Watch your step, there’s danger afoot…

The first time I had a panic attack was in February of 1999. I was traveling for work (a week in Austin, TX) and the morning I left home I was to leave Austin and catch a connecting flight in Memphis, TN to get home to Philly.

Unfortunately, when I got to Memphis, I found my connection was cancelled. Seems there was a roving snowstorm covering much of the Northeast. I happened to have a first class seat, which back then gave me the ability to walk the terminal to any airline and get the first available seat on any plane (I doubt the airlines follow this agreement anymore).

Anyway, I got a seat on a flight to Cincinnati that would connect me again to Philly. I got there after a long delay only to be cancelled again and find a new flight that would finally get me home. Well, you get the idea. I flew from airport to airport only to get more bad news. In that time, I ate little, and had about 5 Venti Lattes. I was hyped up on caffeine. I got on the last flight out of the airport (it was nearly midnight) and we sat on the tarmac waiting to take off.

And we waited.

Soon the pilot’s voice came overhead, “weellllllll…” (you know it’s never good when you get the drawn out ‘well’) “we are #29 for takeoff… hopefully we will take off before they ground all flights again.”

I just about lost it.

In fact, I did.

My face flushed, my hands went clammy, my heart started beating a million miles an hour, and my head started to practically blow off. I couldn’t breathe.

It was a panic attack. And the only reason I did not completely lose it was the nice businessman who talked me down and gave me all of his supply of Tic Tacs and bored me with tales of his sales calls as a consultant for a prosthetic supply company.

After that day, I became completely claustrophobic.

I had “almost” panic attacks many times since then. All being when I was in a confined area. The next most memorable one being the time my family and I were trapped in a hot elevator. Remember that?

So much so that I am fearful of elevators now. If I have the option to hoof it on the stairs, I will. I am still “uncomfortable” in planes. Especially the small commuter planes that only are 3 seats wide. I will myself to stay calm, but inside I feel like I could almost pass out.

Why am I telling you this? Well, recently I had another panic attack.

In Targ.et.

In the baby aisle.

You see, we still buy tons of baby wipes and bubble bath. So as much as I would like to avoid that section, I can’t.

One Saturday, S., David and I went for our normal trip to stock up. The boys were still in the Toy section. I happened to walk down the aisle to grab a box of wipes and realized I was on the wrong aisle. I was about to course-correct, and a very pregnant woman dropped something on the floor in front of me. It was (I guess) her own registry or maybe someone else’s, and I immediately bent down to help pick up the papers on the floor for her. She looked relieved and thanked me. I can’t remember exactly what she said but something like “I am overdue.” and I smiled. I turned to walk away and ended up on the baby accessories aisle to make my way out and I caught my eye on a teething ring.

David had the same teething ring as a baby. For a moment I thought ‘hey, weird! they carry the exact same teething ring as the one I bought (maybe here- even) 6 years ago.’

And then, I felt my face drain, I was hot, my heart started to pound, and I had the faint ringing in my ears. At that point, I saw S. and David with the cart, threw my items in, and made a bee-line to the bathroom.

S. didn’t notice my mental state as I walked away. To be truthful, I attempted to hide it. I stood in a bathroom stall for a few minutes until I regained composure.

It was horrifying.

Since that day, I had another close call at a store (that sells high-end baby stuff) when I took David to buy a backpack for school. I knew I had a baby gift to buy as well (and heck I was already THERE), so I literally ran though the infant section expecting it might happen again. I didn’t. But the person at the cash register was slow, and I almost just walked out because I was at the verge of overwhelmed (I could have fainted at any moment when I felt my heart pick up speed).

Can I tell you how this is so unlike me? I am a complete wreck.

I am so embarrassed to talk about it. Over this weekend, I just have come to the conclusion that Infertility has pissed on me again in the worst way possible.

I have many years of gifts (birthdays, Christmases, and otherwise) for babies in my future. My friends and family have children, and certainly they will have more.

I will have to walk into these stores many times in my life, for the rest of my life.

And now, I have this completely new, ridiculous phobia.

A blogging friend, Rebeccah, recently wrote about PTSD rearing its ugly head during her latest trip to the GYN. And Cecily wrote about an equally horrifying experience too.

The triggers are like landmines on a minefield. Always one step away from disaster.

You can’t expect to live through so much loss and disappointment and be able to escape unscathed. There is no amount of compartmentalizing… no cure. Even beating the crap out of Infertility and experiencing success doesn’t give you the ticket out of Hell. There is always that unlikely trigger, just around the corner… waiting.

Nothing guarantees your sanity. Not in a doctor’s office, in a Tar.get, or even in the safety of your own home.

Infertility is the gift that keeps on giving.

I am convinced now that this is true.

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Hope Floats


Hope and I… we’ve had a very twisted relationship.

I remember back to the days when I thought I would always be the lucky one. I never “hoped” for anything really… I just “expected”.

In fact, if we are being brutally honest, when I look back on my life so far, I’ve had a bit of an easy ride. I took much for granted. And along the way, I was able to mow down any roadblock standing between me and any goal I set out to do.

Done and done. Everything had a fix.

I distinctly remember (after my 2nd miscarriage) having a total meltdown. How dare I be denied anything? Me? Are you kidding me??

