Monday, September 2, 2013

Infertility Induced Psychosis...Praying for Peace

I think I've found of a new diagnosis for the DSM (the book used to code mental diagnoses). It is called "infertility induced psychosis" and I think I have it! I did not know it was possible to experience such a wide range of emotions, within mere minutes sometimes, until infertility reared it's ugly head into our lives.

I have been praying A LOT about finding peace lately; Peace whether IVF works or not. Peace with where I'm at this exact moment in time. Peace with wherever this journey takes us. Part of this quest to find peace has been trying to understand that neither I, nor the doctors, have control over the outcome. I have known this from the beginning, yes.

Lately though, I've been trying to surrender control more through prayer and asking for PEACE...Notice I didn't say "for this to work." Of course, we want it to work. I've just stopped praying, "Please God let this work before it kills me!" and have changed it to "Please Lord give me peace and allow me to learn what you're trying to teach me."

We want a family more than anything RIGHT NOW, but one thing I've learned is that peace is exponentially a greater virtue to have than just getting the outcome we want when we want it. The real catch to that statement? I've found it's virtually impossible to experience failure after failure and still remain in a constant state of peace. If only it were that easy.

Some days I have so much peace that I feel having another failed IVF cycle won't even matter....that we'll just take things one day at a time and that we'll figure out what to do if & when that time comes. Then, out of nowhere, I can wake up the next day with an extreme amount of anxiety where my brain is completely stuck in a hamster wheel of fear. This happened over the weekend. I had too much time on my hands as my hubby studied for his MBA all day. Somehow I ended up on google, looking up SART success rates for every reputable fertility clinic across the country. I knew it would drive me batty and cause anxiety, and I did it anyways. Bad move.

It's like there is a voice inside saying, "What if this doesn't work Emily? Then what?  Will you just try again with your last two embryos at your current clinic? Is there something they are missing? Maybe you should switch clinics? How much will it all cost to do that? How much time will it take? How much time do you even have left? What if this doesn't work, you change doctors, pay another $25,000, and it still doesn't work? Then what????" It is absolutely maddening I tell you.

I love the way a fellow blogger Stupid Stork described the hope/despair cycle phenomenon recently in her blog; Women in the midst of infertility treatments are now orbiting in outer space between two planets called "all your dreams come true" and "ha ha just kidding you're fucked". Yep, that about sums it up.

Peace has become like a drug to me in a sense. When I have hope and inner peace together it's like nothing can touch me. I wish I knew how to make it last 24/7, but no matter how much I pray for it and try to have faith in God's plan, I simply can't make it last every single second of every day. None of us can do that forever. Whenever peace eludes me, all I want is to have it back and return to my place of contentment....that happy place where I'm not questioning God's plan or the doctors who are treating me. I am trying my best, but sometimes my efforts don't cut the mustard.

Something I found really helpful was reading Pregnant with Hope,  after another blogger In Due Time recommended it...

Please read this book if you are
struggling with faith and infertility!

I wasn't sure what to expect. I thought maybe it would be stories of people who got pregnant right when they stopped trying... simply through some miracle of God. I thought the message might be "anti-medicine", but it definitely was not. Quite the contrary! It gave first hand testimonials from all kinds of couples across a huge spectrum, including those who have experienced multiple failed IVF's, successful IVF, miscarriages, IUI's, those marrying late in life, adoptions, etc. Most of the book was written about people who'd experienced quite a long road and pregnancy did not come easy at all.

With each story told by the man and woman in each couple, there is a take-away message drawing on scripture from the Bible to illustrate the lessons we can learn through our experiences on this journey. I was completely blown away by how well this book was able to define God's role in the infertility process, and specifically for those choosing to use modern medicine as part of the process. I have always believed that God uses doctors to work miracles in us that we simply cannot ourselves. It was nice to have this shared perspective re-affirmed.

There was a huge emphasis on answering the very tough questions of WHY is God doing this to me? Why is He letting me suffer? These questions are so hard to deal with for women in our shoes, and never have I felt so understood and validated from reading a book. I almost wish everyone who was a close friend or family member could read it, because it did such a good job describing what the couple actually feels like going through this seemingly never ending journey...the anxiety, the hope, the despair, the exhaustion, the physical, mental and financial toll. All of it. Obviously, no one can truly understand what it's like unless they've walked through it.

It helped me re-shape my outlook on the tough question of WHY to one that focuses more on hope for the future and all the ways I'll be a stronger and better parent having gone through this. Only when the struggle is over are we able to look back and say, "This actually couldn't have happened at a more perfect time." I am really trying to believe that realization will happen for us and that there is a greater plan that I can't yet see, but will in time.  I may not be at peace or feel 100% faithful all the time, but I am working on it.

IVF transfer #3 is scheduled for tomorrow mid-day. I'll be doing a pre-transfer acu session and will be laying low afterwards. Then, I'll return for another acu session the following day. I'm not doing 3 full days of bed rest, but will be taking it easy the whole week following exercise, heavy lifting, or anything else unnecessary until our beta hCG on 9/12. In the meantime, I would really appreciate any prayers for peace you can pass our way. I am praying for all of you traveling this journey as well!


