Hello again to Alaina’s blog readers. As you may know from yesterday, my name Heather D. Nelson and I’m the author of the book God Had Other Plans – Keeping faith thru pregnancy loss and infertility. Today, October 3rd, is my official 3rd pit-stop in my virtual blog tour and Alaina was kind enough to host me a SECOND TIME today! This is just the THIRD stop of a multi-day blog tour discussing various aspects of infertility and the fall out it leaves behind so if you like what you read, you can check out my information below for the previous and following dates.
So far in this blog tour we’ve covered the basics of what infertility is, and how your faith can affect your life as you make the journey. I am trying to make a difference in raising awareness and spreading some much needed education on the topic of Infertility, but that doesn’t JUST pertain to the ethereal and intellectual aspects. I am glad that today I get to be a bit more practical and discuss some tips and tricks to try and help the couples undergoing infertility treatments HOLD ON TO THEIR SANITY! What’s that, you say, you mean enduring infertility can affect your sanity??!! Um boy — HOWDY — can the rigors of infertility treatments do a number on your head. My hope is to share a simple mantra with you that helped me TREMENDOUSLY and hopefully will help you too.
Prepare to Let Go.
Overly simplified, true, but powerful. You see…the one common current to ANY couples journey to parenthood is the LACK of control. Whether you find success and the baby of your dreams or not, in order to obtain that goal you have to give over a ton of control..nay, ALL of the control. And I don’t know about you but I haven’t met a couple yet that one or both of them didn’t struggle a bit in the “I want to be in the driver’s seat” department. For my hubby and I, it was me. I wanted to plan, coordinate, label, box, contain, DECORATE even, whatever I could do to control every aspect of our journey. And everytime a set-back would come along and upset my carefully prepared agenda it would rock my world to it’s core. After awhile – okay…after a long while because I’m really stubborn — I began to take a different view of my infertility treatments and instead of trying to CONTROL the outcome, I focused on controlling my time, and it helped me tremendously. And from that small shift in focus, the mantra Prepare To Let Go was born.
For most fertility treatments the protocols may be different but the basic cycles are split into two major halves, if you will. The PRE ovulation portion of drugs and doc visits and injectables and sonograms with “the wand” (Dum Dum Duuuuum) and more drugs and more labwork and money flying out the window faster than your husband can hold onto it etc etc ad nauseum. If you are doing all this for a natural attempt at good ole fashioned baby dancing, it could be relatively quick cycle but if you are shooting for IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) or some other form of ART (Assisted Reproductive Therapy), this time period could be drug out for weeks on end while the docs get your body right in line. Then there is the SECOND half of this show which me and mine affectionately call the Two Week Wait. In my more tacky and emotional times I would call it the 14 day descent into madness. It’s the waiting game…the really hard part….living your life AS IF you are pregnant but fearing you are NOT pregnant but hoping you ARE pregnant and in the middle of this wild back and forth you slowly fall apart at the seams as the calendar days tick off one by one and they take your marbles with them. Lather, Rinse, and Repeat this month after month and it’s no wonder that MOST couples have a small strand of insanity embedded in them over time. It’s enough slingshotting stress to drive even the MOST grounded couple a little whacky. So how does my mantra come into play, easy.
First, a dash of preparation. While you can’t ever really plan expensive long-term things like VACATIONS to foreign lands and the like while undergoing fertility treatments, you CAN plan small things. Weekend stay-cations or dinner parties with your closest besties. Plan an elaborate date night out OR (for those of you on rigid budgets like I was) a glorious and equally elaborate date night IN. Whatever you do, plan these things to happen DURING that two week wait. Pick up a pottery class or start a hobby. I once used my two week wait before the holidays to take up knitting. I read a book and then proceeded to knit scarves for every one of my neices and nephews as christmas gifts. It was easy, inexpensive, and gave me something to focus on to keep my mind occupied. If you tend to have physical discomfort during this time in your cycles, then plan more low key and relaxing activities like a massage, spa days, a picnic out at a park, accupuncutre sessions, etc. Think about YOU and YOUR SPOUSE and what YOU BOTH typically need most during these times and then plan something. Plan them, prepare them, get REALLY detailed or really carefree with it but whatever you do — DON’T FOCUS ON BABY MAKING!!!!!!!! Let me say that again….for everyone in the cheap seats that missed it….
DO NOT FOCUS ON HAVING AND/OR MAKING A BABY DURING THESE ACTIVITIES.
