Lately I've seen several posts on social media about being kind to others because everyone is fighting their own battle. Obviously this hits close to home for someone like me who's struggling with infertility semi privately. Those of my fertile friends and family that do know of our struggle often ask me how things are going or how I'm feeling. I always hesitate before I respond. There's a million thoughts that run through my head but I usually go with something generic and insincere like "I'm hanging in there". I got the idea to write this post at the start of this cycle. I've put it off because I didn't want people thinking I was having a pity party or looking for sympathy. The opposite is actually true. One thing I can't stand, and probably part of my reason for not being more open, is I can't handle people feeling sorry for me. But for those in my camp that I have opened up to I thought it might be interesting to get a glimpse at a day in the life of an infertile. Here's my best shot
Disclaimer - these are my personal thoughts and feelings. I recognize they are all over the chart, and I basically sound crazy. But it's honest and real. This is not a representation of all women struggling with infertility. Just me.
6:15 - Alarm goes off. I check my phone where there's a reminder of my 8am appointment at my clinic.
7:30am - Showered and ready for work. Make breakfast. Wish for coffee that I can't (shouldn't) have thanks to the caffiene. Settle for orange juice.
7:40am - Morning suppression injection. Pull out a 1cc syringe and (thankfully) a 27 1/2 gauge needle. Measure out the .25ml dose. Obsess for 5 min over the amount. Is that too little or too much? Is it better to error on the side of more or less?! Finally determine it's as close as it's going to get. Lift up shirt to this view
Try to find a spot that isn't bruised but still located below my belly button and the appropriate distance to the left or right. Worry that the chosen spot is too far out of line. Why do they tell you to make sure it's a couple inches below your belly button and to either side? Which side did I do this shot on yesterday?! What are the effects if I mess this up?! Finally pick a spot, pinch some fat, and stick the needle in. Inject meds, pull it out. Why is it bleeding again?!? That's going to be another bruise.
8am - Arrive at clinic. Sign in and tell all my friends, oops I mean medical staff, good morning. Relish in the attention and affection from being the favorite patient.
8:10am - Woman enters clinic with a 1 year old. Forced to sit in the waiting room while 1 year old runs around in front of me. Recognize in my head that said baby is probably an IVF baby. Attempt to block out thoughts about how it's still inappropriate to bring a baby to a fertility clinic. Mean thoughts are replaced with sad thoughts of how much I wish I had a baby and worries of I'll never have a baby of my own. Heart hurts.
8:20am - Called back. First stop blood draw. Nurse Jenny has same issue trying to find a non bruised spot on my arm to draw blood. Look away during blood draw because needles make me queasy (yes I did just stick myself 30 min ago - don't ask). Blood draw done and head to exam room. Nurse Jo gives me a hug and says "You know the drill." Yes. Yes I do. I strip from the waist down and sit on the table attempting to cover my bare ass as best as possible with the paper cover they give me. Stare at this site wondering if I'll ever see my baby on the screen.
Think for the 100th time how much I hate the dildo wand.
8:35am - Still waiting on doctor. Definitely going to be late for my first meeting at work.
8:40am - Dr H comes in. Asks how I'm doing and says "let's see what we have going on in there". I smile but internally I am completely panicked that things are going to be not where they should and cycle will be cancelled.
My friend the dildo is inserted and I watch the screen feeling like I might puke. At the first site of a follicle I slightly relax. However now I'm studying them and worrying they should be bigger at this point. And there's too much difference in the sizes. Is there any way to tell if there's an egg in there?! God, I hope they aren't all empty.
Dr. H counts off follicles and sizes. I'm comforted with every new one they record. Maybe this will work this time. Heart hurts.
8:55am - Get dressed, meet with Nurse Jenny. She will call me when my blood work comes back but we'll most likely stim another night. Pepper her with questions about how many follicles total, their size, whether it's a good or bad thing that we are stimming another night. Scrutinize her face when she tells me everything looks great and is going well. Make her promise to text me the second my blood work comes in ( because yeah she has my number on her personal phone).
