The dirty secret of infertility.

The dirty secret of infertility is the massive effect it has on our whole well-being and the shame. If there’s one thing I know for sure is that being diagnosed with and struggling with infertility can bring up a whole slew of unwanted negative emotions. One of the toughest to deal with is SHAME. When we try to conceive, and bear our own biological children and have difficulty, we may start to think thoughts such as “I’m no good. My body is busted or what will my parents and friends think if I get IVF? What if I’m barren?” It can be debilitating or freeing, depending on your perspective.

Debilitating because we can sink deep into the hole of despair that there is something wrong.

Freeing, because we can see it as an opportunity and be grateful we have the medicine to do IVF and fertility treatments. This science is about 30 years old, which is younger than me. The first ever IVF was doing in the late 70’s, Isn’t it amazing how far we have come that we can actually safely freeze embryos?!

We need to get on camera and TV and talk not about just egg quality, we need to talk about shame, mental health, depression, anxiety and all of these things that are and can be true with infertility. I don’t understand why this not happening. I hear the main doctor of Anova speaking on the breakfast program what we need to do to increase our chances of getting pregnant, and love for her speak about the impact fertility has on mental health and see fertility treatments as a gift!

I am not ashamed of not being able to conceive on my own. For whatever reason, there is a block and I’m working on myself through personal development, grounding myself, reminding myself who I am to be able to bring forth a life that will be completely reliant on me.

To have a positive conception, we need to actually be able to receive. I don’t know what the magical formula is but by dismissing mental health with fertility treatments is dismissing the rest of the person. I imagine a chicken walking around without a head.

From my support group, I know from the stories of 11 other women that none of the clinics that they attend check-in with the women and ask them to participate in any mind-body or counseling. This, in my opinion, is so key would alleviate so much pain from the process. I also know that it takes time to warm up to a donor egg, donor sperm, and surrogacy. It took me two years to warm up to IVF and there is not shame in that. Everything in its due process.

We need the tools that no one has taught us to cope with constant grieving and uncertainty. We need to learn how to re-balance and put fertility into one box of our life and not make it our entire life. I understand how it can get to be a runaway train but we are the conductors of the train and can choose our speed or even choose to stop. Look at the roses and flowers growing by the side of the tracks, aren’t they just beautiful?

Stop being ashamed of your “lacking” and see it as an opportunity to learn about you. See it as an opportunity to grow. Look at it from a point of view of empowering and just how much more you will love that baby or your life without the baby because you took that time to step into a big challenge, a challenge you didn’t ask for but now it’s here. Either way it’s courageous.

You will know, that whatever you are faced with in life can be no greater than this, the act of creating life. What matters is how we choose to look and think about this journey.

Harry Potter metaphor: Sirius Black tells Harry

“You’re not a bad person. You’re a very good person who bad things have happened to. We’ve all got both good light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.” We ALL experience shame in our lives, thus it behooves all of us to learn to manage it well. Instead of thinking of ourselves as bad or defective people, think of yourself as a hero of your own life, on your own hero’s journey, remembering that vulnerability and love are the truest marks of courage.

“Shame is a social concept – it happens between people – it also heals best between people. A social wound needs a social balm, and empathy is that balm. Self-compassion is key because when we’re able to be gentle with ourselves in the midst of shame, we’re more likely to reach out, connect and experience empathy.”
Brene Brown Daring Greatly.

I will continue to advocate for patients and be the fertility doula. I will continue to be vulnerable and face everything full on – for all those who are not ready to come out of the closet.

The only thing that is certain is uncertainty with infertility.

Embrace what is certain, you are a beautiful person with the tremendous capacity to love. Take a moment and love yourself.

Step into the process and be fully part of it. Talk about it. Tell everyone. You’ll be so surprised that every 6th person you talk to will have the same story as you. Not only are you healing yourself but the person who you are speaking to.

I want people to know that there is NO shame is seeking mental health support. It has saved me. There is no shame in having fertility challenges.

If I had not spoken out and used my voice then I would have not been able to make a change for other patients.

I’m grateful for the pain because we need the darkness to get to the light. But we also need the tool to know how to get past the darkness & any shame.

I am your fertility doula. I will speak for you till you are ready.

You are loved.

 

 

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Diagnosis infertility. Job description, advocate.

I made a difference at my fertility clinic. 

At the beginning of March, I met with the Patient experience officer and Dr. B after the failure of a fertility cycle. It was a two-hour emergency meeting. It happened because I was falling apart. We met because I felt like a number. I felt I wasn’t listened to and no one was hearing my concerns. I didn’t know who to turn to because if I asked the nurse the nurse couldn’t make any decisions and there were too many people involved in my care. I wanted one or two dedicated nurses who knew everything on file. I needed to tell them their support group sucked. The waiting room was one anxious space and nothing goes well at the clinic if you are not following one of the prescribed fertility boxes of procedures.

I needed to find MY voice in this entire runaway train and I needed to be heard.

I had no idea that my verbal dump changed many things at the clinic. Two months after this meeting and after my two-month break from not being at the clinic, I’ve become aware of results of this meeting.


Early morning, I’m sitting in the waiting room of the clinic. The chairs are plastic and white the walls are Tiffany blue. The door next to the reception desk opens and closes every few minutes with a sight bang. I wait my turn to see the doc. to figure out what drugs I need for the embryo transfer. I see Vee, The patient experience, walking into the waiting room and out. She waves and smiles as she sees me and stops, saying, “I really want to talk to you!”. I say, “we can talk now, I’m just waiting for one instruction but it’s not urgent”. She motions me in, we open the door, I hear the slight bang as it closes and I followed her down the hall into the boardroom of Anova. Cool, the board room. I’ve never been here, just the dark ultrasound rooms and the doc’s room. Vee seems so excited to talk to me. I wonder why…..

We sit down across from each other and talk about how I’m doing after the two-month break and the fact that I seem to be glowing. I am relaxed. I feel more chilled and definitely more grounded. I’ve put fertility into a box. Just one of the boxes that are me and it no longer rules my world. When I reflect and think about myself and who I was January until May, I don’t recognize myself. I’m so glad I took a break.

