Thoughtful Thursday – POAS PTSD

Does any one else have an anxiety filled, PTSD like reaction to the mere idea of POAS?

I do – and it’s become such a big thing that I cannot use one. It literally makes me sick.

We have been TTC for 6.5 years. In those 6.5 years, I have peed on thousands of tests (HPT and OPK). Not one *NOT ONE* has ever been positive…this is closest we’ve ever been to a positive of any kind.

I’m currently a ball of anxiety because I’m at that point in my cycle (CD39) where I should take a test…. but I just can’t bring myself to do it. The devastation (and it is devastation) is too hard for my heart right now and I just don’t think I can handle it. I can’t deal with the downslide that comes from the inevitable negative test … the self loathing, the sadness, the anger, the frustration. And then , when it is negative, I just convince myself that I didn’t take it at the right time, or I ovulated later than I thought and therefore may be too early to a positive HPT…and so I keep taking tests over and over, until I finally get my period and then slide into the abyss for 5-7 days.

It’s a violent, penetrative cycle…and it’s easily my most hated part of infertility. I have an appointment for blood work on July 14th…by then I should know for sure…but I don’t know if I can make it.

What do you do – HPT or wait for blood work? Does anyone else share in this fear?

I know, I don’t know, but I know

A woman I work with, who is a work-friend and a lovely person, is pregnant with her first child – due late June. I was so happy for her – she is the kind of person who sponsors refugee families and spends her well earned funds on supporting a plethora of local and international charities. She is a really good person…so when I found out there would be a little CG, I was super excited for her.

This past week she called to let me know that her baby had been born still, at 37 weeks. There is no reason, no diagnosis yet, and nothing immediately evident that could have caused the still birth. Not that it would make it easier, I just hoped a diagnosis or a reason would enable her to know how to move forward.

My heart is broken for her. I wish there were words, but there just aren’t.

I so badly want to reach out to her and say I know. I know how it feels to ache for a child you will never meet. I know the pain, the heaviness in your heart while your body feels so empty. I know it all, and you don’t have to be alone while you wade through this horrible wasteland of grief.

But I don’t really know. I’ve never had a still birth, or even a miscarriage. I’ve never had a pregnancy…despite trying everything. But I do know grief. For me, it comes from the silence echoing with the memory of my so wanted babies, my 50+ failed cycles and my disappointment that swallows me whole. For her, it’s the little baby she knew, she cradled, she loved and she grew … and one she had no reason to think she wouldn’t bring home.

I know it’s not the same. Losing a child you carried, loved, wanted and prepared for – completely unexpectedly – that’s a pain I cannot imagine. All of the babies I’ve lost existed only in my mind, and my hopeful heart – but I do know what it feels like to miss something with every ounce of your soul, every pore in your body, every breath you take and to be so, utterly, disappointed.

I just wish I knew how to say that to her in a way that wouldn’t be offensive or hurtful. Instead, I just offered her a warm hug and a promise to come running if she needed anything at all.

Is that enough? I don’t even know.

WTF – Possibly the most negative post I’ve ever written, please forgive me for my nastiness but, for real, WTF

I work SUPER hard not to be jealous or bitter about our inability to conceive while being surrounded by super fertile family and friends who are constantly having surprise pregnancies. I do…because I DON’T want to bitter or nasty, but sometimes….sometimes, I just have to let it out. Please be gentle with me, I know this post is not my usual style but I just have to get it off my chest.


There is this girl I have known all my life (MM). Her family has been friends of my parents since forever, and for as long as I can remember, she has been a deplorable human being.

She has zero concern for anyone but herself, and is totally OK with ruining someone else’s life for her own satisfaction, based on completely false claims. She lies…oh she lies. She lies about people abusing her, she lies about pregnancies and miscarriages (to date, has claimed 15 in two years, all within 3 weeks of each other…and includes 14-16 week ultrasound photos, with the names blurred out, claiming she is “3 weeks pregnant today!”), she lies about experiences and services received at local businesses – and then she spreads her lies in hopes of hurting the business. She spews hate and racism like it’s her job. She cheats on her husband shamelessly, without any concern for who knows. She treats her parents – who have given her everything – like garbage. She refuses to work, and instead lives off the government and is constantly complaining that she is not getting as much money or benefits as she deserves because she is 1/265th Aboriginal, and therefore entitled to the same benefits (? Ya, ok? Blond haired, blue eyed white girl). She has received multiple interventions over her life time to try to help her, but she simply does not agree that she has any kind of problem. The worst part is? She posts this stuff all over face.book for everyone to see and doesn’t see anything wrong with that. (For perspective, she joined a group for Support for Teen Mothers on F.B….and then posted hateful, nasty comments wishing them all miscarriages and/or stillbirths. Her excuse was that she has struggled with infertility (her fake pregnancies and fake miscarriages) so she is allowed to be bitter. They deleted and blocked her, but not before she accused them all of being whores and incapable of adequate parenting – asking them all to “throw themselves down a set of stairs before they ruin another kids life”.

