Wednesday, November 28, 2012


This fifth cycle of IVF has given me perspective. And not because it is the fifth time. But because it is the first time I am doing this IVF thing as a mother.

The other day, JB forgot to give me my lupron shot before he left for work. He had to talk me through it via Facebook. I sat there giving myself a shot in the thigh with Abigail attempting to steal my alcohol swab at my side.

Way different than when I did this a half decade ago.

The first four times I did IVF, I was childless. As a result, I just assumed that the range of emotions I was fighting during each attempt were due to not being a mother. I figured I was just sad that I didn't have children. But this cycle, I am fighting some incredible emotions. And I have three children.

It wasn't until I found myself sitting on my living room sofa this past week, crying, for no reason at all, that everything came into focus.


I have it now.

There was a reason that the difficult emotions surrounding infertility were worse when I was in the midst of a cycle. There was a reason that it got better when I went off medications in between cycles.  There was a reason I cried all the time and was exhausted and couldn't sleep.

Stinkin' hormones.

Not only do I have perspective now, but JB does too. He's not just a medical student this time. He's a doctor who counsels patients regularly who are dealing with hormones or depression. He is able to talk me through this with amazing clarity. He's able to remind me why I am feeling this way and what I can do about it.

So what can I do?
  • I can exercise. Exercise helps me to feel better nearly instantly, however, the results are short-lived. (Within two hours after completion, I find myself a bit down again.)
  • I can get good rest. Good sleep at night and a good nap is tremendously helpful.
  • I can remind myself that this is a temporary emotion. That this will end. That I have to do this without the aid of anti-depressants because of the pregnancy aspect connected with it. And that at the conclusion of this process, I will return to the Wendi I know and love. I must trust (and know) that she will be back.
  • I can share. I continue to find it important to let the people around me know that I am a bit down. I don't need to worry about assuring friends and family that "this has nothing to do with you."
  • I can educate. I continue to feel a responsibility, especially through my blog, to educate. I don't want to portray an inaccurate picture of myself on the blog or in person. I want people to see infertility and motherhood and adoption in the proper light. In the proper, perspective, if you will.
Pumping hormones into your body will result in a person getting emotional. Depressed maybe. In actuality, doing it without children gave me a reason for the emotions. Doing it with children gives me no reason for the emotions. I'm just crying for no reason at all. Sad for reasons that have no source.

And I'm okay with that. I can be honest about that. I can share about that. And I hope it will allow others to share and be honest and open as well.


Connie Huizenga said...

As part of your education - I wonder if some helpful hints on supporting someone dealing w/anxiety and depression would also be helpful on your blog. Here is some of what I found, just from a quick google search:
Provide emotional support. What a person suffering from depression needs most is compassion and understanding. Insinuating that they "snap out of it", "lighten up" or "think about the positive" are awful things to say. The best things to say are, "How can I help you?" or "I'm here for you. I won't leave you to face this on your own."l.
Provide physical support. Participate with your friend or loved one in low-stress activities such as taking a walk, watching a movie, or going out to eat somewhere nice (often they won't want to eat at all, but they might eat good food). In some cases you can ease the depressed person’s burden by helping with the small things— running errands, shopping for food and necessities, cooking, cleaning, etc. If it is appropriate, actual physical contact, and affection: a friendly hug, a friendly kiss, brushing patient's hair, massage neck and shoulders, etc. can be strong encouragement. Quite simply, it "feels good", and makes the subject feel worthy of affection.
Hold on to the possibility that your loved one will get better, even if he or she does not believe it.
Don’t try to talk the depressed person out of his or her feelings. The depressed person’s feelings may be irrational, but telling them they are wrong or arguing with them is not the way to go. Instead, you might try saying, "I’m sorry that you’re feeling bad. What can I do to help?"
Step back every so often. You may become frustrated when your well-meaning advice and reassurance are met with sullenness and resistance. Please don’t take your loved one’s pessimism personally— it’s a symptom of the illness. Direct your frustration at the illness, not the person.
Communicate with other people in the person's support network. Then you will be working as part of a team—and be encouraged that you are not alone. Be careful when you tell other people about the person's depression. People can be judgmental if they do not understand the issue fully, so choose carefully as to whom you tell.
Take good care of yourself. It is easy to get wrapped up in your friend’s problems and lose sight of yourself. You may also experience “contagious depression,” or you may get your own issues triggered. Recognize that your feelings of frustration, helplessness, and anger are perfectly normal.
Stay in contact. Call them on the phone, write an encouraging card or letter, or visit them in their home. They will know that you care if you do things like this. It tells the person that you are willing to stick by them no matter what.

Connie Huizenga said...

Helping someone or walking alongside someone suffering from even situational depression can be difficult, make the relationship feel very one-sided, a "heavy load", and stressful. Rescuing them or constantly asking what's wrong is not helpful. Balance is the key. Give yourself enough space for your own well being, set your needs from them aside completely for a time and just walk alongside and be a friend. As you take care of yourself, you inadvertently empower them that they're stronger and more capable than they may feel.

Joia said...

I am sad that you are having such a rough time right now with the IVF stuff, but Praise God that He is able to use this to further help you to come alongside the hurting!

Kristen said...

Oh my word, Wendy! We never did IVF without kids so I can't really relate to that part, but I had to smile when I read your description of trying to do your shots with abigail there. There would be moments when I would be in the bathroom trying to give myself shots with the kids banging on the door to come in... I would find myself asking if this really was my life- in the best possible way!! Sorry so many of the emotions are the same this time around, but so glad you can do it surrounded with little ones this time around!