At one point, Vee stops and looks me in the eye and says, thank you. I’m confused what for…..? She looks me right in the eye, puts her hands together and says, “Thank you for speaking up, very few actually do. We don’t know how we can be better if someone doesn’t tell us, we can just think what we can do but are not on the other side. We have taken all your comments, complaints and observations and have changed our entire counseling department. We are still not perfect but want to let you know you have made an impact on for other patients”. 

Needless to say, I’m shocked because I think back how much I was hurting during that time and how long the 2.5 hr meeting was with Dr. B and the Vee. I remember I wanted to write about it but was so drained from the conversation I couldn’t bring myself to blog about it.

I tell Vee that I’m so glad this is going on and I hope that I can continue to be a voice for many patients.

What I want the clinic to recognize is that part of functional care and holistic care is to incorporate; counseling, mindfulness, hypnosis and other modalities so we can support the whole person not just the uterus, the egg or sperm.

Find your voice. We want to hear you.

You are not your diagnosis.

Don’t be afraid to let the clinic know what is not working for your treatment, you just never know, you may the catalyst for massive change.

Click here to join the conversation and get more material & resources

 

Fertility, Vulnerability & embryo transfer

Listen to Husband talking about his thoughts about the Embryo Transfer

Vulnerability and fear

From the moment the date for the embryo transfer was set ten days ago, I have attempted on more than on occasion to post to social media that this is what we were about to do. I’ve written and deleted various phrases and sentences that would allow me to click and post. It’s interesting to me, that even I, who is so incredibly open about this, in an effort to educate, balked at the idea of really letting that much vulnerability out. There are three embryos have been frozen since December of 2016. We had chosen the strongest one to be unfrozen and thawed to be transferred first. Yet, the idea of publicly either celebrating or grieving, so in the moment, made me pause and face the fear of vulnerability like never before. Perhaps this is what someone else goes through who doesn’t talk about their fertility journey to their closest people because they are afraid of showing their vulnerability and that can be very scary.

My Why

Why do I bear all and bear witness to what happens behind the closed doors of a fertility clinic so publicly? It’s because there are others who don’t and won’t for whatever personal reason talk about this topic. Whether it being, shame, guilt, self-blame, or other reasons, they need to know there are others. Today as we said goodbye to the support group , we all said how powerful and empowering it was to be in a group where we could share similar stories. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, IVF, the whole process is a whole body-mind process. Read that again, it’s a process. It’s not just someone, a friend of a friend “doing IVF”, it’s me, sharing. You may know me, or are getting to know me; here I am and thank you for coming for the ride along with me as I ride the journey.

The IVF infertility secret desire

I kept hoping that bottle of wine and one romantic sexy night (while relaxing) will do the trick, but this has not happened despite my best-laid plans and intentions. I would love to have just one person in the bedroom with me, and that is my Husband, but instead, I have a goddam orgy. From the moment this started, I’ve had to re-do me and learn some lessons about myself in the true preparation of parenthood, which may God have mercy, is also a crapshoot.

I’m having sex with 7 people at once

orgy

With the rawness of these procedures the sexiness of it all the simple act of sex or love making is stripped to a needle, an ultrasound wand, an ultrasound technician, the doctor, at least three nurses, the embryologist (plus his assistants) and the acupuncturist. This is the modern day baby. I’m making a baby with all these people. We are all in the orgy together. They are all in the bedroom with me. I don’t even mention the security guard in the lobby of the building, maintenance folks and so on. Every time we try again to have a child, all of us people get together and do it together. No less than 7 people have been intimate with the vag, sometimes three at the same time. I would say I have so many people looking at my reproductive parts that I don’t even blink when I’m told I have to take my pants down.

I was talking to someone on the phone and they said, “maybe you will get pregnant on your own”, my mind couldn’t even process that could happen. Someone needs to teach me how that actually happens. You mean it just happens?

As we head into the first ever embryo transfer I’ve been told my organs look fantastic, the shape of my uterus is ethereal, there are no cysts and I have been told by quite a few people that I look different (perhaps there is a glow to me?) or maybe that’s just the relaxed not stressed look? I’m taking this to mean that now is my time. 

What does an embryo transfer mean?

It means there already is a growing baby in a lab that is 5 days old and is about 300 divided cells, from the two cells, the egg, and the sperm. This baby has already survived and is alive and thriving. The only thing science doesn’t understand is why an embryo will attach and thrive or why it won’t.

 5 day year old embryo

Meet Elmo above

What I needed to do to prepare:

I’m taking been taking estrogen hormones twice a day, sticking them up my, um, my, right that thing. After 10 days, an ultrasound and blood work to check if the uterine lining is looking good and if it looks good I get crionone progesterone suppositories to stick up in um, ya, that thing. God, how many things must I stick up there?! This continued for 7 days till transfer day (in between I’m going to go for acupuncture) 

The day of the transfer

I had to have a full bladder for the procedure. Like an almost bursting bladder. The kind of bladder that you need to go pee but can wait. I had Patricia and Husband with me on the day of the transfer. I also had Seya there (remember her from IVF retrieval?) to do the acupuncture and to take care of us. She knows where everything is in the clinic and she was there earlier to prepare the room. I had asked her to choose a room that was different from the IVF retrieval as the retrieval was dramatic. Seya was amazing. She needs to be part of the process for every patient. We all need to be taken care of, just like Doula. She allows us to be in the moment and not think about the details. This needs to be part of all clinics everywhere. She brought me a nice warm blanket and put in the acupuncture needles. At one point she asked me where do you feel a blockage in your body. I scanned and felt a blockage in my throat and around the diaphragm. Seya went to the top of my forehead, touched a point and I felt like I was floating. I felt like I had sunk into my skin three layers down. Amazing. I put on my Tara Brach and got everyone to leave.

Soon after Seya came back, Husband and Patrica all suited up to go the operation room.

