Featured

Grief and infertility

All your life you’ve planned to go to Paris. You talked about with everyone how your dream was to go to Paris. You saved for it, thought about it, planned where you visit, talked to people about Paris and finally it happened. You bought the ticket to Paris and you were on your way to finally make that dream happen, except when you land the pilot says, “Welcome to Holland”. What? Hold on, wasn’t this plane going to Paris? You run to the hostess and say that there must be some mistake, but no, there is not mistake. The plane was detoured to Holland and now your this is where you will be.

“But wait, I don’t know anything about Holland and I don’t want to stay here!”, but stay you do and hope that at some point there will be another plane back to Paris.

This is how it is with infertility, because its a detour from your plan. Its a detour from what is normal and what is supposed to be free and a natural process all of sudden has a lot more people involved and a lot more moving parts.

But stay you do. You go out and buy some new guidebooks, you learn some new phrases, and you meet people you never knew existed. The important thing is that you are not in a bad place filled with despair.You’re simply in a different place than you had planned. It’s slower paced than Paris, less flashy than Paris but after you’ve been there a little while and you have a chance to catch your breath, you begin to discover that Holland has windmills. Holland has tulips. Holland has Rembrandts.

But everyone else you know is busy coming and going from Paris. They’re all bragging about what a great time they had there, and for the rest of your life, you’ll say, “YES, THAT’S WHAT I HAD PLANNED” except that now you need to learn this new language and hope that someday you’ll be able to go back to your dream and it hurts every time you get a reminder that you have not been able to fulfil the dream.

The pain of that will never go away. You have to accept that pain, because the loss of that dream, the loss of that plan, is a very, very significant loss. That longing will never go away. You’ve stepped on the train of infertility and hope to God that at some point you’ll be able to off, but perhaps you never will. For now, you need to enjoy the very lovely things about Holland. (Adapted Poem by Emily Kingsley)

This is how your journey of grief starts because you need to mourn the idea of how you thought your journey of creating a family and being pregnant would look like. In 16 weeks of personal therapy I learned about grief and how it may occur. Grief may come in different forms and doesn’t always have to do with a person’s death. It can be a death of a dream, expectation, idea, job or relationship. Grief comes in many forms. For me, it’s like this small ball that was bigger and is now smaller but sometimes it gets triggered. It means that sometimes my trigger gets hit in the most innocent situations. I like this description of grief. It fits.

The close I get to 39 the more this trigger is being hit. The grief ball is smaller but its like a ping pong rolling around in that box. I get reminders and updates about this pain and the most hurtful thing is that I don’t think my partner gets that same kind of reminders of this as much as I do.

The pain button gets hit. And hit again, and again, and again and again. At first the pain button and the ball is big and unrelating and you can’t control it.

a picture with a box and in it is a small ball depicting movement and hitting a button that is the pain button. The pain button is grief.
After years of infertility the pain grief button gets hit when you least expect it.

I used to be good with learning about news of a pregnancy and I’m not as great anymore.

The panic that has risen around not being able to have had a family with my husband turning 46 and me 38 is not a situation I wanted to be in. It feels like the candle is burning thin and my options are running out.

Trying to talk to him about other options end in the conversation of Money, but what I started a Go Fund me page? Something. Anything. Why does it seem not so urgent to him? There is no more time to waste! I could just let 6 months go when I was 33 now at 38 there is no jerking around. Just because I look young doesn’t mean my biology is young.

Your fertility drops down 50% at the age of 35 and if after 7 years of never ever being pregnant. Not even once then my alarm bells are ringing really loudly.

I’m desperately trying to figure out the route to take. Right now deep diving into Surrogacy (its not free people its $60k plus even if its altruistic).

I’ve reach out to the adoption lady who does home studies. I’ve been circling around her business card thats been sitting next to my bedside table since January of this year.

It feels like I’m grasping at anything in sight and all the while I’m trying to figure out why can’t I just go back to Paris and why is it that I need to buy all the new guidebooks and hope that hubby will actually want to read these new books. Hopefully he can finally get on board and make a decision about choosing a direction.

Featured

Beauty Blooming: IVF, Money and lipstick

CLICK HERE to start something new and try something new:
Www.yourbeautyblooming.com

When your diving deep into infertility you can forget how to play.  In 2016-2017 was the height of fertility treatments and I fell apart. My psychologist said to us, just stop doing this yourselves. Go and do things that bring you joy. I honestly can’t believe I’m saying this but I had forgotten how to play. I though I knew but it was so surface. I had a food blog at some point and let that go and I also liked playing with skincare and makeup. I let that all go too.

Senegence fell into my lap and I dove pretty deep as an escape into a makeup and cosmetic company. At first it was my answer on how to start and pay for my IVF treatments and potential adoption, but I have a hard time getting over the idea that I’m paying for a family. That sounds pretty awful, paying for a family, but it you get down to it, without money there are no options to try everything that science (or alternative science) says to try. Even when changing diets, doing acupuncture or doing Functional Medicine takes money.

Senegence has been a lifeline for me and has Bloomed my Beauty from the inside and the outside which is why I named my Business “Your Beauty Blooming”.

Originally I was writing here to change women’s and men’s lives and let them know they are not alone with infertility, now I’m out to make an impact on as many women as possible so they can feel their way out of the world  of infertility and feel joy again. To learn to play and use makeup as their markers and crayons. To take care of their skin and feel this self-care. To feel the community of women that is empowering and that you don’t need to be in this world that is sometimes so sad and broken.

Some people decided to do what I do because they wanted to find a new community of friends. Some women decided to do what I do because they want more money and what they discover instead is themselves. We do what we do because there is a WHY behind it, a force driving us forward.

For now with the spinal surgery I’ve walked away from the fertility world at least till Dec. of 2018. What I will be doing is following a more strict diet but I’m also wanting to enjoy food. Enjoy cooking.

Instead.

