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Journey To the Finish Line

PR's, 4 children, hopes and dreams; I'm always running after something

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worry

Time (#MicroblogMondays)

Microblog_Mondays

There is never enough of it, it goes way too quickly, and yet it seems to be at the root of most of my worry.

Get the twins to bed on time. Get to work on time. Get up so I can have time to exercise. When was the last time the dogs were walked? Am I spending too much time working? Do I spend enough time with my husband? I spend too much time online. Do I give the twins enough one on one time? Do I let them spend too much time playing together/alone? Should I be spending more time reading to them? Who has time for the animals anymore? Do I spend too much time exercising and not enough time on my family? It has been a long time that those baby clothes have been gathered upstairs. Has it really been that much time since they fit into these? Time flew by and somehow they are 18 months already. I feel bad complaining about time when I know there are others, and I once was one, who would take my time worries in a heartbeat.

How do I spend less time worrying about time, and more time using it wisely?

Thoughts On the Mat

I pulled out my trusty yoga mat yesterday. I’ve been practicing once a week regularly since my injury and have only recently become comfortable enough with the routines (I use you tube videos) and strong enough to really appreciate the benefits of many of the poses.

A competitive person by nature (shock, I know), when I practiced yoga in college I was always trying to be able to do what the person next to me was doing. A few *cough* years later, I can finally appreciate the idea of practicing only for my own benefit without worrying where others are in their own practice. A few weeks ago I finally managed a headstand with both feet up in the air, but it was still several more weeks before I wasn’t fighting my weak abs and really understood why people want to “get upside down”.

I’m proud that I’ve come this far, but I still have a consistent, nagging battle that I fight, both on the mat and off. In all the classes I have taken (in person and on you tube), the instructor often talks about the importance of being present on the mat. That means simply being where you are, right then, and not worrying or thinking about anything else. I constantly have a million things running through my mind. No matter what I’m doing, I’m thinking about what needs to be done, what is next on the list, what has been left undone. I’m checking my text messages and my emails. I’m thinking of dirty dishes, the next days work schedule, the next mornings’ workout, calculating how much time I have before nap is over so I can complete said to do list.

I can write an entire blog about thoughts on the mat because I am horrible about keeping my mind from wandering. What I’d really like is to be able to title my blog post “Thoughts On the Mat” and simply leave the body blank. And it’s not just in yoga that I have this issue, it’s with the twins, with my husband, with my friends, at work, in bed when I should be sleeping. Every minute of every day.

Every once in awhile I’m able to really focus on the music, concentrate on my breathing, and put all of my energy into my pose. For those few seconds, I am calm, relaxed and, at the risk of sounding corny, zen.

I wonder how many things I am missing. How many little moments with the twins I let slip away or openings for a heart to heart with Bryan I let slide by. I’m afraid I’m going to spend all my time in the future, and wake up one morning and realize I’ve missed my life.

Anyone out there good at staying present?

Trusting Myself

Lately I’m finding myself doing something I swore I wouldn’t do: wishing the pregnancy away.

Let me explain.

This pregnancy overall has been pretty smooth sailing. But sometime around 22 weeks we had our first scare when I began having more than 6 Braxton Hicks over a period of 2 hours. Not one to want to take chances we called the on call doc and went to be monitored at the hospital. Thankfully, everything turned out to be fine and they were explained away by the doc at the hospital as a result of some recent dancing activity. But they continued through the week and made me a nervous wreck.

Stupidly, I consulted Dr. Google.

Braxton Hicks are defined by most as “practice contractions” and some claim its actually good toning for the uterus when it comes to preparing for real labor. The problem to me was the frequency with which they were happening and the fact that a twin pregnancy in and of itself is more risky. The difference between Braxton Hicks and real contractions are the fact that Braxton Hicks are irregular, inconsistent and do not cause any cervical changes. They can be brought on by just about anything, and for me that’s really the case: standing up, bending, a full bladder, gas, changing positions, etc. It isn’t consistent, though. Sometimes I can get up and down half a dozen times and not get any. Sometimes I can get up and down half a dozen times and get 3-4. On bad days I can still get 3-4 lying down. The problem, though, was not Googling Braxton Hicks but premature labor stories.

A week later we were in the hospital again when I started having moderate cramping on top of the Braxton Hicks. After hearing at least two stories of pre term labor starting with cramping I called the docs office after 15 minutes. We were monitored again, and, thankfully everything is fine. Dancing was blamed again and we’ve since been benched. I’ve had 4 cervical checks either manually or via ultrasound to confirm that we are not seeing any cervical change.