This is all 100%, actual truth that I could show you from her Fa.ce.book wall. Horrific, right? Probably the worst person I’ve ever known. The logical person in me says she is obviously hurting, and miserable, but the other part of me says – who isn’t? That doesn’t give you the excuse to be so SO HORRIBLE.

So imagine my surprise (not) when she posted another pregnancy announcement. I expected the customary 3 week miscarriage announcement, followed by the collection of sympathy and gifts…but it didn’t come. Then, there was an ultrasound photo WITH HER NAME ON IT, captioned “infertility survivor” (Please tell me this makes you boil too?)! That was when the lead ball dropped into my stomach.

Then – yesterday – I ran into her Mom and she confirmed (she appeared majorly stressed about it) that MM is, in fact, pregnant. 16 weeks, to be exact.

What. The. Fuck.

How does someone so cruel, so unpleasant, so malicious get blessed with a baby?? How?? How is that fair for that poor child who will, undoubtedly, suffer? There is nothing in the world that will change MM, she has been this unpleasant since she was born – so HOW CAN THIS BE FAIR? To the child, to the world, and to people who are *actually* infertile, and also decent human beings who want nothing more than a little human to love??

Whatthefuck. Whatthefuck. Whatthefuck. Whatthefuck. Whatthefuck. Whatthefuck. Whatthefuck.

That’s all I have to say. Now I will return to being a kind, nice, genuine human being because there are NOT enough of us in the world, and I will get back in the line of similar people waiting for OUR miracle babies…(even though, for some reason I will never understand, they are given to people like MM).

 

It’s a Fertile World – and Other Mishmash

Let’s start with the obvious. I have not been around lately. I know, I know…but it’s for good reasons. Life has been full lately and I have not had the energy or the heart to write. But I’m back now, and I have a lot to say – are you ready?? (Edit: Have you peed? Do you have a drink and some snacks?). Here we go:

#1) We went on vacation, ya’ll!! We initially had a trip to the Bahamas planned – but received a warning from our cruise line about confirmed Zika in the area, and in the warning it stated that the risk is not just for pregnant women – but any couple TTC. It could take up to 6 months for the risk to clear if Mr. Big caught it (?!?!?!!). That was just too much risk for us, so we took the offer from our cruise line to cancel without penalty and instead had a stay-cation. We spent the first three days at a local ski resort, skiing and relaxing in the hot tub. The last two days we spent ice fishing – a passion of Mr. Big’s. I have to admit, it is really growing on me! This was our catch from just 1 hour on our last day…so many fish!

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#2) There is something in the water over here… I work in a department of just 16 people. Of those 16, 3 are pregnant and 1 is on mat leave right now. On top of that, Mr. Big’s cousin who got married 3.5 months ago has announced she is three months pregnant (meaning she got pregnant on or shortly after her honeymoon…everyone’s dream, right?) and my cousin who is all shades of a hot mess just announced she is also pregnant (and unmarried, and unemployed, and without a high school diploma, and still living in her parents basement, and unable to take care of her own basic needs….and, and, and). Then there is the woman who I work with who is halfway through her second pregnancy – and, like the first pregnancy, she takes every chance she can get to lament how inconvenient pregnancy and child rearing is and how she is only doing this for her husband… Now, I know this sounds bitter (and it is), but please don’t think for a second I don’t wish all of these women the very best in their pregnancies and motherhood journeys. It’s not that I ill wish them at all. It’s just that it’s now 5 years trying without any kind of success, and it all seems to hurt a lot more than it ever did before….so hearing of others success (especially when it is seemingly without effort) is so hard to hear. I’m 30 now. I wanted to be done having kids by 30 – and I figured starting at 24 should have made that goal attainable. Then when I hit 26 and 27, I decided even one kid by 30 was good. Then at 28 I decided a pregnancy at 30 was enough. Now here I am at 30 with an empty womb, empty arms, and an aching heart.