I now play with lipsticks, shadows, blush and facial scrubs instead of needles, waiting rooms and cycle monitoring. I was told to stop stressing about this whole fertility thing and go and play. Thats exactly what I did, I went and played. I’m still doing it. So now I’m play with Long Lasting smudge proof Lipstick (Lipsense) that has me twisted in knots and excited.

You can join my Facebook group and learn some simple makeup techniques. I’m changing the name of the group to reflect where we are all at.
YourBeautyBlooming: https://www.facebook.com/groups/glamlipsquadVIP/

You can also follow me on Instagram. 
https://www.instagram.com/yourbeautyblooming/

Have an amazing day!

We got a puppy and infertility still managed to make its presence known.

For a few months I’ve been wanting a new dog. I wasn’t set on a puppy specifically but just another being in our house. I started to look into rescues because I actually didn’t want to go through the puppy stage again. Our 7 year old dachshund had just hit half her life span and I was starting to get super reflective about what had transpired in the last 7 years.

7 years ago we both had bought cars with the thought of family. We had made sure that one was going to be a small car and another with the potential of lots of storage, a carseat and a stroller. We are now 4 and 6 months away of from paying off both cars. 

7 years ago I had just finished my post graduate degree from a college, my how time flies.

7 years ago I got a union job and the first thing I look up with their mat leave bonuses. I am probably about to leave this union job and have had such a hard time quitting. I finally understand it has to do with letting go of this thought and this bonus.

7 years ago I was 32 and still very much under that 35 mark of the peak of fertility. At age 35 your fertility goes south and your chances to natural are even more reduced.

7 years ago I remember that day when I wondered where I will be in 7 years. I am still searching. Still wondering. Still trying to find me. I thought I would have had this shit figured out by now. I am only two years away from 40 and somehow that 60 years is not as far away as it was before. I am more aware than ever that in 5 years from now my husband will be 50 and we would have been married for 19 years. At 19 years people have teenagers.

Hubby was against having a second dog. I knew that this would be a good thing and had been applying gentle relentless pressure for 6 months. He had every reason why we shouldn’t do it and I in my head I agreed with him on every point but never said I agreed out loud because then it would be game over. No second dog. I had to tread lightly.

Finally, a family member’s dog had puppies. Toy poodles. Not the ideal dog for our lifestyle but the thought of giving this puppy to a family that we didn’t know killed me and hubby as well. I also saw that my 7 year old dog was slowing down and was really showing signs of one child syndrome. Sleeping a lot and just getting needy. This was it. We were going to take this toy poodle. There were 5 in that were born and we took the male and the second to largest one.

The decision really came down to hubby deciding right before we were leaving to pick up the puppy. We had the privilege of seeing the puppies grow up from the moment they were born. Whenever hubby pick up our puppy the smile on his face just made me melt and the amount of joy the puppy brought him was really noticeable. Logically, it was crazy taking a second. How would we ever do canoe trips? A toy poodle in a canoe trip thats crazy, a hawk would eat him. Poodles get more dirty and they require grooming. The conversations we had about taking the second dog sounded like the decision to have a second child or not (minus the hawk part). More responsibility, more distraction more time, more coordination.

Its funny because even like with a second child we did zero prep for the second dog. With the first one I think I read three books and watch a ton of Youtube videos on how to train a dog. I knew everything there was to know about training a dog. I had bought all the toys and everything. I just see the parallels in so many ways. The first dog go so much attention and the second we are so chill and not stressed about now that he is with us.

I think I promised everything from the moon and back to have this puppy come home to us. I knew we needed new life in our house to bring more joy. I also didn’t want the dog sold, I wanted him to stay in the family.

We picked up the puppy on a Friday when he was 10 weeks old and over the weekend took respite in all his little things. We didn’t leave the house. It was like coming home from the hospital and just gazing at this tiny creature.

Finally, I did the announcement of course on social media. First on Instagram, because thats safe. Nobody I really know sees it there and then on Facebook. So far its received about 80 “likes” and almost the same amount of comments of congratulations.

This is what I wrote:

After months of debating if we should have another, we are happy to announce the arrival of our new baby boy 👦. Welcoming to our pack is Misio (said: Meesho aka Teddy). 

Mom and Dad are doing great and are well on their way to toilet training Misio outside three days post coming home. 

What an exciting way to start the year!

He is a Toy Poodle 🐩 from mother in laws doggie. 

All puppies have gone to the closest family and none were sold.#yourbeautyblooming

After that I sat down on my kitchen floored and cried. I think I realized in that moment what that post and puppy represented. I unknowingly was filling a hole. I didn’t realize it until this stupid social media announcement. Its how people announce the birth of their new baby. The one month mark, the two month mark etc. They said, “mom and dad are doing great”. This could be the closest I could ever get to announcing the expansion of my family, instead of two legs its four.

Is it another distraction? Possibly. We have not resolved what we are going to do next with fertility. I can’t imagine being 50 and not having one child. I just can’t. It scares the living day light out of me. Its just not possible and its just so unjust and so unfair. This whole baby making affair is supposed to be free. The puppy was free.

Bear at 10 weeks old

The triggers are starting to pop up for me more and more. Even watching a stupid comedy with Robin Williams where a family goes on an RV trip together to bond was a trigger.

We are looking to do a year long trip in an RV and looking at the options and possibilities. I’m watching these you tubers who are full time RVers go and live full time in an RV with their family.

While its true family life is messy and not pink with roses but life isn’t supposed to be all beautiful. Life is messy and complicated.

After this announcement of the puppy, I felt so incredibly emotionally raw. Thankfully it was my day off and a drowned myself in mindless Netflix videos. It just hit me hard, again. That trauma part of brain took over and stayed there for a day like a cloud.

I think if money wasn’t a factor I don’t think I could do a pregnancy because it would be too much for me emotionally. If money wasn’t a factor I would do IVF again and surrogacy. I just wish it wasn’t that complicated.

So there you have it. A simply social media post about us getting a new puppy, which is a really joyful event sucked me back to infertility. Its an awful thing because it fucking never goes away. I don’t think about this, but its always beneath the surface.

I am really happy that we have another dog and he will bring us so much joy, I just need to navigate this part all over again.

