Friday, April 26, 2013

The Aftermath

Thank you all so much for your sweet words of encouragement following my last post. "Low point" does not begin to illustrate my level of disappointment following our failed IVF. I'm sure it's different for everyone in some ways too.

I've tried to recognize the silver linings and realize it would be an even harder blow for someone with no frozen embryos as a back-up plan B. I also realize it would be a harder blow for someone with no children at 44 instead of 34, like me. However, as a couple who is also paying for infertility treatment completely out of pocket, I've got to say it's a huge let down when you have zero insurance coverage to help lessen the financial blow. I feel like I just wiped my ass with $18K in one month's time to be quite honest, and we've already spent close to $30K on the whole baby making endeavor since it began almost 2 years ago. There's just no analogy that seems sufficient for how badly IVF failure sucks on so many levels, nor is there one to describe the feelings of confusion and fear that ensue.

I was doing pretty well about 48 hours following the bad news once hubby arrived home from traveling. There is just something about him being near that seems to always make it all better. He is an angel, and I am just sooooo thankful I have him. Things were actually looking up until I received yet another pregnancy announcement from some acquaintances who wanted to deliver their news personally via phone. I haven't been on facebook since before lent more than 2 months ago and don't miss it one bit, because it just reduces the amount of heartache I feel on a daily basis. However, I guess there is just no avoiding all of the announcements. I mean, I hadn't even seen the wife in this couple for years, but doesn't it just figure I'd have the good fortune of receiving their good news during this time?

Why does it always happen this way??? I feel like every time I get horrible news, someone else runs to the closest mountaintop to shout their good news in my ear with a megaphone. Of course the rest of the world continues to move on and experience all the great milestones of life while I sit in the same place failing over and over and over. I am always the one left crying in a damn corner trying to stuff down my sickening feelings of contempt. Seriously, I felt like I needed a barf bag. Yes, that is how badly one stupid pregnancy announcement can affect someone going through infertility, and the pain felt from hearing one doubles or triples according to the rank of the most recent disappointment felt by the infertile woman herself. Hearing this sort of thing following a miscarriage or a failed cycle is the absolute worst!

I needed to do something to snap out of this horrible funk, and hubby suggested we just get away and take a weekend trip. If there is only one good thing about a husband who travels for work, it's that you accumulate hotel reward points for use in case of emergency. We both agreed this sad state of affairs qualified for an emergency weekend getaway. After all, we have lived in Texas for over 4 years and still haven't taken a trip to Mexico together, even though it's only a 2 hour flight. That is just unacceptable!

A few clicks of a mouse later and we were booked for 4 days/3 nights in Cancun.
On the flight there, I was still a bit of an emotional mess. 30,000 feet in the air tears rolled down my face quietly as I listened to one of my favorite bands Lifehouse. One of their new songs called "Aftermath" resonated with me. If you have a minute, listen to the words. I think it might speak to many of you as well...

"Aftermath" seems like a fitting description for the time period following another failed cycle, especially an IVF cycle; the aftermath of going through such a long struggle, the aftermath of such a major disappointment, the aftermath of giving up so much time, energy, money, and really so many parts of my life to become a mom, the aftermath of knowing we may never return to be the exact same couple we were before this.

Two years ago, many of our friends would jokingly call us the "power couple." My husband the software executive, and his wife, the fitness personality. While my husband has continued to excel at his career (very proud of him!), I basically gave up everything that I loved including career goals I was working on, because 10-15% body fat wasn't conducive to baby making. In the months before we started TTC, I had producers and casting agents from NBC and MTV calling me directly to audition for things. I was being considered as a replacement for Jillian Michaels on tv's The Biggest Loser and made it through 3 interviews before losing out to Anna Kournikova. I was under contract with a top modeling agency, doing fitness shoots and professional speaking engagements as a fitness expert for one of the world's largest sports nutrition companies at national conferences alongside PhD's and MD's. In the fitness industry, you are either 100% in the zone or you are just out. There is no "in between" or "moderation".  It doesn't work that way. You've got to look the part, to act the part, to sell the part.

