think this is one of the things that deep down has bothered me about the medical intervention we had (pills and trigger shots only) as well as the appointments we had.  Diet and lifestyle were never questioned or examined outside of whether we smoke or drink.  I’ve never been a smoker outside of a few puffs in high school and my husband has only ever smoked cigars and other more shall we say natural substances and he hasn’t done either of those in years.  We both drink, but not in a way that’s ever been a blip on a doctor’s radar.  Where were the questions about what I eat, and how much, and what my workout schedule is? And why didn’t I think about asking if those things were important?

We have unexplained infertility.  I few months ago I was playing on pinterest and stumbled around a pin about the connection between gluten intolerance/allergies and unexplained infertility.  The only previous changes I had made to my diet in the past were eliminating caffeine and alcohol.  Eliminating gluten is a big deal and I was nervous about doing it.  The universe seems to be helping me along as I met a health coach in that time frame and am now working with her on a six month basis.  I went gluten free on January 1 and I am feeling better.

Reading Inconceivable has also given me a new confidence in my decisions. We were scheduled to do an IUI two Septembers ago.  I cancelled it two days before my first monitoring appointment.  I wasn’t really sure why other than it just didn’t feel right to me.  I felt rushed into a decision when I also felt the most emotionally unstable I’ve ever felt.  My body was screaming no and against what my head and doctor was telling me, I listened.  One of my goals for this new year is to continue to listen to my body, heart, and spirit.

IF Resolutions

It’s that time of year again.  I read somewhere that putting resolutions in writing makes you more likely to keep them.  I guess it’s a way to hold yourself more accountable.  Here are my IF Resolutions for 2015:

1. Go Gluten Free: I came across a pin a few months ago that said something about if you have unexplained infertility, gluten may be your issue.  It’s not like they test us for anything like that (and it is my understanding there’s not a test for anything beyond Celiac’s) or even ask you questions about your diet beyond drinking.  I would love for this to be the solution, but it was also make me angry about all the wasted time if it is.  My experience with IF treatment felt so formulaic and not holistic in the least.  Maybe other places accomplish that, but our local clinics are very much the clomid/letrozole to IUI to IVF path.  That felt very pressured and not patient focused to me.

2. Give up caffeine.  Cut back on caffeine: I can do decaf and switch to herbal teas, but I am not giving up chocolate.  I have switched to dark chocolate to cut back on sugar (plus dark chocolate seems to involve less processing so less chance of cross-contamination).  I debated between caffeine and alcohol for this month.  There was no way I was going to do both with the gluten free.  Wine won without much of a fight in my mind. It’s cold (most of the time) so it’s red wine season which I tend to drink less of than white.

3. Not be a Bitter Betty: I am getting better at this.  I react less of why is that person getting the baby that should be mine.  I haven’t cried in months at a pregnancy announcement.  I do still have my Facebook newsfeed very filtered to avoid any potential announcements and will most likely like it that way.  I will never understand the way inappropriate people seem to be the most fertile, but I can’t change that and I am going to stop thinking of it as a punishment.

4. Be more engaged with my Resolve Support Group: I have discovered I get more out of the group with social functions outside of our meeting.  I have gotten to know some of the other ladies much better this way and find them to be people I would be friends with if we met in the regular course of life.  It’s nice to have friends now that just get it and don’t need a long explanation for my feelings so I don’t sound like a crazy person.

5. Be healthier in general: I have gotten in a good pattern with two workout classes in the last few months.  They still kick my ass and I still modify from some of the high impact.  In addition to IF, I am gifted with hip issues.  I thought it was my back until two Christmases ago I finally broke down and went to a chiropractor as I could barely stand of straight and it hurt no matter what I did (sitting, walking, laying) and it’s my hips.  So I tend to modify some of the jumping exercises so not to come down wrong and sideline myself.  Low impact is better than no impact.  I am also adding yoga classes and barre into the week.  I changed my Y membership to a branch plus so those classes are now available at a time I can attend.  I really like the Saturday morning yoga instruction.  I did her class before the holidays and it was challenging and set to Christmas music.  I really enjoyed it!

I think I am setting challenging yet manageable resolutions for myself.  I’ll be sure to update on how I am doing.  What are your resolutions for 2015?

Holidays: Child Free Style!

I have decided that I will no longer be using the word “less” to describe anything about my life.  It makes it sound too much like we are lacking.  We may not have a child, but we have a lot of good things going on and I’d rather focus on what’s going right than what’s going wrong.  So we’re not having a childless Christmas, we are having a free(ing) Christmas.

Last year, sometime during the fall it occurred to me that I could not deal with two miserable Christmases in a row.  The previous year involved my dad and brother fighting and my brother just being an overshadowing dark presence.  It’s a long, long story as to why they were fighting and they are both at fault, but my brother didn’t need to punish everyone else in the family with his funk.  So we chatted and decided on a beach trip with just the two of us and our dog.  It was amazing! We stayed in a tiny one bedroom and just relaxed the whole week.

