Wednesday 27 November 2013

Support Group

Have any of you been to a support group? I'm thinking of trying one out but I don't know what to expect.

On one hand I think it won't hurt to meet some other people with IF.  On the other hand, I think it could be weird and awkward, and not very helpful.

I contacted two groups.  One responded and said that they are in a lull right now with their attendance because people have graduated.  So that's kind of got me feeling not overly optimistic about it too.

What are your thoughts?

Wednesday 20 November 2013

Tuesday 19 November 2013

This is getting a little too real... money for eggs and babies

Things have been moving along with our egg donor and adoption plans. I can tell by our bank account. 

Our homestudy is well on it's way to be completed.  The social worker is taking off for a month, but says she'll have our report completed in early January, which is fine with me.  On the egg donor front we've got the paperwork almost completed, and the donor is scheduled to do her one day work up soon. 

I'm hoping for the donor to start taking stims within 2 months.  We'll have 1 month for the CCS testing to come back (If we decide to do that again), and then the next month (maybe February) we'll be all set to go with a transfer. 

I'm gagging at the amount of money this is going to cost.

In case any of you were wondering:  

To the donor agency:

Set 1: Administrative Fees:
$5750.00 – Administrative Fees for coordination of cycle
$ 400.00 – Donor legal consultation
$ 300.00 – Supplemental Donor insurance

..................... Total: $6,450
Set 2: Donor Fees:
$6000.00 – donor fee
$  400.00 – estimated donor expenses (local mileage, prenatal vitamins, birth control etc.  These fees are due in check form and any portion not used would be refunded to you at the end of the cycle.) 

.................. Total: $6,400
$23,955.00 + $3690 (ICSI, IMSI, PICSI) + $6,800 CCS testing

.............. Total: $34,445
Meds:  $5-7000
................ Total: Let's say $6,000

Grand total: A gagging $53,295 or $46,495 without the CCS.  We might need to forgo the CCS. 

F*ck.  And that doesn't include our travel to CCRM or lost work time for my self employed hubby. 

Or, what we've already flushed on 5 years worth of embryo adoption and our other fertility treatments.  

On the adoption front, they tell us that we can expect the pleasure of paying around $20,000 after homestudy expenses.  The agency also informs us that the birth mother can back out and leave us stuck paying the majority of that fee.  Whaaaaat?  that better not happen because I don't think I could handle it.  I can't even think about being in that boat, especially after paying for all of this egg donor stuff (not to mention the emotional problems associated).  

Don't get me wrong,  I'm very thankful that hubby has a job that has even allowed us to consider egg donation as an option.  I realize the fortune that we have being able to try to do this, no matter how hard it's going to be.  But, I still can't bring myself to feel happy about draining what's left of our savings.  I also can't help but dwell on wishing baby making for us was just a roll in the hay. 

...And I wonder why I'm feeling depressed all of the time. 

Friday 8 November 2013

This is vulnerable me

I'm realizing that I don't reach out for help (in real life), other than to D.

It's a very uncomfortable feeling for me, as I would imagine it is for a lot of people.

I recently watched this TED Talk of Brene Brown.   I would really highly recommend it, as well as a second talk that she did on shame.   It's about having courage and being vulnerable.  It's been changing my thinking lately.

I'm feeling right now, that a relationship that can't withstand a little heat, or that you can't be vulnerable in it, it isn't worth very much.  I think that meaning that comes (for me) in a relationship is the ability to share the good, fun times, but also when someone is able to be there in the mud with you too.

I decided a few days ago to be more vulnerable and reach out to my sister.  I wanted to let her know that I was hurting from infertility.  I also wanted to let her know that I felt let down by her.  It's a pattern in her life to disappear and distance herself from people, especially when things get rough or directed at her.   She's a social worker, and she's been though a year of personal counselling and I think this must have been one of the topics that was discussed there.  It's really nothing new, but it's something that I want to be changed for me and for her in her other relationships.

Back story of my relationship with her - When we are in person things are great and we get along fantastic! When we are apart (we live 9 hours from each other), we hardly communicate.  I asked her to come with me to Colorado with me for my last treatment. She said yes, and I was so happy and grateful for the sister time.  After Colorado,  I didn't hear from her.  After the month wait to get our CCS results, I reached out to her to tell her that we only had one abnormal embryo.  I got one text that said "I'm sorry.  This is me sending you my love <3"  and then there was mostly silence and couple of polite in person conversations over a recent family holiday.    I didn't reach out to her more because I was pissed.