I was met by the embryologist, the doctor, the ultrasound tech, Husband and Patricia – we all there to have one big massive love making, baby-making session. A full out love orgy. I had to confirm my name and sign away. Dr. B, then put in a tube-like thing again up the vag, and then down the tube came the embryo with a flash of white on the ultrasound. All done in about 10 minutes. Lol, just as long as quickie 🙂 All professionals satisfied, they all left and Patrica plus husband and I, in full stirrups waited in the room for 15 minutes taking my mind off that I desperately needed to go pee. One nice thing they did in that room, was when I look up at the ceiling, there is a picture of the sky and clouds. So relaxing.

Finally, 15 minutes was up and ran with butt exposed to the washroom to relieve the pressure from the bladder. Ahhhhh……

Back to the hands of Seya for more acupuncture, lunch for some gnocchi and home. Far less drama than the retrieval. Now let the two week wait Hotel California begin.

That’s the medical process. That is the first 50%.

Now the actual mental emotions and mental spiritual prep. 

Don’t want to get attached to the outcome which is so hard. It’s like you can hope but not hope too much. I am feeling good. There is a fine line between craving, aversion and just letting go. I think right now I’m in the middle of these two.

I’ve been listening to Tara Brach meditations and as well some hypnosis.

Someone, please tell me if you prepared this much if you go pregnant naturally?

The likelihood of a transfer actually working is 40% up to 70% with the embryo glue.

In my support group, I know two women who did transfers, one did 2 and the other did 4 and none of them worked. We just found out that another did another transfer and it also didn’t work. 

There is nothing more I can do to increase my chances, maybe eat less dairy and refined sugar.

Medical interventions for the embryo transfer:

What the medical clinic is doing on their side is “assistive hatching” which means assisting the egg to hatch by applying a small laser to the shell so it literally hatches. They are also using this new thing called “Embryo Glue”. This helps with the embryo to stick to the uterine wall and actually implant.

Once they transfer, it’s up to God and the embryo glue to make things work, oh yes and the embryo deciding it wants to push through and grow further.

We then do two-week wait, meaning we wait two weeks to see the results.

And then it’s another 6 weeks of taking more progesterone and hoping for no miscarriage.

There is nothing more to do. 

To book an appointment with Seya please click here:
647.808.9156 www.channelhealth.ca


Please click here to know more about the journey and be able to ask me questions.

Please help the message come out by commenting on this post or any post in this blog.

Ground breaking research: Can PCOS be an autoimmune disease?

This could be a game changer.

I described in my post, “My diagnosis of PCOS is bullshit” how I thought how my PCOS was just a convenient diagnosis. “Currently, the diagnosis of PCOS is typically made using the Rotterdam criteria, which require two of the following three to be present: oligo- or anovulation; clinical and/or biological signs of hyperandrogenism; and detection of polycystic ovaries by ultrasound”.

I was discovered to have: hardly any ovulation, a slightly fluctuating thyroid, and some cysts on my ovaries. I know, how could I deny that I have PCOS, well initially I was a denier and totally thought it was all crap but……

I did a glucose test where they tested how well I tolerate sugar intake, and within the first hour my glucose readings spiked and I remember I was really dizzy. With PCOS there is an increased risk of diabetes.

According to Fiona McCulloch ND, one of the causes of PCOS is because of inflammation and food sensitivity. No one at the fertility clinic EVER asked me about my diet and how much sugar I’m eating or if my diet is balanced.

But what if just simply checking off symptoms there could actually be a test for PCOS?

Groundbreaking Research Representing a Paradigm Shift

“If we had a test, like the one we have for thyroid disease, not only endocrinologists would find that useful but ob-gyns and even primary-care physicians could use it to diagnose the condition earlier and then refer to endocrinologists to let us manage it. It would speed things up,” Dr Dodell told Medscape Medical News”. Moreover, he said that the demonstration of an autoimmune etiology for PCOS is intriguing and a departure from the medical community’s understanding of the condition: “This is the first time I’ve heard this.…It’s paradigm-shifting.”

See study here: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/879642 

Ok, what does this ACTUALLY mean?

  1. They could make a simple blood test that could test for PCSO instead of wasting tons of time trying to figure out what is going on.
  2. It means they can find treatment and maybe even a medical cure.
  3. The medical community may actually become more open to @soulandfertility Eastern influences to treating PCOS.

What needs to happen to make it standard practice?
More research!!!!

Remember, that the first IVF took place just 30 years ago, this is a really new science and we’ve moved so far. There are many unanswered questions, maybe this will answer one?


Resources:

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/879642

https://plantingtheseedsbook.wordpress.com/

Infertility support groups spot the good vs the bad ones

Change your mindset to change your outcome. 

I’m highly critical of support groups that allow patients to stay in suffering mode, in my mind, support groups should help patients move forward, beyond their suffering. I have a low tolerance for bullshit. I have visited and participated in two support groups. Here is how to spot a good one vs. a bad one.

Experience Support group one: December 2016

We sit in a circle in the clinic under florescent lights. Each woman staring at their phone and playing with it. There is no eye contact, not even a laugh, occasionally someone takes out a kleenex and daps away the tears from their eyes. It’s silent and incredibly awkward. We are gathered here today to spill our guts out and sit in the stillness and the emptiness of sadness and suffering.

I’m here because I’m curious as to what other women have gone through and hope to find a group as well as a facilitator that doesn’t allow me to sit in my bullshit and suffering as well as the stories my mind has created but to help me move me forward.

The facilitator checks the clock for the fifteenth time waiting for the hand to strike 5:30 pm to get the session started. She tries small talk, the weather, the rain, the what movie have you seen lately, all to get one-word answers from women that seem they would rather be everywhere but there.

Finally, the clock strikes the magical number of 5:30 pm, the facilitator clears her throat and opens the floor with a booming cracked voice, “how is everyone doing today”. Panic arises, the women dart their eyes to the floor, all hoping they won’t be picked first, all hoping the person next to them will just blurt something out.

A wee voice speaks out, “I’ll go first”, says Daria (not her real name) a wave of relief hits the women thanking their lucky stars that for that brief moment, they don’t need to talk or share, even though eventually they know they will need to. After all, isn’t that why they came to the group, for support and to find compassion for their suffering?