  1. You are definitely not alone on this one. Peace is such an amazing gift and is absolutely one of the best feelings ever. I too wish there were a switch that we could flip to keep it around 24/7. When it's here, you're right, it's like we have this strong sense that everything really will be ok, even if it doesn't work out. Then life starts to set in. The worrying, the wondering, the what ifs. That nagging in the back of your mind saying that, yeah, you'd be ok, but you want to be a mom! I am praying so hard for you Em. I hope that your transfer tomorrow goes so smoothly and you have an awesome beta next week!

  2. Oh Emily you are in my prayers everyday. I will be thinking of you and praying for peace tomorrow. Don't forget to breathe. You time is near. Remind yourself everyday that worry and fear will never change a situation for the better. If the outcome is not what you want then it will hurt no matter what. So enjoy your transfer and your TWW. Let yourself dream and imagine that baby getting cozy inside. Because one day hopefully soon, this will be your outcome. I pray that it's now. Now, to take my own advice.

  3. You are in my thoughts and prayers! I hope all goes the best it possibly ever can tomorrow and you feel all the peace and hope needed to get you through until that little baby is in your arms :)

  4. "I've found it's virtually impossible to experience failure after failure and still remain in a constant state of peace. If only it were that easy." YES girlfriend. You articulated that so perfectly! I am glad you were open about your struggles. We all struggle but sometimes it can feel like we are the only ones.

    The hope/despair cycle is so hard, and we all go through it. I hope you are able to find peace (at least most of the time)

  5. I'm most definitely sending extra prayers your way. I admire your outlook and wish only the best for you as tomorrow draws near. Hoping peace embraces you during this time :)

  6. U couldn't have written this post any better. I can relate 100% on trying to find peace in this whole journey. It seems that some days we wake up with such great outlooks and then the following day or within mere hours it vanishes. I will pray for your peace and that everything goes smoothly/ you rest well tomorrow after ur transfer.

  7. Praying for PEACE for you tonight as you get ready for tomorrow's transfer. And for PEACE for you as you endure the TWW. I will be thinking of you and praying right alongside you, my friend. XOXO

  8. Good luck today! You are in my thoughts and prayers this morning!

  9. Sending lots of prayers for peace your way! I usually try to pray that God's will be done. If its in HIS plan for us to get that positive, then it will happen. It's out of our control. But somedays, its really hard. Hang in there!

  10. Prayers of peace are yours today. Good luck, and I will be thinking of you!

  11. It ones thing to know you don't have control and understand that and a completely other thing to accept that you don't have control and leave it in God's hands. Sending lots of prayers for peace!

  12. Emily, please know I am thinking about you and praying so hard that everything goes just perfectly today. You deserve to be a mother and I know you are going to be one heck of a good one.

    Thanks for the book recommend. Sounds like something I could really use!! I'm going to download it right now! xoxo

  13. "Please Lord give me peace and allow me to learn what you're trying to teach me."

    This has been me the past year and even is continuing now that we are on this new journey. Continuing to pray for you and abide with you, especially today.

  14. Peace, Contentment, Zen, Positivity.....don't you wish we could feel all of these, ALL THE TIME!?!?! Wouldn't that be wonderful. This post is so perfectly written. So relatable. So true. I, too, struggle with keeping my peace. Keeping my contentment. I wish I could have it all the time, ESPECIALLY when it comes to the infertility journey.

    Thank you for coming up with a term for what I, too, suffer from. Infertility induced psychosis!!!! It seriously should be a diagnosis! It amazes me how my emotions on any given subject could change in a matter of minutes.

    Emily, you are constantly in my T&P's and I wish you the best as you near your ET. I'm rooting for you over here xoxoxoxox

  15. I feel the same way Emily. Some days I feel like nothing could bother me and other days I'm just sorta there. I wish I had that joy and peace every day, I know it's a choice but sometimes it's just hard. Thank you for recommending the book I will def check it out. Keeping you in my prayers that now is the time for you :)

  16. Yes, I can relate so much to much of what you wrote. I am not a religious person, but I have found a lot of peace through meditation, journaling my thoughts, and sharing experiences (good and bad) with other women, like you, who know how I feel.
    I am wishing you all the luck in the world today and I hope everything goes perfect and you do feel at peace. Take it easy this week and I am anxiously awaiting your positive results.

  17. I'm praying for you RIGHT NOW, Emily, praying for peace that comes only from the Father. Praying that he would impress upon you in this very moment that He is in control and that you can FULLY rest in him.

    Thanks for the book recommendation! That sounds excellent!

    Continuing to hope and pray for successful results and a good strong beta in two weeks! Hang in there!

  18. I have faith that THIS will be the ONE! Praying for you!

  19. I understand your feelings so well Emily. Hang in there and best of luck in this new transfer. Hoping this is it for you. xo

  20. I love this so much. You nailed it. Moving from asking for a baby, to asking for peace. This is huge and no doubt God is rejoicing that you are giving up control. I'm doing the happy dance too!!! Love your faith and so glad you enjoyed the book!