I also have not forgiven this sister from a time in the spring of 2012 when my last miscarriage happened.  D reached out only to her (with my permission) and told her what had happened, that I was really upset and that I could use some support.  She did not contact us, and I know she got the text from D.  When you have a hard time reaching out to begin with and the one person you choose to do it with doesn't respond it is devastating.

I decided it was time to have a discussion with my sister.  Here's what I wrote a couple of days ago:

Me: I'm writing you because I am feeling very hurt and unsupported as it relates to my infertility stuff.  I know you probably have no idea that I am feeling this way, which is why I am telling you. 

First let me say that I really appreciate that you chose to spend your vacation time and hard earned money accompanying me to Colorado.  It was a tremendously generous gesture that I will never forget.  

Since we have been back, I have beendealing with some major issues related to our infertility. 

They have been:
1.  The extremely poor and devastating result of our IVF in Colorado.  This represented the end of my chances to have a genetic child, and a huge amount of money and time wasted. 
2.  Transitioning into donor egg and traditional adoption.  It's complex and emotionally exhausting. 

I appreciate that you are busy and that you have your own things going on, and that you may not realize that this trouble is happening in my life. 

The outcome that I am hoping for is for us to open the lines of communication.  I would like a relationship with you where we can both share the important and sometimes difficult things that happen in our lives.  I feel that to get there, I needed to share this with you. 

With love. 

Sister: (within minutes - wow!)

I am very sorry that I haven't been more supportive.  I have been a poor long distance communicator for quite a while.  Not an excuse, just me acknowledging that unfortunately this is nothing new.  I cannot begin to understant the infertility stuff has been for you gusy.  I'm honestly generally at a loss of whether it is better to ask and rehash or not.  Maybe it's wrong but sometimes I feel like it might be intrustive to ask too many questions, although even then, I now realize I should have been at least asking how you were.  All that can be said now is, I am very sorry and I will try to do better. 

Me:  Thank you for writing back so quickly.  I don't find it intrusive when people I know well ask me, quite the opposite.  I would let you know if there was something I did not want to discuss. 

Sister: Noted.  I'm glad you brought it up.  I would never do anything intentionally that would hurt you, or anyone for that matter.  But neglect can be worse. 

I thought this conversation couldn't have went better.  I was happy that I did (with the help of D) it even though I didn't want to push send.  The problem though reared it's head again days later when I didn't get a phone call from her.   I felt like I was reaching out asking for help and I didn't get anything but an apology.

Yes, I could have called her too, and I do initiate contact with her more than she does with me in general, but this time I was being stubborn and sticking it out.  I was testing her.

Finally, last night (3 days later) she called.

I asked her why did she take 3 evenings to call?  She said she didn't want it to seem like she was only calling because I asked her to.  (Huh? I was reaching out).  We talked, hashed a few things out calmly and honestly.

Afterwards, I told her what had been happening in my life lately.  I shared about the wine tasting weekend where one of the girls instantly announced her pregnancy after a hidden 2 year battle with infertility.  And how the conversation was all about "exciting" pregnancy things after that.  About how I carpooled with my friend and two other ladies to a concert, and one of the other two girls talked about  cuddling and cute stories about her kiddos, and she's just so wiped out.  Yes, she knew that both me and my friend have been struggling with infertility.  And how the list goes on....I told her about how our adoption worker was counselling us on not if babies up for adoption have been exposed to alcohol, but how much, and how devastating that was to hear.   I think she started to get an idea of what the emotional life of a long time infertile is like.   And you know what, even though it was hard for me to do (I cried through most of it and couldn't get words out), and hard for her to hear, I'm glad to do it.  I feel a little better today. (Also because of your words of support too - THANK YOU!)

I learned a few things about myself in this conversation.  She told me that I am very factual when describing our infertility stuff.  That people see me as the rock and not very emotional.  That I'm not the one that usually has issues, so people don't ask.

Interesting that people's perceptions couldn't be farther from the truth.