#3) There are SO many changes in my life. My workplace is undergoing restructuring which may, in the long run, put my Mom out of a job…which is SUPER hard. I worry a lot about that, knowing how hard it is to find work in the area. At the same time, I was offered a promotion that I ultimately turned down … and while I think I made the right choice, I am not 100% sure. Between deciding about my job, and worrying about my Mom’s, it has been so stressful. I don’t think I’ve had a good nights sleep in weeks.

#4) Why didn’t anyone warn me as a kid that the older I get, the older the people I love get? Gone are the days that an odd symptom is brushed off with a “wait and see approach”. Now, my parents and aunts/uncles are all in the “better run some tests” stage…and it’s a scary place to be! The last 6 months alone have yielded 5 biopsies for my parents and aunts/uncles in that age group (50s and up)… We have been so blessed that it’s all been benign, but it is so scary! If I go to the doctor with a weird lady problem, I usually have to do blood work or wait and see – but if my Mom does, it’s off for an ultrasound and a uterine lining biopsy simply because she is in the age group where serious things are more common to crop up. Scary stuff! I just want to put everyone I love in a bubble so we can all be safe together!

#5) This Trump business is getting really scary. I mean, it always was, but it’s getting scarier by the minute. I have a very good friend who is living in San Francisco…where he has lived happily for 5 years. For the first time ever, he and his husband were followed by a gang of teenagers who were both menacing and terrifying. They chanted “Trump wants you gone. Trump wants you gone.” and followed closely, trying to intimidate them. My friends were able to seek refuge in a local restaurant, where the staff came to their defense – but they actually had to call the police to get the gang to clear. They were then escorted home…a night meant to be a fun movie date turned into one of the scariest things of their lives. In San Francisco of all places. I know their chant was something made up by a gang of teenagers, but it just shows that the “right” to hate is becoming more common place…making people more bold. Ugh, I feel sick thinking about it and I hope they never experience anything like that again.

#6) We are in a deep freeze right now. Like, the entire area is under a thick sheet of ice. This is day 4 of the iciness…and I have wiped out 3 times. THREE TIMES! It’s not uncommon to get a lot of ice here because it is so damp and humid – but considering the rest of our winter has been balmy with hardly any snow, it’s kind of rude that all of a sudden it wants to be winter now. Hello – we’re half way through February – go away icy coldness. No one likes you.

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Not very barbed wire-y when you’re covered in a smooth coating of ice!

#7) Are you watching Criminal Minds? It is SO good this year! Well, OK, it’s good every year but this year it is SOO good. So is Man with a Plan (Joey Tribioni for the win!) and Kevin Can Wait and Chopped Junior. Do you watch Chopped Junior? Only watch it if you’re ready to feel like you WASTED your childhood playing and building forts…because these kids are making things like Pate a Choux while I was working on how many marshmallows I could fit in my mouth at once. #canyousayunderachiever

Ok, I think that’s it for now. If you’re still with me, thanks for reading! If you’re not still with me, thanks for trying and I don’t blame you! I will end with a super cute picture of the Furries and their cocaine snow habit. (It’s not an addiction, they can quit any time they want to, they swear).

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What’s happening in your world right now?? I’d love to hear from you!

 

Bell, Let’s Talk

In Canada, it is Bell Let’s Talk day. That’s a day when a popular cellphone, phone line, internet and TV provider donates a large portion of their proceeds from texts sent to mental health initiatives.

For the weeks prior, there are commercials and ads connecting Mental Health issues with real people – in an effort to spread awareness and end the stigma. Howie Mandel (and his public battle with OCD) is the poster child for this campaign.

It’s also one that’s near and dear to my heart for a similar reason.


I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Not the kind that people claim to have because they like their socks arranged by colour or they arrange their books in alphabetical order. No, I have the real kind – the one that ruins lives if untreated, holds me back from my dreams, causes isolation and depression. The real, serious, mental disease kind.