Daria talks, her face looks incredibly stressed and her whole body looks like it’s about to crumble. Daria tells us her story and at the end she says, “I’m so proud of myself, I declared that I won’t go to family gatherings anymore, I won’t go to baby showers anymore and that I most certainly won’t step into a Babys’R’Us anymore”. She has lost three pregnancies to miscarriages and is waiting to find out if her final embryo would take.Tears

The women turn to look at Daria, nod their heads and silently compare their own story to hers. You can see in their eyes, either relief that they are better off than her, or feel worse because of being more down the rabbit hole of fertility.

The facilitator says nothing, encouraging Daria to just to keep going and be “in the moment”, in my mind, encouraging her suffering. No one moves when Daria starts sobbing uncontrollably, the eyes of the women just darting towards the lights. Perhaps they are looking for God up there? The kleenex box is thrown towards her direction and she picks out one tissue at a time.

This continues, the same thing, “copy and paste” for six other women sitting on those Tiffany blue couches. I’m getting more drained by the second of it, my soul fighting to not get sucked into their stories. The empath in me, seeing there is more to their fertility journey than they are aware of.


Quiet mindHow to spot a bad support group? When the facilitator allows participants to wallow.

What I’m trying to get across here is that this group was all about wallowing in their pain and being a victim in this journey. Trust me I’ve been here. I have been here and have had to allow myself to grieve, but at some point, I needed a kick in the ass to move forward. I need someone to get me out of the mud puddle so I can see that that the pavement right next to me is dry and that it’s really not that bad.


A good support group, take two

The room is silent as I enter, but you can sense the anticipation. We are all new and fresh to the group. Amira is sitting at the top of the table and I find my way to my friend who I met because we were going through the same fertility journey at the same time. We’ve kept in touch with since Sept. 2016, since I started publicly declaring about my fertility challenges. I can feel this support group will be different. I can feel we will be moving forward.

Amira, sits at the head of the brown square table, with that old trusty Kleenex box at the end. She intros herself and lets everyone know, that this group is different, this group is about changing our mindset because with infertility 50% of the journey is a mindset and the other 50% is the medicine and science.

Who are we in this group? It’s an all women’s group of educated professionals with fertility challenges. All on different stages of the journey through fertility. All of them seem to be in their mid-thirties – early forties. We all seem to have come to this group because we were looking for answers and needed a reset or a mind shift. Amira let everyone speak as long as they needed, but immediately gave them something that would help move them forward in their journey, saying, “find joy in the things that brought you joy”,  or “Change your mindset and then change your outcome. 

The goal of the group is to have us leave with our tanks full by the end of the 6 weeks rather than empty. To give us tools so the next time we hit a block, we can cope better. She has said that the people who follow the support group program often go on to get pregnant. Amira says she has many examples of this happening.

I believe her, even though it’s hard to hear without blaming myself that I haven’t done better….that inner judge, always ready to shoot me down faster than I can get up.

Amira says she has countless of stories that support her theory that by practicing mindfulness our mind releases. When we take care of ourselves first, the fertility comes naturally.


What makes a good support group?

First of all, they have a description of what they are trying to achieve, usually, it should be a set of skills that you get at the end of the group. When I asked my medical team to send me a support group that has less BS and more of moving forward, they all scratched their heads and had a hard time coming up with one that would fit me. They even tried to create one because really, there is only one good support group for infertility in ALL OF TORONTO!

Amira’s group which runs for 6 weeks (I’m in the second week) actually had a schedule and a set of outcomes and skills that someone can achieve when following her program. She doesn’t allow people to wallow in their pain but moves them gently along through their puddle of mud, helping them see that if we just stepped to the right or left of the puddle, we would be out of the mud. She challenges us to look at other alternatives and being mindful of our thoughts and words. 

We still check-in at the beginning, but there are processes and a reason for each time we meet with each other. As soon as there is a ‘breakdown’, the facilitator, with empathy, lifts that person up and moves them forward.

Our words that we say, are a reflection of our thoughts. Our thoughts have the power to change what the outcome is.
Eva Braveheart

Because I have really not thought “fertility” since the end of March, my mind is totally not in victim mode. I’m so glad I took this break, as I’m ready for the next step. I’m so glad I listened to my intuition to have taken that break, otherwise I think would have been completely broken by now. It’s even clearer to me now how much everything was about fertility. Every thought, action, word – everything.

This week with Amira, we did mindfulness and meditation. Our homework was to observe ourselves and do a meditation everyday.

Being present and watching my thoughts.

Noticing how my thoughts affect my body

When I started noticing my thoughts, I found that when I had thoughts that were centred around fear (and uncertainty), my body shut down. My throat started constricting and I started to choke.

My Mindful moments and not “mindfull”.

This week I drove my car completely in the present moment. Every time a thought came into my mind, I let it go and watched it float away. I remember every minute of that car ride.

I did a mindful meditation and felt the front of the brain become activated. My whole body just relaxed. Meditation alters your brain’s neuro network and I felt when it was happening. 

I used Gabrielle Bernstein’s’ technique, of breathing in for 3, holding for 5, and releasing for three.

I noticed how grateful I actually am with my fertility journey because all the issues and challenges that are coming up are helping me find myself – who I am as a person and what is my purpose.

My means goal is going to be to do 10 minutes of meditation from now till I get till June.

If I’m going to go for 10 days to silent retreat that is 8 hours of mediating a day, I need to start practicing!

If you need more convincing that meditation isn’t just funky science, Amira came across this article by CNN, “Can you train your brain to make better decisions?” I hope this article would some more incentive to spend at least 5 minutes a day to practice meditation. Actually, the benefits of practicing mindfulness have been confirmed by brain images using MRI.

http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/09/business/can-you-train-your-brain/


Signing up to Amira’s support group

Amira’s support group:

The desire to have a child could be a physically and emotionally challenging journey for those who are experiencing fertility issues. This 6-week Mind-Body Fertility Program is specifically designed to compliment and support fertility treatment for those who are trying to conceive.