Thursday 7 November 2013


I'm as low as I've felt in a long time.  I don't know what to do about it.   I think about talking to my family doctor again about it but I don't want to take any pills, if I'm going to be possibly attempting an egg donor pregnancy soon.  And, from my knowledge most drugs take 6 weeks to kick in anyways.

D is depressed too.

We're having a hard time picking each other up now that we are both down.

I need to talk about all of the heaviness going on in our lives but there seems to be no one.  I reached out to one of my sisters asking for more support, and I got a nice "I'm sorry I haven't been better but you know me" type of response.  She genuinely sounded sorry, but two days later, I haven't got a call.

My Mother has the emotional capacity of a pea.   She doesn't get it.  Mom has no clue we've been thinking of adopting.  So I bring it up, "Hey so I'm working on an adoption profile" and she barely asks a follow up question.

My Dad asks a few questions here and there, but I can hardly call what he offers as emotional support.

On a weekend away with my girl friends some ask small questions but I feel like I'm putting a damper on one of their few weekends away without their children so I hold back.  One friend asks for a little more detail in private and I really appreciate it.  Every time I'm away from the group all I think about is my infertility and I'm fighting tears that are waiting for an speck of permission to break loose.

My best friend is turned inward right now.  I had concert tickets to a major pop artist and asked her to go.  She said sorry she couldn't.  It was a week night and I understood.  Then, the night of the concert she asked me if I wanted to try out a yoga class with her.  Ummmm, no.  Don't you remember that you turned down my free concert tickets and tonight is the concert?  She did the most kid-centric talking at the friends get away.  She has no idea how much it hurts me.   I ask her what she would like to do for her birthday?  She thinks maybe we should go for that pedicure that we never got to (since last year around her birthday, because she's busy with work and kids), but then asks me instead if I would consider helping her organize her photos and make a photo-book.   I say yes, because it's her birthday and it's what she wants to do.   When I add it to the calendar, D says he has a feeling of dread after.  Looking at all of those pictures of her children might not be the healthiest thing to do.

The list of my friends and family who have let me down goes on and on.  It's embarrassing to admit in more ways than one.  I'm embarrassed that I don't have a "truer" group of friends.  I feel like I'm in the moment in a crisis where people say you find out who your real friends and I'm finding out  I don't have (m)any.

And why should I? To my friends, I haven't offered them support as they balance full time work being a mother.  I'm sure there are lots of kid related issues that I don't give an A+ effort to support them in.  In those moments I am only thinking about stifling my jealousy.

I'm getting so jaded.  I'm so lonely.  This experience is so isolating.  I'm now resentful of all of the people who have not offered us any support through this fight.   It's probably because we've bit our lips and put on a strong front for so many years.

The trouble now is that I don't have any more left in me.  I'm feeling so broken, so beaten down by all of this.  I don't want to resent every friend or family member that I have, but I really feel let down.

I thought this would all be over by now.  5+ years in haven't I paid all of my dues? Checked all of the right boxes? Saw the right doctors and had the right procedures?  Spent enough f*cking money and time?

I'm so done with all of this.

For a split second I sometimes entertain the idea of giving it all up.  Stopping the egg donation process.  Stopping the adoption process.  However, the misery I see waiting for me on the other side of that (i.e.. deciding to live child-free) seems like a worse living hell for me.

I guess I've stumbled upon another negative side effect of infertility.  The one where you really start feeling sad and mad about all of your once cherished friends and family.   The one where you and your hubby are so broken that you are just existing.  The part of infertility where even a trip somewhere or a special concert doesn't help you forget for moment.  The part where you go to sleep thinking about infertility, you think about it hundreds of times throughout the day (even when you are telling yourself to stop), then you fall asleep thinking of it.    The next day, rinse and repeat.

If I ever make it to the other side

If I ever make it to the other side and I’m talking with a friend who is infertile, I want to remember to…
  • Talk about my children only when necessary.  No stories about what they did that was cute the other day or how we cuddled last night at bedtime and they whispered I love you.  Because it hurts even if they don’t show it.
  •  I will ask regularly how they are doing with all of this? And ask what this experience has been like for them? 
  • I won’t be scared of hearing the hard stuff, the sad stuff, and the depressing stuff. 
  • I will find adult only time for them because I remember how isolating infertility can be.
  • I will try to say ‘yes’ to their requests for activities, knowing that it’s a sign and opportunity to offer support.
  • I will listen more and talk less.