Thoughts on giving up social media for one week.

goodbyefacebookteaser-100336171-origI am a bit of a Facebook addict.  I don’t spend hours on end scrolling, nor do I post a whole heck of a lot.  However I do randomly check Facebook several times a day.  If I’m feeling overwhelmed at work, sitting in a long line of traffic, brushing my teeth (see, I told you it’s embarrassing).  I was actually one of the last of my friends to even get a Facebook account, but now it has gotten to a point where I honestly can’t remember the last time I went a complete day without checking social media (for me that means Facebook and Instagram).  So, what better time than now to conduct an experiment!  Let’s forget about a day, I went all in and did a full week’s worth of unplugging.  Here’s what happened!

Day 1:  Full disclosure – I technically already failed.  I wrote a blog post and wanted to share it with my infertility group on Facebook.  I logged in to post the blog and logged off immediately.  I didn’t like anything, I didn’t comment on anything.  I may have sneaked a peak at my notifications and MAYBE done half a scroll or so on the old mouse.  I also deactivated my account for the week.  I didn’t want to make some big proclamation about leaving Facebook, but I also didn’t want people to think I’m just ignoring them if they are trying to get in touch.  I’m still counting this day as Day 1.

Mood & Musings:

  • I definitely felt the pangs separation anxiety.  It was a bit unsettling how often social media was on my mind.  I felt anxious about what I was missing.
  • I read a couple articles online about giving up social media.  Turns out there are actual studies that have been conducted that show people who are not on social media are happier, less lonely and more focused than those of us who are.  I didn’t feel much happier yet, but I definitely looked forward to it!
  • Told M about my little experiment and he decided he wanted to join in as well.
  • It seems Day 1 was spent filling the void of social media with other internet based goings on.  Hmm.

Day 2:

Mood & Musings:

  • Day 2 was a big day because M and I put an offer down on a new house, and we traveled to Connecticut to spend the weekend with M’s brother, sister in law, and their 9 month old baby boy.  I didn’t really think about social media much at all.
  • Instead of mindlessly scrolling, I talked to M during most of the car ride (I’m not sure he would consider this a positive!).
  • I started a new book to fill my time.
  • I think this experiment is harder for M than for me because I have all notification turned off for my apps, and he doesn’t.  He kept commenting throughout the day that he was getting notifications and really wanted to look at them.  He didn’t, at least not that I know of 😉

Day 3:

Mood & Musings:

  • Spent the day with my sister in law while M went to play golf with his brother.  We talked about fertility stuff – she had two miscarriages before having her son and they are getting ready to try again soon.  She’s over 40 so unfortunately the clock is ticking.  Talking about my DOR and our future transfer always brings tears at some point.  I rebounded though and overall the day was fun.  Didn’t think about social media at all until I remembered some of my girlfriends were getting together that night and wondered how that was going.  It’s weird not knowing what is going on at all times!
  • Side note:  is a blog considered social media??  This thought popped into my head on Day 3.  I guess it is.  For me social media refers to outlets like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.  This blog is sort of an online diary so I think it’s still in it’s own separate category in my mind.

Day 4:

Mood & Musings:

  • Full disclosure again – out of sheer habit, I clicked on the Instagram app on my phone.  I looked at one picture and clicked on one hashtag before I realized “This is social media!!” and dropped my phone like a hot potato.
  • I still wasn’t feeling any happier.  Started thinking that happiness study might be crap.
  • We put a counter offer in on a house we liked.  Fingers crossed!

Day 5:

Mood & Musings:

  • Woke up this morning and had an email from our realtor – our house offer was accepted!  We are homeowners!  Yippee!!
  • My work day was so productive without taking random breaks to check Facebook.
  • I almost felt like I was living this secret life that no one knows about. I was definitely starting to dig it.

Day 6:

Mood & Musings:

  • Not looking at Facebook means I didn’t have to concern myself with what everyone else was doing, nor with their opinions of what I was doing.  I don’t have to spend time deciding on what to post, what not to post, perfecting pictures before uploading, etc.  It’s refreshing.  I’m just doing my thing and living my life.  What a concept!

Day 7:

Mood & Musings:

  • It’s over already??  I was almost anxious about emerging from my social media free cocoon today.  How funny that just a few days ago I was anxious about living without Facebook and now I was anxious for the complete opposite reason.
  • Over the last two days I actually started really enjoying being disconnected from my Facebook “friends” and Instagram “followers”.  Friends and Followers.  It sounds so strange when said in that way.  None of those people are my followers, and some I wouldn’t even consider friends since I haven’t seen them since high school.
  • Should I cancel my account all together?  Leave it deactivated and just pop in every now and then?  Should I let people know I am doing this, or is that pretentious?
  • Once again I was struck with how good it feels that no one knows what I am doing and I don’t know what they are doing and somehow we are all surviving!