Its started leaving me on edge. I’m spending every day monitoring them and counting them. Because twin pregnancies are at a higher risk of preterm labor in general, I’m watching out for the symptoms that I have ingrained in my brain like a hawk. Analyzing every twinge and discomfort.

I realize, mind you, that there are plenty of pregnant women, whether after infertility or not, that have been through much worse. I also know a few people who shared their stories that they, too, had a ton of Braxton Hicks and still delivered full term. This complication makes me no less thankful to be pregnant. I’m wishing it away only because I’m worried about the babies making it to a “safe time” before coming into the world. My doctors seem to agree that as long as they aren’t causing any issues that I can continue about my activity to a point, which makes sense to me. Laying in bed would likely only cause more incessant Googling – at least at work I can keep my mind busy.

When we decided to transfer two embryos we were warned a twin pregnancy meant higher risks. I got that, to a point. But I felt that even though I am a small person, I have a strong body. I was in excellent shape and had no reason to believe I couldn’t carry a pregnancy – singleton or twin, to term or almost term.

People say you should trust your instincts. I am a skeptical person by nature but really believe this to be true. I give advice to trust your gut constantly.  The problem is that I’m very hesitant to do so myself. Having this “waiting for the other shoe to drop” mentality  is afraid for my instinct to be wrong, because that would throw that whole theory out the window – at least in my brain. Even sharing my feeling on the whole thing makes me nervous that I’ll somehow curse it, which is really nothing but ridiculous. Whether or not these babies make it close to term before delivering has nothing to do with my decision to share my instinct.

I’ve not been pregnant before, but I do know my body. I’m not one to take chances particularly after all we’ve been through to get here, and I know this. I proved that I think after calling the doc following 15 minutes of cramping. I’ve limited my activity and am resting more. I’ve basically cut out exercise.  If I continue to listen to my body, my instinct says we will be ok. Anxiety and stress can actually cause more BH, and that is something that I do not need. It’s time to change my mentality to one of worry to one where I simply focus on what my body is telling me and following its cues. I’ve done this through two marathons, I can do it through the rest of the pregnancy. I’ve not been through pre term labor before but I know when something doesn’t feel right. I know that its better to be safe than sorry and that if something red flags in my brain I’ll be on the phone with the doctors office.

I have control only over my response, reaction and activity level. The rest is out of my control. I’m gonna be going into motherhood with limited knowledge and limited experience. I have to trust myself then, I need to trust myself now. I need to take the rest of the pregnancy day by day and make the call to make some changes if something doesn’t feel right. All I can do is the best I can do with what I know.

My babies need a calm momma. And I need to give that to them.

 

Time [for] Change

(my apologies if this is a bit jumpy)

I purposely went to bed late last night, but was up at 630 this morning anyway, my body thinking it was 730. Damn body clock.

I don’t sleep the same that I used to. That has changed. I used to be one who could fall asleep practically once I hit the pillow, and even though I’d tend to wake up a few times in the middle of the night, could always go right back to sleep. Now, it takes me 30-45 minutes to fall asleep and I’m finding it harder to fall back to sleep once I’ve had my 1st, 2nd or even 3rd bathroom break. Strangely so far it has not made me useless during the day, but is super frustrating at the time.

Last night I was restless, tossing and turning, unable to get comfortable. And not because of my stomach or any physical reason (that I could tell – it’s still a bit early for that I think), I simply could not get my body to calm down and rest. My mind jumping from one thing to another and my body responding in turn.

There are lots of big changes coming.

I am excited, but admittedly also scared. Sometimes, caught up in my anxieties -my mind wonders how these changes will affect me, our relationship, us as people. We are getting closer to the end of the first trimester, but not out of the woods yet. I wonder and worry about sleep, money, and whether we will be good parents. Whether we will have to deal with health problems having twins. How we will fare as a couple. I think that this is all normal, and deep down in my heart of hearts I know we will be fine.

I am happy and grateful to be here – we waited a long time and went through much heartache to get here. It is just that even the best things come with their own changes and anxieties. Sometimes I forget to take this one day at a time, to enjoy one day at at time, to worry about one day at a time. I get caught up in my own head. It makes me restless. People talk about the emotional ups and downs during pregnancy and I think mine manifests more as anxiety.

It is useless worry. Worry will not change anything, except perhaps for my mood. I seem to write about worry often, and it is worse with my Type A “want to be able to control everything” personality. Bryan and I had a conversation on Friday about essentially this same thing. The kicker is I know so many that would kill to worry about this rather than their own infertility. The irony is not lost on me.

I finally gave up going back to sleep (it is really 730 after all :)) and came downstairs for some breakfast (there is no waiting to eat for me nowadays!). I sat at my computer with my cereal still a little restless. And probably not coincidentally, I thought of the serenity prayer – a little piece of wisdom that makes a lot of sense.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Letting Go

Today marks 9 weeks.