The day we brought Bear home.

#toypoodle #infertility #socialmediapost #7yearitch #seconddog

“This is Us” and infertility.

Dear newly starting out infertility couple.

If you don’t watch the show “This is us” then you missed out on Season three where the main character Kate goes to a fertility doctor with her husband to discuss IVF. She is told that due to her weight she has a 90% chance of having complications and IVF not working. IVF also know has Invitro Fertilization is where the egg and sperm are fertilized outside of the body in a petri dish. 

When you enter that clinic you enter because you are either at the end of your rope because nothing is working or are just trying to figure things out. We all enter that clinic looking for answers and hope. That first meeting may give you a lot of hope after you’ve discussed with your doctor your history. One of the oddest questions they will ask your male partner (assuming you are heterosexual) is if he had children with anyone else. Now, I hope, for your sake, you know that answer to this.

Most clinics will then do a battery of tests on you and blood tests and you’ll come back to see what is going on. You, my female friend will go through your first cycle monitoring and be shocked by the amount of poking and prodding you will experience, but there will be hope. You’ll be riding on hope.

Most clinics will want to dive straight into IVF because they have the most medical control in that situation.

The chances of IVF working in a woman who has PCOS (like me) and IVF working at all is about 48%. What most people don’t know is that there are five parts to IVF not one.

PART 1: The ACTUAL growing of more than an abnormal amount of eggs in your ovaries to be retrieved. This doesn’t mean its over, it means that for five days after that you need to wait and see if any of the egg and sperm fertilize. What Kate was told about the  90% chance of success rate is the probably of an actual live birth and baby not the IVF operation part succeeding. The part after the fertilization.

PART 2. Retrieval of the eggs. You go under and they put a needle the size of your arm, thats from your elbow down in to your beautiful punanie.

PART 3. Growing of the fertilized eggs in a lab.

PART 4. Going back a few weeks later to re-insert the fertilized egg(s) into the woman body

PART 5: THE WORST PART which is the two week wait which if equvilant to self torture. 

PART 6: The phone call. This phone call is from the nurse who says, congrats you are pregnant and won the lottery or nope, try again. Do no pass GO do not collect $200.

Dear Kate, I constructed this outline to you because I do want to lay out some facts, figures and a reality check. I know you don’t want it right now as you are in the hands of doctors who have given you hope and I just want to let you know a few things I had known.

Lets talk about Sex.

You need to have non baby making sex. There I said it. It will happen. You’ll end up having just fertility sex. Timed sex. The goodness of sex will just get zapped out of it. I know you’ve heard this, but it will and is going to happen.

Acupuncture.

You need acupuncture. You need to do it before you start any kind of fertility procedures. It balances out your body and your mind. Find a really good one that studied in China.

Triggers

You will get triggered. As soon you start infertility anything you will have trauma. You’ll walk out with trauma. It doesn’t even matter how much you mediate but you’ll be traumatized by the experience. You’ll post a picture that you got a new puppy and realize that this may be the closest you’ll ever get to showing the world that your family is expanding. You’ll be at a wedding and their show baby photos of the bride and groom. You’ll watch a comedy where there is a family and realize you don’t have a family. Triggers will be everywhere.

Stupid talk.

People will give you really stupid advice because they are trying to be sincere. It will happen. They will tell you to adopt. The will tell you to relax. They will tell you believe in the truth of the Lord. They will tell you it happen if its supposed to happen and other such conversations. Then you’ll meet other women who had infertility and how have kids and they will tell you how they cured themselves of infertility. Which doctor you should go to. What medication to take and so on. You will get upset. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Infertility shouldn’t stop your life

I had a psychologist ask me, “what is it that you do for fun” and when I was really deep in the infertility world I honestly couldn’t answer the question. I couldn’t remember. Thats when I started to play with make up. It gave me an outlet and something else to think about. Balance is so important. Go back doing to what you love. You’ll need it and include cat videos in that equation.

Support group is important

It is so important to find a support group that is FAMILY centred. What I mean by this is that the men are involved group as well. As much as they think this doesn’t affect them it does. Infertility is constantly on the surface of something and you do need to hear other perspectives.

Triggers.

I think I’ve written about this before but you will be triggered. Even if you decide to stop infertility it will still be there. It is for us. It never goes away.

👨‍💻Watching “#ThisisUS” and the story of Kate and Toby doing IVF gave me a whiplash back to my own infertility. Hubby and I actually paused at this point in the show and reflected on our days at the clinic (which are not over). 

I remembered the 💉shots, the day of the retrieval and the golf ball size ovaries that I could feel through my stomach, waking up and feeling like was run over by a truck . In the show they talked about #IVF as an operation, because it is. Your hand is size of the needle they use to get the eggs out. 

🔕This topic never goes away. One thing they never tell you when you get on the train 🚆of trying “fix” your fertility is that its not a train you can get off of. The show did such a good job talking about comments I received like “it will happen for you” or “just adopt”. No, these are not appropriate❌. They talked about the cost (💲20,000) and PCOS, which is so common amongst women. 

It is no longer the first thing I think 💬 about when I wake up. I do not talk about or write as much about it, but infertility is everywhere for me. Its a subtext to so many decisions that we have made over the last 7️⃣ years. From the kind of car I bought, to the type of work I chose, the kind of pictures we have in the house, the kind of dog we have. Small decisions along the way but they are everywhere. 

If you like gambling🃏 then you’ll like IVF. Its the same thing and your chances of winning are the same. 50/50

Two women I know just got their miracle children after many years of morning appointments, needles, acupuncture and one needed to remove an ovary. 

For those folks out there who just decided to have a family and just did, you are the lucky ones. ➿

I am the 1 in 3. 

You can read more about this here: www.soulandfertility.com

The Infertility Hope Story that actually was hopeful.

The hope story otherwise known as: (take a breath for this run on sentence) “I’ll tell you a story, so you can feel better by your infertile soul and body….so then you can feel hope about the future….where you too will no longer be classified as ‘infertile'”.

