Sunday, March 18, 2012

Acts of self-preservation

It's no secret that IVF gets a bad rap. Just mentioning those three letters to the rest of the world will launch the average person into a mini diatribe. During our first IVF cycle, I had complete strangers lecture me on how selfish I'm being to undergo such a procedure while "millions of unwanted children need good homes," all the while making it clear they are clueless about adoption. I had people with medical training warn me that it was likely I would end up with multiples from the procedure (never mind the fact we only transferred 2 embryos). And I've had people out right tell me that I'm hurting my children because I'm undergoing this procedure, because "we don't know the consequences of THOSE drugs."

Because of the backlash, Grey and I have been quiet with this FET cycle. Family, close friends and coworkers know what we are currently undertaking. But unlike last time, I don't feel the need to educate the general public about this process. Mainly because I'm still raw from last time. Mainly because I don't care what they think.

But I'm noticing the same thing from Grey. He's been quiet this cycle. Sure he's been supportive, but it's noticeable how cautious he is with talking about our snowbabies. It's clear both of us are scared. Scared of the tidal wave of pain that could come. And so we are both steeling ourselves for that moment, bracing for impact.

Because of this fear, I've spent the past few days looking for distraction. Friday morning, I wandered over to the beach and spent time walking along the water. I was thankful for the sun, as the few days before were cold and windy. A good dose of vitamin D always helps my mood.


St. Patrick's Day was spent with friends, passing the time talking about life, traveling and the perils of cheap bourbon. 

But mainly I've been meditating and knitting. I dug out the Circle + Bloom program I used during my first IVF cycle and have been listening 1-2 times a day as a way to connect with the embryos in hopes that they can feel the love I'm sending them. And when I can't do that anymore, I knit. Knit to keep my hands and mind busy. Knit to block out all the negative thoughts.

What I realized this morning, following a particularly tough meditation session, is that all of this comes down to one thing: self-preservation. I don't know what the outcome of this cycle will be, but I'm determined not to jinx it by spending the next week in a pit of despair. But I also can't allow my hopes to be high either. I learned that lesson a long time ago about how damaging disappointment can be. I've crawled back into my cave, waiting with my back to the wall for the storm.

Self-preservation is a skill many IFers will master. For us, it becomes a ritual. Each of us will develop habits or patterns for dealing with disappointment, fear or grief. As I read different blogs, I've found that those each act is different, a common theme emerges. Distraction and searching for signs of hope. Distraction comes in many forms, be it exercise, a mini-vacation, work, time with friends/family, volunteering or crafting, just to name a few. The search for signs usually comes from searching the blogosphere or internet, looking for cases similar to our own or stories from others who have traveled a similar path and now have a happy ending. We search for information, hoping for something that will help us turn the corner and find our happy ending.

This cycle has been laced with self-preservation. From the beginning, I've spent a lot of time steeling myself for any bad news, putting into place distractions along the way. Even now, as I look at the photo of the embryos inside me, it's hard to believe that any of this is real. That it's not a dream. Hence I refuse to analyze ever twinge or pang and I'm denying anxiety access. 

Today is 4dp5dt. Five more days to go. Just enough time to fortify my cave. 

20 comments:

  1. I am keeping everything crossed and hoping so hard that you have a successful cycle. I am glad you have been able to stay somewhat distracted. I hate when we get unsolicited advice from people that never suffered through infertility. so many people are truly ignorant of the facts.

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  2. It's amazing how different things can be from one cycle to another. Our emotions are raw and our thoughts are constantly racing. We know what we're hoping for but so afraid to verbalize it and even say it aloud. We condition ourselves for the worst because that's what we're used to .

    I'm so hopeful for you for this cycle and we'll be standing outside your cave through the next few days ready to rush in to support you no matter the outcome.

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  3. I am really hoping that the snowbabies decide to stick for 9 months. Sending you love and happy thoughts!

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  4. This was a very thoughtful post. Yes, all of us have unique rituals and all of us react somewhat differently to the same situation. I am so thankful for our world now- distractions abound.