Overall Thoughts

I have realized I really like my little life and I’m actually feeling a bit protective of it today.  I’m not sure I want to give up my precious time and be sucked right back in to mindless scrolling.  I don’t know if I want to open myself up to being affected by people’s words (especially parents complaining about their children!!).  I have come to realize that other people’s thoughts and opinions shared on social media truly did affect and drain me, even if is was on a subconscious level.

Overall I wouldn’t say I feel happier, but I do feel calmer.  I feel like I can formulate my own thoughts without the chatter of everyone’s opinions.  I definitely feel more productive and have more downtime.  The word that keeps popping into my head is space.  Space to think.  Space to breathe.  Space to be present.

I’m not sure what my social media habits will look like after today.  I still haven’t logged into anything.  I still want to be able to connect with my fertility group and with others sparingly, but I will definitely be more mindful about it.  Who knows, this may become a permanent thing.  (I will still be writing my blog and checking in with other bloggers though.  Let’s not get crazy. 😉 )

So this happened….

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I got married!  Yep, for the last two months I have been busy planning a wedding, no big deal 😉  M and I finally tied the knot, almost 4 years to the day we started dating.  Four years together, almost 3 of those fighting the infertility monster.  Four years of happiness, sadness, excitement, disappointments, adventures, and just LIFE culminated in an absolutely beautiful sunset ceremony on a picture perfect day overlooking the New York City skyline.  We invited 60 of our nearest and dearest to our little shindig and if I do say so myself it could not have been a better.  It was touching, emotional, intimate, and just US. So yeah, that happened!

A couple weeks post-“I do” and now we are in the process of looking for a house.  We have a pretty tight timeline since our lease is running out on our current place and it’s really just too small for us now.  The rest of the summer will probably be a mixture of house hunting, money managing, getting together with friends, going to the beach at least once, and just savoring our newlywed status.  Oh yeah, and I’m going to have to get used to a new name!  Holy sh*tballs.

So everything has been going well.  Our relationship is as solid as ever, we had a fairy tale wedding day, hopefully buying our own home in the next couple months, and I will be continuing my education come September in a Bachelors to Masters degree program into which I was accepted.  However, as all of you well know, there is still that nagging monster whispering in my ear every chance it gets–the infertility monster.

As a reminder, I have one PGD tested frozen embryo waiting to be transferred since March 2015.  Of the five stimulation cycles I endured, only once did I make it to retrieval.  Five eggs were retrieved, three made it to Day 5, and one tested PGD normal, so here we are.  One would think I would be ready to go full steam ahead with this little emby that could/might.  Well, I’m not.

This little emby is my last chance at a biological child.  I am not going through any more stimulation cycles to try an retrieve more eggs.  This is it.  Right now, he/she is out there.  Frozen in time.  A little sliver of hope.  Once he or she gets put back into the real world, in real time, there is a 50/50 chance of implantation, and even then there is no guarantee it will result in a healthy pregnancy and birth.  That’s a lot of pressure for a single little embryo.

Don’t get me wrong.  Biology isn’t very important to me.  I want to be a mom.  I do want to experience being pregnant, so using a donor egg would be an option I would most definitely consider.  Possibly even a donor embryo, for financial reasons.  I just want to be a mom to a child, to love them and raise them.  Biology doesn’t dictate that.  Love, compassion, and connection is what is important.  The thing is that is another long, expensive, process that we would have to start.  We would have to begin another journey.  And to be honest it’s just an exhausting prospect.  In September of 2015 I hit the end of the stim cycle road with my fourth cancelled cycle (fifth cycle total).  As much as I was mentally prepared and knew that would be my last cycle regardless of the outcome, the reality hit me very hard.  The disappointment was palpable, and seeing M’s disappointment just made it all the more bitter.  So if this transfer is not successful, in my practical mind I am ready for it and know what the next steps can be, but nothing is going to be able to prepare me for the reality of that moment, all I know is that it will be unpleasant (to put it mildly!).

Right now, there is hope.  I guess I am scared to have that hope dashed.  Hope is a very dangerous thing.  It’s awesome to have it, to believe in it.  But when that hope is gone, it’s the worst thing in the world.  I try not to let it in sometimes, but it has a sneaky way of worming it’s way into my subconscious and it just sits there whether I want it to or not.  Such is the human condition I suppose.

