What IVF took from me; what im going to get back
To be completely honest I didn't think I would be here today, sitting and writing about how im still going through this journey. As I look back onto this past year or so I cant help but feel angry. I wish I could sit here and say that I had a great year blah blah blah, but I can't, because it wasn't.
2019 brought a lot of pain. Pain that I never thought imaginable. It seems like the year started off kicking me in the ass and then never letting me fully recover, always finding a way to keep pushing me back down. And here I thought, after the miscarriage it could only go up right? Nope, thats not how IVF/infertility works. There's no guarantee, there's no manual, beginning or end format really, it just is, and its different for everyone.
But what im most upset about, what has been the hardest for me to get over (other than the three losses we mourned), is the fact that I got lost. I honestly don't know who I am anymore. I know what I love to do, I know who I love and I've learned who to surround myself with (silver lining) but my true core has been shattered. And I'm so angry about that.
I took time off of teaching yoga (something that made me so happy) because I couldn't really give all of me to the community. I couldn't pretend to say positive things after going through a miscarriage. So I stopped teaching. I thought I would come back but then I was ready for another transfer in April, so I put yoga off, again. And don't get me wrong, I would MUCH prefer to have a baby now or be pregnant than teach yoga, but guess what, I don't have either now.
I put it off again in the summer because I had to do another egg retrieval. I wanted to stay out of the heat, be gentle on my body and produce as many healthy eggs as possible. I actually did! We had three healthy embryos in July. I was happy for a moment with my journey again. But I became even more obsessed. We planned every trip around our appointments and transfers and around the idea of "what if we are pregnant then." I went fully organic, lotions, face washes you name it! I rarely had a glass of wine (not that im a big drinker but it was more of actively trying to control it than just be me). I made sure to eat certain foods, became plant based and basically put all of my energy into anything I could control for IVF. Well the transfer following that didn't work, we lost a perfectly healthy embryo.
Let's be clear though, im actually really happy I chose to be more "organic," became more plant based and watch my toxins, because IVF or not, its just better for you (well for me!). So I feel good about my health, actually probably the healthiest I've been in 10 years, so ill celebrate that win! BUT my true core, my being is lost.
I smile less, I cry a lot and I can't stop constantly thinking about the next appointment, the next exam or the next transfer. I can't stop thinking about what else I could have done to have made each transfer work. I feel so guilty that I cant ever be fully present with my friends, family and especially my husband and my girls!
"What are you thinking about?" is the question Nick always asks when im silent (which sadly happens more often than not now and if you know me you know thats so rare for me!).
"You know, same shit," I respond. Luckily he knows what that is, and he's always trying to get me to talk about it and help me get through whatever demon is in my head at the time. But it still doesn't fully go away, it just gets pushed back and then makes its way back out unannounced, never really allowing for too much else to be on the forefront of my mind. And that makes me so angry.
Its crazy how this whole journey started off as something exciting, something we were (and still are though) lucky enough to do. We were so elated to add another member to our little crew. But we've changed so much. We are nervous and worried and always thinking about what will come next if it doesn't work. I never thought I would think that way. But here I am.
This past year I let myself be immersed in everything IVF. And I know its not fully my fault, this is what this does to you. Between the thousands of appointments that are out of your control to schedule, the needles, the constant change in hormones/emotions, the physical pain and the mental chaos, infertility takes a lot of space in your life, enough to make you let it take you down, and it did just that to me. Man down over here in full effect.
Im not teaching, im not laughing as much, im not as sexual and im not happy over all. It sucks so bad! I want to be/do all those things more than anything but I have lost myself.
So this new year im not making a resolution, I never really do to be honest. But I'm going to make an attempt. Im going to try to find myself again. Nick and I have decided to live our life as if we are not going through this. Of course my day to day will still involve doctors, medication, and who knows what, but we aren't going to let that dictate our lives. We will plan trips and vacations and if we have to end up canceling then we will! I will be trying to remind myself that even if I worry or stress today, that won't make my next appointment come any sooner or make my pain go away and ill probably regret it by the end of the day. Im going to drink whenever I want to (again I'm not a big drinker but its more about not stopping myself from having a glass of wine here or there). And I actually am going to try and teach again (actually went to to a mock class at a new studio today!) Even if its once a week or so, I'm giving myself my life back.
I will also be easy on myself and try not to feel so guilty every time im consumed with IVF, because lets face it, it will happen again, probably multiple times, but im going to allow myself to be ok with it. To process it and then move on. Im going to take it day by day and do things that make me smile, that make my girls happy. I'm going to be healthy for me, not for IVF. Im going to enjoy hot yoga because right now I can. Im going to travel and make memories with my little family because to be honest, these are the only things that are actually in my control.
So cheers to 2020, I'm very hopeful you will bring exactly what we have been fighting so hard for. But most importantly, I'm hopeful that this year will bring ME back.