    Best of luck for this transfer!

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  5. How many lessons we learn from this process... It sounds like you are in a good, healthy place with this FET. (I'm going to draw inspiration from your attitude towards IF when we start our second IVF next month.)

    I hope the embryos are settling in and that you receive good news soon.

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  6. Part of self preservation for me was to keep the fact that I was doing IVF private so I wouldn't get a load of crap. You do what you have to do to keep moving forward.

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  7. It sounds like you're in a good place. You're so right...self-preservation is si important. Sometimes I feel like everything I do in my whole life is a distraction to keep me from focusing on what's missing.

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  8. It's so unreasonable and thoughtless for others to make comments to you about IVF, when they don't' have all the info and/or have never been through it. Love the view you had on your walk... looks very peaceful :) I try to meditate... and find so much peace from it. I love the Circle&Bloom meditations.... and found them so valuable in keeping me sane last year. Thinking of you and your embies... and sending you lots of love and support from afar. You're so right - self-preservation is a skill that we slowly master and often use to weather the storm of this difficult journey. FXd for you xoxo

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  9. It's a funny dance this life of infertility, isn't it? Just last week I realized that I had built up so many walls to protect myself from the bad things, that I wasn't allowing any of the good stuff in either. I don't know where that balance is, or even if it exists. But I do know ocean walks help, and understanding husbands, and a bit of ice cream. Thinking of you often.

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  10. Self preservation is so necessary. I would probably need to be locked up if I didn't have my distractions. I have hope but after the first IUI I realized I needed to prepare for the worst each time.

    I love your attitude. Keep it up. Hoping and praying this cycle is it.

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  11. Can't believe people actually said things like that to you during your first IVF. No wonder you want to keep quiet this time around. Glad you're finding healthy ways to navigate through all of this...hoping this cycle works its magic for you!

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  12. Yes, yes, yes, a thousand times yes. You have said it perfectly.

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  13. You certainly hit the nail on the head for me. I also had a FET last Wednesday and am in full self preservation mode. It is such a fine line between being hopeful but not too hopeful if there is such a thing. Even having a lot more distractions this time around still doesn't mean I'm not constantly wondering how this is going to turn out for me. I keep thinking it should be easeier this time but it never is.

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  14. Oh honey, this post speaks to me in so many ways. You are completely right that self-preservation is how we get through it all. I know that right now has got to the one of the toughest waits ever. Please e-mail me if you need to talk. I have a blog post so very similar to this one on hold right now, just waiting to be posted. I am in the exact place (besides the tww) that you are about being 'quiet' about this cycle.
    I wish you all the best and pray you find your peace until the beta.
    hugs and love, Alissa

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  15. I despise people who give the "there are millions of children that need homes..." speech. My answer is always "Then why didn't you adopt some of them?" Just because I am infertile does not mean that I lose the right to have biological children. Grrr...that gets my blood boiling.

    Those pictures are lovely though :) You have even inspired me to learn how to knit! After seeing pictures of your socks I wanted to learn so I ordered a kit online!

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  16. I've "hid" my fertility struggles from my own sister because of that- she very well could have been the insensitive person lecturing you. (I love the woman, but she has a lot to learn not only about infertility but about keeping her mouth shut!)

    Gorgeous pictures!

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  17. We have very similar means of self-preservation. I've started listening to meditation CDs while out walking by the water (can you meditate and walk at the same time?). I am knitting socks like there is no tomorrow. I even have an IVF cycle on the schedule for June *just in case*. We are all hoping I won't need it, but I would never be able to face a failed FET if I didn't know we had a back up plan. We do what it takes to get through. I'm also going to Hawaii this weekend... I seriously need to see the sun!! Good luck with everything!

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  18. fingers crossed super tight for this cycle to work!

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  19. You have every right and reason to protect yourself. You have been through so much - both of you. I hope that *when* you get good news you'll allow yourself to feel that joy fully too. Im thinking about you dear friend! So hopeful for you!

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