This hope hope story is going to entail some crazy story about a couple who over 6 years couldn’t get pregnant and then magically something happened and they did Better yet, they adopted and then the couple got pregnant. The hope story often told by people who have never gone to a fertility clinic and had camera shoved up their vagina for months at a time. Remember! We shouldn’t loose site of that hope.

CRINGE. 

I can’t. I just can’t go back there.

I’m living life now and any hope story just sucks me back into lack of hope.

Then there is the person whose solution is to ‘just adopt’. God Bless the poor man who thought this was a good idea to talk to me about this. Please stop before I hurt you. At least now I don’t drop and spiral into a black hole for a few days when these conversations come up. Do you think adoption is just an easy decision like buying milk? Essentially adoption (how I view it at the moment) in the crudest forms is buying a child. I just can’t get over this money piece. The cost anywhere from (Private adoption) $30,000 – $60,000. International adoption is guaranteed, so at the end of the process where you and your partner have spent over $60,000 you will receive a child. It takes two years or longer. Get ready to be sucked into immigration crazy and to hand over your savings.

I don’t really have hope. The only hope I have is that it will happen on its own for free just like the rest of the world. I hope that my body didn’t let me have my own mix of my own genetics because it felt my spine wasn’t capable of holding a pregnancy.

My version of a real hope story. 

I was scrolling mindlessly on Facebook when this post showed up in my feed with these words and pictures. It was from a woman who had been through IVF and infertility. Somehow the power of her images and her text struck a note.

In August of 2016 I started my IVF ICSI journey. I became pregnant on out first transfer in January 2017 and deliver a healthy baby boy 10/2/17. I kept every pill bottle, medicine vile and needle tucked in a box up in the closet till I could bring myself to toss it. I thought tonight was the night I could open it and throw it away. I was wrong, as I was opening the box counting it all 167 needles, 3 boxes of patches and 10 pill bottles I cried and tucked them back in the box. April of 2017 was my last shot. 15 months later and I can’t bring myself to get rid of it. Tonight I will tuck it back up in the closet and let it collect dust. One day my son will snoop around for Christmas or birthday gifts and find it and that day I’ll open it up and cry my eyes out explain to him what that box is and why it means so much to me. Maybe at that time I’ll be able to throw it away. But tonight I’m not. Please dont loose hope ladies.

Now this is the kind of HOPE STORY that is helpful to me. 

The missing link. Spinal Surgery, spondylolisthesis, pregnancy and Infertility

Our bodies are smart.

For the last 10 years I’ve had what I would chock up to be back problems. It started in 2008 when from what seemed like one day to another I started to get a pain in my ass. I remember it exactly as I stayed over at my in-laws and it was Easter. Not that my in-laws were the pain in the ass, lol, I just felt my hip bone and that it was quite painful to sit on. That Easter start my first journey into “back pain”. I now am being sent to spinal surgery to fuse one part of my spine and we are all starting to think that my body was smarter than we gave it credit for. What if this whole infertility thing is because of my back and my body knowing I couldn’t maintain a pregnancy due to the stress on my spine?

img.axd

Sciatica

I was told that I have sciatica, a very common ailment for people who tend to sit too much and it seems that when you talk to people about it everyone has had it or heard someone have this. When I was diagnosed with this 10 years ago, I took this as the final diagnosis and didn’t think much of it. For two whole months after the diagnosis I did nothing much else but get driven to physio or to Stephanie. 

If you want to imagine the pain, I describe it like this. If you put your hand over fire and there is a point where your brain says take your hand off because you feel its burning, except you can’t take your hand off and you continue to burn your hand.

At first I couldn’t even walk up the stairs to the washroom so I went to the basement and walked up on all fours. I ended up having to sleep in the living room, I don’t remember why but thats what happened. Overall the situation wasn’t pretty but with intense treatment and lots of time I got out of it.

In the meantime I did get a referral to a Orthopaedic surgeon as the nerves on my right thigh and foot had died. Till this day I still can’t feel anything on the back of my theigh. The surgeon chalked it up to the fact that some people get their nerves back and some don’t. He said, come back if you need to but didn’t encourage me to follow up with him as I was 75% recovered. We went to Orlando and Disney land after the summer and I didn’t go on any of the rides because there was still a fear of getting hurt.

Over the last 10 years…..

I have been managing this back issue by running to acupuncture as soon as I felt any kind of pain. We always thought it was just sciatica coming back again. When it did, Hubby would say to me when I was in pain that I wasn’t doing my rehab exercises. The pain would come back during stressful situations and also randomly. Whenever we did canoeing we were always vigilant about the back stuff.

The part that is shitty is that when you say your back hurts, everybody else says their back hurts too. Nobody really recognized that it could be more.

spondylolisthesis-symptoms-causes
Spondylesthesis – with the spine shifted forward with a disc. I don’t have a disc.

Spondylolisthesis

How we think it all started.

Watching all the videos about this issue has really brought me back to the time when I fell and I fractured my tailbone, I think I was about 10. I sat down on my bum from a standing position with my hands out in front of me. I remember trying to walk up to my grandparent’s apartment and needing to do it on all fours. I was in such pain. They ended up taking me to the emergency in Poland and saw that there was a fracture. According to all the videos I’ve seen this was enough to create a breakage in one of my discs.

What is it?

Spondylolisthesis is a condition in which a defect in a part of the spine causes vertebra to slip to one side of the body. Typical symptoms of spondylolisthesis include back pain and/or leg pain. This video explains the common symptoms and causes for patients with both degenerative spondylolisthesis and isthmic spondylolisthesis.

https://www.spine-health.com/video/spondylolisthesis-overview-video

Sponylo-Grades01
I have somewhere between a grade 2 and 3.

Symptoms

  1. persistent lower back pain.
  2. stiffness in your back and legs.
  3. lower back tenderness.
  4. thigh pain.
  5. tight hamstring and buttock muscles.

