Friday, February 27, 2009


On Monday, I was seriously questioning if I was moving forward in the right direction. I was terrified of becoming a mother. I needed guidance. During these times when my animal brain has a grip on me, I seek out wisdom from the divine.

One of the tools that was used in my support group was a variety of oracle cards. I used to have a deck long ago of spirit animal cards. It had been a long time since I had used any cards on a regular basis. Living in Woo-woo-ville, using cards like these isn't such a stretch. Now, I'm as woo-woo as it gets, so I don't mind this kinda stuff. I gravitated towards these magical cards:

These are beautiful purple cards with gold gilding on the edges. Each card has a different but beautiful drawing of a fairy with a message.

When I got to our local New_Age bookstore, I noticed that the author of these cards had a dozen types of these "oracle" cards. I thought, how do I know if I should have the Angel cards or the Goddess cards? I mean, I think angels are pretty cool. There were a half a dozen decks lined up at the cash register open so you could check them out. I pulled a card from the Angel deck. It said, "Fairies" across the top with the inscription, "Fairies are nature's angels. You are destined to heal Mother Earth". "Wow!" I thought. I heal Mother Earth in my job. Fairies deck it is!! I also got a Pema_Chodron calendar half off.

When I went home, I asked a question to be answer by my new cards. I asked, "What guidance can you give about my fears of being a mother?" I pulled this tear jerking card as an answer:

Your connection with children
is part of your life's purpose.

When I went to work the next day, I put up my new Pema_Chodron calendar, "Awakening the Heart". This calendar has quotes from Pema's book "When_Things_Fall_Apart", which is a book I read about 11 years ago when my life fell apart. The quote for February said this:

The trick is to keep exploring, and not bail out, even when we find out that something is not what we though. That's what we're going to discover again and again and again. Nothing is what we thought.

I thought about bailing out of our FET, but it was coming from a place of fear, from my survial instinct. Part of me, a strong part, feels like I'm going to lose my life if I have children, which is true on some level. The life that I have known will die, but what will be the life that will blossom?? Pregnancy was nothing like I thought it would be. It was a nightmare for me. I will never know how it will be to have a child if I don't jump off that cliff again into the great chasm. I just hope I will be caught. Or maybe, I'll grow wings and learn how to fly?

Most importantly, when I sense into my heart, I can feel my love for my spirit baby. I can feel my love for my embryos. I don't feel right leaving them frozen in suspended animation forever.

We are moving forward.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Where Can I Find a Mother Mentor?

My last post detailed my minor freak out and fallout. I got over it, life was hunky dory, until this morning. It's hard to say exactly what triggers a panic attack, but they are most unsettling when it's the first thing you wake up to in the morning. I could go over the potential triggers, but when it comes down to it, it really has to do with my mother. I've been thinking this past week that people who have neglectful or crazy mothers do not come out of it unscathed.

I'm have second doubts on the eve of starting my Lu.pron shots for my FET. Make that third, fourth, fifth, and sixths doubts. We could count all the way up to a million if you like, or a billion trillion kajillion. I don't think I'll ever feel ok with being a mother on some level. I never had that base in my life. Perhaps the terror of being abandoned at an early age is what is being triggered. I don't know. I know I'm not crazy because when I don't think about being a mother, I'm fine.

Someone in my support group had a brilliant idea. There have to be mothers out there who would like to be a support to women like me. My idea is of a woman who's children have grown and is the motherly type who would really enjoy mentoring a future-mother-to-be. Kinda like a Big-Mother program, modeled off the Big-Sister program. I don't have any friends or relatives in my life who could fill this role for me, at least none that I can think of. My mother is out, for both emotional and physical reasons. My aunt could have worked, but since she's dead and I'm not very good at communicationg with spirits, then she's not an option either. I think a doula or mid-wife could fit this role, but I'd rather it be someone who isn't charging me money. I want to know that this person is going to be with me thick or thin, check or no check. Does anyone know of a mother-mentoring program like this?

Yeah, I've been on BCPs for four weeks, but I could just bail on it all right now. As it is, I feel like I'm on auto-pilot, and that is not how I want to be a mother. I've been a step-mother, so I know I can handle the logistical parts of being a mother. The whole everything-will-be-fine-when-I-get-pregnant thing does not work for me. Been there, done that, and it just intensifies these fears for me. I know that when it comes down to it, I will have to go through this alone, but I just don't know if I can.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Disturbance in the Force

I got my box of medicines in the mail today for our FET. Magic said to me, "did you get everything you wanted?" I said, "I got everything, but it wasn't what I wanted." I can only imagine this is probably a similar response Brenda over at No Regrets would have had to her news today. Please go over and give her support as she grieves from her latest loss from IVF#3.

