Utter Exhaustion

I am utterly exhausted.  Each morning I wake, I am tired to the point of not being able to fully open my eyes after a solid 9 or 10 hours of sleep. Subsequent to a full nights sleep, I can easily nap during the day after drinking a tall coffee with shots of espresso in it. And when I nap, I sleep deeply for a good 3 hours.

  

This is how I feel
 
I started exercising again about 3 weeks ago. I have always been under the impression that it brings energy.  Years ago, when I used to run faithfully everyday, I was full of energy afterwards. Now, after I exercise, I am done for the day.  The rest of my day is unproductive because I am totally beat.  And the exercise I am doing is not extreme, so it’s not like I am overdoing it to say the least.  I have also been eating super healthy and taking my vitamins daily, so I can’t attribute the exhaustion to my diet.  I have pretty much cut out all carbs and artificial sugars, eating lots of protein, fiber, fruits, and veggies.

I have been getting my dose of Vitamin D as well.  I go out in the sun around 2 times a week for a few hours at a time.  But to be honest, I really have to push myself to get out there.  I would much rather stay inside my air-conditioned house in my bed, in my pajamas, blogging, coloring, or watching my day shoes. Even showering, going to the grocery store, or cleaning takes a lot of energy.  Its almost like I can only handle 1 task per day max.

The question is why am I soooo lethargic?!?  It can’t possibly be normal considering I get plenty of rest, exercise, eat healthy, & take vitamins. My husband seems to think I am battling some form of depression and I am not consciously aware of it. Has anyone out there experienced similar symptoms and found they are indeed depressed? I mean, after what we have gone through the past year, 3 IVF miscarriages and the loss of our dog, I guess it is possible he is right.  I don’t want to believe that I am clinically depressed, but maybe I am. 

How do you really know for sure you have something so abstract anyways? A doctor diagnosed me as depressed when I was 20, and I went on antidepressants for a year.  I try to think back to my symptoms and the diagnostics of it, but it is all quite blurry.  I do remember crying easily and frequently, which is something I also do now.

The only other causes I can come up with aside from the depression are A.) All of the hormones and drugs are still in my system, or B.) I have some underlying issue unrelated to depression that no doctor can seem to identify.  I have a hard time believing that it is Option A. and all of those fertility hormones are still in my system months after I last took them and they are causing this. However, I was on the hormones for 9 out of 12 months, and that’s a long time when you think about it. I did undergo anesthesia 4 times in the past 5 months, and take a good amount of painkillers due to all of the procedures. 

Could all of this still be in my system?  If not, is it Option B perhaps? The unknown? That would be frightening because I have had every test under the sun done and they all seem to show I am healthy on paper. 

I would really appreciate any feedback/info from those who have been in a similar situation to this! Thanks in advance. 

Progress Made

I guess you could say I sort of have my own pregnancy loss recovery “program” going on.  Over the past 5 months, I have slowly been making progress in my recovery efforts, but this week I feel I took a big step.

Months 1-2

The beginning of my recovery program included coming to terms with the fact I was no longer physically pregnant.  This was a brutal, harsh reality, and I thank God everyday that I was able to take a medical leave from work for a month.  It consisted of going from no periods for 3 months, to constant, continual bleeding & cramping, forcing myself to shower daily, trying to buy new clothes and dispose of maternity ones, adjusting my eating, exercising, & medicinal habits, getting accustomed to my new sleep patterns, & so much more.

You go from a baby bump to nothing to show for the bump but extra pounds.

You go from eating like a pig to eating just to survive.

You go from sleeping any chance you get because your baby is growing inside of you, to only sleeping when you self-medicate yourself. 

I also attended grief counseling during this time as part of my recovery.  This helped me understand that the physical anguish I was experiencing was quite normal and common considering what we went through. 

Next, came announcing to the world our infertility, IVF, and RPL secret (aka getting rid of the monkey we had been carrying around on our backs for years).  Lets face it, infertility treatments and recurrent pregnancy loss can become really challenging to hide after a while. Instead of announcing a baby to the world, we were now announcing how many we had lost. This included coming out of the closet with our families, friends, co-workers, social media, etc.  We began to realize we weren’t alone, as many people started coming out of the woodwork with their stories, too.  This part of my recovery program was actually quite soothing because the support we received was overwhelmingly positive.  Phone calls, texts, cards, presents, the works.