In my case, trying to become a mom meant cutting myself off from that lifestyle to get my reproductive system back on track. Sure, I realize some  women are lucky enough that being into fitness doesn't affect them like it did me, but it was clear my reproductive system was on hold from it all and was told by multiple doctors to take it down about ten notches. Even though we've discovered I have other issues now (outside of just too much exercise) making my reproductive journey difficult,  I certainly don't think it's the time to just hop back into my old routine either.  There is a plethora of research showing deleterious effects of exercise on reproduction and IVF outcomes. Do a quick google search on "exercise and implantation failure" and you'll see why I am just continuing to follow doctor's orders. However, I was eager and willing to give it up for the shot at becoming a mother and having a family.

It's hard enough to sacrifice what comprises about 90% of your daily life, but to then be scratching your head 2 years later wondering if all the sacrifice is ever going to be worth it is just a really hard pill to swallow. Honestly, I don't even know who I am anymore at times, because I've given up so much of myself and put so many things on hold. The longer this journey continues, the harder it is to remain content. It's like I'm forever mourning the loss of who I once was and who we used to be. Don't get me wrong; I'm very thankful to have a supportive husband who says, "Quit your job!" It's just a very tough thing to go through, and I don't think I'm dealing with it well at all.

As a couple, I know this struggle has made us stronger in many ways of course, but I miss the carefree couple who wasn't stuck in this never ending conundrum. I'm sure the song "Aftermath" can relate to all sorts of hard times, but these are just the things it made me think about.  I'm not so sure the worst is far behind us yet as it says in the song, and there are no guarantees we'll make it through with the outcome we pray every day for. I just know that if it doesn't happen the way we want it to, I have got to find a way to make it through the storm and not lose who we are as a couple in the process.

Listening to that song made me want to try harder to just leave my problems at the door once we got to the resort. I really wanted this weekend to be like our weekends used to medical appointments to talk about, no scheduling shots, babydancing on schedule, or social activities planned around everything previously mentioned. I just wanted it to be "us" time and that's exactly what we made it. Here are a few pics...

View from our room

Eating and drinking whatever we want!

Poolside with my sweetheart

After a long hard day of laying out

This is the woman that my husband used to know and love. I had to force myself to remember who that person was, but this weekend reminded me that she is in there somewhere, even if she wants to hide all the time. Now that we are back home, I am trying my best to put on a happy face and remain calm about what the future holds. So many emotions continue to flood my mind on a daily basis, but I am praying each morning when I wake up that I can somehow manage to live life without forgetting who I really am and was before this whole journey began. 


  1. Oh Emily, this is so so so tough! I resonate with so much of what you're saying here. I too feel like who I was, or at least who I thought I was, has disappeared over the last two years. And we haven't even made it to the IVF hurdle yet. Ughhhh... this all just sucks! I'm so sorry that you're cycle failed, so sorry that you have to go through this, so sorry that your career choices and your personal dreams don't match up. I'm just so sorry!

    Praying that the days get eaisier, that you won't have to "put on your happy face", that your dreams will come true! Hugs, my friend, sending lots of hugs!

  2. You will, I don't know how to explain it but you will get through this, you will try again, you will succeed. You will never be the same woman you once were, infertility and miscarriage changes us. I'm not quite as fun as I used to be, I drink more, I cry more often, I'm not as happy as I used to be. Maybe I'm not dealing with this well either because I feel pretty much numb about my FET. I'm giving myself a daily shot, taking my bcps, and steroids, but I feel very disconnected from it. Almost a protective mechanism I suppose.

    You are a very strong woman and you will make it through! You look amazing by the way! Love the dress!

  3. Em, I'm so so sorry that you are struggling so much. I can only imagine having your career and identity put on hold to pursue motherhood makes the blows that keep coming even harder to deal with. None of us know how this awful infertility journey will end...but you will find yourself again because you are such a strong and determined person. That's just who you are! I'm glad you had a nice vacay away with your hubby. It was much needed for both of you, I am sure.

  4. I'm sorry to hear about your last round! So glad you got a trip away, it looks amazing! hugs!

  5. Wow. I totally could have written a post like yours after my failed cycles. I totally, 100%, understand how you feel now and how you felt then. I am so beyond sorry that you've had to endure and deal with this :(

    I'm SO happy that you guys got away - you're so beautiful! I hope that you can somehow find a way to continue to move on from this IVF. I wish I could say it's easy. But you are strong- look at what you've done and what you've been through already!

    Thinking of you!! xo

  6. You are absolutely beautiful!
    You have been through so much and sacrificed. So not fair...failed IVF just shouldn't happen. Period.
    I'm so glad you got to get away. Looks like it was beautiful.

