Happiness + Infertility

Most of the time in my infertility journey I feel like I am living in “Happiness Limbo”. I don’t know if any of you have experienced this same feeling, but I will try and explain it.

I am usually a pretty happy person generally speaking, but I have found in the past 3 years that my happiness level has decreased significantly. I find my lows are lower and my highs are higher. Am I bipolar? Sometimes I feel like I am. With infertility I feel like I am always waiting, thinking, and assuming I will be happy, happier, happiness, happiest when I have a baby and start a family of my own. I know this is a pretty shitty mind set to have, but it is really hard not to think this way. The pressure and stress of not getting what you want, not understanding why things aren’t going according to plan, and why you aren’t capable of doing what your body was made to do is a pretty hard pill to swallow. It makes me depressed, it makes me sad, it makes me not happy.

I think the emotion people are always striving for the most is happiness and it is the hardest to obtain and keep. So how do I get out of this “happiness limbo” and live my life happy in the NOW? Here are some tips and realizations I have come to:

– Having a baby will not truly complete me and make me a happier person all in its self. Yes. I believe it will help, but I also need to learn to be happy if that possibility never happens.

– Appreciate what I have. I have so much and no more money, babies, dogs, clothes, etc. are going to make me a happier person.

–  Watch the documentary Happy. This is such a great film and really puts life into perspective. People around the world are happy in situations I never thought imaginable. If they can be happy with cleaning up cow poop everyday and living in a hut, I think I can be pretty happy about the cards I was dealt.

– Listen to The Power Of Now. It has helped me to live in the now and find happiness in the littlest of things. Even washing my hands.

– Do things that make me happy. Work out. Read. Swim. Snuggle.

– Be happy.

I understand life is such and we aren’t expected to he happy all the damn time, but I WANT to be happy MOST of the time. I really do believe it is possible with a change in my mind set and priorities. I want out of this “happiness limbo” once and for all. I used to get these bursts of feelings all the time. {Remember I used to be a happy person} I can’t even explain this feeling other than its like a whole light just explodes in my body for no reason and I feel so light, free, and happy… Like I said, I used to get it all the time, but now it comes few and far between. The last time I felt this way was when I was driving down the freeway blasting the music in my car and all of a sudden this overwhelming feeling of sheer joy hit me. Today it happened again.

The Fam decided to head to the Bay since San Diego was going to reach an all time high this weekend, of like 1 million degrees. We loaded the car, headed out early this morning, and hung out there all day. It was a perfect, perfect day. The water was just right to cool off, the sun was out, the sky was clear, the cocktails were cool. We kayaked, played smashball and scrabble {I got my ass kicked}. We chatted, we laughed. We ate at our favorite sandwich place for dinner. We ended the night having a family swim in the pool, and laughed some more. I can say today, I am happy, happy, happy.

So I will strive to keep this feeling going. I will get it together and stop living my life in the future and past. I don’t want to wake up one day in 20 years and be like “fuck. where did my life go. oh yeah I was worrying about having a baby the whole time.” There is so much more to life people. I won’t let infertility win.

 

here are some pics from today. enjoy.

15219932766_44046be0b4_z

15239830211_4aeb64cacd_z15219892866_1b683c12af_z 15056366668_cd191b5dfe_z 15056227220_aeface8cd0_z

Advertisements
Standard

How To Support Your Infertile

I know I have written a similar article like the one I am about to post:: Public Service Announcement but I feel like Resolve hit this one out of the ballpark.

Chances are, you know someone who is struggling with infertility. More than seven million people of childbearing age in the United States experience infertility. Yet, as a society, we are woefully uninformed about how to best provide emotional support for our loved ones during this painful time.

Infertility is, indeed, a very painful struggle. The pain is similar to the grief over losing a loved one, but it is unique because it is a recurring grief. When a loved one dies, he isn’t coming back. There is no hope that he will come back from the dead. You must work through the stages of grief, accept that you will never see this person again, and move on with your life.