I have all of this plus the fact that I can’t walk that far or stand. If I think I’m feeling better I remember shortly after that I can’t. I tried going to Costco and walking around, forget it. I was done after a few metres. Right now it is having an affect on my life.

what-type-of-spondylolisthesis-do-i-have-02-880x1024

The next step.

After 8 months of pain in the last year I was finally sent to emergency and then to a neurosurgeon. When the surgeon saw my MRI from 10 years ago and the new one from this year, without question he said, spinal fusion surgery. Needless to say we were pretty shocked as nobody had predicted that this was heading in this direction.

I have no disc in one spot and my spine has moved forward in the exact spot where there is the most amount of postural change during pregnancy.

I am now actually grateful that I have never been pregnant because pregnancy would have put me over the top. I wouldn’t have been able to carry and if I did I would have been in a lot of pain.

images
This is how my disc looks like

What to learn from this?

Perhaps this is the missing link in the fertility journey. Maybe my body knew in the time that we were doing IVF that this was not a good idea. Who knows, right?

The surgery is pretty intense as the recovery period is about two months. Lets see where this will take us.

Maybe this is our answer?


Spondylolisthesis and Pregnancy

Exercise Before Helps Prevent Pain During Pregnancy

Question: I have grade II spondylolisthesis, but I’m not experiencing any symptoms. What would happen if I became pregnant? Would the weight and pressure of the baby worsen my condition?
—Kingston, RIWoman in silhouette thinking about having a baby, baby silhouette in cloud overheadAnswer: It’s great that you’re asking these questions now because it’s important to deal with these concerns before becoming pregnant. And fortunately, although you cannot reduce spondylolisthesis, nor prevent possible worsening, there are ways to prevent symptom progression, especially during pregnancy.

But here’s the unavoidable truth—pregnancy is hard on your back. In fact, approximately 80% of women report having back pain while pregnant, and many of those women don’t have a pre-existing spinal disorder! Posture changes, weight gain, and loss of abdominal strength all directly affect the health of your back. You can learn more in our article about back care and pregnancy. So even though your spondylolisthesis hasn’t produced any symptoms, becoming pregnant may exacerbate your condition.

So what can you do? Focus on your health before getting pregnant. Since you have mild grade II spondylolisthesis (you can learn more about the grades of spondylolisthesis here), exercise is a great place to start.

Focus on exercises that engage your core muscles. Pelvic tilts are great for working your abdominals. Swimming and water aerobics are also effective, low-impact activities that increase muscle mass. Enroll in a Pilates class at your local gym. If you need a place to start, read our article about back pain exercises and stretches.

Focusing on your abdominal strength before getting pregnant is important, but it may seem like a waste of time because pregnancy causes your abdominal muscles naturally relax and lose tone. This allows your womb to expand as your baby grows.

Abdominal strength is connected to spine strength because your abdominals support your back muscles. If you have a weak midsection, your back muscles will have to work harder to compensate.

Building a strong core before you get pregnant will stave off the muscle relaxation process. As a result, you’ll experience less pain throughout your pregnancy and your body will recover faster after you give birth.

Also, strong muscles will help prevent weight gain. Weight gain puts more pressure on the back and will likely worsen your spondylolisthesis.

Having spondylolisthesis doesn’t mean that exercise is off limits. Be proactive about your health, especially if a baby is in your future. Of course, each case of spondylolisthesis is different. Talk to your doctor about your hopes of getting pregnant. He or she will recommend the next steps for you to take to give you the most successful pregnancy possible.

https://www.spineuniverse.com/blogs/hawkinson/spondylolisthesis-pregnancy

 

Fertility Anonymity: Why I use an anonymous name for twitter and blog.

A funny thing happens when you write so publicly about infertility, from the beginning you have to decide whether you are going to be fully out there with your name attached to all your social media, or if you are going to create a separate profile. I knew I didn’t want people to be able to easily search my real name on google and have it as a first hit on a search. If you do some digging, you’ll be able to find out who I really am.

I know I didn’t want people, especially employers to figure out to quickly through a search my real name as I knew this blog would be going out into the world. Being semi-anonymous also gives me moments when I don’t need to share with everyone all the time what is happening between my legs at all times. Being out there so much doesn’t mean I necessarily get comfort, it means I’m constantly educating.

Here are the top three reasons why I’m (semi) anonymous and call myself Eva Braveheart.

  1. EMPLOYERS. I am starting to look for work in the city I live in. Currently, my work is 1.5 hrs away and it’s actually hurting my health. When I was speaking with one employer I heard them saying exasperatedly that they need to cover a mat leave. They sounded really annoyed by this fact.

If this employer googled me and found my real name next to fertility treatments, it felt like I would have been then less likely to get a job. What employer wants to cover a mat leave? In Canada I can now take Mat leave for 1.5 years, of which one year is paid, the last 6 months are not paid. Mat leaves are expensive for employers as they need to keep your job for you. In Canada, the employer is obligated to keep the job for you guaranteed for the duration of the legal mat leave time, 1.5years.

Mat leaves are expensive and annoying to employers. They are inconvenient, especially to the smaller organization.

What does this say about how much employers actually support mothers with children?

I remember being in a job interview and stating I don’t have kids so I’m very flexible. All the folks in the room nodded in what seemed to be in approval. You could see bubbles above thier heads that said, “good she can stay at work longer, no PA days, no sick kid days”. Definitely not having children in the working world is an advantage. That says to me, having children is a liability to an employer and that we have not yet worked through family friendly environments in society.

Have you been fortunate enough to find an employer that was supportive? 

Can you imagine an employer saying, of course, I’ll hire you, of course, you can have as much time as you need off for all your appointments at the fertility clinic, and why of course I’ll hire you and then look forward to not having you work for another year because you’ll be on mat leave.

2. SENEGENCE Cosmetic Business.
Have you heard of Lipsense?

I fell into this business and it was actually the best thing that happened to me. I got a different focus and had the opportunity to play. Direct sales aren’t about selling, it is about self-development. I’ve been working on me for a while through various things such as Landmark, Conscious loving, life coach and so on. It’s been great to have this other baby to develop. I’ve now coached and mentored 12 lovely ladies who are really blooming.