Months 3-4

These months centered mainly around 2 things–restoring my relationship with God, and making some decisions about our future. The big guy and I had a lot of sorting out to do.  I can’t lie and say I wasn’t utterly angry and disappointed with Him, because I was.  I was also confused & devastated that He allowed this to happen again.  I had went from talking to Him everyday, to seriously questioning my faith after loss 3.  In fact, I don’t think I ever doubted it so much in my entire life. When my mom or husband would bring Him up, I would tell them to be quiet.  I would tell them He doesn’t hear my prayers obviously anyways, and that His plan must be for me to never be a mother.  I yelled at Him and reminded Him that only He had the power to save our babies and He chose not to. 

Through each cycle and each pregnancy, we not only prayed and spent time with Him everyday, we also gave Him all the glory for those BFP’s. We even told our doctors it was Him who got us pregnant. Why then would He allow this to occur again? Well, I can’t answer that, and thankfully, I no longer have the desire to answer it. I do know there is a reason, but I can’t say I will ever understand it or know it.  And that is OK; I don’t need to understand everything.  I do know that I wouldn’t be sitting here typing right now had we still been pregnant.  I wouldn’t be advocating for this cause.  It took some time, and it’s still a work in progress, but I am so happy to say that my faith has been restored.  I know that He understood why I felt the way I did when we lost our babies and He keeps no record of my wrongs.

  
During this time, we also tried to figure out what went wrong with our pregnancy the best we could so we could prevent it from happening again in the future if possible.  I underwent numerous procedures, operations, blood tests, and doctor appointments.  We were able to eliminate many things off our list that could be causing our issue. We spent time praying and discussing our future options for creating our family-adoption, gestational surrogacy, another FET, a child free life.  We started researching getting second opinions from other RE’s and chose to finally go get one.  We made the decision that I needed to take some time away from my career, and hence, I put in my resignation.  I began to find other things that I enjoy and take pride in doing that do not revolve around us having a baby.  As you can see, a lot of clarity and healing came during this time.

Month 5

This would bring us to the present time.  Healing is definitely still in progress.  This week I made some progress (in my eyes) and I am proud of myself for it.  One of the hardest things for me since our last loss has been being around or talking to or about any pregnant women.  I have declined baby showers.  I have distanced myself from conversations. I have decided that I just could not be a part of any of this.  I have needed to protect myself from unnecessary hurt.  Unfortunately, anyone who has suffered through IF and/or RPL knows these horrible feelings all too well.  Basically, there is no other way to put it other than it sucks!  And I don’t think anyone enjoys feeling this way. 

So, I decided to try to take some small steps with this.  I went online and found my old high school friends baby registry (she is due with her first child in a few weeks).  I sent her some really cute presents and a card.  I did the same thing for a friend that I have recently met here in this wonderful blogging community as well.  In addition, I accepted an invitation to 3-year-old birthday party where another pregnant woman, baby, and children will be present.  I went out and bought him some play dough, a puzzle, and a book for the party.  I must tell you, I felt really great inside when I did each of these things for these special people. It brought me a lot of joy. And while I know that I have a long ways to go still in my healing, I also know that I am farther along than I was before!

  

Week 1 of the 95 Days of Summer Happiness

As promised, we are excited to bring to you the “95 Days of Summer Happiness” for your viewing pleasure.

Weekly posts will include simple, yet HAPPY pictures from the 7 summer days of the week.

There will be no infertility talk in these posts-only pure summer bliss!

Please sit back, relax & enjoy our show!

Day 1 of Summer

Father’s Day Celebration with my amazing husband…yes, thats cheesecake you see!
Day 2 of Summer

 

Beautiful flowers at the Savannas Preserve
 

Day 3 of Summer

Adorable ducks??? in Fort Pierce. Loved their orange beaks!! Anyone know the name of this lovely bird?
Day 4 of Summer 

Mr. Squirrel having a staring contest with me. He let me get so close! These guys are all over my backyard. They love the big Palm.
Day 5 of Summer 

Love this shot! Lily pads galore at White City Park.
Day 6 of Summer 

What’s summer without a nice cold one and some baseball?
Day 7 of Summer 

Look closely…do you see him??? This guy was really close to the bank of a random canal. Florida living for ya!

I hope you enjoyed these pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them! 

Friendship…Now & Then

I can count all of my true friends (no blood relatives included) on 1 hand. I’m guessing by the time people are in their 30’s, they have a hard time identifying even a handful of true friends, so I consider myself blessed. 

