My Tips for Getting By

Through this, I’ve read some blogs on how to survive infertility and not get totally consumed by it.  I figured that I may as well add another to the blogosphere while we sit and wait to find out the results of our tests.  Note: these are the things that have worked for me and while I hope they may bring someone else peace, they may not.  We’re all just doing our best,  right?

1. Get yourself some knowledge.  I am still shocked by how little I actually knew about my body.  Understanding how things worked did help me feel like we weren’t just blindly throwing darts at a target.  Obviously, this should be done early in the TTC journey but is still a helpful step.  I recommend Taking Charge of your Fertility and if you do end up having troubles, The Infertility Cure for an Eastern perspective on things.

2. Get a thermometer.  Use it.  Throw it away.  After getting myself some knowledge, I got myself my thermometer and started religiously tracking my temperature.  This was very helpful, for a while.  It helped me understand my cycle better and provide more information the the professionals who had been helping me.   I tracked it for a few months and then ultimately stopped because I really felt like I was getting obsessive about it and not in a good way.  I’m sure that some people can do that and not go crazy about it but I am not one of those people.  I started looking for explanations every time my temperature changed or didn’t when it was supposed to.   Ultimately, I felt like I had gotten the information that I needed and it was hurting more than it was helping, so I stopped.  I always know I can start again but I am liking not having the daily reminder about where I am at in my cycle.

3. The little things.  I know, I know, I sound like a broken record.  But taking time to look at the little things in life does provide a reminder that there is a life beyond TTC and that it is worth living.

4. Hobbies.  A lot of blogs talk about the benefits of having things on the go outside of TTC and I would agree.  While I sometimes had moments of feeling like gardening was a waste of time in comparison to being a mom, those hobbies have provided a welcome distraction to just sitting and waiting for things to happen. It gives you things to do, a sense of satisfaction, and other things your mind can focus on while procrastinating at work!

5. Positive self talk.  OK this one sometimes feels a bit awkward but it really has helped.  So much of this journey is plagued by negative emotions so I have tried to counteract this by forcing myself to think positively.  When I see a pregnant woman, I can’t help but feel some jealousy but then I follow those thoughts up with ‘and one day that is going to be me’ or ‘I can’t wait to be in her shoes.’  By making myself say those things when the negative thoughts start to creep in, it gives them less time to take hold and I ultimately spend more time thinking about the positives. It takes some time to get into that habit but then eventually it starts to happen automatically!

6. Talking about it.  I am an over sharer so this comes naturally to me and others may not want to do the same but talking to my friends and family really has helped.  It means I can talk openly about the tests and appointments I have on the go and will hopefully have set the stage if we do need to go through more involved programs to be able to talk to them about that too.  I have also talked to my family about it, which has allowed me to talk to my mom about the struggles she went through in trying to get pregnant. An added benefit is that they don’t bug me about whether we are pregnant yet.

7. Blog about it!  Blogging has provided me with a forum to get out those thoughts that had just been rolling around in my head about this stuff and even better, provided a community of support.  It has helped me find other blogs that serve as inspirations and is actually another distraction from this all.  I find I’m focusing on how to write about things instead of just obsessing about it.  Then, after I write about it, I also find I am able to move on better than I had before.  And, of course, having people write words of encouragement is pretty awesome too.

8. Feel sad and then fight for happiness.  All of us experiences negative emotions at some point on this journey, whether it’s the disappointment of getting your period or experiencing miscarriages, so being sad is unfortunately going to be a part of things.  For me, I have tried to really feel it when I’m in it.   I let myself cry, be sad, be angry, be disappointed.   I wear it like a sweater and just give in to my feelings.  But then, at the end of the day, I start to fight for my happiness.  It is hard and can be tough to shake that tornado of emotions but I put on my armor and start to gear up to get back to being me.  I force myself to look out my window at the beauty in the world; I ride my bike to get the endorphins going; I buy a new pair of shoes to treat myself; I give my husband a big hug to remember our love and how lucky we are.  Even though these things may at first feel awkward, I keep forcing myself and fighting to get out of my funk.  Although I know I have every right to those negative feelings,  I remind myself that they ultimately don’t help and that wallowing in my funk will make it that much easier to make those feelings my permanent address.  So I keep fighting and eventually I always manage to pull myself out of it.  Fake it till ya make it, am I right?

So these have been my strategies.  They have worked (so far) to keep me relatively sane.  Any others I should add to my repertoire?

#Microblog Mondays – Everything is Awesome!

One of the biggest strategies that I’ve used for keeping a positive outlook through all this (well, positive all things considered…) is to really focus on the little things and to see the joy in the world (wow, so cheezy).  It is just so easy to be sad, frustrated, and angry so I’ve worked really hard to keep my eye on those things that make me happy.  While I still have my down and my really down days, reminding myself of how good life can be and how awesome things are ultimately helps to pull me out of my funks and keep me feeling good.  So, I’ve decided to start blogging on the things that I think are AWESOME out there!  Kinda like the Book of Awesome but my own personal version.  Here’s a start!

1. Getting out of work early on a Friday.  Extra hours to do NOTHING!  Or hang on a patio.  Or check on my garden.  Or make an awesome meal for my hubby.  Or take a nap.  Really, it feels like endless possibilities.  It also makes Monday seem extra far away.

2. Pet friends.  They are kooky, and weird, and scratch my couches, and sometimes leave hairballs, but pet friends are just so awesome.  They add life to my home, they provide companionship, they have their strange little personalities.  Less awesome – sleeping right next to my face.

