I now realize that when I started this blog, I needed to purge. I had years and years of pent up anxiety and fear and anger and jealousy and confusion and frustration and pain. I needed an outlet. I needed a way to get it out of my brain. Anyone who has dealt with a loss, or a struggle, or deeply personal challenge understands how hard it is to talk about. If someone else brings it up, it stings. If you bring it up, well…you don’t want to bring it up. Why? Because the moment you do, whomever you are speaking to will immediately begin to try and solve your problem. They will tell you what their friend did and how well it worked. They will tell you about a movie they saw, a book they read, a show on TV, or some other impersonal experience they had that somehow makes them think they have an insight to an experience they know nothing about. It’s a tough spot to be in. Even the people who love us and truly want to help can end up hurting us in their attempt. I never blamed anyone for trying to help me, comfort me, or understand what I was going through. I appreciated it, even if it hurt. But honestly, all I could do was walk away.
I can not explain the pain of infertility. No one can. Just like you can’t explain a broken heart to someone who has never truly felt it. What I can share is how I dealt with it. I do not think I did it the right way. What the right way is, who can say?
My husband and I went through years of infertility treatment. Once we realized it was a legitimate problem, we began the steps to overcome it. The steps were slow, frustrating, expensive, and fruitless. With every minor setback or major heartbreak my husband and I would cling to each other. In silence, tears, or distraction, I wanted nothing to do with anyone else on the planet. I couldn’t bare the sight of anyone’s sympathetic eyes. All I wanted was his pain next to mine. No one else understood. We tool several days to get back to anything resembling human, and then we kept walking. We kept putt
ing one foot in front of the other. Even though the summit was nowhere in sight, what else could we do? We kept climbing the mountain.
As I mentioned, this went on for years, IUI after IUI, IVF after IVF. We kept climbing. Then one day, about 4 years into our infertility treatments, something happened. I was sitting on the couch and all of a sudden my hands felt cold. My lips began to tingle. The coldness from my hands spread into my arms. I felt like my throat was closing. My heart was racing. A feeling of doom came over me. I turned to my husband and said, “Something is wrong.” As I said it, I realized how difficult it was for me to say the words. I felt like I couldn’t breath.
It came at me in waves. It would start slow and then rise to a peak. At it’s peak, I was ready to call 911 several times. But it always seemed to ebb as soon as I was almost ready to dial. I would start to think it was going away. I would feel my breath come back. My heart stopped jumping out of my chest. And then it would start again. This went on for about an hour. Panic. I had just been sitting there. I wasn’t worrying. I wasn’t stressing out. I wasn’t even thinking about anything except the baseball game I was watching. It just hit me. I had never had a panic attack before. Unfortunately, this was not my last.
I began to have these attacks more frequently than I could handle. I went to the doctor in the midst of one of these attacks. I had to know what was happening to me. Why did I keep feeling like I was going to die. When the attacks would happen, I would look around and think that this was the moment, the last one I get. Well, it wasn’t. Anxiety and Panic are powerful and they were taking over.
As I sat in a psychologists office, knee deep in a panic attack, hoping that anyone, I didn’t care who, could make this stop. She sat down, introduced herself, and then said, “Well, I looked at your chart and I have to ask, why haven’t I seen you sooner?” I was taken aback by this question. I had no answer. Seeing the confusion on my face, she said, “All you do is IVF.” It was at that moment that I realized, all those years of picking myself up and just putting one foot in front of the other, of taking step after step up that mountain had taken it’s toll. My body was responding to all that anxiety and fear and anger and jealousy and confusion and frustration and pain that I carried with me. It was a strange moment. The mountain my husband and I had been attempting to conquer just became steeper.
I eventually learned to manage my panic and anxiety. I still cope with it, to this day, but I know how. I understand my anxiety, where it is coming from, and how to work through it. I can’t tell you the lesson I learned from this experience because it is not yet completely clear to me yet. The way I ended up dealing with the difficulty and heartbreak of infertility had repercussions, but I honestly don’t know how I would do it differently. I don’t know how I could. When dealing with such strong emotions, everyone always does the same thing, whatever they can to get through it.