The grief of infertility is not so cut and dry. Infertile people grieve the loss of the baby that they may never know. They grieve the loss of that baby who would have had mommy’s nose and daddy’s eyes. But, each month, there is the hope that maybe that baby will be conceived after all. No matter how hard they try to prepare themselves for bad news, they still hope that this month will be different. Then, the bad news comes again, and the grief washes over the infertile couple anew. This process happens month after month, year after year. It is like having a deep cut that keeps getting opened right when it starts to heal.

As the couple moves into infertility treatments, the pain increases while the bank account depletes. The tests are invasive and embarrassing to both parties, and you feel like the doctor has taken over your bedroom. And for all of this discomfort, you pay a lot of money.

A couple will eventually resolve the infertility problem in one of three ways:

  • They will eventually conceive a baby.
  • They will stop the infertility treatments and choose to live without children.
  • They will find an alternative way to parent, such as by adopting a child or becoming a foster parent.

Reaching a resolution can take years, so your infertile loved ones need your emotional support during this journey. Most people don’t know what to say, so they wind up saying the wrong thing, which only makes the journey so much harder for their loved ones. Knowing what not to say is half of the battle to providing support.

Don’t Tell Them to Relax

Everyone knows someone who had trouble conceiving but then finally became pregnant once she “relaxed.” Couples who are able to conceive after a few months of “relaxing” are not infertile. By definition, a couple is not diagnosed as “infertile” until they have tried unsuccessfully to become pregnant for a full year. In fact, most infertility specialists will not treat a couple for infertility until they have tried to become pregnant for a year. This year weeds out the people who aren’t infertile but just need to “relax.” Those that remain are truly infertile.

Comments such as “just relax” or “try going on a cruise” create even more stress for the infertile couple, particularly the woman. The woman feels like she is doing something wrong when, in fact, there is a good chance that there is a physical problem preventing her from becoming pregnant.

These comments can also reach the point of absurdity. As a couple, my husband and I underwent two surgeries, numerous inseminations, hormone treatments, and four years of poking and prodding by doctors. Yet, people still continued to say things like, “If you just relaxed on a cruise . . .” Infertility is a diagnosable medical problem that must be treated by a doctor, and even with treatment, many couples will NEVER successfully conceive a child. Relaxation itself does not cure medical infertility.

Don’t Minimize the Problem

Failure to conceive a baby is a very painful journey. Infertile couples are surrounded by families with children. These couples watch their friends give birth to two or three children, and they watch those children grow while the couple goes home to the silence of an empty house. These couples see all of the joy that a child brings into someone’s life, and they feel the emptiness of not being able to experience the same joy.

Comments like, “Just enjoy being able to sleep late . . . .travel . . etc.,” do not offer comfort. Instead, these comments make infertile people feel like you are minimizing their pain. You wouldn’t tell somebody whose parent just died to be thankful that he no longer has to buy Father’s Day or Mother’s Day cards. Losing that one obligation doesn’t even begin to compensate for the incredible loss of losing a parent. In the same vein, being able to sleep late or travel does not provide comfort to somebody who desperately wants a child.

Don’t Say There Are Worse Things That Could Happen

Along the same lines, don’t tell your friend that there are worse things that she could be going through. Who is the final authority on what is the “worst” thing that could happen to someone? Is it going through a divorce? Watching a loved one die? Getting raped? Losing a job?

Different people react to different life experiences in different ways. To someone who has trained his whole life for the Olympics, the “worst” thing might be experiencing an injury the week before the event. To someone who has walked away from her career to become a stay-at-home wife for 40 years, watching her husband leave her for a younger woman might be the “worst” thing. And, to a woman whose sole goal in life has been to love and nurture a child, infertility may indeed be the “worst” thing that could happen.

People wouldn’t dream of telling someone whose parent just died, “It could be worse: both of your parents could be dead.” Such a comment would be considered cruel rather than comforting. In the same vein, don’t tell your friend that she could be going through worse things than infertility.