  

“Then” 

When I was a teenager, I had a lot of “friends.” I would bounce from one group of friends in the morning to another group of friends at night.  And it wasn’t like I was “leaving” one group to join another group, because I wasn’t.  Don’t misunderstand.  I was simply friends with all of the groups.  In other words, I had at least 1 friend in each group–the cheerleaders, the football players, the drinkers, the nerds, the tokers, the preps, the party girls, the ghetto crowd, you name it, I was friends with someone in it.  My phone was always ringing. There was never a night I didn’t have something to do.  And whatever I did with any of these “friends,” I always had a blast.  I actually couldn’t have imagined my life without them back then if you would have asked me to.

But then something suddenly changed.  Those of you reading this who are in my family or on my “1 hand” know that I experienced something traumatic when I was 20.  When that happened, I looked around and all of these “friends” I had were nowhere to be found. I was heartbroken. These people I spent every waking moment with could turn their backs so easily on me. How? Pretty simple, they were never my “friends” to begin with.  

I think most can agree that when you are a teenager, you foolishly think everyone is your friend for life.  Well, that traumatic time proved that wasn’t the case and it changed my outlook on friendship completely. It was a tough lesson for a 20 year old to swallow, but I am glad I learned it when I did.


“Now”

I hadn’t thought much about the lesson I learned back then until the past few years when we began battling IF really hard. The friends that stuck by me then are still with me now, over 10 years later.  They are part of my “1 hand.”  And when I say with me now, I mean they know me, my dreams, my fears, my family, and likewise, I know the same about them.  So, has anything changed in the past few years between my 1 hand and I? The short answer would be yes.

What has changed? Well, I am the one who has changed. The diseases I have have changed me, and therefore they have changed my friendships too. When we lost our pregnancies, my 1 hand did everything they could to be there for us.  There was nothing they could have done differently, in fact they went above and beyond.  I don’t know what I would have done without them.  

Yet, still for some reason, I no longer reach out to them like I used to.  I have distanced myself.  At times, I don’t know what to say and I think they might feel the same way too.  Or maybe they are simply afraid they might say the wrong thing to me because of how fragile I have now become. If so, I don’t blame them for this; I know myself how easily I get hurt nowadays.

It kills me, but I don’t think we can relate like we used to, considering most of them have children now and I don’t.  I can’t participate in maternity talk, baby talk, toddler talk, school talk, proud mom talk, frustrated mom talk, sports mom talk, etc. And for the most part, they can’t participate in IF, IVF, and RPL talk (or should I say jargon).  It doesn’t consume their time and life like it does mine–their busy family life does. 

Of course, we make small talk about these things, but I am noticing that we no longer go to each other for advice and relating like we used to. I can’t help but feel awful inside because I know I am missing out on some of the best times of their lives by choice.  So why not choose to be different then? Why not reach out more? I don’t know. All I know is I am doing the best I can each day.  I also know I love my 1 hand.  And above all else, I miss them. 

Every traumatic life event brings with it a lesson.  When I was 20, I learned that tough times reveal true friends.  At 32, I have learned that infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss can affect even the truest of friendships.  Sure, you can beat IF and RPL, and choose to move past them.  But sometimes you can’t change the reality of the baggage they bring with them. 

Total Awkwardness

Since I am officially off work, this is my time to get all of the items that have been on my handy dandy checklist for months upon months finally taken care of.  One of the items was to look into switching our term life insurance to whole life insurance. Long story short, we signed up for term when we first got married, were pretty young, and our main concern was that we get the cheapest plan available.  

Now, almost 10 years have gone by, and we realize that we need to invest in a plan that can build us some cash value should we ever need to access it.  Plus, according to my parents, it is much more difficult to get a decent premium on whole life as you get older.  We figured we should lock in a premium now for this and hence, I called my insurance carrier.  As part of the process, the representative has to ask you some basic questions before the in-depth interview.

Awkward Situation 1-“The basic interview”

Him: Date of birth?

Me: 11-4-82

Him: (excitedly) That’s my birthday!

Me: Really? Same year too?

Him: No, but close. Im exactly 3 years older than you. 

Me: Cool!

Him:  Any kids?

Me: No

Him: (Surprised) No, kids?!

Me: (Firmly) No 

Him: Any in the works??

Me: (Brief Awkward Silence) Um, maybe. Maybe one day (waiting for him to tell me how many kids he already has at my age)

Him: My wife and I have 3 kids, so we need a policy that has x amount of dollars…blah, blah, blah..

Me: We don’t need all that much since it’s just US for now.

Him: Yes, your situation is unique since you two don’t have any children.

Me: (Thinking to myself…unique? is that what you want to call it? As my dog starts barking in the background)  Jax! Be quiet!

Him: (Curiously) What kind of dog do you have?

Me: I have two, a beagle and a terrier mix.

Him: We had a beagle, but we had to give it away.

