I have found, over the past two weeks, that it is easier to ignore all the details and feelings about our infertility issues than it is to deal with them. It’s a pretty standard coping mechanism for me, and I’m aware it’s likely to bite me on the ass. The thing is, I’m trying very hard to be ok. Ok for my Husband, ok for my friends, ok to finish school, ok for my patients…
And i’m having trouble with it. Every time I peek into the mental space surrounding my disappointment that IUI didn’t work, I get choked up and if it starts i’m not sure i’ll be able to stop it. Certainly not in a timely manner, and I don’t have time to sit in a puddle of my own tears.
And I don’t especially want to MAKE time either. I know eventually I am going to have to deal with this, but I think I keep hoping that i’ll just get pregnant and never have to actually experience any of this pain, if I can just put it off for long enough. Delayed dissatisfaction, if you will.
Even as I sit here trying to evaluate where i’m at, i’m avoiding thinking about it to any depth. A friend of mine asked how that stuff was going yesterday and I started to talk about it, managed to make a few flippant comments and give the bare info to update, and then I felt my throat start to close, and I changed the subject. I just don’t want to evaluate how I feel about this.
I think I keep glancing over at the issue, thinking that maybe just leaning into the sorrow would be cathartic. But i’m not ready. I don’t know if I’ll ever be ready.
There are lots of posts crossing my facebook feed today about mothers day, and many of them acknowledge that mothers day is hard for some people – whether because they have lost their own mother, because they are a mother who has lost a child, or they are like me, and desperately want to be a mother and are endlessly frustrated that it hasn’t happened.
The thing is, mothers day is hard. It’s one of those weird hallmark holidays (literally, it started as one woman’s desire to honour her dead mother, and was quickly overrun by crass commercialism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother%27s_Day, much to the founders chagrin) But it is everywhere, and not acknowledging it is somehow churlish. I emailed and called my Mum. But I get tired of the gushing on social media, so other than a cursory check, I try to avoid it for a few days either side. I know that no one is intentionally rubbing it in anyone elses face, but in the same way that I personally don’t enjoy constant effusive statements of love for ones partner all over social media (I unfollow those people), I don’t love seeing all the mothers day posts.
I choose to insulate myself from it by logging off for a few days, which seems like the responsible thing to do. I have no expectation of anyone else changing their behaviours to suit me. By Wednesday the majority will be done, and my facebook page will be back to the standard irreverent memes and adorable pet videos I have carefully curated through the FB algorithm. But today, today I choose to absent myself, because it is no one else’s responsibility to protect me, but it is my responsibility to protect myself, and the barrage of images of new mums, happy births, and friends etc. with their children is more than I can take today.
All my love to anyone else who has the same experience.
We had our second appointment with the new (improved) fertility specialist earlier today. I feel like such a failure when I admit that we are not pregnant, that the first three rounds of letrozole were ineffective. Apparently letrozole alone has about an 8% rate of fertility, but if we add IUI we move up to 25%. That is different from the stats I understood from the research I read, but it is possible that they were based on the whole sample over 6 months – if 25% of them got pregnant over the full 6 months of treatment, that may make sense statistically. Stats have never been my strong point, and my time working in a research lab only made me understand how much they can be manipulated to avoid a null result. I tend to think most published research needs to be taken with a grain of salt/understanding of bias.
I know that things are no worse now than they were this morning, I know that we already had all this info, and I know we already knew the next step was IUI and that we would likely need to go there. I mean, technically, we could still get pregnant this round – I should be ovulating in the next week. The timing is not great, I have to be away this weekend, but I think we can make it work, cover the spread, so to speak.
Oh language, you’re funny and frequently dirty sounding.
Basically although nothing changed because of this appointment, I feel worse. I just want to melt away for a while, and not exist. Even though I know it’s not something I can control, I still feel like a failure on a very basic level.
We will probably do our first round of IUI in April.
I’m having a rough week. I will know in a few days if I am pregnant or not from round three, but if i’m honest, I think not. It’s a roller coaster of hope and frustration, and we go back to the fertility doctor on the 20th of March.