I decided to do this direct sales business not just because I love the cosmetics but I also saw it as a way to create another stream of income. My goal is to generate enough on going income from commissions to use the savings towards fertility treatments or adoption.

If you would like to support me come and check out the amazing cosmetics. Now I would like it here, but there would just delete the anonymous part, right?!

By choosing to semi-anonymous also allows me to control my message and why my customers see.

3. The world.

In the age where anyone can find who I am by just googling me, I honestly don’t want spam phone calls or email about what we are going through. In an era where all our information is sold, this is something I don’t want to be sold.

Lastly, there is some comfort in knowing that you who are reading this are getting to know parts of me but at the same time there is some space between us. Sometimes we just need to hide about this issue and not talk to anyone about it even thought I have invited you in.

I do encourage you to share your story, its not told enough.

xoxo

Soul and Infertility

 

Recognizing Trauma within infertility

Its not just the treatments that cause trauma there are many more aspects with infertility that are trauma based and in this post we explore them.

My last post was almost 6 months ago. I was pretty good on writing and being on top of it, but after the last IVF transfer didn’t work I got pretty shook up and angry. All the meditations and Vypassana Silent retreats didn’t help me. We do need to recognize the fact that there is trauma with infertility – the in ability to be fertile on our own.

1. RE-TRAUMA. There is a double edge sword of telling the world your story. 

When you are open to the world about your story you keep retelling it and re-traumitizing yourself. Do you recognize that this is the case? Every time you tell your story, your emotions, feelings and memories that are stored in your body come up and you feel like you are in the moment. Its like victims of abuse who need to retell their story over an over and over again. Whenever I had to retell my story of all the things I’ve done toeither a friend or a professional, I could feel my brain and my body sinking into that trauma part of my brain. I felt like I was reliving parts of everything. When I’m not talking about it, I’m fine, as soon as I need to launch into the story of “what is going on” then its like my brain retreats back to those centres. I know it affects me, re-telling my story over and over again, as the effects afterwards cause me to feel angry and completely triggered by the situation. This is one traumatizing aspect of infertility.

2. MONEY – Lets face it, money in itself is traumatizing, how do we get more money, how do we pay the bills on a every day basis, now add how you are going go pay for a baby. 

Its such a traumatic thing, you think you are paying into something ($25,000 Canadian) and are expecting a return, but there maybe no return on your investment. This shakes me every time I think about it. I have better chances at a Casino. This is a big traumatizing aspect of infertility. THIS has the ability to split couples.

3. THE STORIES OF HOPE 

These I hate the most.

Somehow I get on the topic of fertility with a person and they lay their hand on me very sincerely, look me in the eye with what *they* think is empathy and the usual story tells of some tragic fertility version and then a miracle happens. It usually sound like this, “I know my neighbour who tried for 6 years. She  plus she had endometriosis and cancer as a child and they told her she was infertile and she got pregnant. If she did it then you can too”. The flash with of anger when I hear these types of stories as I find them LACKING EMPATHY. Its like being hit open handed in the face. Its not hope. Its a bunch of bullshit where the message behind the “hopeful bullshit story” is that I shouldn’t worry, my problems are not that bad and a miracle will happen. This is honestly traumatizing because the question that comes to mind is, what did THEY DO that I’m not doing?

Even if that person had fertility issues is telling me the story, I don’t care, your story of hope isn’t my story so telling me your story of “HOPE” thinking you are helping me, please stop, its not. Period. Even my Social Worker who runs a fertility support group had fertility issues tell me her story doesn’t give me any hope. These stories don’t give me hope because they are not me and my reality. It doesn’t tell me what I could do better.

I’m happy to swap stories and strategies you’ve used, what doctor you saw and what helped you, but don’t tell me, “Don’t worry you’ll get there” just because you’ve crossed to the other side.

Infertility is traumatic. In addition to depression symptoms, it is quite common that couples experiencing infertility will experience anxiety in response to certain situations or triggers (such as seeing pregnant women, pregnancy tests, babies on TV or in person, etc.). They may experience intense emotion around certain times of the month, particularly the times near ovulation and when a period is due.

4fc1ba403f7f00b12d2a5e612e5148f8

4. Random Trauma: A wedding was my trauma trigger

Apart from the usual triggers listed above, the trauma of infertility can come from places we never expected. We were so excited to go to a friend’s wedding, as it was long and anticipated. We had received the invitation in August of 2017 and the wedding was October 2017. I bought a very beautiful dress, planned the outfit and off we drove to another city for 4 hours to attend this wedding.

Of course the wedding was perfect. It was small, quaint and very family oriented. The parents of the bride were there and I was looking forward to dancing the night way in my comfy shoes, that is, until…..

THE MOMENT.

We were sitting at the back of the small reception room at a round table all facing the front listening to the speeches. The first set of parents went up and spoke and then the second parents went up and said beautiful things about their child and showed a video of childhood photos. It was so moving and sweet. I felt my brain shift and crack. I tried shaking it off by going to the washroom but it was too late.

Till this day I can feel this black veil that came out of nowhere and knocked me off my feet. The thought lit up in my mind like a shinny ad on New York’s Times Square with the letters spelling: You may never experience this. This this day so many months later those 4 words sting. And I was done. Cold Play’s lyrics from the song “Fix You” became my mind’s background music and the tears just came streaming down my face…..Its like loosing something you cannot replace. I could even hear the voice of the main singer Chris Martin whining those words into my ears. My energy just became off and all I wanted to do was crawl underneath that round table with the white table cloth and hide. I smiled so politely at my friend the bride and lied straight to her face when she came up to me later asking if I’m Ok. Holding my tears I lied through my teeth and said, “I was incredibly moved by the speeches”. Lie. Lie. Lie. The rest of the night I pretended to dance and forcibly remove that veil off of me, but it didn’t happen. As I retell this story, I’m right there. The trauma of the moment is right there with me.