Maybe some would say to me – “But C, what if it DOES work?  What if this little emby that could becomes the little emby that DID??”  Well, that is very easy.  That would be the best thing in the world.  It wouldn’t take away any of the pain of the last few years, but it would sure as hell put it all into perspective.  It would just be awesome and awe-inspiring.  It would be everything (no pressure!).

So I ask of my fellow infertility warriors – any advice??  Thoughts on transfers?  Best time to have one?  Any suggestions on what to do to prepare?  How long to prepare??  I welcome all thoughts and suggestions!  Please share!

 

It’s not all about me! Except that sometimes I want it to be.

downloadYou guys, in case you’ve forgotten, infertility really sucks.  It’s changed me.  It’s changed my personality.  And sometimes, I don’t like those changes.  At all.

In some ways, infertility has made me more compassionate and understanding.  It’s made me realize that we all have things going on that may not necessarily be known, but that affect us.  If someone is acting rude or absent minded or just seems a bit “off”, for the most part now I don’t take it personally and just realize that as I am going through an issue, he or she may also be facing something private.  Infertility has helped me give people the benefit of the doubt.

In other ways, it’s really turned me into a one upping bitch (I hate that term but there is really no other way to describe it!).  You see, at first I didn’t see the seriousness of my situation.  I told a couple friends about my diagnosis, but I still had so much false hope that things would work out and everything would be fine.  Just like many people who don’t have an intimate relationship with infertility, I thought, this is 2013 (at the time).  There are so many advances in fertility treatments!  I got this!  I was so naive.  I did to myself what so many people do to me now – minimized my situation.

Fast forward to almost three years of shots, scans, blood work, and procedures.  I have come to realize that no, I don’t got this.  I don’t got this at all.  Nevertheless, like many other diseases, infertility can’t be seen, which leads many people to think I live a charmed life.  I have a wonderful partner (soon to be husband!) and I have a good job.  I have time to devote to hobbies.  I look outwardly healthy.  What in the world must I know about problems!  My life is perfect!  People feel very free to let me know this, and often!

And here is where the bitchiness comes in.  At first, I would just kind of smile and say everyone has issues and no one lives a perfect life.  The more time has passed however, the harder it has become to just leave it at that.  I am tired of my problems being diminished.  I’m tired of people thinking because I am single and childless that whatever I have going on in my life is not important.  Being 36 years old, many people I know are parents.  I have gotten to the point where it feels like parents are the only group of people for which it is socially acceptable to complain.  People without kids, sorry!  Your problems pale in comparison!  I mean I get that parenting has got to be the toughest job second to none.  People need to vent.  I totally understand this.  But sorry parents, you don’t have the monopoly on problems.  Especially when you planned on having these children.  (side rant:  If a couple is not using any form or birth control and the woman falls pregnant, I consider that a planned pregnancy.  I have a friend who was absolutely gob smacked when she found out she was pregnant earlier this year, despite the fact that she never used any form of birth control.  No, that’s not how it works.  Be surprised when you’re not using protection and you DON’T fall pregnant.  That’s when you know you have an issue.)

And then the one upping starts.  If someone starts complaining to me, about their children or about anything really, I feel the need to interject with some complaint of my own, just to show that actually no, my life is NOT perfect.  Or if a friend who knows about my infertility complains about her shoe size going up after pregnancy, I feel the need to say well at least you have your child, I wouldn’t mind going up a shoe size or a dress size!  Yes, that actually happened.  It makes me feel absolutely monstrous.  Who am I?!

I realized that I was turning into a self pitying monster when I started planning my wedding.  I actually got to the point where even though this positive thing was going on I always felt the need to remind people of my infertility, as if to say I’m having a good time now but this boulder is still on my plate.  Which it is, and it is something that is always with me.  But why did I feel the need to MENTION it, and multiple times?!  I couldn’t go on like that.  It was awful!

Infertility was turning me into someone I didn’t like very much.  Now, I am trying to find a balance.  If someone asks me about having children or points out that I am getting a bit long in the tooth (thanks for noticing!), or how lucky I am that I don’t have any bratty kids, I am honest.  I don’t go into specifics, but I do say I have some fertility issues and children may not be a possibility for me.  However when people come to me with their own problems, I am keeping it about them.  I have always been a person that people would come to when they need to vent, and I want to continue being that person.  Of course I still have my moments of pity and I do stand up for myself more now than I used to, but I think that’s ok.  I’ve realized that although I’m powerless to my diagnosis, I do have power over my own actions.  Screw you infertility, although you are a complete asshole I don’t have to be one.