The program will focus on mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques and emotional coping strategies to optimize the physiological and mental well-being of participants. Emphasis will be placed on learning mindfulness-based techniques as well as mutual support within the group through shared experiences in a safe environment. The group is co-facilitated by Amira Posner, MSW, RSW from Healing Infertility (www.healinginfertility.ca)


Resources:

I used to use the app, “Headspace”, but this time I used meditations by  www.tarabrach.com

Finding balance in life with infertility

In the process of going through infertility, we discover our humanity. There is more to the process than just creating a baby, in this process we need to find out what IS life. What is our “why”?

I stopped going to the clinic at the end of March after my tests to determine the ideal timing to transfer the embryo. They were two biopsies (ERA and EFT). By the time I got the second test done, I was running to the car to get out of there. My infertility has been out of my mind since then, reducing it to a fleeting thought. I have managed to forget how intense it was (even though my body remembers). Less than a month and a half ago, I was a total mess and working through a mental health crisis. I was utterly and completely out of balance. We strive to maintain evenness, to be happy from the moment we wake up until we go back to sleep. I had lost joy in the small things. Balance, integration, harmony, stability, equilibrium, steadiness, oneness, symmetry. I need time to rebalance and have time to heal my body and my mind.

fear-is-false-evidence-appearing-real.jpg

I stopped going because everything in my body was screaming to STOP. Initially, out of fear, I didn’t want to stop. The thoughts driving this were, “maybe just this month ‘it” would work”. My body was so stressed with my thoughts that my organs were shutting down. Completely counter-productive. I finally listened to my intuition and said stop to everything, all the treatments, the needles, the hormones, the acupuncture and it felt damn good. Over the last month, I don’t remember the last time I woke up and thought, “fertility”.

What else felt damn good was when I had a conversation with my employer and I asked that we continue my leave. I can’t tell you how much anxiety just fell away with the knowledge that I didn’t need to worry about needing to go back and drive in traffic 3hrs everyday.  There is the worry about finances, but this too shall pass and everything will be ok. The Universe has my back.

I needed to figure out what I wanted in life and make that a priority. “I have the power to change my circumstances because I have the power to change how I think“. I needed to reset all of the four quadrants in my life

Health

Wealth

Relationship

Spirituality

Health:

My body was out of balance. 

Six weeks ago I started going to Coach Calum. He runs, “The Canadian Personal Training Academy”. I wrote a little about this in a previous post, but 7 weeks in, I’m amazed at the results. Calum, unlike any other personal trainer, does what he calls, “the unsexy” stuff. He is highly technical and I can’t believe I’ve become his BIGGEST fan. He is the one that pointed out that my BODY was OUT OF BALANCE from an old back injury that happened over 8 years ago. My body and my muscles learned to move out of synch, one side over compensating but you wouldn’t know it looking at me.

Coach Calum, put me on this box and told me to slowly step down, first on the left and then on the right. On one side of my body, I was able to totally control my movement, my balance and step down, on the left side, I couldn’t catch my balance after I was down an inch. My mind was blown, still blown that he saw this. We’ve been working to rebalance my body and reactivate muscles that have forgotten to move, to move. Its hard, as I often need to really pause, and wait till my brain rewires and fires the signal to a particular muscle to fire. This is part of my finding balance in life with infertility.

Nutrition

My nutrition was out of balance. Husband pulled me in and we started reading a book called, The Brain Fog Fix: Reclaim Your Focus, Memory, and Joy in Just 3 Weeks, by Dr. Dowe. Husband has always complained about being tired, feeling like his brain was off and had a hard time concentrating. When I was in my mental health crises I turned to carbs and chocolate, sugar and more sugar. Having read this book and looking back, I know that the food I ate just helped me fall further and further into my black hole.brain fog

One of the main arguments in his book is that we as a society are out of balance and the reason we are so tired, depressed (and I argue infertile) is because of our bad nutritional habits and being out of balance in our mind, body, and soul. We’ve read this book and I’m not kidding, it has changed our lives. What he writes make sense and what is different from all other books that I’ve read about diet and nutrition, is that he writes from a psychotherapy perspective where he also discusses spirituality.  This is exactly what I’ve been looking for, a formula I can follow to rebalance all quadrants of our life. Dr. Dowe has a 21-day formula that can be followed and Husband and I are committed to try it out.

I’ve been experimenting with a few tidbits of Dr. Dowe’s formula and have observed how much food and nutrition actually have an effect on my mood and mental health. I discussed that with all the drugs that are given during fertility treatments can only cause a significant amount of stress on the whole system. It would only make sense that to support fertility, nutrition would need to be a big focus. I’ve also written, that the clinic doesn’t pay attention to this major detail.

I’m curious how I would feel if I followed his formula for 21 days.

Wealth: What I’m up to create wealth?

In this area, I feel like I’m in the middle of changing careers and figuring it out. It’s now time to take that paycheque into my own hands and try my hand at entrepreneurship. It has is been a challenge and changing careers after doing the same thing for a while has even harder. I’ve decided to something that scares me and I became a distributor with Lipsense, Senegence.

It’s no secret that fertility treatments cost in the thousands, so we are looking for more streams of income to cover the costs.

Relationship

Husband and I had to reset our relationship because it too was off balance. We were both diving into electronics to escape the emotional side of infertility. I can see how some people end up in a divorce. This is hard, but I think it will just prepare us more for parenthood that is even harder, as I hear its even harder. The trip to Halifax highlighted all the things were not being talked about and there was a lot that needed to be reset. I was out of touch. Life was boring and nothing new was happening except fertility treatments. It showed me again, the cloak of infertility and how this too seeped through the cracks of my relationship.

If we know our “why”, then we will know our “how”.

How do we expand more in all the quadrants? What are our goal, dreams, and passions? Here too I felt like I was thrashing trying to grab onto something. I just couldn’t figure out what that something was. For me, it’s usually a feeling and I have a hard time putting it into words. It meant going back to the basics, looking at “what was my love language”.