Don’t Say They Aren’t Meant to Be Parents

One of the cruelest things anyone ever said to me is, “Maybe God doesn’t intend for you to be a mother.” How incredibly insensitive to imply that I would be such a bad mother that God felt the need to divinely sterilize me. If God were in the business of divinely sterilizing women, don’t you think he would prevent the pregnancies that end in abortions? Or wouldn’t he sterilize the women who wind up neglecting and abusing their children? Even if you aren’t religious, the “maybe it’s not meant to be” comments are not comforting. Infertility is a medical condition, not a punishment from God or Mother Nature.

Don’t Ask Why They Aren’t Trying IVF

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a method in which the woman harvests multiple eggs, which are then combined with the man’s sperm in a petri dish. This is a method that can produce multiple births. People frequently ask, “Why don’t you just try IVF?” in the same casual tone they would use to ask, “Why don’t you try shopping at another store?”

Don’t Be Crude

It is appalling that I even have to include this paragraph, but some of you need to hear this-Don’t make crude jokes about your friend’s vulnerable position. Crude comments like “I’ll donate the sperm” or “Make sure the doctor uses your sperm for the insemination” are not funny, and they only irritate your friends.

Don’t Complain About Your Pregnancy

This message is for pregnant women-Just being around you is painful for your infertile friends. Seeing your belly grow is a constant reminder of what your infertile friend cannot have. Unless an infertile women plans to spend her life in a cave, she has to find a way to interact with pregnant women. However, there are things you can do as her friend to make it easier.

The number one rule is DON’T COMPLAIN ABOUT YOUR PREGNANCY. I understand from my friends that, when you are pregnant, your hormones are going crazy and you experience a lot of discomfort, such as queasiness, stretch marks, and fatigue. You have every right to vent about the discomforts to any one else in your life, but don’t put your infertile friend in the position of comforting you.

Your infertile friend would give anything to experience the discomforts you are enduring because those discomforts come from a baby growing inside of you. When I heard a pregnant woman complain about morning sickness, I would think, “I’d gladly throw up for nine straight months if it meant I could have a baby.” When a pregnant woman would complain about her weight gain, I would think, “I would cut off my arm if I could be in your shoes.”

I managed to go to baby showers and hospitals to welcome my friends’ new babies, but it was hard. Without exception, it was hard. Stay sensitive to your infertile friend’s emotions, and give her the leeway that she needs to be happy for you while she cries for herself. If she can’t bring herself to hold your new baby, give her time. She isn’t rejecting you or your new baby; she is just trying to work her way through her pain to show sincere joy for you. The fact that she is willing to endure such pain in order to celebrate your new baby with you speaks volumes about how much your friendship means to her.

Don’t Treat Them Like They Are Ignorant

For some reason, some people seem to think that infertility causes a person to become unrealistic about the responsibilities of parenthood. I don’t follow the logic, but several people told me that I wouldn’t ache for a baby so much if I appreciated how much responsibility was involved in parenting.

Let’s face it-no one can fully appreciate the responsibilities involved in parenting until they are, themselves, parents. That is true whether you successfully conceived after one month or after 10 years. The length of time you spend waiting for that baby does not factor in to your appreciation of responsibility. If anything, people who have been trying to become pregnant longer have had more time to think about those responsibilities. They have also probably been around lots of babies as their friends started their families.

Perhaps part of what fuels this perception is that infertile couples have a longer time to “dream” about what being a parent will be like. Like every other couple, we have our fantasies-my child will sleep through the night, would never have a tantrum in public, and will always eat his vegetables. Let us have our fantasies. Those fantasies are some of the few parent-to-be perks that we have-let us have them. You can give us your knowing looks when we discover the truth later.

Don’t Gossip About Your Friend’s Condition

Infertility treatments are very private and embarrassing, which is why many couples choose to undergo these treatments in secret. Men especially are very sensitive to letting people know about infertility testing, such as sperm counts. Gossiping about infertility is not usually done in a malicious manner. The gossipers are usually well-meaning people who are only trying to find out more about infertility so they can help their loved ones.

