Oh I remember it all too well it was a grey December day. Everyone around me seemed to be pregnant, and there I sat again being told that my in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle did not work. I was not pregnant. I was crushed and so sad.
The holidays can be tough for anyone struggling with infertility, so I wanted to offer a post of hope to those having a hard time right now. No matter where you’ve been, or what’s come along your path, now is the time to release it all.
Strength — This past year has brought growth to your life and made you stronger for the experiences that have come along the way. Whether you received your infertility diagnosis, went through fertility treatments, began exploring or entering the adoption process, or have taken a break from it all to reevaluate your situation, you have grown through each step and should be proud of how far you’ve come. If you look back at it all, I bet you have learned something new this year or have seen something in a new way. These experiences have not defeated you but have made you stronger, brought you insight and can help guide you as you make decisions for your future.
When the FertilityAuthority editor-in-chief asked me to pen another blog, I asked her for suggestions, few of which this blog will address, not because I don’t respect Jennifer —I laud her —but because I have been wrestling with a universally human experience, that of grief. My hope is that this entry will at least make one reader’s load a little lighter.
First off, this is the time of year that one of my sets of twins died in utero. There are no words that can describe the hell of losing a baby. especially two at the same time. Nursery decorated, names chosen, OB chosen, and new “mom vehicle” all check. I guess the only way to place this loss in perspective is this: When we got home from the hospital, my husband fell to his knees and wept. We have been married 23 years and that is the only time I have seen him cry. It’s random, this grief. For instance what always reminds me of when they died, which was in November, is the pink-orange clouds that are common this time of year. Sometimes driving to work, I sob, other times, I say a prayer. Starbucks cranberry bliss bars take the edge off at least for an hour or so.
The holidays can be painful for many people, but as a fertility doctor, I see how painful they are for my infertility patients. Many of them know the holidays are going to be stressful, and they are reluctant to go to visit family members and face the inevitable questions like "Isn't it time you started a family?"
Sometimes, my patients ask me for advice on how to survive the holidays, and this is what I tell them:
I’ve had a hard time blogging recently, so I decided to take a break, and go through an old journal in hopes of finding something new. I figured I may have written about a certain fertility treatment process, but instead found something better.
I found an entry dated from April 12, 2010. In it I wrote about possibly starting a blog. Below is my entry/prayer.
“Should I start a blog? What am I meant to do? These are questions that have lingered in my mind for quite some time. I have a story to tell, but don’t know how to share it, who to share it with, or if anyone will listen. Is it arrogant of me to think I am in a place to lead, guide, or help others struggling? I’m not where I want to be, still have my bad days, and no clue as to what Your plan is for my future. And yet there is something inside of me that is ready to get it out.
In my moments of extremely high spirits and feelings of being charitable, I read a few of the lists of what people were thankful for and thought:
But most of the time I just thought:
"Wow. Do people read these lists and really give a crap what strangers are thankful for?"
So, here's my list of things I'm thankful for this year. My list won't be perfect but at least it will have the sarcasm to counter the corniness. When you read it, see if you give a crap. I'd be curious to know.
Women who have their first baby at an older age aren't at any greater risk of postpartum depression than their younger counterparts, according to an Australian study of more than 500 first-time mothers. Researchers led by Catherine McMahon at Macquarie University in Australia found that women aged 37 or older were no more likely to get postpartum depression than younger women, regardless of whether they conceived naturally or had infertility treatment.
To read more of Lori Shandle-Fox's Trust Me: Laughing IS Conceivable blogs, CLICK HERE.
Often around holidays, I write about the emotional ups and downs infertile people go through. But of course, there doesn't have to be a holiday or birthday or family gathering. When you're trying to cope with infertility, your average Tuesday can put you over the edge.
("The edge, the edge, the edge, the edge"… Damn that Lady Gaga. I can't get that song out of my head.)
I think the problem is that we're all walking around like a raw nerve just expecting someone to poke us.
To read more Alec The Infertility Guy blogs, CLICK HERE.
We were vacationing this past week, seeing JK’s family. I took a day and drove to the Coushatta Casino in Louisiana. You might recall I play poker. I entered the Coushatta’s tournament on this visit.
Why would the Infertility Guy want to tell poker stories on FertilityAuthority? Life is full of metaphors, if we are keen-sighted enough to spot them. You will sometimes hear poker players say it, “A chip and a chair,” meaning if they are still alive, if they have just one chip, they can still win.