Yesterday was my cycle review appointment with Dr. G.
He wants to meet with me monthly now to check in on the medications he's prescribing and how my body is responding. Last month was our first cycle post surgery and he started me on a low dose of Clomid. To check on my body's response to the new drug, he asked me to get blood drawn three times post-peak. At the appointment, he showed me that the Clomid likely messed with my post-peak estrogen because the post-peak labs came back showing low, low estrogen, which was never a post-peak problem before.
So, with this next cycle, we're upping the dose of Clomid to 50mg on cycle day 3, 4, and 5, using Robitussin and sustained release B6 for mucus production, and doing another round of post-peak blood draws to see if the increased Clomid dose is helping or hurting. And if post-peak estrogen is still looking low after this next cycle, we'll consider HCG for the following cycle.
I was fine with all of this information. It sounds like a great course of action and I'm ready to get going with it.
But then he asks me, "How are you doing? Seriously, how are you doing with all of this, emotionally?"
And up until that moment I had held it all together. Well, in front of him anyway. I mean, there was an extreme wave of sadness that came over me when, earlier in the day, at work, I noticed my period had started. And there were those angry tears I shed during the 1.5-hour car ride to Dr. G's office, alone, while in frustrated prayer. And there was the annoyance at seeing yet another extremely pregnant woman waiting near me in the waiting room at the women's clinic.
So I guess it was pretty inevitable that I would burst into tears the moment he asked me about my emotional well being.
It was pretty ugly and I let it all out. I told him about how I felt abandoned and forgotten. How much it hurts to see so many pregnant women or women with newborns around me. How I feel like a bad Christian for being so angry at God, knowing that He could fix this if He wanted. How I had all these dreams and plans for our family that are quickly slipping away. How I'm probably the most impatient person on the planet and none of this is helping me to be a more patient person. How we trust Dr. G and all that he's doing for us, but I really have no hope for any of this. How I want to remain hopeful, but it's so hard to do when we've officially been trying for a year and having nothing to show for it but some still messed up hormones and 4 surgery scars.
Ok, so maybe I didn't quite say it all like that, but that's the general message that spilled out, uncontrollably, and through tears and awkward high pitched cry-talk.
Then I apologized for unloading on him and told him if the appointment had been on any other day than cycle day 1, I wouldn't be such a mess.
His response was so sweet, and so patient. He told me not to apologize for my tears or my emotions. He knows that infertility is hard. Medically speaking, he said, it's probably as hard as patients finding out they have cancer or some other serious illness, because it's a loss of control over your own body and an unclear future. He encouraged me to find support, specifically through my Creighton teacher, who also struggled with infertility for several years, and through other women in our same boat. And he ended by saying he's still hopeful that we are likely to be able to conceive, it will just require time, time spent trying and tweaking different medications and treatments until my body is healthy enough to get pregnant.
There was no false hope in his message. He didn't guarantee a pregnancy anytime soon. He just suggested I find support during the hard times and understand that the solution may not be quick. He also said he's been praying for us and will continue to do so.
By the end of his response, I had pulled myself back together and was just grateful to be working with such a kind, caring doctor. On my way out the door, almost without crying, I told him how appreciative we are of all he's done for us.
Then I walked out of the office, unlocked my car, plopped down in the driver's seat, and promptly let the rest of the tears spill out all over the place. Turns out I had only done about 10% of the crying in Dr. G's office. My car saw the rest. 1.5 hours in the car of crying, praying, crying, frustration at bad drivers, praying, listening to the radio, and just wishing I was home.
I've recently started listening to K-Love in the car, the "positive, encouraging," Christian music station broadcast around the country. Though I have to be honest, the music is almost all up there on the cheesy spectrum and the messages can be a little too sugary and happy, happy, joy, joy, it's much better than the alternative of over-sexed, over-drugged, anti-Church messages that are blasted by pop, top-40 radio stations I used to listen to. So I made the switch about a month ago. And I have noticed that it has generally put me in a better mood, even with the horribly synthesized violins in almost every song and non-Catholic Christianity fluff that comes out from time to time.