And I have, somewhat inadvertently, wished most of it away by doing things like counting down days to to the next appointment or ultrasound. I swore to myself many moons ago that I would enjoy every day of being pregnant, and in some ways I have, but in many others I’m wishing time away.

Pregnancy has been extremely nice to me. I’m not sick. My fatigue is mostly limited to recent wishes to spend more time on the couch.  I don’t have headaches or nausea. I don’t have food aversions. I do get some light headed-ness, but my biggest “complaints” surround hunger, thirst and potty breaks. Oh, and some interrupted sleep. I can already see myself growing.
And instead of enjoying it, I worry.

At 4 weeks I worried about BETA levels. At 5 weeks I worried about BETA levels still. At 6 weeks I worried about seeing heartbeats. At 8 weeks I worried about those heartbeats disappearing. Even now knowing my risk of miscarriage is much lower, I still worry.

Some of this is the nature of having gone through infertility. We know all the things that can go wrong. If it hasn’t happened to us, we’ve seen it happen to others. But this is getting ridiculous. I cannot spend an entire pregnancy worrying. I refuse to get to the end of this and realize I worried the entire pregnancy away.

In my defense, I’m not worrying ALL THE TIME, and I know some worrying is normal, but this is too much.

Belle @ Scrambled Eggs posted a fabulous quote recently:

“If you get caught up in the worst case scenario and it doesn’t happen, you’ve wasted your time. And if you are caught up in the worst case scenario and it does happen, you’ve lived it twice.” -Michael J. Fox

Good call, Mr Fox.

It’s time to let go.

An Ode to Rollercoasters (metaphorically speaking)

The roller coaster ride does not end when you find out you are pregnant.

The last few weeks (and probably still for the next upcoming few) have been a mix of emotions including (this list is not all inclusive) joy, anxiety, worry, peace, happiness, fear, panic. Not to mention that I feel a little between two worlds with this blog right now – hovering between the realms of infertility and pregnancy. My intention has always been to keep writing about the journey no matter where it took us, pregnancy included. I just haven’t quite figured out how to do it – how to share the pregnancy journey while staying sensitive to those still battling. I’ve started to read blogs and be completely at a loss for words as to how to comment because I simply do not feel like I truly belong in either category.

At times I find myself thinking about a future baby shower, a growing belly (which, by the way, is already pooch-y), feeling the first kicks. Then I begin to panic when I wonder if we are equipped mentally and financially for TWO babies. (must.buy.two.of.everything! must.save.all.the.money!). Then I tell myself to stop getting too far ahead when we could still lose one…or both, and then I begin to picture the worst case scenario. It’s exhausting. Sometimes I am thankful for mild symptoms because it allows me to put it out of my head for bit when I’m making myself crazy (other than the constant eating and trips to the bathroom, anyway).  But other times it makes me worry something is wrong. And I think about blogging but stop myself because I don’t want it to sound like I’m complaining. Or that I am not thrilled. I am not trying to complain. I AM thrilled.This is just the way it is.

ADD brain doesn’t help – a couple days ago I put gas in my car and forgot to put the cap back on. Luckily Bryan was with me, noticed, and fixed it before I drove away with the gas cap dangling in wind.  I can now totally appreciate the fact that my gas cap is attached (I have NEVER done this before either!)

So to you, crazy emotions, An Ode:

Hooray, I am pregnant!

Holy shit, there’s two!

Man, I sure am hungry

Can I steal a bite from you?

Oh my can we afford this?

Don’t think too far ahead

The thought of something going wrong

It fills my heart with dread

The though of little heartbeats, though

That fills my heart with glee

I promise I’ll enjoy this

Just as soon as I go pee

Perspective (Part 2)

Way before I had any idea what infertility even was, I remember asking, or overhearing pregnant women being asked: do you want a boy or a girl?

Some stated preferences, but most replied “I just want a healthy baby”.

My naive brain couldn’t wrap my head around this. How could you not have a preference? Haven’t you been thinking about playing with your little dream boy or girl? Hair bows and tea parties. Soccer games and super heros.

I’ve been calmer this week. I’ve let my guard down a little. But today, a little more than 24 hours before our first ultrasound, I totally get it. My imagination hasn’t really been gender specific. While I’d be lying if I said that the thought of twins didn’t overwhelm me a little – all I want is appropriate growth and heartbeat(s). We will figure out the rest.

I just want a healthy baby. Or two, if that’s what’s in the cards.