I would shake my fist in the air and challenge the universe to stop me from succeeding.

[Picture Scarlett O’Hara… “As God is my witness… I will
never be (barren?) again!”
Ok, I fudged the barren part.]

But you know what? The universe still kept on slinging sh!t at me.

Which made me even more angry. The anger spilled over into everything I touched.

And then, something changed.

I became a weepy, introspective vision of my former self. I took off the battle gear and laid down my weapon.

I gave up.

Or so I thought.

I started hoping instead of fighting. I lit candles and prayed. I begged. I bought countless boxes of tissues and cried more than I ever have in my life. I made plans and then “hoped” they would work. I never assumed anything ever again.

With S. we set a plan. Do this, then that. And if we fail, then this. And then if that doesn’t work resort to Plan X,Y,Z. And then…

..and then?

So, seriously… when people outside of this blog hear my sob story of five miscarriages and failure… often they will comment about the strength I have to keep moving forward. And I hate that, because I don’t see myself as strong. Resilient? maybe. Strong? far from it.

At the root of it, I’ve held on to Hope. It’s been the ONLY THING that has gotten me from point A to point B. The only thread of consistency throughout all these years. And then it dawned on me…

Hope is strength in disguise. Just not as obvious.

So instead of wielding an ax ready to fight, I sit here at my desk holding onto Hope.

Even after everything…

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6dp5dt

I bet you hurriedly clicked over to this post thinking…

“OMG, has she tested yet??”

and the answer is NO.

To further disappoint my readers/friends/family and Peeveme, I’ve made a decision to not buy any pee sticks at all. I’m not even tempted.

Really.

Many of you have been commenting here and in e-mail saying how “disciplined” I am, and let me tell you… far from it. The operative word is FEAR.

That’s right folks, FEAR. I am too afraid to test. If you know my history, you might understand. Six pregnancies, five miscarriages. For me, a BFP is merely the first step in what I like to affectionately call the “Pregnancy Obstacle Course from Hell”, fraught with roadblocks, betas that look great but NOT!, and ultrasounds that feel like walking The Green Mile (for my Stephen King fans).

Symptoms? Yep, the are still here. Saturday was kind of a lull, but yesterday and today they are back. The trifecta: Cramping, low back pain, sore boo.bs

Strangely, if I weren’t on enough meds to choke a cow, I would say.. “Yep! This is it.” However I do know that progesterone can mock every pg symptom in the book.

I miss the days when I could get pregnant on my own… at least I knew when I was pregnant even before I reached for the pee stick. Yes, it’s the upside of being pregnant so many times. I know too much for my own damn good.

I will give you one nugget of info that weighs on my mind. The feelings and symptoms I have this time (as compared to the failed IVF attempt last summer) are completely different… even taking the meds into consideration. What it means? I don’t know.

Take from it what you will.

For my blogging friends that DO test before beta day, I salute you. You are a brave bunch.

I am a wuss.

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And time marches on

You know what stinks?

I am growing bored with my secondary infertility label. In fact, my lack in speaking about my upcoming donor cycle is directly related to the funk I am in.

I cleaned my Google Reader today. And I am a category lover, so it won’t surprise you that of the 250 or so blogs I follow, I have categories so I know what I am looking at.

One of my categories, which was full for years is “SIF/TTC” or “IF/TTC” (Secondary Infertility/Trying to Conceive and Infertility/Trying to Conceive). The joyful part is over the years there’s been a complete turnover. About 95% of my bloggy buddies passed through this category in my reader to “SIF/IF PG”, “IF/SIF Adopt”, “Off the Hamster Wheel For Good” (self-explanatory), or “Friends/Moms”.

I have just two blogs left in my SIF/TTC category. One is a newer friend, the other… a blogging buddy who started TTC#2 the same time I did and curiously has had 5 losses as well (what are the odds, friend?).

While I am genuinely happy for all my buds who passed onto the other side (a few after a quest much longer than mine), or chose another path after much consideration, -the fact remains that I am still stuck in the same place.

And I’m still licking my wounds.

And some days I am fine.

And some days I feel like my heart could drop out of my chest because it hurts so bad. I don’t want to reach the milestone of 5 years TTC. I just don’t.

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Two weeks from today, I will be on vacation, far away from this situation… and honestly, it can’t come at a better time. I am just exhausted talking about it. I don’t want to talk about it.

So, just as a warning… my posts in the future specifically about what’s going on with the DE cycle may be non-existent, or erratic at best.

Right now, everything is fine. The Donor passed my litmus test I talked about here. Donor is getting her Day 3 u/s and labs done while I’m on vacation (we missed the window.. her consult/interview was on Day 6 so we had to wait a whole month… figures). Basically, I should know a lot more after Memorial Day when I get home. Perhaps a June calendar if we are lucky.

I have an appointment next week for another trial transfer, sonohysterogram, and new blood cultures (mine expired from the last time I had them drawn). S.’s bloodwork expired too, so he has to go in for a redraw.

My mammogram is due, and my Pap is due (which means another visit to the place I can’t stand).

Reminders that my journey just gets longer and longer.

For now, that is all. We now return you to regular programming.