My “Ah ha” Moment (#3)
October 23, 2018 5 CommentsCategory: IVF Journey, MS, Motherhood, My Story
Tags: IVF, In-vitro fertilization, Infertility, MS, multiple sclerosis, secondary infertility
There comes a point where we all experience a “wake up” moment after something big happens. You have a revelation, of sorts, when you’ve finally wrapped your head around a situation, can pull yourself into a clearer state of mind or direction for what to do next.
This recently happened to me and since that moment, I’ve felt much better.
Let me take you back…
After several months of failed medicated cycles and a canceled IUI, it was time to start IVF. The truth is, I could have prolonged it and continued with IUIs but what’s the point? My body literally rejected the medications – did the opposite of what it needed to do – to the point where my doctor decided after weeks of daily hormones, ultrasounds and monitoring that it wasn’t even worth trying the IUI. So frustrating.
(I should also mention that as someone with MS, typical medications like Clomed were off limits. My neurologist specifically called out that I couldn’t be on that since it could lead to a MS exacerbation. So perhaps the alternative medication had to due with my failed attempts, we tried several so I just don’t know..)
After talking to our fertility specialist, we knew from the start that IVF was inevitable so I was eager to begin down a path that could actually achieve results and not just continue to waste time. After reviewing timelines and next steps for IVF, I had that “Ah ha” moment I was mentioning earlier…
I realized that the journey ahead will likely be long and likely unpredictable. And as much as I want to have a buttoned-up timeline that moves according to my schedule, the truth is, that’s far from realistic. Things will go wrong, dates will be pushed, and disappointment will definitely occur. So, I need to prepare myself for that and shift my mindset.
I realized that…
IVF isn’t an item on my to-do list that I can check off.
IVF isn’t something I can micro-manage.
IVF isn’t something I can control.
IVF isn’t always going to make sense.
The foreseeable future will likely be…
Physically and mentally taxing.
And (hopefully) totally worth it.
So, I’m trying to prepare myself and shift my mindset accordingly. I’m trying to not think about dates or possible consequences. I’m trying to not let the emotions interfere with our lives, my friendships, or ability to do the things I like to do. Instead, I am trying to figure out how to incorporate IVF – this new way of life – into my daily life. Yes, I may be on more medications and giving myself shots, but I still have a full-time job… I still have a daughter to take care of… I still have my life… our lives to manage. Those things don’t go away just because this is introduced.
In addition to changing my mindset about how I tackle IVF, I also need to change a few lifestyle routines that I think will allow me a higher chance for success. (Hopefully they’ll also help me keep my sanity)
Here’s my plan:
Exercise – I’ve joined my neighborhood gym and signed up with a trainer twice a week. Hormones are no joke and I’ve already gained weight. People may say they wouldn’t notice but I notice and don’t feel good – enough said. I also know how critical exercise is to a clear state of mind and positive attitude. It simply makes you feel better and reduces stress, so that’s a no-brainer.
“Real” foods – It comes as no surprise that I’m going to add more restrictions to my diet and limit sugar, gluten, processed foods and focus on real foods. I do this pretty well already, but I can certainly do better.
Vitamins &Supplements – I’m currently taking the following supplements to stay as healthy as possible: Pre-Natals, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, Omega 3s, Probiotics, Maca, Vitamin E and Açaí Berry (the last 3 are all great for fertility).
Acupuncture – I don’t know if I believe in this, but I do know it’s covered by insurance and there’s a reputable spot only a block away so I’m all in. Can’t hurt right? I am doing this twice a week, every week.
Alcohol – Oh, wine. I’m so, so sad to see you go.
Stress management – I’ve been doing a few things to help manage my stress including managing my workload, which I’ve found to be the biggest driver. I made a conscious decision to not take on new work and have since turned away clients in an attempt to reduce stress. There’s only so much time in the day, and I have a great roster of clients now with a manageable workload. This is key for stress reduction for me.
Practice gratitude – Words cannot describe how grateful I am to have the support system I do or this flexible, virtual company I’ve built. I truly cannot imagine what I would do if I had a “regular” 9-5pm job – I would have to quit or hire full time help. There would be no choice. Every other day, I go in for lab testing, ultrasounds, monitoring, and that doesn’t include my MS appointments, infusions, or bigger procedures. It’s insane. I luckily can work virtually in between appointments (or sometimes during!) and still have time to drop Chloe off and pick her up from school and make dinner. It’s a lot to manage but having the flexibility to do it is everything to me.
So, I have a plan. And you all know a plan makes me really happy.
So, I will move forward and tackle it.
Stay tuned for next week…: “Kicking off IVF: Stims”.
Due to the sensitivity of the topic, these blogs are not being posted in real-time. However, I wanted to share this experience and my continued journey with MS for others who may be struggling or are in a similar position. This problem is relatable for many and something that needs to be vocalized. I know how helpful it can be to learn and hear from others.