Mostly unrelated, for the past half decade or so, I’ve worked with Big Brothers Big Sisters. I met my first little sister when she was 14, and we built a solid relationship, so as she entered adulthood and aged out of the program, we have stayed close.
Today she told me she is pregnant, by accident, with a BF or three months, without resources or means, or planning. Because that is what young fertile people do. I am being supportive. I am being helpful. And I am dying inside.
There is a For Better or For Worse strip that basically says “fertility doesn’t come with foresight”.
I have no words.
So round two failed, which… sucks, but not shocking.
As I round the corner of having completed my third bout of letrozole, I am noticing an interesting and frustrating side effect: Absentmindedness. I’m not normally particularly forgetful, and I don’t often misplace things. But in the last month, I have completely forgotten conversations and the plans that were made in them on several occasions, and left my rowing gear at the club after practice twice. Along with that, I can’t do my normal standard of multitasking, and when my Husband talks at me when I’m doing some school stuff I have no idea what he’s said or how to respond. Granted, it would be nice if he waited until he had asked for my attention before starting to talk, but that didn’t used to be an issue, so it’s hardly surprising since it’s a new problem.
I’m not really sure what to do about it, the options are basically to roll with it and accept that I’m going to be an airhead for the duration of fertility treatment, or to stop treatment and hope my brain comes back.
I’m a little nervous about being able to finish the last two courses of my masters with limited mental capacity, not to mention the social issues with friends who I miss/forget plans with – there are only so many times you can apologize before the behaviour becomes tiresome/unforgivable.
So, we shall see. Each round of medication seems to bring a slightly different set of side effects as it slowly builds up in my system. The first month I was more mellow than I have been in a long time, the second one brought irritability and the start of the brainless factor, and this round? Well, I’ve just finished the meds, but we shall see how it goes.
I cry in my car a lot. More than I do anywhere else combined. There is something about the feeling of being in an isolated space by myself, that despite the fact that my windows are untinted and I’m not actually invisible, I am alone with my thoughts.
I think part of it is i’ve noticed most people in traffic are hyper self-involved and not paying attention to what is going on around them. Even if they happened to glance over and notice my tears, they won’t cause any more than a passing curiosity, a minor blip on their radar.
I prefer not to let my Husband into my daily grief/pain/darkness. He already worries about me enough, I don’t really feel the need to give him more cause.
All that being said, I broke down and let him into everything last night. I feel bad, because he looks utterly helpless when confronted with my distress. I find the active trying to conceive, the knowledge that in theory we have improved our odds with the medication, harder than not trying. I will know whether this round has been effective in about ten days. We go back to see the doctor again in March – we should have three full rounds of letrozole under our belts by the time we see him again.
On top of the infertility and stress of the medication, i’m really frustrated with my weight. I know, without stepping on the scale, that it’s up. I’m finding it hard to have the motivation to be as active as I usually am, or, for that matter, to eat well. Being unhappy with my body does not help the rest of my mental state, but at least it’s something I can hold onto and actively work on. So I’m signing up for a 5km run, adding two rowing workouts to the 2-3 I was managing over the December/January period, and limit simple carbs. I need to get this back under control, because it feels like very little else is mine to do so with.
I don’t want to track calories, that tends to mean I feel entitled to eat more to compensate for my exercise calories. I just need to find some much needed balance.
I’m not pregnant. I’m not really surprised… surprised is for people who get a result they are not expecting. I am disappointed. I had hoped that this medication would make the difference. I know that expecting all of the change in one month is unreasonable. I know that with a new medication there are only slightly better odds each month that we will conceive, and that our odds remain the same each month that follows – statistics don’t improve, they just reset.
I just feel empty. Hollow and sad. And today is going to be a day of being curled up in a ball on the couch with the furballs, not the least because the cramps that come along with my period are intense and painful – insult to injury, really.
I’m just so tired of grieving what could be, what I want, what we want, and a future that may never be.