Spirituality and Spirit

Since we intensively started going to the clinic over 10 months ago now, we realized there is no soul in the clinic. I realized there is a difference between a “mind-full” and being “mindful”. Deep into the clinic, my mind was full of just thoughts of infertility, blood work, and the next appointment. Now thanks to Dr. Dowe’s book and my support group, I’ve started practicing being mindful of my food, my breath, and my thoughts.

I also got the opportunity to go on a 10-day silent retreat in June and are looking forward to it. A friend of mine said I’m brave to be able to just be in my own mind and my thoughts. I think this is such an incredible gift, just to be one with Self and face my own demons. This will happen after the conclusion of my 6-week support group that focuses on mindfulness and after we would’ve completed Dr. Dowe’s 21-day plan.

The good news

When I went to treatment for acupuncture after a pretty awesome chat with a potential short-term gig, Tanya felt my pulse and my body and said, that she has not seen or felt my body running so well in a long time. Which to me means that I made the right choice to stop all treatment, focus on actually relaxing, destressing, watching my nutrition and forging on a new path.

Trust yourself

Rebalance now.

This fertility stuff has numbed joy from many things. I’m consciously rebalancing it all. Recognizing this, I’m making an effort to little things to remind me of what is the life I wish to create (for myself and my family) and what is my purpose actively engaging all of my senses and all of the quadrants of life. Instead of being a victim to my circumstances, I am actively moving forward and creating my dynamic vision.


 

To be part of the conversation, click here to add yourself to the Facebook Group.

CLICK HERE TO BE  PART OF SOUL AND FERTILITY

 

 

Listen up! National Infertility week.


1 IN 8 COUPLES STRUGGLE TO BUILD A FAMILY

When you sit in a movie theatre and look around in the audience, you can count, one…two…three… four….five…..six….seven…..<bam> eight and that couple will have fertility  challenges. Infertility does not discriminate based on race, religion, sexuality or economic status. I have seen everyone sitting at the clinic, really young and older couples, all races from around the world. You never know how badly you want something until you are told that it may not be possible and have no control over the outcome. With infertility we think we can control the outcome with a clinic, but that is part of our disconnect, we can’t make things happen, life always has its own agenda. 

It is up to all of us to transform how others view infertility and get to the bottom of what is actually happening that is causing this public health issue. “One that will help educate and provide resolution to the millions of people who are impacted”. On my own street where there are 6 houses with six couples. I’m aware of four couples that have had trouble conceiving. I ask the question, what is in the water? What is it that we are eating that is causing this epidemic?

“Be part of a movement that wants to remove barriers that stand in the way of building families during National Infertility Awareness Week®”

Become interested in someone’s story and learn what it actually means. It’s not as simple as, “I’ll got get IVF and have a baby”. There are many steps to this. For us its now been almost one full intense year, not counting the other two. It’s a lot of waiting and a lot of wanting and a LOT of fear.

FEAR is - false evidence appearing real

This week I celebrate ALL those that have and are dealing with infertility. I do believe that we need to sow the soil before we plant the seed. I do believe that we need to talk about this more and raise tons of questions. We need employers to not be afraid of a women who is faced with infertility. She just needs your support. I have found that as an employee, I’m even more faithful and loyal, when an employer is supportive of me.

Listen up! How does infertility affect you?

You could be the manager of a person going through it.
You could be the one discovering the news about not being able to concieve.
It could be your co-worker or friend who all of a sudden withdraws and you don’t hear from them.
It could be the person sitting next to you in the coffee shop or in that borning meeting.

Listen Up! People with infertility matter. Join the movement to help build a community that understands their needs and supports their efforts to build a family.

Its not good enough to say, “I guess you were not meant to have kids”, or “You should adopt”, or “Just relax”. It take a vilage to raise a child, sometimes it take a village to raise a child. Understand that cost and bio-psycho-social effects that infertility has on a couple.

Listen Up! Policies and legislation can impact access to many family building options.

This is the first year that the Ontario Government is offering funding to couples with infertility, seeing that one treatment (that doesn’t gurantee results) costs up to $25,000. Many couples take loans to pay for these treatments. The challenge now is how to do you roll this program out to couples, as often its become a first come first serve lottery system. How does one create integrity in this system? Help shape this conversation and tell the government you care.

National infertility week is April 23-27 in the USA and May 7-13 in Canada.


This year, RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association wants you to “Listen Up!” when it comes to issues around infertility and family building. This public awareness campaign is created so anyone who cares about the infertility community can feel empowered to do something that makes a difference, either in your own family building journey or to help someone else. Infertility impacts millions of Americans and does not discriminate based on race, religion, socioeconomic status or sexuality. “Listen Up!” and become part of the movement.

How can you help spread the message?

Listen Up! It’s time to understand how infertility can affect you.

Listen Up! Do you know when to see a fertility specialist? Learn more here.

Listen Up! There are many ways to resolve infertility. Learn more at resolve.org.

Having kids is irrational. They do not make us happier.

Mothering and workI often read Penelope Trunk. She is an interesting writer and often has an interesting point of view. I wanted to share her latest post as it’s a bit controversial but as women, we really need, to be honest with ourselves as to what do we really want. Supposedly we can have it all and are encouraged to “Lean in”, but ask any women who have two kids under the age of 5, a job and is still married, ask her how is she balancing her life even beyond the early years. It again goes back to my post “My friend Patricia. I’m sorry”. and her choice to stay home. Staring down the gun of an embryo transfer, I do question, why am I doing this? Why is it that as a woman I would like to be a mother? Fertility is such a funny thing, it makes you really think about your choices because they are right there in your face.

The question of what is a mother, does that always equate a mother and child? Can a woman equally have a strong relationship like this in a different form? I don’t know, because I have been on the other side, and the funny thing is, once you are on the other side, you can’t go back!

For three years, I took part of taking care of over 80 kids under that age 5, in an early childhood center, at times happy to have them go back home so I could take a break. I have worked with students since I can remember. I formed strong relationships and I know I have impacted their lives. I’ve learned lots about myself through my interactions with them. Is the term mother, just a reference to a mother and child or can it be towards another type of relationship? I mother my event clients. I coached them and take care of them, I house them and often feed them. I hear someone on the other side of this screen screaming at me, “it’s not the same thing”. No, it’s not, but honestly, let’s divide and conquer this mothering definition. As it stands, it means, “giving birth to”, “bringing up a child with care and affection”, a “woman in relation to her child or children”. A mother shouldn’t equate martyr.