I have had symptoms since I was a small child. At the time, they were labeled as quirky. I was always high functioning (excellent grades in school), so it wasn’t considered a problem. As I aged, the symptoms got worse and evolved. Finally, when I was in my third year of University, the stress of life intensified my symptoms so much that I could barely leave my apartment. In desperation, I tried to commit suicide…and I would have succeeded had my roommate not come back to grab a book she forgot. That experience will forever be the worst, and the best, of my life. I caused great pain to my roommate, and myself, and I will forever regret that – but it also saved my life. I spent the next month in a mental health unit in Hospital, where I worked hard to dig myself up from the pit I was in.

I completed an outpatient program for depression, and passed it with flying colours. I was proclaimed cured, and returned to school to finish my degree.

What I didn’t realize was that, those little nigglings of something that I attributed to depression, were actually something more. At first, it was an itch that I couldn’t scratch if the door was partially open, or the curtains were and the only thing that scratched it was closing them. Then it evolved into a need for cleanliness, and a need to pray for each person I loved at night. Then it evolved into an inability to function if I do not clean a “dirty item” and the surfaces it has touched and a need to pray for each person by name, or else they would not be safe overnight. From there, it became something horrifying larger: a need to clean a dirty item, the surface its touched, and the surfaces that have touched the surfaces that have touched the dirty item. An anxiety filled prayer including everyone I love by name, picturing them and surrounding them with white light for exactly the right amount of time or something horrible will happen to them. A fear of illness and vomiting, so severe, that I would chose death over exposure. A need to check the door one, two, three, four, five times to make sure it is locked, even though I have already checked. A need to wash my hands so often that they are raw and bleeding, and still unable to stop washing them. A fear that if I think of something bad for too long or too short, it will happen and then the panic that ensues when I realize it has not met those time requirements. The constant foreboding that something awful will happen because I did not check the door five times, or count to 20 while running water. A fear of contamination so severe that it is impossible to visit someone else, or even leave my house.

Not surprising, in that time, my life became a bubble of fear in hiding, constantly trying to dodge the next thing. I couldn’t function, I couldn’t leave the house and I realized that I couldn’t live like that.

Unlike the first time my symptoms became so heavy, I chose to get help. I went to my doctor and explained everything, preceding it with “I know how insane this sounds, but…”.

She listened, she nodded, she typed some things, and then she gave me a hug and a list of websites. She told me to go to them, and read through them, and in the mean time she was sending a prescription to the pharmacy, a referral to a Psychiatrist and she wanted me to call her if I needed anything at all.

When I checked the first website, I thought I typed it in wrong. I didn’t have OCD – that was something that people who shuffle around in bathrobes, with baggies on their hands, have. Not me – I had an education, a good career, a house, a husband, a family… BUT I clicked on over to “Symptoms” anyway, and I could not believe my eyes when I saw what I saw. Every single symptom, every single experience, every single thing that was happening to me that I deemed insanity was there. Every. single. one. It changed my life.

For the first time in years I felt relieved. There was a reason for these symptoms, and if there was a reason – then there was a treatment. The change in my feelings, in my mind, was so profound that it is one of the most memorable moments of my life. I can still feel the relief, the giddiness wash over. I had a chance, like could be OK again, there was hope for me.

Since then it has been a roller coaster. OCD is something that will never go away. I will always have it, and I will always struggle with it. It responds directly to the other stressors in my life so as long as I am calm, I can keep a handle on it – but the second that something stressful and out of my control happens, it’s there barging into my brain and ready to take over.

I am not OCD, but it will always be a part of me. Most of the time, now, I am OK with that. I have made my peace with it, and I am in a good place right now – but other times, I am angry and sad and frustrated. I am constantly working on not being ashamed of this, but it is hard.

The point of this big, long, wordy post (if you’re still with me, thank you!!) – is to say three things to you:

  1. You are not alone. You may feel alone, and it may seem like you are alone. But just look at my symptoms up there and how illogical they were – I was positive no one else was experiencing them – but I did some research and was amazed to see that they were. Not just one or two – but thousands of people were. Reach out, find someome who gets it. Don’t ever suffer silently. Ever.
  2. Get help. I know it hurts to ask for help. I know how shameful it feels, I know how poorly some people understand it. I know. But if you don’t get help, it could kill you – and let me tell you, there are people out there who will be shattered by the loss of you. Not just family and friends, but the first responders who find you, and the neighbor across the hall and your coworkers. If you can’t do it for yourself, then do it for them. Get help.
  3. Be kind – to yourself, and to others. Mental illness is real, debilitating, and life crushing. Don’t make someone feel smaller than they already feel because you do not understand. Trust me, if I could chose something else I absolutely would. It would be easier to be diabetic than have OCD – but those are not the cards I was dealt. Don’t belittle yourself for something you can’t control, and don’t belittle someone else for it. We are all just doing the best we can, with what we have, battling something no one else can understand. Be kind.