So, on my ride home, I had K-Love on in the background. And they were interviewing some guy who recently wrote a book about facing tough times in your life. (I apologize now for my inability to remember the author's name and the name of his corny book title, but it's probably best I don't associate his information with the reflections I'm about to make, especially considering I only heard a small snippet of his interview.)
The hosts asked him if he could talk about the tough time in his life that inspired him to write his book. So he spoke about the time his dad was sick with a terminal illness and how, no matter how much he prayed, it never got better. And though it was one of the hardest things he's had to face, he realized two things from it. First, there's a difference between your plans and God's plans. Second, though it was heartbreaking to watch his father die, he finds peace now in being able to comfort others who are going through the same thing, the death of a loved one.
And, in my angry Stephie-state, I could only think one thing...
BUT HOW DOES THIS HELP ME NOW?!?!?!
Now, maybe it's just because I was extremely emotionally fragile yesterday. I mean, getting your period when you're trying to get pregnant is instant dream crushage, sole sucking, anger inducing, loneliness, and brokenness all rolled into one. Not pretty.
And I can say that pretty much on any other day of the month, I'm doing alright. I find beautiful distractions that bring me joy, I have a great husband who is so fun to spend time with and who takes great care of me, I pretty much love my job (I mean, there are always little things or people who'll drive you nuts, right?), and I know we're generally headed in the right direction with all this baby stuff and overall life.
But yesterday, and still a little today, I'm wondering, what do I do when I feel so low, so forgotten, so sad that all I want to do is crawl into a ball and cry and runaway and never face this pain and disappointment again?
Because I'm pretty sure "God has a different plan for you" and "This will help you help others" are the last two things I ever want to hear when I'm at that kind of low.
I wanted to say to Mr. Interview Book-Writer Guy TELL ME SOMETHING THAT CAN ACTUALLY HELP ME WHEN I FEEL LIKE I'M 100% SUFFERING! Not something that can help me after the fact, or when I'm feeling good enough to take in the "big picture" of this whole situation.
Because it doesn't feel right to spend several hours at work trying to hold back tears. Or to spend 10 minutes crying to your doctor about things he's already trying to help fix. Or to spend 1.5 hours crying and getting mad at a radio station.
Because hearing that God is with me and on my side and carrying me through it just doesn't feel helpful when I'm so totally angry at Him for not fixing something I KNOW He can fix!
Because knowing that it's all going to be alright in 6 months, 1 year, 5 years, 20 years from now does not help the me suffering right here, right now, in this moment.
So what do I do? What do we, sufferers of any emotional, physical, spiritual pain, do?
I tried prayer. I tried motivational radio stations and motivational music. I tried leaning on my husband. None of that soothed me. Prayers are unanswered, radio station doesn't get what I'm going through, and husband is hurting just as much as me.
The best I could do yesterday was distract myself, with guilty pleasures. An episode of Glee (I don't know why I even still watch that show), an episode of Parenthood, greasy pizza, cheesecake, and an episode of Doctor Who. Plus this sunset on my drive home from the appointment...
But I don't want to have to distract myself. I don't want to live the next 3 months or 5 years of my life just waiting and praying and hoping for something that's not happening, while I am forced to do nothing but distract myself from the one thing I really want. I just want to be a mother. Why is this desire written IN BIG, BOLD LETTERS on my heart if it's going to cause so much pain? Why do I have to suffer while others out there are getting exactly what they want as soon as they want it? Why does this one thing have to be so far out of my control?
I have no answers, my friends. Just questions. Hard to answer questions.
I'm so sorry to be such a downer. I'm sure tomorrow will be better. Thank God these lows are far and few between for me. Because I really don't like being an emotional and spiritual wreck.