3. My king-sized bed.  I don’t sleep well, never have, so anything that helps with my quality of sleep is awesome.  Between my really tall hubby and my 2 awesome pet friends, I found that I wasn’t left with a lot of room left to roll around and sleep on my stomach with my knee up to my ear.  Cue king-sized bed.  I vow to never go back to anything less.  Seriously – go out and buy one.  Like right now.  I’ll be here when you get back…

4. Summer storms.  Living in Calgary means that we are treated to some wicked crazy weather and one of my faves are the summer storms we get.  It will be bright and sunny one minute and then you will turn around to a sky full of blackness that looks like it came from Mordor.  And then ridiculous hail will sometimes rain down on us.  And huge fork lightning.  I am lucky to have a great view from my house and one of my favourite things to do is just sit back, relax, and enjoy the show. I love it.

5. Vacation!  Because who doesn’t love a break from the everyday; a chance to relax; moments to reconnect and rejuvinate; and just generally not having to wake up super early to commute to work.

And speaking of vacation, I’m outta here!  I’m headed on a road trip through BC to enjoy the great outdoors.  Have a great week everyone!

Perspective

Perspective can sometimes come from unexpected places and at unexpected times.  I got together with a friend the other day and was provided with a healthy dose of perspective.  You see, she is pregnant with number 2.  Normally, that would make me feel a pang of jealousy, but not this time.  It turns out that she is having some pretty serious marital problems.  As in, probably would’ve left him if she hadn’t gotten pregnant.  As in, went to counselling and it never really went anywhere.  She’s not quite using the ‘D’ word but definitely sounds like she is getting really close to that.  And now, here she is, pregnant with number 2 and feeling pretty stuck; feeling like she doesn’t have a choice but to stay.

In hearing my friend talk about the challenges she is facing, I couldn’t help but feel lucky, which is a welcome change to the ‘feeling sorry for myself’ that I had been doing for much of the past year.  I felt lucky because even though my hubby and I are facing a tough situation, at least we are in it together and (generally) not fighting at each other.  We are facing this head on and helping each other through it.  It reminded me that even though it took us 9 long years to actually get married, I found the right guy and that we really are a great team.  Being with him has made the past year that much easier because he has been my rock when I’ve been sad and I’ve tried to do the same for him.

So with that perspective, I continue to look forward.  I look forward to what is in store for us and am optimistic that our path will start to lead in a different direction, away from all this infertility business…  And I know that I am lucky that we will be on this path together, facing the bumps and dead ends together.

#MicroblogMonday – Worth Fighting For

In going through this, I find happiness is hard.  It is a fight to feel good, to enjoy life, to not feel like I am wasting time.  I fight to enjoy time with friends and not get overwhelmed by other people’s pregnancies.  I fight to enjoy sex and not have that feel like work.  I fight to keep my relationship strong and to be strong for my husband who is also struggling.  And on top of all that, the happiness I fight so hard for is fragile.  Pregnancy Facebook posts feel like an upper cut.  Hanging out with friend’s kids like a punch to the gut.  My happiness is like a house of cards – so hard to build and yet so fragile and quick to fall down.  But I continue to fight.  I remind myself that I don’t want this time to just fly by.  I revel in sunsets and hot showers and a good laugh.  I fight for the little things, the friendships, to keeping my life mine and enjoyable.  And I fight to make this happen for us because I know one day it will happen and all have been worth it.

Feeling, good?

The last few weeks, I have to say that I’m actually feeling … good!  This comes as a bit of a surprise to me as I’m not wondering, “Why not me?” when I see a pregnant person or worrying about friends telling me they are pregnant, again (which we’re pretty sure is just a matter of time for one friend).  I seem to be really focused on me and us and life and enjoying it.  I don’t feel as focused on TRYING or our lack of being pregnant.  Life is just feeling pretty … good!  Maybe it’s because it is summer (although 14 degrees and raining doesn’t really feel like summer) or maybe because we’re actually on the move with our fertility clinic journey.  Whatever the cause, I like the effect!  For the first time in a year, I don’t feel like I’m quite so distracted by TTC.  And it’s nice to feel this way…

One thing that is helping is that I got together with an acquaintance I haven’t seen in years but who went through IVF for her first pregnancy and then conceived naturally with her second.  It was SO WONDERFUL to actually talk to another human who has gone through similar things.  While not all of my friends have gotten pregnant on the first try (although some have), none have had to make the trip to the fertility clinic.  They are all great, wonderful friends and are doing their best to understand but they just can’t.  Chatting with this friend was so great to get that firsthand experience of what IVF is like, how it all works, timelines – all that good stuff.  And, of course, seeing her two kids and knowing what will (hopefully) be the end result helped immensely.

The interesting thing is that it continues to make me feel like IVF is the way to go for me.  I haven’t been diagnosed with any major issues but I want to GET ON WITH IT.  I worry that IUI will just be delaying the inevitable.  I am almost 35 and if we want to have more than one kid, it makes me feel like IUI is heading me down the road to being a mom in my LATE 30s and I’m just not sure if that’s a position I want to be in.  My husband and I have even saved up a chunk of money in case we need to do IVF and that makes me feel like TIME is a more precious commodity for us than MONEY.  Don’t get me wrong, I know that IVF is very expensive but I’m feeling like losing these precious days and months is a bigger potential catastrophe thank plunking down that (large) chunk of change.  Ultimately, we have to wait another couple of weeks before we get all of our results and I guess we shall see where that takes us.  But my gut just keeps telling me to get a move on and take the more aggressive course…

In the meantime, may as well keep this good feeling going as long as I can.  If there’s anything that I’ve seen on this journey it is that there are so many unexpected twists and turns, so I just have to enjoy the good parts when I’m in them.  Which means now.  And this weekend.  And hanging with my hubby.  And watching some movies while it pours outside.  And doing some canning!  And eating yummy food.  Sounds good to me 😉