I woke up one day this week with a mild panic attack. It was reminiscent of the half hour to hour long panic attacks I used to wake up with when I was pregnant. I talked about my fears of my life changing after having a child. I talked about the challenges of finding a new shrink. I was getting all worked up describing the nine phone calls and how Magic told me he would have given up after four. I could feel my stress rising, the hopelessness creeping in. When I was done pouring out my fears, the person I was telling it to looked at me with a blank stare back and a flat response,

"I'm sure you will find someone,"

meaning I would find a new shrink. I didn't know if that blank stare was a "are you effin' crazy?" or the realization that she indeed was dealing with a nut case? It was as if I was flashing back to the time when I really needed help. Everyone who I reached out to had the same exact response. Either, they didn't know what to say or they just assumed I'd work it out or they thought someone else would take care of me. Or they were just too apathetic to give a damn. Or they were flabbergasted when I wasn't all happy when I should have been. You get pregnant and then life is all sunshine and roses, right? It's like the many responses I got around the issue. When I recently asked my mom if she would be there for me to help me through pregnancy, she said, "what's there to help you with? You get pregnant, and you have a baby. What's the big deal?" It's that moment when you realize the person you are talking to can't help you. Then, you feel like no one can. Totally alone. Doomed.

I tried my trauma tricks, but they would only work for a little while. I was back to obsessing about being abandoned again after a short reprive. I felt completely vulnerable.

Eventually, some exercise and a determination not to let this define me snapped me out of it. But I couldn't help but notice as I was writing this post, that reminders of my upcoming FET were all around me - my meds, my instructions, the latest notes I had taken from talking with my nurse, the cold formal legal documents e-mailed from the new fertility lab stating that they don't recommend transfering embryos from one clinic to another. I found it interesting that they had the time to look up my e-mail address instead of returning my phone call today. These were not happy reminders.

When I sit in the moment and just be, I am happy. I find this more comforting than thinking about the needles I am about to stick in my flesh. When I commune with my spirit baby, I feel soothed. We are in this together. She makes me feel happy. I don't worry about the liquid nitrogen vapors releasing when I transfer my embryos, prematurely thawing them out and killing them. I'm a jumble of emotions, thoughts and fears.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Two Pack Habit

Don't you just love handing over your reproductive organs and hormones to a complete stranger? Just as long as I'm not spotting through another friggin' pack of birth control pills. At one point, it was more like a light period. I thought you weren't supposed to bleed on these things?! I'm a two packer this time around. Actually, I'm happy I started my second pack (back to back) because I'm no longer spotting. Only, I can't tell if my mini-meltdowns are pill induced or just my usual crazy self? Can't wait till I start the estrogen patches! I'll have a estro-tini!

Just popping in to show that I am still alive. I haven't been carted away to the funny farm yet, though sometimes, I really think that's where I should be.

Credit to Anne_Taintor for her vintage humor. I love her stuff!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Shrink Shop

Let's review the checklist of things I need to complete before getting pregnant:
  1. Buy a Car
  2. Shop for a Shrink: I predicted this would take longer than buying a car. I am so far correct.
  3. Finish 2008 taxes: I so loathe having to do this. Isn't there another blog I need to catch up on?
I did buy the car, which should be the topic of a future post, as I learned a lot of interesting things about car safety along the way. Basically, reader's choice won out!

On my mind now is the search for a new psychiatrist. I really wanted to find someone who specializes in treating pre-natal depression and anxiety and have it set up before my FET. I'm finding out a lot of good reasons for this.
  1. It took me 3 weeks to do the research and make an appointment.
  2. Once I did make the appointment today, it will be another four weeks before I could actually get in to see this specialist. I don't even know yet if this doctor will work for me.
The lesson is that this process takes a long time, which I already knew. If you have any inkling that you think you will have a problem with mental health during your pregnancy, you do want to find your psychiatrist before getting pregnant. If you are like me and thought that once you got pregnant that all your depression about not having children would vanish in a wave of euphoria, then you are going to be in big trouble. Once my mental health took a turn for the worse after the euphoria of initially finding out I was pregnant passed, I did not have the capacity to go through the search for a psychiatrist. I did try, but gave up after a few discouraging phone calls. Now that I am sane again, I can handle what seemed, when I was pregnant, an overwhelming task. I truly was sick at the time and needed help right away, not two months later. It's a sad story, but this is the reality of our ailing healthcare system.

Let's review the crap process I've already gone through in my search. First, I asked my RE for recommendations for psychiatrists in my area that specialize in prenatal depression. It took him a week to find those and get back to me. Of the two, one woman psychiatrist said that prenatal depression was not her specialty, but she could see me. She also gave me an off comment like, sounds like you just want medication management and not therapy, and that's not what I do. I didn't like how she misinterpreted my questions, so she was scratched off the list. Plus she is out of network with my insurance. With the next psychiatrist, I first had to get through the misinformation from his newly hired receptionist to find out that he does have some patients with prenatal depression he is currently treating, though it is not specifically his specialty. The problem with this guy is that he is out of network with my insurance and insanely expensive, $150 for half an hour. I'm always amazed that out of network shrinks won't work with you on their price. Scratched off the list. Next, take on the in network list of psychiatrist.