So to conclude – life is tough.  Instead of not enjoying good moments because of my condition, I am trying to enjoy the good moments EVEN MORE.  No one likes a one upper.  Especially not a bitchy one 😉

Another day, another cancelled IVF cycle

The title says it all, doesn’t it?  What I was fearing the most happened and unfortunately my second IVF cycle was cancelled, much like the first one due to a poor response.  Actually, this cycle was worse than the last one in that only one follicle was larger than 10, although I had ten follicles to start with.  They just didn’t grow.  This cycle I also added acupuncture to the mix along with quitting working out entirely and just resting.  There were the obligatory tears on cancellation day (last Wednesday) and some heavy moping for a couple days.  On Friday I went in for a follow up consultation with my RE that left M and me actually feeling much better.

We went over how the past two protocols didn’t seem to even rouse my scrambled eggs at all, and she made two professional suggestions – #1 try one more time with my own eggs on an Antagonist protocol, or/and #2 move on to donor eggs.  The past two cycles I have been on a Microflare protocol, which is typically used on women with DOR such as myself.  Cycle 1 I started on the protocol on CD3, and Cycle 2 I took BCP’s for two weeks and then started the protocol.  I’ve never tried Antagonist protocol.  Donor eggs have always been a consideration from the start of this journey, since I knew egg supply was so severely lacking.  Believe it or not, this consultation made me feel better because I was sure my RE was going to suggest not even trying again with my own eggs at all.  Hearing her say that we have one more protocol to try if we choose was reassuring to M and to me.  Obviously nothing is guaranteed, but at least there is hope.

Getting this information from my RE cemented the decision for us to try IVF one more time with my own eggs.  My RE is a very up front person and not one to sugar coat anything.  I like this because it makes me feel like I can trust her, and she will tell us the truth even if it’s difficult to hear (like at the beginning of this journey when I was literally in tears in her office, so shocked by my infertility news).  Sometimes it’s tough, but at the same time I would always rather know the reality of a situation, especially about something as important as my fertility.  We will try the Antagonist protocol, and keep our fingers crossed!  If we are not successful, we will most likely be making the decision to move on to donor eggs, but we will cross that bridge when (if) we get there.  I am not opposed to donor eggs, I just want to make sure I exhaust all possible options before we take that step.  I guess I mentally want to feel like I’ve done everything I can to conceive my own child with my own eggs, and then I can feel at peace about making other decisions.  I’m so grateful we will be able to have one more chance.

With that decision made, M and I have decided to take a short break from IVF for the next few months to enjoy the fall and the holidays.  I am also going back to school next month, I have 12 more credits to take in order to finish up my Associates Degree.  IVF has taken so much of our time, energy, and finances that I think we need a small break to regroup.  We plan to start our third and final cycle in late January/early February after I celebrate my (gasp) 35th birthday January 23.

I have to say I am actually looking forward to a little time off from actively TTC.  We are not going to be doing any charting as the chances we can conceive naturally are slim to none (besides my lovely issues we also have M’s male factor to contend with).  So we are just going to let the pieces fall where they may.  I am looking forward to getting some running in for the next month or so until the weather gets a little too cold for my taste, and M and I have signed up for a charity 5k in early October.  I am also excited to focus more on my relationship with M.  Thankfully, our relationship is stronger than ever, but we have been so focused on doctors and shots and ultimately disappointments that we have not had a lot of fun, silly time.  It will be nice to get back to that.

During this break I will continue to take my supplements, but after some consideration I do not think I will continue with acupuncture.  It’s very expensive and my insurance does not cover it.  In the research I’ve found through Dr. Google, it seems to state that acupuncture has been promising to infertility because of increased blood flow to the uterus, and also because of its relaxation benefits and stress reduction.  In talking to my RE she seemed to reiterate these findings, especially emphasizing the stress reducing benefits.  She said that anything I can do to reduce stress with be beneficial physically, in all areas.  I personally think my yoga and the occasional professional massage can help me with blood flow and stress, so I think I will be utilizing these two things in place of acupuncture.

Of course I will still be blogging as well!  Maybe now I can get to the sundry part of this blog and write about some other things that are important to me.  Scrambled eggs is a huge part of who I am right now, but it is not the only part!  I thinks it’s time to devote some time to the rest of me as well 🙂  As always, thanks for listening (reading) and for all the lovely comments I’ve received.  They help so much ❤