Triggers can seem unrelated or random but still have a profound effect on the emotional reaction of the people going through this difficult situation. For many, infertility feels like riding an emotional roller coaster of anticipation, worry, sadness, grief, and anger.

When someone is experiencing infertility, negative beliefs about one’s inadequacyor defectiveness may come up.

5. The trauma of “it is free for everyone else, so why not me?”. 

Its in those moments that you least expect that bring up the trauma of not just about your body, but about everything around it. Not accepting your diagnosis, not being able to bring yourself to go to another acupuncture treatment. The unwillingness to change your diet or do anything else that would require you to change your lifestyle. This brings so much resentment towards the whole thing. Its supposed to be free so why am I forced to pay for it. Why should I stop eating sugar? Why I need to change everything when “crack babies” are still being born.

Denying that there is anything wrong. Just stuffing it down deeper. I have a hard time accepting that there is something wrong with me just because my diagnosis says so. I don’t believe there is anything wrong with me thats why I want this to be free and on my own terms. This lack of being able to use my body and have it function the way its supposed to filters through on other parts. The inadequacy. The feeling of failure. The feeling of being stuck. Its everything my life. I feel stuck in a job I can’t quit till I find something else but I can’t find a job because I don’t feel adequate so I look for a low paying customer service job. I don’t believe I will achieve financial success beyond my small little goal, because why, I don’t deserve it. It just filters through. Denying grief.

6. The Trauma of the advice: Change your mindset

The worst advice I have ever received was believe it and it will happen. Well I don’t believe that I can’ actually get pregnant and the story of “Hope” (see above) isn’t helping. Then I think, maybe I don’t want any this family and baby business, but immediately my

ivfjoke

body signals to me that is a lie. A way of self preservation of the fact that nothing has happened. A way for me to preserve some mental sanity. If my mindset was to be on point then it would have happened last year between May and August. My belief was strong. How many times have a I heard just stop thinking about it. I have stopped thinking about it and it still hasn’t happened.

It is hard to believe that my body is actually able to have a pregnancy when in the last 5 years it never once did. Read that again. NEVER EVER EVER. 

7. The Trauma of a “Past life”. 

This one gets me going because it doesn’t actually solve anything. A spiritual guru comes to you and says they know the problem and it comes from a past life. I believe in reincarnation but saying that I had a problem in the past life and now I have to fix the past life in order to create life is complete bullshit. There is nothing that I can do in present current life to go back and  talk to ‘said past life’ and tell it to move on and get going. It putting blame on things so beyond reach and human possibility. I just have no words for this type of thing.

8. Your partner’s trauma

Your partner has trauma except he may not express it. I have tried to get hubby to express it but its so deeply repressed that it a cork I’m having a hard time uncorking. It affect him. Its like us walking through the Green Living Show and him stopping and looking at baby clothes. Its not that we both get up and think about it all the time, but this thing, shows up in different ways. Pregnant women, strollers, Toys R Us, children or  other objects don’t seem to move us, but a simple piece of clothing does. It moves him.

Final thoughts.

I may just add to the list about but my point is that that I have recognized that the trauma of infertility stops at the fertility clinic. Even when you stop going or someone says to you ‘take a break’ (I’ve been on a break for the last 6 months) it doesn’t go away. Its a train.

Once you get on the fertility train, destination, “Baby/Family”, its very difficulty to get off it before you make it to the destination.  Eva Braveheart.


When you try your best but you don’t succeed
When you get what you want but not what you need
When you feel so tired but you can’t sleep
Stuck in reverse
When the tears come streaming down your face
‘Cause you lose something you can’t replace
When you love someone but it goes to waste
What could it be worse?
Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you
But high up above or down below
When you are too in love to let it show
Oh but if you never try you’ll never know
Just what you’re worth
Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you
Tears come streaming down your face
When you lose something you cannot replace
oh and tears come streaming down your face
And I
Tears streaming down your face
I promise you I will learn from all my mistakes
oh and the tears streaming down your face
And I
Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you

How to make a difference in a life

The original is written by “Loren Eiseley” in 1969  – “The Star Thrower” is a part of a 16-page essay of the same name by.
“While walking along a beach, an elderly gentleman saw someone in the distance leaning down, picking something up and throwing it into the ocean.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, picking up starfish one by one and tossing each one gently back into the water.

He came closer still and called out, “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

The young man paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”

The old man smiled, and said, “I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?”

To this, the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”

Upon hearing this, the elderly observer commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”

The young man listened politely. Then he bent down, picked up another starfish, threw it into the back into the ocean past the breaking waves and said, “It made a difference for that one.”
“Chi Mai” by Ennio Morricone – is one of the most beautiful modern piece of music I know. Written in 1971 … and it was used in the film “Maddalena” the same year. Famous it became through being used in “The Professional” (1981 film). Chi Mai is Italian and means whoever.

Just like this story … whoever that wants to can make a difference.

 

How I became grateful for my infertility

Note: This post has been in draft for four months because it was hard to let it go.

Gratitude and infertility are not words that are used together in the same sentence.

Infertility is more often described as:

“A struggle”
“a flight”,
“overcoming”,
“obsession”,
“a battle”,
“over exposing”,
“stressing”,
“despair”
“loss”

Not exactly positive words that can get a women & couple to an empowered mindset

These are words that couples use to describe infertility. These words are more often used together in various combinations in a sentence but gratitude and infertility….nope, not so much. It has taken me some time to get here, to this space of gratitude. It’s a humbling place to be. The hardest part of infertility is letting go of expectations. There is only one outcome: the one thing is certain, the uncertainty. I am grateful for this dance with infertility, it has made me be introspective and re-caliber my life perspective. It has and will make me a better parent and person. Another experience on my life path.

 Home, "a deep sense of peace". 

It’s Tuesday, my current favourite day of the week, it’s the 6 week support group time with Amira Posner and I’m late. I email Amira and let her know that I’m running late, but for whatever reason, a sense of peace washes over me as soon as I click, “send”.  A brilliant yellow light washes over me. It feels like I am my soul and my soul feels my skin from the inside. I don’t think I’ve ever been so peaceful through this whole thing process as I am now. I hear the clock ticking, my mind yelling at me to get up and go already, “Oh, shut up in there monkey brain, my soul and I are having a moment of deep Universal connection”.