Perhaps I’m on the side of this equation and I really don’t understand when I say, I want to be me first, then wife, then mother.  Is this balance even achievable? In another viewpoint, assuming you find mothering rewarding……

“the meaning of being a mother is virtually endless. A mother is a protector, disciplinarian, and friend. A mother is a selfless, loving human who must sacrifice many of their wants and needs for the wants and needs of their children. A mother works hard to make sure their child is equipped with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to make it as a competent human being. Being a mother is perhaps the hardest, most rewarding job a woman will ever experience”

I do believe that I (women) need to make a choice between that big ass career and a family. I don’t think it’s actually possible to be fully 100% engaged in both.  Anne-Marie Slaughter, writer of a well-known Atlantic article about this, “routinely got reactions from other women her age or older that ranged from disappointed (“It’s such a pity that you had to leave Washington”) to condescending (“I wouldn’t generalize from your experience. I’ve never had to compromise, and my kids turned out great”)”.

It’s time to stop fooling ourselves, says Anne, who left a position of power: the women who have managed to be both mothers and top professionals are superhuman, rich, or self-employed (although this requires being argued too). If we truly believe in equal opportunity for all women, something has to change, specifically how women who don’t have kids are valued more than those with a family.

This is why Penelope’s post make me think.

The post below is directly from her blog, I just couldn’t chop it up, it was too good. She just makes me things about things I don’t want to think about.

Continue reading “Having kids is irrational. They do not make us happier.”

A state of creation and contraction

I have been in a state of contraction. In this state, there is no room for creativity, creation or flow, not just for me but for everyone. I know have in this state for three months now because everything was painful, everything was hard and in a state of reaction. My inner-critic who I know was just trying to protect me hounded me saying, “You should know better”. I have finally turned to that critic, held her hand and said, “I’m ok, thank you for looking after me, I can take it from here”.

State of creation

I know I’m in flow when synchronicities start happening and popping up. When I think of something, <> and it just happens shortly after I’ve had the thought. I’ve been trying to find something in between a particular timeframe to “get away” and fly somewhere. It couldn’t have Zika and it needed to be a place where I have not been before without breaking the bank. West Jet posted a 24-hour sale for flights to Halifax for half price. I found out about it with “Next Departure”. (which anyone who is Canada should sign up for. Amazing deals to be had.) After the last month,  I was needing and itching to press the button “buy” and just go somewhere.

 

If there is anything you need to know about me, is that I’m a travel bargain shopper hound. I found out that I could fly out of Hamilton Airport (one hour outside of Toronto) for half the price instead of Toronto Airport. We are going away to the east cost. A place of amazing gentle people. I’ve heard the people in the east coast of Canada just so kind, amazing and with beautiful hearts. I’m just happy like a clown and my brain happily obliged in now searching for all things Nova Scotia. It is a quick trip, just enough to plan but also enough that I get to hit up some things I’ve wanted to see, like Peggy’s Cove and Lunenburg. There is nothing like a trip to get me more in the state of flow. 

Magical Trips

I think there is always something magical about removing myself from a permanent physical space. Something mysterious happens when my brain is in the state of “explore and wonder”.

Like changing one habit a day. Instead of brushing my teeth with my right hand, I’ll brush with my left, to get my brain to think different.

We recently reflected that after being married almost 11 years, the trips we have done are a bookmark in time. I’ll say something and ponder, was that before or after Florida, or how my life went upside down after a two week trip to BC. The most life changing things have happened to me were over a plane ticket. When I think of it, it was shortly after a trip that I met my husband.

Its all a crap shoot.

crap-shoot-cartoon

It got me thinking about how much of a crapshoot this whole fertility thing is and the fact that I got attached to an outcome, a timeframe, how it was all going to look.

A neighbour, who also went through fertility treatments told me that all the tests I am doing she did too. She did the whole IVF three time, and did a transfer of the embryo five times, getting pregnant each time, but they all resulted in a miscarriage. After taking a break, she ended up getting pregnant on her own. Crapshoot!

It could be just a small variable that doesn’t let the embryo stick that it’s like throwing spaghetti at a wall and seeing what sticks. Her daughter that she just had (without fertility treatments) was her sixth pregnancy and no one could explain why her previously genetically perfect tested juicy embryos were miscarried.

All this is just crazy making and anxiety producing especially around the transfer of the embryo. This is where the state of contraction starts and where I try to control the outcome. More tests don’t always mean more control, just a control of some variables, but even then THAT is still an illusion because the variables are constantly changing.

Because everything is still up to the Universe.

This takes me to the main fears:

Fears-are-stories

  1. Having the first embryo transfer not working.
  2. My reaction if the first transfer doesn’t work, how will my mental health be?
  3. I will get pregnant but a miscarriage will happen….and then I’ll have a breakdown….because I’ve never actually had a positive test. Can you imagine how that would be?

What are my fears based on?

I realize now that those fears are based on my own expectations. I never wanted to do IVF and because I’ve done THIS MUCH……I….DESERVE…..IT….for all of this to work. But really we deserve nothing. We shouldn’t expect anything and appreciate everything.

In psychology they call this “Catosprophic idealization”. Its amazing to me that as soon as it was “named” what I had created in my head, the thoughts became less powerful and slowly started to disapate. I’m facinated how much our thoughts, really its just our constant thoughts that create our reality.

Isn’t that facinating?

Expect nothing

In the state of creation, I’m open, and things just happen.  There is no resistance in “Flow”, its simple, fluid, oh, and it feels so damn good, but as soon as I hit a bottom and contract, nothing works. Suffering happens.

I know that have Light there needs to be Darkness. There is a yin to a yang. The trouble with positive psychology is that it doesn’t want to acknowledge the negative side. While the darkness sucks horribly and I know because I did hit a wall twice in the past month, I can feel the regrouping and opening towards a new way of thinking.