First, I called my insurance company to get a list of psychiatrists in my area. I had to endure the, "are you contemplating suicide?" before I could even ask my question. I was then given a bunch of misinformation and sent a list of psychologists, not psychiatrists that I had asked for. I decided just to do the search myself than frustrate myself with incompetent "mental health specialists" at my insurance company.

I printed off a list of all the psychiatrists within 25 miles of my house who are covered by my insurance and narrowed the list of 54 down to 6 women psychiatrists in my town or adjacent towns. Of the six, one had closed her practice, and four worked with other specialties. I did find one psychiatrist who does specialize in treating prenatal depression and anxiety, but only after talking with another male psychiatrist's office. I called her office four times in a week and did not get a response. I was a bit frustrated, but decided if I didn't get through this week, then forget it. Maybe they were on vacation last week, I don't know. I would have given up on this female psychiatrist, but I was going to make an appointment with another male psychiatrist who I was told specializes in prenatal depression by his receptionist. However, I had to call yet another person to actually make the appointment. When I talked to the appointment lady, she referred me to this other female psychiatrist instead.

Did I lose you yet? Yes, it was complicated and I'm going into all the detail to show how much research one has to do to find the right person. When you are in the throwes of serious depression and trauma, you can't deal with this overwhelming task. My other support fell apart too, because people, including my husband, were not used to seeing me my normal assertive-take-charge-in-control-self fall apart to a whimpering mass of protoplasm. I related this whole shrink shopping story to my husband, and he said he would have given up after the 4th psychiatrist. I called a total of NINE psychiatrists before finding the one, and I have not even interviewed her yet to find out if she will be a good match!!

Don't depend on your fertility clinic to help you out either. While my new RE did try to get me the proper referrals, which is more than I can say for my old RE who just pawned me off on their clinic psychologist who I didn't care for, the referrals were not psychiatrists who specialize in prenatal depression or postpartum depression! If a fertility clinic has their own psychologists, they specialize in treating the stress and depression that comes with infertility, not after you get pregnant. I believe the assumption, which was mine also, is that all would be well after getting pregnant. There are women like me, who have problems with all the hormones of pregnancy and it affects their mental health. As far as I can tell, it's similar to post-partum depression, though the actual mechanism in the brain is probably a bit different.

When I was pregnant and depressed and anxious, the doctors I was seeing either 1) ignored my depression or 2) judged me for not taking the Prozac I was prescribed. When an anti-depressant makes you more anxious, you don't have much motivation to take it! Hence the reason I am insisting on seeing a specialist in the area of prenatal depression and anxiety. If a doctor had said to me, "here is the specialist you should see that is covered by my insurance" that would have helped a lot. But out of three doctors who saw the state I was in, none of them gave me any recommendations for a psychiatrist. You truly have to be your own mental health advocate, and when you are mentally unhealthy, all you want to do is crawl under the covers and stay there. I did the best I could at the time, and I really wasn't seeing the right people. I hope I don't go through the same thing again, but I'm going to be prepared this go around.

Ed note: Upon proofreading this for the 10th time, I finally noticed that I started off with "before getting pregnant" not "before my FET". I was going to change it, but then I thought, how cool is that?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


I think there must come a time in every woman's infertility journey that she feels isolated. I've been feeling that way myself in the past day. It doesn't matter how many support groups I attend, forums I join, or infertility blogs I have subscribed to in my google reader, I still have moments when I feel like I'm alone and have no one to talk to.

I got an e-mail from the psychologist who runs the support group I used to attend in the big city a bit too far from my house. I intentionally keep my story private because I worry it will isolate me from others even more. Yet I also know there are those out there who would benefit from my story. It's a conundrum for me. She had this to say about it:

Anyone who doesn't respond to your - or anyone's - story with openness and an attempt at empathy doesn't know what they themselves has lived.

I was touched by this. It reminded me of some of the people in my enlightenment training group. Some have been through horrendous abuse as children. I do not need to know the details nor do I need to have had experienced something similar myself to have compassion for them. I've grown in my experience down this path of trying to have a baby the not-so-old-fashioned-way. I've learned to open my heart to women I never thought I had the capacity to. It has opened my eyes and heart to the struggles of all women.

So please understand when I don't share the particulars of my history. It's traumatizing to me. As I get closer to my FET, I relive the horror of my previous pregnancy. It's not something I can really explain very well. It's a feeling; a feeling of impending doom. I also understand now that my trauma goes back to experiences in other lifetimes around pregnancy. I can't explain that because I don't understand it. I'm not even sure I really believe it, but at the same time it makes perfect sense to me. Apparently, I'm still working out trauma from these other lifetimes too. Today, all I know is that I feel incapacited by it all. I know I am still grieving, for all the losses, this lifetime, and others, no matter how strange it may sound.