One positive thing, if there can be any when going through infertility, is that I have learned some very important life lessons on this journey. I have always been the type of person who likes to find the “meaning” of why things might happen or the “lesson”. So here is a list of my top 10 things I have learned so far while being on this ever changing journey:
1. Patience- I have always thought of myself as a very patient person which was one of the reasons I went into teaching. BUT playing this infertility game will test your patience like no student can. I always say it’s the “hurry up…and wait” game. I have gotten pretty good at that game.
2. Your “plans” don’t mean shit- I am a planner…again one of the things that I think makes me a good teacher. I like to plan everything out right down to the last detail but in the world of infertility your plans don’t mean squat. What you think might happen most often will definitely not happen and you can always expect the unexpected. But then again, that’s pretty much how life in general goes to some extent. Going on this journey has helped me to give up the planning reigns just a bit and live more in the moment because who really knows what tomorrow will bring.
3. Never make assumptions about others- I have learned that you never know what someone’s situation is therefore you really shouldn’t make assumptions. I am sure there are many out there who just assume I don’t want children. I have learned to stop and think about what a person might be going through or really listen to what the person might be saying or not saying for that matter.
4. My fear of needles is no longer a fear- if you don’t like getting your blood drawn then you are in for full fledged immersion therapy. Nothing cures this fear like getting your blood taken on an almost daily basis. The last time I had my blood drawn I watched the nurse do it from start to finish and I felt like a real bad ass.
5. Anatomy and other medical stuff- I now know what the inside of my uterus looks like, along with my fallopian tubes, ovaries, and egg follicles. I know what a mature egg follicle getting ready to ovulate should measure and how to count follicles. I know what normal hcg levels should be, progesterone levels. I know how to mix up proper doses of Menopur and give injections in a way that will sting the least. I can tell you all about the ultrasound milestones, fetal measurements and heart rates. A friend of mine, who also went to Dr. F, and I will often joke that if we could only get trained on using the ultrasound machine we could probably do Dr. F’s job or run a meth lab.
6. Crazy Bitch- I have learned what it is like to be a crazy person. Not just like ha ha I feel crazy, but like seriously I could murder someone crazy and then go out for ice cream afterwards. That is how extreme my emotions can get on this crazy ride. I found that I didn’t take to disappointment too well either while being on all of my hormones. I cried when my husband brought home only one pizza for dinner instead of two or when the jeweler came down with the flu and couldn’t fix my ring. Or God help that person that worked at McDonalds on the day I pulled up only to find a sign saying that they ran out of Shamrock Shakes. Sometimes I would be really happy and then in the blink of an eye I could become a raging sociopath. I really tried to keep my emotions in check but hormones are no joke…hormones combined with desperation is grounds for being committed. I am really glad I was able to talk myself down or that my husband would snap me out of it because I don’t think that I would have fared too well in a psych ward.
7. Grace- when you go through infertility you find yourself in situations that will truly test you as a human being on every level. From the stupid comments people make to the never ending pregnancy announcements, you will find yourself in situations that will require a shitload of GRACE. I have learned that deep down people only make stupid comments because they don’t know any better or they themselves are going through their own crap just like I am. I really am happy for all of those people who are pregnant but in that first initial moment all I can think about is why I am not pregnant. Sometimes you just need to take a deep breath and let it pass. Then you can be a graceful human again.
8. Laughter really is the best medicine- I naturally handle situations with humor…it’s the only way I can make it through sometimes. You have to surround yourself with people who will make you laugh too. I have a very good coworker/friend who is always ready to make me laugh when we have our monthly staff meetings and it is time for “GOOD NEWS” aka who’s pregnant this month! She always has some quick one liners ready to go. Sometimes it just feels really good to laugh and make fun of yourself. If you can’t laugh, you’ll cry and sometimes that feels good too.
9. It’s okay to not know- as I have stated in Lesson #2 I like to have a plan and a back up plan…and another back up plan. But sometimes you go through all of your plans and back up plans and then you really have no idea what to do next. I have learned that it’s ok to not know and just sit with things for awhile. Eventually something will strike you and you will find your direction again.
10. Last but not least: pain and suffering- I have had my share of ups and downs in life but fortunately nothing too major. The last 2 1/2 years have taught me what true pain and suffering feels like…that gut wrenching, all consuming pain. I have known true loss and sorrow with my 5 little angels and all of my ‘could have been babies” and the suffering of wanting something that others seem to have so easily. And even after going to the deepest sadness I have learned that the pendulum always swings back and there will be happiness again. I am stronger because of this. And it also makes me appreciate the good stuff more.