This year we booked much earlier so we had more time and more places available.  We finally settled on a tiny cottage that just looks adorable.  We’re looking forward to returning and visiting all the wonderful dog friendly places, including a coffee shop that has a heated patio open all year round.  And has added bottomless mimosas to their menu…this is in addition to naughty or nice versions of coffee and hot chocolate.  We cannot wait to leave on Saturday!

Thanks to our current child free status, our Christmas will also be free of family stress, retail stress, and financial stress.  It is also free of the expectations of others. Freed isn’t a bad place to be during the holidays.

I’m a bad, bad blogger!

Panic

Long time no see, fellow bloggers! I took an actual break from the blogging world for a month plus.  I didn’t even read any IF blogs at all.  I’ve been back and lurking for a bit, but too busy to post anything myself.  Confession: I enjoyed my break.  I love the support I’ve found in the online community, but sometimes I allow myself to become too immersed in infertility as my identity.  And I am so much more than my inability to have a child.  I needed the time to remind myself of that.

I’m still on a medical intervention break and don’t know that I’ll ever go back to that, although I think a change in insurance might have actually increased my coverage.  I’m afraid to even look too much into it because I was completely miserable doing treatments.  I lost myself and I’m working hard to get me back.

I am still continuing acupuncture because I love it and I think it helps with my overall mental health and stress levels so why not.  I am also working with a health coach with one of the goals being gluten free in the new year.  I knew that trying to go gluten free during the holidays would be torture so I am slowly removing gluten from my life, but not turning down a Christmas cookie when I really want it.  I may have overdone it yesterday as I ended up with a tummy ache last night and an itchy face this morning.

I am also working on becoming more physically fit.  IF sent me into a wine and ice cream spiral over the last two years with only rare trips to the gym.  I’m now aiming for three classes each week and it seems to be paying off.  Two people this week asked me if I had lost weight and told me I looked great! I also have better energy levels and less headaches! My abs are currently coated with Deep Relief essential oils, but it is totally worth it to be back in clothes that fit before treatments began.

Here’s to progress in the fight against IF!

Birthday Blues

My birthday dread has started creeping in today.  Of course, IF makes each approaching birthday another mile marker of failure, but this year I get to add family to my list of dreads. About 5 or 6 years ago we started a birthday tradition of a lunch and day of shopping with the women on my mom’s side of the family.  I love this because I am able to get work appropriate clothes as my gift, plus use my grandmother’s retired employee discount for anything I need over her planned gift amount.  It’s a fun time that I’ve really come to loo forward to that won’t be happening this year because my aunt has to be a petty child. She told me today we won’t be doing it since we didn’t go out for my grandmother’s birthday earlier in the year, but she was sure my dad would do something for me.  WTF?

It is true that we didn’t go out, but we had a very nice party for her that involved take-out and a very nice family lunch.  Everyone was able to visit much longer than they would have at a restaurant.  I thought everyone had a good time, but apparently my normal birthday plans were cancelled because my aunt decided it wasn’t good enough.  I’m not even going to bother to bring it up with my grandmother, but I know her better than to think she would punish a grandchild for a perceived slight like this.  This is all on my aunt and it would only upset my grandmother to know this is going on.  I also suspect that it is because I got mad last year when she invited my male cousin and his child of a girlfriend without telling me.  I know this sounds petty on my part, but whenever he shows up at anything my aunt immediately fawns all over him and he becomes the entire focus of whatever event it is.  I liked my lunch being about all of the women of the family.  When I found out he was going and bringing the girlfriend that I dislike, I was mad and hurt.  While I know I am beyond the all about me on my birthday, it was a celebration of my birthday, I should get some say in who is invited.  His girlfriend is loud and inappropriate.  She refers to my grandfather as her boyfriend.  It makes me want to kick her and it also makes me uncomfortable around her.  It’s not like I am asking for her to be banned from family events, but the lunch doesn’t even include my dad and brother.  So last year wasn’t the best at points because I cried and my grandmother cried, and I was hoping we could have a return to everything I loved about the lunch this year.  But no…

I should give a little more background on the cousin my aunt fawns all over.  He is her son, of course, and can do no wrong in her eyes, even when he gets his 2nd DUI on Mother’s Day.  Yep, landed himself in the hospital when he wiped out on a motorcycle with a very high BAC.  I’m the only one who bothered to say that he should evaluate what was going on in his life that Mother’s Day was spent in the hospital with all the moms in our family in tears because he couldn’t get his shit together.  He also barely shows up to family events or when one of our grandparents is in the hospital, but his mere presence causes my aunt to act like he cooked a four course meal and washed all of the dishes.  It is infuriating and one of the main reasons I didn’t want him at my birthday lunch.  It’s so bad even my dad immediately understood.  I didn’t even have to explain why I was upset.