Calendars and Countdowns

Despite the fact that I am a huge technology fan,  I buy a calendar every year. I look forward to writing plans neatly in the dates and crossing off each day with a slash in the same direction. (Strangely, I am bad about writing in birthdays). Sometimes I flip through the old pages from earlier in the year. Sometimes I keep calendars and find them months or years later, reminiscing about past celebrations and troubles. I like calendars because I like countdowns- I find a small thrill in x’ing off each day until something important.

Particularly since infertility made its way into my life, I find myself thinking during days of significance about where I was the year before – what I was doing, thinking, feeling. Much of the time I can’t remember too many specific details. Sometimes I think about where I am and wonder where I’ll be and what I’ll be doing in a years’ time. And most importantly, whether we will still be fighting this battle.

A year ago today I created this blog that I had considered doing for weeks’ prior.  Many days of significance passed while I thought “here I am a year later and I still have no children….I wonder if I will a year from now”. It saddened me even in my attempts to live despite it.

Today, one year after typing my very first words of wisdom to the world, I am pregnant. And for that I am so grateful. But I still find myself wondering sometimes if I will have children a year from now.

A successful cycle does not take away the worry. It just turns it into a different kind – Googling symptoms or lack thereof, miscarriage rates and beta numbers. Looking up perfectly normal symptoms (or a lack of) and comparing numbers to women whose pregnancies will and do vary greatly from my own.

As my friend Tiffany put it:  “so you went from crazy because you couldn’t get pregnant to crazy because you are”.

I swore to take this one day at a time and the last few days have been a miserable failure. I have no control over the outcome – it is out of my hands. The logical part of me understands this – the emotional part coming up with all kinds of scenarios, none of which are particularly positive.

She said a poster in her classroom says “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow , it empties today of its strength”. (source)

Today I am thankful to be where I am, to have this blog and this community. Starting tomorrow, I am back to one day at a time. One strong day at at time.

But that won’t keep me from counting down until the next event: Friday’s final blood test.

2 days. I’m going to cross today off my calendar.

On Hold

Let me just start by saying that no, our cycle is not on hold.

I’ve taken 8 active birth control pills. Before I quit taking them I took them for 8 years. (interesting coincidence) It was completely lost on me that when you’re on the pill, it tricks your body into thinking you’re pregnant. An unfortunate side effect, at least I’m guessing that’s what this is, is that it can kinda mess with your brain.

My brain, in particular, has been here, there and everywhere. I have spent all week trying to come up with some explanation or analogy, and all I’ve been able to identify is that I’m anxious. It could be the pill, it could be nerves, it could be my OCD self unable to cope with the fact that I have no control over the outcome of this.

I’ve used the particular analogy before about general infertility – feeling as if things are on hold, as we are in the “committed but haven’t really started anything serious” portion of this cycle because I haven’t yet forked over both my legs (I paid my arm in meds the other day…at least I’ll still have one arm left with which to hold the baby when its all said and done, right?). Ironically, earlier this week I purchased a Groupon to skydive for my 30th birthday, but when I attempted to schedule it, discovered that there is ZERO availability in August. With an egg transfer in early September, August was it. I tried to call the company three times yesterday to make sure there wasn’t a scheduling mistake or see if there was something I could do, but only ended up spending 40 minutes on hold between the three calls.

I hate being on hold (though the recording was amusing, because apparently a girl went from looking at pictures of cats online for hours to skydiving and now her whole life has changed). It always creates this weird anxiety and annoyance. Why can’t someone just answer the blasted phone? After a few minutes I started contemplating hanging up, but what if someone picks up in the next minute? Do I wait? Do I hang up?   Maybe I’ll wait 2 more minutes. Nothing. Ok, one more minute. Nothing. Ok, I’m hanging up. But what if someone picks up as I’m hanging up? I really wanted to go skydiving! (For the record, I waited 15, 15 and 10 minutes and then hung up)

I figured that once I decided to go ahead with this IVF I would feel calm, but my worries have only increased. Am I making the right decision? Should we have gone with one of those “discount” programs? (I’d decided against it as there were to many restrictions). Did I ask my doctor all the questions I wanted to ask? Should I REALLY be spending the money on this right now? Do I keep holding or hang up? Which one? Which one will get me what I’m aiming for? My ridiculous worry over things I’ve already technically decided on is leaking into other aspects of my life. I’m only a little over a week from my birthday and I still can’t decide what to do (now that skydiving is disappointingly no longer an option).

I’m afraid of making the wrong decision. Like I am on hold. Wondering. Waiting.

Here is hoping Friday brings a bit of relief, because soon after I start injections, and while I’m not exactly looking forward to sticking more needles in myself, at least I can be doing something other than waiting. Things will be official. And I can’t wait to be off this ridiculous pill because I swear it isn’t helping.

At least in this situation, I know someone will eventually answer the phone.

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