Thanks for reading! I hope you didn’t fall asleep and, more importantly, I hope it help you on some level…whether to deal with mental illness in yourself, or in someone else.

P.S: I think this is the longest post I have EVER blogged. #longestpostaward

Advice Needed – Christmas Giving

*Family Drama post….you are forewarned!*

How do you buy for someone you don’t really want to buy for anymore, but feel obligated to do it? I’m looking for gift ideas that are not expensive, but still thoughtful and perhaps an easy way of transitioning into not giving gifts at all. Also, ones that ship well would be super since I spend almost as much on shipping as I do on presents.

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Mr. Big and I have big families – three sets of parents, 9 siblings, 5 nieces/nephews, 8 sets of grandparents. Of those, more than half live far away. Buying for them all has become increasingly expensive – so much so that we have not given gifts to each other in almost 5 years during the holidays because our families are so big and expensive.

Of those families, we have very little contact with most of them. We are close with my family, and with Mr. Big’s dad, stepmom and younger brother  – but otherwise, we hardly see or hear from the others (I’ll call them the “Flakey Side”, which includes his Mom and her husband, and their children). Mr. Big and his Dad/Stepmom inform me that that is just how the Flakey side of the family is, but I just cannot understand or be OK with it. They don’t bother to call Mr. Big on his birthday (I’m not sure they even remember), even though he always calls them, and they are flakey about commitment (they constantly plan trips to visit us, and then cancel at the last minute and text a week or two later to say they’re going to Mexico for a week and will call when they get back (and then never call)…). I know some people are just like that, but I just cannot and won’t understand it. I have been very blessed in my family, and Mr. Big’s Dad and Stepmom (who raised him) are truly a blessing for him and probably the only reason he grew up to be such a great man.

Anyway…the one thing that the flakey side of Mr. Big’s family does is Christmas. They don’t do birthdays or anniversaries or weddings or babies – but they always do Christmas. They expect gifts to be bought, and then shipped (which costs as much as the presents), out to them each year – and they do send some things in return. But it’s so expensive and I can’t help but think we’re spending all this money on people who mostly pretend Mr. Big doesn’t exist (unless they need something from him). We used to comply because his brothers were teenagers, but now every one is in their 20s. I feel like it’s time to ease off on the Christmas spending.

In my family, we only give handmade presents to each other (baking, scarves, etc) and spend all our money on the little boys instead. We also go to a Christmas show every year together. I want to swing into that kind of giving with Mr. Big’s side, but it’s hard when they’re all mostly male. #1) they don’t appreciate handmade gifts, and #2) their wish list is always “Money, I need money”…

Any ideas for thoughtful but inexpensive ways to show we’re thinking of them, but not make us poor?? Am I being the cheapest person ever for wanting to cut back?

** I also want to point out – his one brother with two kids is not expected to give gifts (or call to say thank you for his gifts) because he has children and is therefore excused from life. Can’t wait until I am in THAT club!! **

We’re Sorry, Too.

I know it’s a running joke that Canadians apologize for everything – but for my American friends: I am so very sorry.

I’m sorry that you’re afraid right now – afraid for yourself, or your friends, who are not white, male and straight. I am sorry that you’re worried his hate will spread. I am sorry that you’re devastated to have to explain this to your children. I am sorry that such a beautiful, powerful, positive country is now being run by an angry, hateful, hurtful man and that countless people will be hurt in the process.

I’m just sorry. I am heartbroken for what this means for your rights and for the world as a whole – because what America does will resonate with us all.

It’s just impossible to make sense of it. I just don’t understand how someone who is so readily vocal about his hatred of so many things, people and lifestyles can possibly be elected as President of the United States. I am sure Trump had positive changes he wanted to make – things that some of you can get behind – but what spoke loudest, what he shouted to the world time and time again was nothing but hate and I cannot possibly understand why anyone would want someone like that to be their President.

It’s terrifying, and my heart is with those of you who are hurt, and who will be hurt by his hatred. Sending hugs and lots of love from Canada.