When I’m quiet enough and I let my mind settle, I hear the whispers of my soul. I know the Universe has my back and will still have my back when I’m in the depths of diapers or taking the different route, being a couple with no kids. At the beginning of this year, it was different, as I crashed and burned through a mental health crisis  due to not being to take the emotional ride the fertility world. I’m here now, on the other side. I don’t feel the need to rush towards anything, I don’t feel I need to fulfill anyone’s expectations.

I hear a voice saying, you are going to be OK, you are enough, your Spirit baby is with you, just believe this and know that your body can conceive a healthy baby. I hold on that knowing whatever the outcome, I’m still safe and I’m still going to be me.

Thank you. I am grateful.

The support group, “We’ve got this”. 

Since I’m late, I decide to take my car and drive through the streets of Toronto. I don’t know what has happened to me but the colours in the city so much brighter than they did.  I notice the little things on my drive I didn’t notice before. Was this cafe here on this corner last week? The city is awakening into a new season and I am awakening with it. I can sense the new beginnings, this week has been a good week. The last two before this I was a mess trying to find my sense of purpose in life questioning every single part of my life, asking “WHY” and “WHAT“. As I pass by the Second Cup coffee in the lobby on my way to the group, I round the corner to the elevator, I hear another whisper, “let go, ‘we’ve got this”, except there is no one there next to me whispering this to me. I feel a deep sense of peace just wash over me.

I AM THAT that I AM.

I grateful for my infertility as it has allowed me to go even deeper and become more connected. I am reminded again, that 50% of what I do is my mindset and the other 50% is up to something greater than science.

I am grateful for this experience of infertility as it has taught me compassion towards myself and other women. I see women with children in a different light. I look at their child and smile – I wonder, what has she been through to hold that child in her arms? Instead of judging her and the choice of having a child like I used to in my twenties and early thirties, I am grateful for this new perspective. I have softened. My values have changed. I used to feel sorry for women who had children and couldn’t comprehend why they would ‘that’ to themselves, now, I see that one in six couples had to really commit fully to make the choice to introduce a new life into the world.

Life. We have one in a 15 million chance to make it. For those two cells to connect, yet, somehow they don’t always do.
The universe has your back

 

The Clinic

I am grateful to the Clinic and all the staff. When I hit rock bottom, I stopped all fertility treatment for two months and I took the time to heal and love myself. I can’t stress enough how much I needed to find myself during those two months and regain my balance.  I finally put fertility as one of the many slots of just everyday life. It’s so important to do that because fertility treatments become your life.

I am not my diagnosis and I am not a uterus to be treated.

I am whole and complete.

I am grateful to find people who take the time to help you take another step forward
After the two month hiatus, I was able to walk into the clinic without having a panic attack. The first time after a long time, when the ladies who took my blood didn’t struggle to find the vein. I had tried to switch clinics and found out a ton of information about the Ontario funded IVF. In the very end, the person who I communicated with who was helping me transfer clinics said something that made a big difference for me., “you are in good hands, they really do care there at your clinic. Go do your embryo transfer, and if doesn’t work out after two times, call me then, but I don’t think you’ll be calling me”.

This is how I ended up staying with my clinic. I do finally feel safe here at this clinic. I feel like a human and more than just a treatment. Its so key to trust the people who are helping you create life.

My mindset is different.

balance 2

My two months clinic free, mental health declutter

During my two months ‘off’, I had to face the state of affairs of my relationship, my career, and everything in between. I was faced with the question, “what do I want from life” and “what is my purpose”. I even faced the question of do I actually want a family and what do I value more. How far am I willing to with fertility treatments before I say stop. Am I actually really willing to adopt and why? Am I willing to share this journey with a surrogate? I stepped back and forth between deciding if “mother” is a role I want to take on, or is it that I’m following someone else’s dreams and expectations.

 

Quiet mind

What Infertility has taught me

I see my infertility as a time and space where I am able to explore myself and who I am.

The fundamental question of, “what is my purpose”, “what is my calling”, “who am I” is something that I have been working through while regaining my sense of balance in the four quadrants (health, wealth, spirituality, and relationship). My world was rocked off balance as soon as I entered my job and from the moment I left of my leave, it’s been work to get myself back to who I am. I had to hit the darkest place of depression, anxiety, and panic attacks because of infertility to regain my voice and be strong enough to walk away. The whole month of April was a loss in the sense of confusion and thrashing. I kept asking myself the question, “what do I want?”. I had to face myself and see that one of the reasons of ‘desperation’ was that I wanted to leave where I worked so desperately I was willing to change my life and use a child as a legit excuse. That was one of the stories running in my head. That is not a space to bring a child into, my Spirit baby wants to be wanted and to be loved. That is why when I chose to continue being off work and being unpaid. I had chosen me and my family over an organization. This post has been in draft for four months.

I can’t tell you how raw this is writing this, and I hope that this blog is not found by my organization, but it circles back to, what choices do we make in life to get away from something we don’t want? What if I chose what I do want and be willing to cut cords from anything and everyone who is trying to take my energy away. Actively choosing to live and choosing change.

When I let go of the idea of the next big job and just really focused on why I would want to get up in the morning, I realized that all of these side businesses are meaningless and not useful. I actually love working with people and students who have a disability. I want to get them to work.

Infertily has taught me how to be a parent because from what I know, it’s not a walk in the park. But because I’ve had to reassess who I am, and what I want, as well as what is important to me, I know that while I may be knocked off my feet, I will have something to land on.

I know I would like to do some more personal development, which is why I will be working with a transition coach, Jessie Herald.


sign up for the Face Book group

support this page and blog

comment below Pointing down


https://www.popsugar.com/moms/What-Moms-Want-After-Infertility-43555695?utm_campaign=desktop_share&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=moms

 

%d bloggers like this: