I went to a yoga retreat last week-end.  I realized when I got there that it had been almost a year since I had been there last, and that this anniversary coincided with the end of my very first IVF cycle.  I originally went there during that first two week wait.  I was new to the whole IVF thing and thought it’d be good to have somewhere to go and something to distract me while I counted the days.  I knew I wouldn’t be doing much physically, but thought it’d be nice to be somewhere pretty and to break up the two weeks somehow.  What I didn’t foresee was that the cycle was going to go very badly, so at transfer we knew we had almost no chance of success.  I went on the retreat, but was so sad and depressed that I came back early.

So, there I was again, about a year later, and about to embark on my fourth IVF cycle.  It made me really take stock and feel oddly proud of how far I’ve come in that year.  I’m stronger than I was, know better how very much I can take and adapt to, and I’m (a little) more able to give up control.  I’m daring to hope a little bit that some of these changes – especially the reduction in stress and anxiety – might make the IVF a TINY bit more likely to work this time.  Really, future embryo, it’s a calmer place to be, so stick around, ok?

When I started the IVF I was so freaked out by the medical-ness of the whole process.  I got upset and angry whenever I saw the hospital building where my clinic was.  Because I had to use medical intervention, I felt “unwell.” I was (for some reason) angry at my doctors simply because I had to go through it all.  I had to hide my sharps container in a pretty bag, because it disturbed me so much to have it in my room (well, I still do that).  Now, most of the time, it’s routine.  When the big bag of meds gets delivered to my door, I don’t freak out.  The biggest gift that this infertility has given me is a deep-seated belief that humans – and I – have an amazing ability to survive and adapt to pretty shitty situations.   Not only do we get through them, but they often can end up feeling like not really a big deal after awhile.  Knowing that on a deep, visceral level is a HUGE comfort.  I never thought injections and ultrasounds could become routine, but I guess that’s what makes us resilient.

The retreat was much better this time than the last, of course.  I still got a little lonely in that “who am I going to sit with at lunch awkward junior high” kind of way, but mostly it was relaxing and beautiful.  The photos on this post are from there.  There was one thing I regret, though.  I’m gonna state what may be obvious to most people; I’m a little slow sometimes.  If some  touchy-feely yoga teacher starts a “share circle” where you go around the room sharing the things  you’re grappling with in life, DON’T join in if you’re an IF-er.  DUH.  I don’t know why I didn’t run the other way.  I guess I’m a pretty open person and I assumed that I could handle it.  “Hi, my name is Sally, and I have a hard time putting my blackberry down.”  “Hi, my name is Mary, and I’m sad because I have to put my 8 month-old in childcare.” “Hi, my name is George and I feel ambivalent about retiring.” “Hi, my name is Patience and I’m getting ready for my FOURTH IVF.”  Um…It’s very much not fun to be the person with the worst problem in a “share circle.” It’s just fabulous that I was able to offer everyone a very cathartic experience and that they could be moved by how courageous I was to share my really awful problem with them.  Whatever.  Then I had to run into near strangers at dinner and know they were thinking, “Oh, that’s the infertile girl”.  Seriously a stupid move on my part.  That just reinforced to me how much of a LIFE SAVER the IF community is.  With fellow IF-ers, no one is going to be simultaneously titillated and pitying about how horrible my situation is.  We’ve all been there, to a certain extent.

So, now it seems like cycle #4 is finally coming up.  My clinic formally said that they’re willing to work with me (phew), and they’ve told me what protocol they recommend.  At the moment I’m tentatively hopeful and a little bit excited.  It’s really, very hard to believe that I might ever get pregnant, though.  I know so many of us feel that way after struggling for so long.  I’ve learned a lot since the last one failed, and now I have Zoloft on my side.  And I have you guys.  That’s gotta count for something, right?

– Patience

My Shadow

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