High Fives, Hugs, PGS Results, and Self-Care
If there's one thing I can say about this egg retrieval cycle, it's that it went significantly better than my first. I know I haven't spoken much about it, but I plan to dish out details on the absolute disaster that was September of 2016.
Anyway, two cycles isn't a lot in terms of what other people have done. I'm still a newbie, really, who hasn't gone through the transfer protocol. I've had two PIO shots total, and they were both given to me when I was knocked the heck out, so I only know the soreness that lingers and not what it's like to take one of those monster-sized needles to the hip/ass every other night.
I've heard my uterus is picture-perfect but am certain as soon as I need it to show up it's going to fail me. "Your uterus is beautiful" will become "why does this look like a used tissue?" or "I mean, your lining used to be impressive." Right? Those are the stories we tell ourselves as we are moving through this journey. We are convinced the things that have gone well will stop being successful when we most need them.
I guess it makes sense given that very few people go through IVF and have amazing, easy, baby-making first rounds. It's not hard to remember all of the reasons this shouldn't or might not work, and it's a hell of a lot easier to forget all of the reasons that it can.
I think if there is one area that I've failed to communicate exactly how this whole self-care and positive thinking bit works, it's in that the negative thoughts still surface. Fear is still riding shot gun. All of the hard work is still there, but consciously choosing to focus on the other pieces is what makes this whole journey easier. And sometimes even saying that is misleading, because it doesn't always make it easier in the day-to-day. All of the positive self-talk and conscious self-care in the world can't always cure a shitty day.
Only giving yourself grace and compassion can do that.
And that's what self-care is all about, really. Remembering that you're human, you are worthy, and even when you're being a diva, drama-queen, or douche, you still deserve to give yourself the benefit of the doubt that your heart is good.
Yesterday I received the call that 3 of my 6 embryos were pgs normal. We are happy with this number and we are comfortable moving onto the transfer stage now, given that we had 1 little snowflake from the first retrieval. So we have 4 frozen embabies ready to try out my womb.
It's neat to be here, really, but it's scary as all get out, too.
I'm afraid of what I've already told you, that maybe my body will fail me.
I'm afraid that having only 4 embryos is not enough to build the family we are ready to create.
I'm afraid of the new shots, the bruising, the mental warfare that is doing what's unknown.
And I'm REALLY afraid that the wait will get to my head.
I don't know if you've noticed, but it's a scary time to be going through infertility treatments. The personhood bill, for example, is something that makes us all feel somewhat unsafe and maybe even judged. I don't want to know what other people think about it, because I'm afraid they'll say they are for it and/or that nothing matters except preventing abortions, and I don't want to have to add this battle to what I already feel is stigmatized. I don't want to have to explain how this could change my entire life while I'm trying to build a family.
It also makes me feel like I need to get this show on the road before any changes come through congress, because what I have right now doesn't mean it'll be mine a year from now. You might think it's really unlikely or impossible, but I think there are a lot of things that have proven to be possible lately...that nobody would've bet money on before.
When I found out my PGS results yesterday, I immediately posted to Facebook and said, "We now have four healthy embryos. Tell me what you did, experts: one or two embryos?" without taking into consideration how that might appear to other people. Yes, it's unorthodox and a little bizarre to be able to ask that, but to those of us who are going through IVF it might be the first time we get to do anything fun with a potential pregnancy.
The mystery is gone with this process, and so these little, weird moments feel kind of like taking back some of the joy other people take for granted. Any way, my point is, all it would've taken is one ass-clown to come to my page and say something hateful for me to feel a little less stable and confident.
So I'm working on that right now.
*More self-care and less social-media needed*
What that means is I've disengaged online in a lot of ways and I reengaged in person, reconnecting with real life and building relationships where I can hug and high five. I'm cuddling my dogs and trying to cut out conversations that might be triggering.
I'm learning, as a friend and someone I admire said, to be a part of team move-along, and to let go of the shit that isn't serving me and/or that I cannot change. This is not because my voice is not needed or because I want to lay down and disengage, but because I need to save my sanity and shouting for the moments I can make a difference.
Which is always what I try to do, even when I fail.
Take care of yourselves this week, friends. I'm actually going back through my book and completing the exercises even though I'm not in my TWW. I want to recommit to a healthy self-care schedule that involves making conscious choices to put me first, especially as we gear up for our FET.
If you have self-care tips you'd like to share, I'd love to hear them. I tend to cyclically move through what works for me, and I think I need to adventure out a bit and try some new tricks. If you have a suggestion, leave them in the comments below. XO.