  7. I can relate to so much of your post. I am so glad you are finding your old self and not letting this hurt your marriage. I too, try and try to always do that, my marriage is #1 and I am not letting the pain of not having a family ruin the beautiful thing we have. Good for you for going on vacation and leaving everything else behind. That's not easy to do.

    And you are beautiful!

  8. Love your plan of attack and the getaway! So glad you got a few days of "the good old times". Knowing that the old Emily is still somewhere, even if changed, will hopefully give you the strenght to keep going. You look gorgeous btw.

  9. Tears fall down my face as I read this, and as I type my comment. Tears for you. Tears for me. Tears for us. Tears for this fucking unfair journey. I'm so sorry you're going through this. I can relate 100% about losing myself along the way. Infertility and loss changes us. And that down right sucks! I, too, am trying to show that person that my husband fell in love with more. I'm trying to get back to me. I will never be the same. Ever. Thank you for logging on and sharing this post. I'm sure it was beneficial for you to let it out, and it was beneficial for me to read someone express the same exact feelings I'm feeling right now.
    Oh, and birth announcements..... I wish I we could avoid them altogether! I've been on Facebook since December, but I've still heard far too many birth annoucements. And, they always have bad timing.
    I hope you continue to search for those silver linings, and to continue to be that beautiful girl you are. You ARE strong! You are doing an amzazing job handling a shitty journey. Don't give up xoxo

  10. You are gorgeous Emily! And I knew you had been super into fitness but I had no idea it was at that level! That has got to sting even more. I'm glad you got to get away. I think that is good for the soul espeically at times like these. If there is anything positive to take away from this though is that you know that you still have plenty of time, have an awesome husband, and you'll never regret even trying to be a mom because in the end I think you'd regret not trying even more than giving it all up. ((HUGS))

  11. Ahhhh. Em. I have been thinking about you! Why can't all of us infertiles live close together because it would be so nice to personally discuss all this BS in person instead of these tiny snippets. I am glad you guys got away. What a great idea. This whole process has been draining and I totally get that it's taken a toll on you. I am sorry it's been hard. Taking the time for you guys to connect is so important in this process because your marriage can get lost in the madness.
    P. S. the outlet dress looks awesome!!
    P. S. (can you have 2 P. S.'s?) you would have been better than Anna. She sucked it up!

  12. You look gorgeous Em! Love that dress on you. I am glad you had a get-away and got to re-find yourself a little bit. I know right now some moments seem okay and then others don't, but you are really doing an awesome job considering what happened. I know it's been years and years of trying sacrificing, almost getting there just to be put back in square one. It is bitterly unfair and just plain SUCKS! However, I really do believe in my heart you WILL get that BFP and it's all going to be worth it. *hugs* girl!

  13. I've been thinking about you and waiting to hear an update from you! I'm so glad that you have such a supportive husband to be your rock during this tough time. It's wonderful you took a vacation together, I bet a little escape made the world of difference to you. I actually did both of my IVFs in Cancun! You look gorgeous in those photos, I love your outfit!

    The first failed IVF was the hardest for me, and I pray you only ever have to go through this once because the next one will be successful! As you said, it is so hard not to lose yourself in the quest for baby. I had to quit dancing, and it took me a long time to find another activity that I loved and made me feel like me again. While I still miss dancing very much, I have made an effort to keep myself occupied doing other things. I am so afraid to spend ALL my time thinking about or doing fertility treatments.

    Sending you lots of good vibes and looking forward to reading about your next steps :)

  14. I am so sorry that you are going through this! As I listened to the Lifehouse song you posted I was nearly in tears because the words resonated with a loss we had this week. I am glad you were able to get away for a few days - there is always something nice about just "being away" even for a short while.

    Though I have never commented on your posts before, I want you know to know that I am grateful for your post, you said some things that I wish I could say but could never really express it myself. Sometimes I get so caught up in desire to be a "mom" that sometimes everything else takes a backseat even when I don't realize it. This "journey" is so tough sometimes.

    Keeping you in my thoughts!

  15. We just back from our own "screw this infertility shit" getaway (one that was supposed to be a "last hurrah before the baby comes," blah), and I have to say it does feel like a clean slate now, even more than before. One thing that happens to me is that I'm always counting days and weeks and feeling like I'm falling behind, so a break in routine helps to pass some of that time, even a little bit.

    I truly hope that your second try is successful and that your next trip is celebratory. We don't know where this road will lead, but I just have to believe that things will get better.