Me: Oh, really, why is that?

Him: Well, it’s a funny story actually.  After we had 2 kids, my wife decided to get her tubes tied (is he really telling me this right now??) and we got a dog.  We went to the Dr. to set up the surgery and he said, “You can’t do it right now,” so we asked him “why not?” and he said, “because you are pregnant!”

Me: (annoyed) Wow.

Him: (chuckling): Yea, we had no idea she was even pregnant! So, we had to give our dog away because it would just be too much with 3 kids and a dog.

Me: (sarcastically) I bet.

Now, I know the representative did absolutely nothing wrong, but I was over it. I thought, “I don’t want to hear about your pregnancy surprise story buddy! Let’s get on with the application process already.” 

Most normal people wouldn’t think or act as I did when he shared his story. They would probably have chuckled back and asked questions, or gave congratulations. Who knows.  So, I must ask myself…what is wrong with me???

I came up with the answer that I guess I’m no longer classified normal anymore by societys standards.  I didn’t say any of those nice, “normal” things to him that I would have 5 years ago. In fact, all I could think about was getting off the phone with him right away after he told me. As we got off the phone, he informed me that someone would be calling me to do in the in-depth interview within a day or two. Fantastic.


Awkward Situation 2 -“The in-depth interview”

Her: Have you been in a hospital in the past 6 months?

Me: Yes

Her: Was it due to drug or alcohol abuse?

Me: No

Her: Was it due to a terminal illness such as HIV or cancer?

Me: No

Her: Was it due to a car accident, accident on the job, blah, blah, blah —

Me:  Ma’am, i know you have a job to do, but I’m going to tell you briefly what happened and I really don’t want to talk about it anymore after that.  I was pregnant, had a miscarriage, and I needed a D & C at the hospital.

Her: (nonchalantly): OK.  Have you been on any medications in the past 6 months?

Me: (flustered) Yes.

Her: Were any of these medications for …..

Me: (interrupting her) Let me give you the list of medications I was on while I was pregnant so we can move on from this please!

When we got off the phone, I found myself wondering again…What is wrong with me?? Clearly, this woman did nothing wrong by asking me these questions either.  She was simply doing her job in a matter of fact way as she should.  However, for some reason, I was still angry at her for asking me those questions.


Awkward Situation 3 – “The blogging interview” 

Next, my mom and I went to Verizon. The young salesman that waited on us was really friendly and knew his stuff well. Thank God, because let’s be honest, there are some real bozos in there sometimes!  He started asking me what I use my phone mostly for.  I told him pictures, social media, and a lot of blogging.  I totally set myself up for what came next.

“You said you do a lot of blogging? What do you blog about?”  Now, don’t get me wrong..my blog is not anonymous and I am very open about it.  But this was different. When a young guy asks you in a public place with other employees and customers around, what are you supposed to say? Uhh, infertility? miscarriage? IVF? I tried my best not to outright lie, “You know, female stuff.”  He started laughing, “you mean like man bashing?” I was like “Yea, something like that.”  Whatever, let him think what he wants.

Again, this man did absolutely nothing wrong! He was making what most people would believe to be friendly conversation.  If he hadn’t spoke, most normal people would have probably considered that rude.  Me on the other hand, not so much. 

By now, I know you are most likely questioning, “what is wrong with her?” too, as I did myself.  Thinking, “None of these situations were awkward, you made them awkward!”  Well thanks, IF and RPL, for completely screwing with my mind. I can confidently say that you terrible, awkward diseases are what is “wrong” with me. 

Do the Benefits Outweigh the Risks?

This might sound somewhat insane, but recently after our 3rd IVF loss, I asked my RE if there are any safe anti-anxiety medications I can go on should I become pregnant in the future.  I guess this conversation has been crossing my mind again as we are approaching the month of July.  The truth of the matter is, should we plan to do a FET in the fall, it will be here before we know it.

Being a recurrent miscarrier, my anxiety is through the roof once I see those 2 pink lines.  Because for us, those 2 lines mean that the battle has only just begun.  Sometimes I feel odd because most of the women I meet in the infertility world are most stressed about going through the treatment cycle itself and whether or not it will even work.  Rightfully so, because calendars, stims, retrievals, transfers, and 2WW’s, are all extremely stressful things to endure.  But unlike most, when it comes to stressing, we spend the majority of our time thinking about miscarrying rather than the other things, even before the treatment actually begins.