This has pushed me into just wanting to skip this whole birthday thing and head to beach (where we have a free place to stay), but I can’t convince my husband to actually take a day or even half a day off on that Friday.  Even with all the comp time he should have logged from working overtime.  Even though everyone else he works with will take a day or five off without any concerns or notice, he will hardly ever take his time off.  This is the main thing we fight about.  He has earned the time and should use it, but he tells me that I don’t understand his job.  I understand it perfectly fine in that he holds himself to a standard that even his boss doesn’t hold him to…which lead to a text argument this morning.  I’m to the point now of just saying fuck it and spending a weekend by myself at the beach.  There are much worse places to mourn away a birthday.

I need a break

Nothing quite like AF arriving a day early and a giant pregnant client to make a Monday feel just like a punch in the uterus.  Seriously, I do feel a little like I’ve been punched.  Thankfully, acupuncture has gotten rid of the worst of my cycle symptoms, but I still tend to feel a little achy on CD1.  I’m also tired of feeling manipulated by my own body.  I know better than to be fooled by PMS masquerading as pregnancy symptoms, but for some reason this month, I was buying into it more.  Probably that ticking clock of my 39th birthday next month.

I’ve been so good this TWW, too.  I haven’t had wine or cider in the last 10 days.  I will so be having a glass of one or the other this evening.  It’s finally cool enough (at least in the evenings) to actually enjoy a nice glass of red.  I enjoy whites year round, but I cannot stand to drink reds when it is hot outside.  Fall is still in that teasing mode in the South and I am looking forward to days that don’t require what feels like a full outfit change from morning to afternoon.

I’m contemplating taking a true IF break next month after my Resolve Support group.  Meaning no blog updates, no blog reading, hiding my FB support groups, and just forcing myself not to think about it.  I love the support of the online community, but sometimes it just feel bogged down and stuck in the emotions of IF.  I’m feeling that way currently which pisses me off because when I really focus, I have a good life outside of being childless.  I’m lucky enough to have a circle which includes a number of happily childfree people.  There’s a light at the end of this IF tunnel.  I think I need the break to focus on that.

#CoffeeCupChallenge

I feel like those of us on IF Island know a lot about sacrifice.  We know a lot about being hampered by a medical condition.  I think we can relate to a fundraising effort that will be happening on October 8.  Parkinson’s Disease is very devastating medical condition.  It’s terrible to watch a friend or loved one be struck down, to give up on some of their lives’ passions because they are physically unable to participate any more.

The Michael J. Fox Foundation does so much in the fight against Parkinson’s.  Their end of the year campaign is 100 Days, 100 Ways. They are challenging their fundraising groups and donors to help raise money is whatever ways they can think of the last 100 days of 2014.  One of those groups has come up with the Coffee Cup Challenge.  Instead of your morning Starbucks (or insert fabulous local coffee shop name here), make a donation to the Team Cul de Sac MJFF fundraising page.  Participate and challenge others by using the hashtags #CoffeeCupChallenge and #TF100DAYS on social media.  While the money spent on a single cup of coffee alone isn’t a lot, when put with a lot of others it really adds up.  And for those of us who have already given up on coffee then the principle would apply for your morning smoothie, decaf tea, or other go-to morning pick-ups or even your Wednesday half-price bottle of wine.

I’m already trying to cut back on coffee (and wine), but this is an excellent and motivating reasons for bypassing a delicious latte and half price bottle of wine on what will be a really long work day for me.  I hope some of you wonderful IF ladies and gentlemen will join me for this very worthy cause.  You can learn more about Team Cul de Sac here.

Fall Resolutions

The Business Groups I am in have guest speakers quite frequently.  One spoke about the 12 Week Year.  The gist was that by breaking your year into quarterly goals you’ll make more progress in the shorter time frame.  I haven’t done that since we had the speaker, but with fall here and the 4th Quarter of the year rapidly approaching I decided some fall resolutions couldn’t hurt.

Fall Resolutions

  1. Drink less wine and drink more tea.  (healthy herbal teas not full of caffeine. Compromise-try that white wine green tea blend at the local wine shop.)
  2. Follow that fancy Cleansing with the Seasons list my acupuncturist gave me. (at least during the week. be glad this isn’t the season for eliminating cheese, alcohol, coffee, and chocolate-seriously how are those related to anger when they only make me happy?)
  3. Exercise more. (the resolution of every season. I’m so up and down with this one. I do adore Pinterest for all the great SHORT workouts. I also need to make myself be more consistent with making classes at my gym.)
  4. Focus on the happy and not the sad. (I have an amazing husband who has put up with a lot in this IF journey.  I need to enjoy all the great moments we have, some of them that we wouldn’t be experiencing if we had kids.)