Regardless of why you are sharing this information with someone else, it hurts and embarrasses your friend to find out that Madge the bank teller knows what your husband’s sperm count is and when your next period is expected. Infertility is something that should be kept as private as your friend wants to keep it. Respect your friend’s privacy, and don’t share any information that your friend hasn’t authorized.

Don’t Push Adoption (Yet)

Adoption is a wonderful way for infertile people to become parents. (As an adoptive parent, I can fully vouch for this!!) However, the couple needs to work through many issues before they will be ready to make an adoption decision. Before they can make the decision to love a “stranger’s baby,” they must first grieve the loss of that baby with Daddy’s eyes and Mommy’s nose. Adoption social workers recognize the importance of the grieving process. When my husband and I went for our initial adoption interview, we expected the first question to be, “Why do you want to adopt a baby?” Instead, the question was, “Have you grieved the loss of your biological child yet?” Our social worker emphasized how important it is to shut one door before you open another.

You do, indeed, need to grieve this loss before you are ready to start the adoption process. The adoption process is very long and expensive, and it is not an easy road. So, the couple needs to be very sure that they can let go of the hope of a biological child and that they can love an adopted baby. This takes time, and some couples are never able to reach this point. If your friend cannot love a baby that isn’t her “own,” then adoption isn’t the right decision for her, and it is certainly not what is best for the baby.

Mentioning adoption in passing can be a comfort to some couples. (The only words that ever offered me comfort were from my sister, who said, “Whether through pregnancy or adoption, you will be a mother one day.”) However, “pushing” the issue can frustrate your friend. So, mention the idea in passing if it seems appropriate, and then drop it. When your friend is ready to talk about adoption, she will raise the issue herself.

So, what can you say to your infertile friends? Unless you say “I am giving you this baby,” there is nothing you can say that will erase their pain. So, take that pressure off of yourself. It isn’t your job to erase their pain, but there is a lot you can do to lessen the load. Here are a few ideas.

Let Them Know That You Care

The best thing you can do is let your infertile friends know that you care. Send them cards. Let them cry on your shoulder. If they are religious, let them know you are praying for them. Offer the same support you would offer a friend who has lost a loved one. Just knowing they can count on you to be there for them lightens the load and lets them know that they aren’t going through this alone.

Remember Them on Mother’s Day

With all of the activity on Mother’s Day, people tend to forget about women who cannot become mothers. Mother’s Day is an incredibly painful time for infertile women. You cannot get away from it-There are ads on the TV, posters at the stores, church sermons devoted to celebrating motherhood, and all of the plans for celebrating with your own mother and mother-in-law.

Mother’s Day is an important celebration and one that I relish now that I am a mother. However, it was very painful while I was waiting for my baby. Remember your infertile friends on Mother’s Day, and send them a card to let them know you are thinking of them. They will appreciate knowing that you haven’t “forgotten” them.

Support Their Decision to Stop Treatments

No couple can endure infertility treatments forever. At some point, they will stop. This is an agonizing decision to make, and it involves even more grief. Even if the couple chooses to adopt a baby, they must still first grieve the loss of that baby who would have had mommy’s nose and daddy’s eyes.

Once the couple has made the decision to stop treatments, support their decision. Don’t encourage them to try again, and don’t discourage them from adopting, if that is their choice. Once the couple has reached resolution (whether to live without children, adopt a child, or become foster parents), they can finally put that chapter of their lives behind them. Don’t try to open that chapter again.

I hope this will help some non-infertiles understand a little better. I feel lucky that most of my family and friends have been pretty tactful {obviously they would be because they don’t want the rath of Rikki}, but so many are not. I get it. Unless you are going through or have ever been through infertility you have no idea. Just shedding light xoxo

Standard

WOW I have really slacked off. Here are things that make me happy Day 8::Day 23.

They are not in order and I can’t remember which days are which right now because of my lacking organization skills on this project and slackation, so instead I will just post the pictures and tell you why it makes me happy 🙂 I will be better next week!

rug

new rug for a bargain. dorie loves it too.

14794901028_07c4f2f4c9_m

doing what I love.