Of course, my RE informed me that there are no “safe” medications for anti-anxiety when pregnant, which is what I figured. She gave me the option of going on a “safe” anti-depressant before I become pregnant, and continuing it through my pregnancy.  I really do not want to do this, considering I am not on any antidepressants now.  And isn’t this situation usually the other way around anyways? Like, a non-pregnant woman may be on antidepressants, but once she is pregnant, she weans herself off the meds. Here I am, a non-pregnant woman who is not on antidepressants, but wants them should I become pregnant! Totally backwards.

At times it pisses me off that what is supposed to be a time of joy and bliss, is now a time of anxiety and fear for us.  I feel like something primal has been stolen from within me.  Probably because it has. Could these feelings mean I am not ready to move forward again in a few months?  Does it mean I need more time to heal mentally?  I don’t believe so. No matter how you look at it, those losses will never go away.  It doesn’t matter how much time passes by.  It still happened to us and we will never get over losing our children.  I believe our fears are justified, and they are a part of us now.  Sure, I’d really just like to go back to being my old, normal self before the RPL days, but I don’t think that is humanly possible.

Regardless of the fears, neither my husband or my mom want me to go on an anti-depressant solely for pregnancy purposes either.  And even though they say some antidepressants are “safe” for pregnant women, there are still risks involved and I don’t believe the benefits will outweigh them.  Ladies, please feel free to share your experiences with this.  For now, the short of it is, I need to find additional relaxation techniques to do in conjunction with the prayer, support groups, coloring, yoga, and acupuncture to get me through a future pregnancy without losing my mind. I never thought I would need to think this far ahead in terms of pregnancy anxiety, but I do.

This being said, one additional resource we plan to use is visualization through Circle + Bloom.  If you missed my prior post about the Circle + Bloom CD programs, they are designed to reduce stress and provide a therapeutic mind-body connection through visualization techniques.  If you research it, you will find that the techniques have shown effective in cancer treatment and education.  I actually received my Circle + Bloom FET 3 disc audio CD in the mail today and  I wanted to share a coupon with you in case you have any interest in purchasing a CD yourself….Circle + Bloom coupon


  

They have audio CD’s for natural cycles, egg donation, pregnancy/delivery, PCOS, energy improvement, sleep, IUI, IVF, etc. Obviously, I have not listened to the FET CD yet, but I have listened to the free Healing & Recovery CD for pregnancy loss and it is really amazing.  To me, the CD is just as, if not more, relaxing than yoga or acupuncture.  Down the road, we plan to purchase the Pregnancy CD as we go through another FET cycle.  I am hoping that I can listen to it frequently and calm myself down when I need it.  Of course, that is if we ever see those 2 pink lines again.

Father’s Day

Well, we survived another Father’s Day.

As Sunday came to a close, the hubby & I discussed how we have come to dislike Mother’s Day & Father’s Day for the most part.  I dislike Mother’s Day because of my yearning to be a mother, and my hubs dislikes it because of the difficult relationship he has endured with his mother throughout his life.  He also hates the fact that I want something that he can’t give me right now.  He isn’t a fan of Father’s Day because of his own desire to be a father, and I have trouble with it because of the not-so-easy relationship I have had with my own father growing up.  And then of course, I loathe that I can’t give my husband what he wants.

Despite our disliking, we decided to make the best of it.  And thankfully we still had a great day, or weekend for that matter. Saturday we had “date night.”  We enjoyed dinner at Bonefish Grille, and the movie, Jurassic World (I highly recommend it). However, only I would get teary-eyed during a dinosaur movie. And I’m not even on any hormones!  My husband reassured me several times, “It’s just a movie & it’s just a dinosaur.”

We usually don’t get each other presents for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, but I figured this year should be different. Although we do not have any children here physically, my husband is still the father to our 5 angel babies, and our fur babies. That being said, when he woke up, there was a gift bag on the counter for him with a card.  Inside, there were 2 new shirts from Macy’s (his favorite place to shop). Then we went to Target, and he got all new underwear and socks. Unreal that 3 packs of “X-Temp” underwear cost $60!! But hey, we will pay more to keep it cool down there! LOL. Afterwards, I went to Publix and picked up T-Bone steaks for dinner, and his favorite dessert, cheesecake, as a surprise.

  
During all of the running around on Father’s Day, I managed to get stung by a bee on my pinky toe, and good, old, Aunt Flow came in town.  Nice Father’s Day present, right?  Not! Oh, and how could I forget that as I was carrying in the groceries, my rotten Beagle, found a way to devour a pack of uncooked meatballs that I just bought. These events could have been a recipe for disaster, but I chose for them not to be.  Instead, I chose to make it all about my husband; making sure he knows just what a great father he is, and will be one day!