That might sound counterproductive but in the long run it’ll save your marriage and really, what is the point of going through all this to have a baby if your marriage falls apart at the seams. You see, you will have spent the bulk of your money and time in the previous weeks or months or years focusing on having a baby. And chances are you have more of that same journey in front of you before your road comes to a close. The doctors do their best, and the nurses do their best and you are doing your best but in the end — GOD is in control. There is nothing more you can do at this waiting time of the process than wait. So use that time WISELY. REFOCUS your energy on your partner. Remember what you love about each other OUTSIDE the insanity of the hormones and treatments. Remember how you like to laugh, or play music, or shop, etc. Whatever your brand of romance is, get back in touch with it as best as you can during the waiting period. And that ties in nicely to the second part of my mantra…. LET GO
God has got you – always – and in the end His plan is perfect and timely and wonderful. Believe me…if you had told me that schlop while I was in my own two week wait I may have beat you with a nearby pillow, but it’s truth nonetheless. You can do all you can on this earth, but in the end, you can’t control making a baby. So plan all you can, prepare as best you can, put your mind at ease that you’ve done all you can — then LET IT GO! Take those precious few days or weeks of waiting when your body is a little bit more your own and enjoy them and try, hard as it is, to NOT let yourself stay bogged down in the “what if” game. Believe me, I played that game for 2.5 years and it NEVER ends well. Don’t let your mind go there. Stay focused on the rest of your life. I would use the few days in between cycles to enjoy my favorite red wines, or even *gasp* eat lunch meat and soft gourmet cheeses! I was a WILD WOMAN at times but it was a release I needed from the constant bombardment of restrictions put on my body. Your friends, your loved ones, your hobbies, your spouse, all miss you and you need to reinvest in who YOU are outside of the treatments. Now does any of this take into account the emotional frustrations that can build up…SURE.
Some of the most difficult challenges to the road of infertility, are the unforeseen and horrific setbacks. The cycle that suddenly and abruptly gets upended because of something innocuous and unavoidable. For example, I was once Headlong into a cycle of clomid and about to start injectibles when I was suddenly told I had to go on BIRTH CONTROL PILLS of all things so that I could prepare for surgery to remove scarring I didn’t know I had. After the surgery I then went on estrogen hormones to promote healing and then rebooted the whole cycle 45 days later. TALK ABOUT A MIND JOB! But – by then I had begun to embrace my mantra. Prepare To Let Go. I was PREPARED for a two week wait already with activities at church and home etc. So I just extended those out a bit. Did I need to take time to deal with my emotions about the blown cycle, sure. In fact after the money we had cashed out on the clomid and such that was rendered useless – so did my husband! And we made time for that…we took time, and a bottle of wine cause at that point why not, and we vented and ranted and got all the junk OUT. Never AT each other…but WITH each other. Both of us equally complaining and griping about the suck-factor of it all. Then we moved forward, a bit happier for having the laughs that we had, and trudged on with the new plan. You see, those emotions are normal and healthy and good and deserve their place in your life. But they don’t RULE you. If you are sad, then own that sadness and cry if you must…but pick yourself up off the floor, dust yourself off, look up to God and say, “okay…let’s go.” If you are angry or frustrated, then shake your fists and scream into the night about the unfair injustice of it all…but pick yourself up off the floor, dust yourself off, look up to God and say, “okay…what next”. If you are confused and unsure of your path, then sink to your knees and outwardly talk to an empty room about all the what-if’s in your head…but pick yourself up off the floor, dust yourself off, look up to God and say, “your turn…where should I go”.
My plan of PREPARE TO LET GO is not about belittling the stresses of infertility or even about ignoring the emotional impact. It’s about putting those things in their place. If you PREPARE your life to embrace what little down time you get each month, then you have a wellspring of emotional energy to draw from when the setbacks happen. If you plan to focus on your marriage and your life outside the drugs, then the drugs aren’t as likely to beat you down. The infertility cycles are going to happen the way your body and your doctors dictate them…but you do have SOME control over how you let that part of your life get lived. SO LIVE IT UP and re-embrace the beautiful that is YOU…for just a few days….And remember — you began this journey to start a family with the one you love. Don’t let the stress of it all lose who you are and what you love most about your partner in the beginning.
Yesterday we covered some of the ways that infertility can strengthen your faith if you let GOD be a part of it with you and today we lightened it up with some PRACTICAL TIPS on ways that a couple can survive infertilitytreatments and NOT lose their ever-loving minds in the process. Tomorrow I’ll be at a new location, again, blogging about how to handle the friends and family who TRY to support you, but just don’t get it, and how you and they BOTH can come closer together during this time. My host tomorrow is Jennifer over at Life’s Breathe. SO KEEP READING!!!!
Special thanks, again, to Alaina and HER READERS for letting me come on here AGAIN today and be a guest blogger. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my two days here and getting to know Alaina and all you beautiful people in her life. I welcome you all to contact me at anytime with questions on ways you can support her as she continues down this road. As my thanks for taking the time to read along, I invite you to like my facebook page or visit my book website . I have multiple other blog stops this coming week covering more topics and I am ALSO doing a virtual book signing of my book. If you click on the links you can see all the purchasing options. Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com are listed if you want to just flat purchase a copy online. If you would like a SIGNED COPY, there is a paypal option in the works, but for now you can just use the CONTACT THE AUTHOR form to request your own signed copy. I can ship anywhere and will send multiple copies out if requested.
Thank you again and may you all have a BLESSED day
Heather D. Nelson
Author: God Had Other Plans
Contact the Author at http://www.godhadotherplans.com/contact-the-author/
Blog Stops So Far
Day 1 – October 1, 2012 – Jamie Allen at Infertility Is Real
Day 2 – October 2, 2012 – Alaina Mayes at Unashamed Growth
Day 3 – October 2, 2012 – Alaina Mayes at Unashamed Growth