14794833030_830d580bd5_m

fridays.

14794837920_377bbf375f_m

target. enough said.

14794847110_abe5de0aa0_m

watching the sunset from the hammocks.

14794903898_0dbf0895f0_m

my chix.

14794898538_d2953189dc_m

moscow mules by the pool.

14794893408_716600ec5b_m

a fresh mani/pedi.

14958515276_bc4acc2d6c_m

watching the hunger games with aunt sherri.

14958516816_ac05ce0375_m

evenings at the bungalow.

14978418021_d3ae3df420_m

getting to work with this PYT.

14981146772_b43b80b234_m

mom & hubs working in the yard together.

14981149122_9349ae4e2d_m

spontaneous movie & sushi date nights.

14981164202_546efe676a_m

sundays.

14958529436_0f5124516a_m

sharkweek!

 

#100happydays

Gallery

Post 12.

Yesterday was awful. Just awful.

Let me back up. It all started on Monday evening. I am 11dpiui and should not be getting Aunt Flow until Saturday. I started to have a tiny bit of brown spotting. I was really excited because I NEVER spot between periods and I always have a 28 day cycle. So of course I am thinking “implantation bleeding!!” It came and went and was hardly anything.

Yesterday I woke up and I had started spotting again, this time a little bit more and a little more pink, but it was still on and off. I decided to call my Dr. and see if I could come in for a beta {blood pregnancy test} and progesterone test just to see what was going on. I would either know if I was preggo or know if I wasn’t, and find out if my progesterone may be low which can cause spotting. {this was after I had caved and spent at least an hour researching implantation bleeding, twins and implantation bleeding, etc. online.} So the Doc says that if I come in by 12:00pm I could get my results later that afternoon. I had called at 10:45am and it takes me 45mins to get to the office! Flash to me throwing on clothes, jumping in the car, and driving 80 down the freeway. I was feeling very anxious and on the verge of tears for some reason. This was going to be it. I was going to find out today if I was pregnant or not.

So after they took a vile of blood, I had the afternoon to wait… and wait… and wait… Surprisingly I had less anxiety waiting to hear from the doctor than I did before getting my blood drawn. At 4:00pm I got the call. The call that I braced myself to hear, but didn’t want to accept. Negative. Your test is negative. You are not pregnant. You have an empty womb. The back to back IUI’s didn’t work. All that money and time and shots was for nothing…. After the Dr. told me the test was negative he said that it is still early.  He really wants me to wait until Saturday to test again. He didn’t want to get my hopes up, but because I am having very little spotting and no cramps he wants me to stay on the progesterone and test at home on Saturday to make sure. This could be implantation bleeding… I didn’t even know what to say. I still don’t.

I have so many emotions. I thought I was strong. I thought that I had it together. I thought I was ok with whatever was meant to be will be. But I don’t know now. I really just wanted a straight forward answer today. Now I have to wait 3 more days to see another negative pregnancy test. I can feel it. It is such an emotional roller coaster and I wish I could jump off. I am so ovvverrrrrr itttttt! Sorry to be a Debbie Downer, but today is an off day and I guess that is ok.

 

**UPDATE**

As I was getting ready for bed last night Aunt Flow came on full force- or so I thought… This morning when I woke up all there was, was a little bit of brown in the Tammy! – I know TMI… So now I don’t know what to think. I thought I was out so I did not take my progesterone. I actually felt better knowing for sure this cycle was done, but now I am more confused than ever on what my body is doing. I am not used to having abnormal cycles. Sooooo overrrrr it!!! Oh ya. I already said that.

Standard

Benedictine Blessing Bracelet

Obsessed with my new “blessing bracelet”! Wear this bracelet on your wrist to remind yourself that God has given you a mission to make the world a better place, and you can choose to fulfill that mission by using your hands to do good. I hope by using my hand to write down my experiences that I can help someone else who is struggling not feel so alone. I am so blessed in so any ways. I need to remember to be thankful for those things and not take those things for granted.

Benedictine Blessing Bracelet

Image