9:15am - Arrive to work and attempt to sneak in meeting. Attempt fails. Co worker asks where I've been. Explain I had a doctors appointment. Her response - "Again??" Yes. Again.
10:30am - break time in meeting. Everyone mingles at the coffee stand. Wish again for a cup of coffee but grab a bottle of water. Listen to coworkers cute story about his kid. Try to block out sad thoughts and worries. Heart hurts.
12:00pm - Lunch time. The meeting is catered and they bring in wraps with lunch meat. I know you shouldn't have lunch meat when you are pregnant. Does that go for when you are growing multiple follicles too?! Stay seated while everyone goes to get their lunch and google "lunch meat IVF" on phone.
12:15pm - couldn't find anything that said no lunch meat during IVF but decide it's better safe than sorry and have some fruit and chips. Wish for a diet coke. Have water instead.
1:00pm - Meeting resumes. First presenter hooks up computer to the projector. Presenter's home screen is the worlds most perfect family photo. Try to block out sad thoughts. Heart hurts.
2:06pm - receive text from Nurse Jenny. Stim again tonight, another ultrasound at 8:45am tomorrow. Type out several responses with crazy questions that I delete because I don't want to be that patient and more importantly abuse my access to Jenny's personal phone.
4:00pm - Meeting is wrapped for the day.
Co worker complains about having to go across town to pick up child from daycare. Don't try to block mean thoughts. Heart hurts.
4:15pm - driving home talking to D. I've already text him all the news from the appointment but he asks all his questions again. Heart hurts to hear the worry in his voice. Reassure him as best as I can even though I have all the same fears as him.
4:45pm - arrive home and greeted by ecstatic puppy dog. Put on her leash and head out for a walk. Enjoy the sunshine and her great company. Smile and forget to worry. Pass neighbor with their baby in the stroller. Smile and wave. No sad thoughts- is that hope filling my heart?!
5:20pm - D is home. Smile for the second time today. Talk about our day as I make dinner and he plays with the dog. Daydream that there's a baby in the picture. Heart filled equally with hurt and hope.
6:00pm - Eat dinner, watch our shows, cuddle and laugh at the dog. Life is not so bad. Heart at peace.
8:00pm - time for evening injections. Triple check calendar with list of meds and doses. Get all supplies ready and laid out.
Once everything is all set out call D over. Suddenly get overwhelmed and eyes well up with tears. I willl not cry tonight. Too late - tears fall. D says nothing just holds me.
8:10pm - Pull my shit together. D starts with Follistim. Have to be poked twice tonight because the cartridge is almost empty. Move on to Menapur. Hate hate hate how this one feels like fire. Medicine squirts out of the vial when filling needle. Worry that the shortage will cause cycle to fail. D talks me off the ledge. Final shot of the night is estrogen inter muscular shot in the butt. Move this party from the kitchen to the couch. Lay flat on my stomach and pull down pants. Block out thoughts of how unflattering this position is. Wait for D's count and try not to tense up. Tense up anyway and shot hurts going in. Once it's complete D massages the area to rub in the medicine. Block out additional embarrassing thoughts and say a quick prayer of thanks for this man.
8:30pm - one more night down. Wonder and worry about what tomorrow might bring. Distract myself by looking at baby stuff on Pinterest. Have a fun talk with D about potential baby names. Feel excited, scared, happy, anxious, guilty, and hopeful all at the same time. Comforted by D's smile.
10pm - time for bed. Get suppositories out of fridge and insert panty liner into granny panties. Awesome.
10:15pm - Set alarm for morning and appointment reminder. Say numerous prayers. Prayers of thanks for d, for our health, for our friends and family, for our jobs, for our home, for the baby girl puppy dog asleep on my feet. Prayers for the eggs (hopefully) growing in these follicles. Prayers for good news tomorrow. Prayers for a successful cycle. Prayers for a baby of our own.
10:30pm - D comes to bed, wraps his arms around me, and whispers he loves me. Drift to sleep feeling happy, safe, and loved. Despite it all life is beautiful.