  16. No one can make it down this path and be the same person at the end as when they started. Some of the changes will be for the better, and some of them won't. All you can do is try to reinforce the good changes and minimize the bad. I know I will be a better parent someday because of this. I'm more empathetic to those going through things I'm not. I feel more assertive. I have grown and matured as a person. I'm sure one day you will be able to look at who you are now and see the good changes and not just the bad.

  17. I love the pictures and the song and am so glad you had a nice getaway. I can only imagine how you must feel about sacrificing so much of your life - your career, your time, your emotions - to have it continue to be such a struggle. It is totally unfair. It's so hard to find the silver linings, but when we do find them, it's so important to try to hang on to them. I kind of "stick them in my pocket" so that I can have them handy when things seem especially shitty. It doesn't make things better, but it gives me just a little bit of strength to not feel like I'm completely drowning in all this TTC business. I'm so proud of you for being able to keep picking yourself up and dusting yourself off, and I do believe that your sacrifices will eventually be worth it. I pray that it's soon.

  18. I've been thinking of you often over the past week. I'm so happy that you and your husband were able to getaway and regroup mentally and physically. I can only imagine how hard this has been on you both. You look great in Mexico and I love the new dress got some wear!! It sure takes a special Iand strong) woman to get through the things that this TTC journey has brought on us. You have always handled everything thrown at you with so much grace and dignity. I'm so relieved that you were able to freeze those embies and have some extra shots. You are going to have a beautiful family one day (soon I pray) and be one hell of a mother.

    PS...I downloaded the song. LOVED it. I saw them on the VH1 Cruise a few years ago...they were a blast!!!

  19. Oh my gosh you look STUNNING in that dress! Not sure how you were feeling at that moment, but you certainly appear relaxed and content. And that view from your room is insane -- have to bookmark this resort for the future. Hoping this vacation has given you a bit of a fresh start and let you shake off some of the negativity from the failed cycle. As you say, you have plenty of great frosties ready to go and there is still so much room for hope.

  20. Your post really hit home. I catch myself wondering all the time where "I" have went? As much as I try to change it and be who I once was I realize "we" will never be the same again. You are a strong, gorgeous women who's been through a lot. I pray to God that this journey is almost over for you and you can get a lil part of you back.

  21. I love the song... wow, beautiful post (and you are so beautiful!!!) I can definitely relate to finding that woman you used to be. That's exactly what I've been doing and it's helped me a lot. I know she's in there and you'll be pulling pieces of her out and meshing her with the woman you've become as you continue this journey. :)

  22. Emily, love that dress on you! One of my very favorite colors this summer! Glad that you and Matt were able to get away together and enjoy being a couple without all the timing, tracking, planning, etc that comes along with TTC. I've been thinking of you so much lately and pray that God is giving you the strength, courage, and understanding to make it though this trying time. I can definitely relate to the wondering where "I" went part of this post. For many of the same reasons, and a few others too.

    When Scott and I got married, I moved an hour away from my home to be with him and be closer to his work. That meant that I had to give up my work (unless I wanted to be on the road commuting 3 hrs a day with traffic - which I didn't want to do as a newly married couple trying to build our life and family) in order to accommodate that. It was a super hard transition for me. I left my career that I had been at and exceled at for 10 years, to get married and support my husband in his business (I am pretty much his secretary now). I don't love it, but it was a sacrifice I was willing to give up for our family. However, at times, I still find myself wondering if I made the right decision (5 years later), especially on the days where I miss seeing the "career driven" and "corporate ladder climbing" me. However, I know without a doubt, the sacrifices I made are for the better of my health and my family. And you have done just that too. It will all be worth it. All the sacrifices you have made will be 110% worth it when you are holding your precious baby in your arms. I know without a doubt that your future holds that. You will be a mommy! I just wish this road was a whole lot easier for you (and all of us).

    Still thinking of and praying for you and those frosties daily.


  23. Emily, thanks again for stopping by and leaving a comment today. I love this post. Cancun sounds wonderful and I think it's so great that you were able to take a getaway! It's so interesting reading about your life "before" trying to conceive... amazing. You really did give up so much and I think many women can relate to postponing things, sacrificing things, losing their identities, all to catch that dream baby. I really pray things work out and if you ever want to talk reproductive immunology, let me know. I am so glad I discovered Dr. Braverman and I believe there is still hope for you. God bless. ~Sara