The system of positive psychology does not appreciate how, through unconscious conflict in our psyche, we compulsively replay and recreate unresolved negative emotions. 

When we try to dodge or repress our psyche’s inner dynamics, we encounter inner rebellion that produces a wide variety of suffering and self-defeat. To become smarter, wiser, and more conscious, we have to understand the inner mechanisms and drives in our psyche that induce us to chase after old hurts, cling to painful regrets, and indulge in a variety of other unresolved emotions.
http://www.whywesuffer.com/the-problem-with-positive-psychology/

Being able to identify the fears and thoughts that keep me in this state of contraction helped me grow and boy I’ve grown even in the last month with so much more to let go.

When I said to The Clinic when I was overwhelmed and bleeding out it gave me room and time for reflection and to find joy and balance, as I was totally off kilter. We just completed the last round of biopsies and will be taking a month break from the clinic.

Psychology.
You’ve built a great team we just need to you join it

A few weeks back I sent an email to “my team” that included the Dr. B, all my acupuncture folks, the naturopath and person for my mental health check in to introduce all of them to each other through email. At an appointment with Dr. Julia PhD, she made a comment that made me think, she says:

“you are incredibly resourceful and have assembled a great team, but where are you on this team? You’ve intorudced everyone else but you didn’t introduce yourself, have you joined this team yet?”.

Man what a comment to get you centred. It’s like that whole taking responsibly part. I’ve assembled the team and I’m expecting them to put me together and achieve my goal, but where am I in that?

Creating a *phantom intention

*A subconscious mindset that is rooted in events that have occured or expereinces from the past that colour how we percieve current occurent events. It usually looks like an ME vs something.

What if in my head I’m creating a phantom intention?

US vs. The Clinic.

Us vs them

Us vs. the clinic

Us vs. the medical health care system

Us vs. everyone else.

Over thinking!

For now we are off to Halifax to scratch the surface to the East Coast. Can’t wait to be immursed into nature and the Atlantic Ocean.

InFertility and self-care. Sometimes I just need to stop and enjoy my coffee.

I realize that we all just need to sometimes just stop, go for coffee and laugh at the insanity of it all.  I mean, life is insanity. Honestly, don’t we all just need to stop, have a coffee, indulge in the most gluten, dairy, sugar filled pastry ever and go see people who know you better than you know yourself? I have two people like that outside of my usual support network. They happen all do acupuncture. 

Yesterday, I messaged Saviour Stephanie and asked her if she could see me. She has known me for over 8 years from the time I couldn’t walk because my sciatic nerve caused me to stop walking. I don’t think she would like the name I gave her but this is how I feel walking into her room. It’s a sanctuary on the 7th floor in the middle of downtown Toronto. A crazy, taxi, car and pedestrian-filled space. Stephanie used to be on the other side of the street, but then they started to build a condo and blast through the ground. She packed up her bags and moved across the street to an office building, but you wouldn’t know it once you enter her door. A simple massage table, her bookshelf, some relaxing music in the background and Stephanie’s welcoming smile offering the tea of the day. She is the one that saved me when I was down with such bad sciatica that I couldn’t get up and walk. She knows me. She knows more about me than I know about myself.

I wrote her that I would like to see her because I would like to come back home where I don’t associate acupuncture with it being a procedure. She, her room and the massage table bed are my home.

I deliberately kept Stephanie out of the fertility acupuncture rounds because she is my sanctuary. I go there and she just listens. She is just so in tune and knows me so well I don’t need to explain.

She sees my spirit and my soul. When she is working I can feel her sinking deeper between all the layers of my skin and connecting with my being. Can you just feel her magical presence with you right now? She advertises her herself as shiatsu and acupuncture, but that’s just the outside sign. Don’t be fooled by the cover. It took me a while to understand that she is so much more than that but when I got it, wow, was I ever grateful.

What I would really like is for the clinic to take care of me and not just my body, but the other parts of me as well. The SELF. The mental health piece. The part of me that you can’t see. That such an unrealistic expectation but I can dream, right? I need to go find my balance outside of The Clinic. I’m happy when Husband comes with me to the clinic because I think my brain sometimes goes into fight or flight mode at times, especially when I see the nurses who just follows follow directions and don’t think. Can people think for themselves?!

Saviour Stephanie put me on the table and put the needles in.

She calms my nervous system down from the fight/flight response. She just knows what to use and my body just sinks into her table. I repeat my mantra in my head. I’m safe. I’m safe. I can release and be at ease. I’m safe. On cue, my body and mind sink deeply and safely into her hands. Stephanie works diligently away, with movements so small that for someone who would be watching her, wouldn’t know she is doing work. Her Cranial Sacral work and her hands are liquid gold. A gentle soul who knows exactly what to do with every slight muscle movement she knows and understands the psycho-somatic memory my body has stored.

After Stephanie, I head to my favourite coffee shop and have a Cortada with a brownie and a view of Toronto. Today I stopped and sat in my favourite coffee shop and are grateful I have this medical leave so I can take time out as well as see Stephanie last-minute and be writing this out. How I love this view from Rooster Cafe and how much I just love these kinds of memories.

I think of all the people who I have talked to about this journey and that are reading this blog. From China, Saudi Arabia, Poland, South Africa, Kenya, Australia. A subject that crosses all international boarders. With all of this, I hope I have changed some views on IVF and fertility and redefining what a “mother” and a “woman” is. It is not just me bearing a child.

I think of my team of people who I assembled who are helping me on this journey and all of sudden everything is OK.

My personal trainer Calum Shaw says,”There is so much more to us than personal training because there is so much more to you than being out of shape”. He does more than just personal training. He knows there is more to training than working the muscles. He works on the whole being, just like Stephanie.

I put my hands on my heart and thank it for the life it gives me. I feel my breathe and thank it for the gift of life. Oh my gosh, it’s so important to stop.

Today I just needed to breathe and enjoy my coffee.

Today I’m just grateful.

All my love to anyone reading this.

xoxo