Acceptance, Toxic Friendship, and a New Beginning

Those were the topics of my second therapy session.

I was paying a lot more attention to my feelings and thoughts after our first session.  I noticed that I didn’t think about the next steps as much as I thought.  One morning I woke up at 5:30 am.  The first thought that came to my head was the amount of money that we may end up spending for this whole process (for my own eggs and then possibly donor eggs).  Thinking about that huge, inconceivable amount, my heart jumped and I was instantly stressed out.  Reminded of the technique that the therapist taught me, I immediately stopped what I was thinking, took a breath, observed my thoughts and my feelings, and told myself to let go at this moment and to revisit it again at night.  Instead of being worried, I fell asleep again until the alarm clock went off.  The technique is useful.

I shared about feeling like I am living a double life at work at times.  This is the place that I spend most of my time outside of my home and the coworkers are the people that I see the most other than my own husband.  I only feel comfortable sharing with two people at work.  One person knows many of the details. The other person knows some.  The rest of the people, my colleagues for the last ten years, I don’t share with.  I go to my appointments and have been in and out of the office during my cycles.  I am glad that no one has tried to pry.  I just don’t feel comfortable sharing the details.  But I do feel like that it’s very weird they don’t know the biggest part and struggle of my life in the last three years.

I also shared about my infertile pregnant friend, who is obviously no longer pregnant because she gave birth already.  I have included the links about her in this post.  Basically she is somebody who had tried to get pregnant for four years and finally did.  She was less than upfront when she wanted to share her pregnancy news with me.  She has been saying all sorts of things to me that are very insensitive, like asking me about details about IVF so that she could do gender selection for a boy for number two, telling me not to give up because as long as I ovulate, there is hope…  I had been keeping a good distance from her since she gave birth.  I saw her and her baby at the baby’s party.  I let my guard down.  One day she asked me where we were in our journey and I opened up and shared about the early pregnancy loss with her.  I really shouldn’t have.  So this is the exchange:

Me:  Back in February, we transferred two embryos. Got pregnant, then lost it.  It has taken me 3 months to start thinking about trying again.

Her:  Just keep trying.  Things will be ok.  Do you move around a lot after you transfer.  Try not to move around too much or do heavy lifting.

Can you see why I would be annoyed with her?  There was no “I am so sorry for your loss”.  What does it mean by “Just keeping trying”?  Is it that easy?  And how does she know that “things will be ok”?  And why blame ME for the loss by asking me if *I* moved around a lot?  Thanks a lot for making me the culprit for the loss.

I was stunned that that was the response I got.  It took me a whole hour to write back with this:

Me: You know, my embryos not sticking had nothing to do with whether or not I moved around or not.  I was being careful with my movements.  It was probably the embryo quality. I did everything to give my embryos a fighting chance.

What I didn’t tell her was, “Back off!  You’re not being a nice friend.”

She wrote me back an email:

” Yes I know. I think you are right. Please do let me know if you have any questions and I can try to get you answers.  Don’t give up. It still looks very hopeful.”

ARRRGHH.  I hate it when she says “Don’t give up”.  Hate it.

She works for the reproductive endocrinology department for some hospital and she thinks that she can get me answers from one of the REs.  I know she’s trying to be helpful, but am I really going to go through her to ask an RE a question?

Most recently she has been offering me tips for saving money, such as a clinical trial offered by her hospital, for which I won’t qualify.  She suggested Attain program, for which I won’t qualify either.  Then she tells me to ask if my new IVF clinic offers clinical trials that include meds so it’ll save me money.

I have had enough with her advice.  I knew about the clinical trial.  I knew about Attain.  I have been doing this for a while.  I really don’t need her to tell me information that I already knew.

So… as a parting comment for that day, she said, “Don’t give up”.  Again??? For the freaking tenth times!

So I wrote, “I don’t think I’ll ever.  And even if I stop, I won’t call it ‘giving up’.”

I’m sorry.  I know that I should be very loving and forgiving to my friend.  But she annoys me to no end.  She knows what to say to push my button.  The thing is, she does not even know that she is doing this.  She genuinely wants to help and is trying to help.  But I don’t need her help.  When she writes me and asks me about the next step, I just want to close the window and not respond.

She is the most insensitive infertile woman I have ever met.

I told my therapist about her.  My therapist asked.  Why do you want this friendship?  Well, because I may not want to talk to her right now, but I still want to be friends with her.

My therapist then said, It seems like she is a trigger for you.  Whenever you talk to her, she triggers your negative emotions.  So it seems like you want to keep her for later?

Bingo. There you go.  She is a trigger for my negative emotions.

I feel guilty for not wanting to talk to my infertile no longer pregnant friend.  My therapist tells me that I have to feel okay not sharing because it seems like whatever she responds makes me angry.  I don’t need this friendship at this moment.  I have to let go of the feeling of guilt.  And I have to learn to keep a distance so I won’t feel hurt or annoyed every time I talk to her.

I’m so glad that I shared about this so now I know that I don’t have to feel guilty to keep a distance from this friend.

I told the therapist that sometimes I feel like I am not missing my embryos enough…. I see people grieving for the loss of their pregnancies for a long time… and I only sometimes think about the embryos.  She guaranteed me that everyone grieves differently.  I do get sad at times and I acknowledge my feelings.  Then I move on.  She thinks that it’s healthy and there is nothing wrong with not thinking about the embryos all the time.  She said that I am not cold blooded and I am being too hard on myself.

Another take home message for this session is acceptance.  My biggest fear is that I may regret the path that I have chosen for myself.  It seemed like I had already chosen UCSF since I did all of the pre-cycle preparation work.  But in the back of my mind I sometimes wonder and fear if I will regret my decisions.  How do I not regret?  My therapist thinks that I have to work on acceptance.  How do I work on acceptance?  I have to remind myself to live in the present instead of the past or the future.  If I think about the What ifs, the worries are going to take away the energy that I have to put into the present cycle.

With these points in mind, I am working towards acceptance.

*****

Phone follow-up consultation with Dr. No Nonsense went well yesterday.

He answered all of my questions.

Using anesthesia will cost an extra $763 for the retrieval.  I remember that the online friend who has banked her embryos doesn’t use anesthesia and she said that it is tolerable.  Doctor said I should be fine without.  It feels like a needle going through you.  He said I can try one to see.  My pain tolerance is usually pretty good so I’ll try it once.

I asked him the logics behind choosing Femara over Clomid.  He said that it makes no difference.  I have tried Femara twice and both times I made one embryo.  So he said we should try 100mg of Clomid this time.  It won’t affect the lining much and won’t make my FSH jump higher.

Do we freeze on day two?  Day three?  When we thaw, should we transfer on day two or day three?  At first he said we could freeze on day three and thaw/transfer on day three.  I told him that my history shows that my day three embryos are usually four-celled only.  Is that the best for transferring?  He then said we’ll freeze on day two and thaw/transfer on day two because of my history.  For those people who have fewer eggs, it’s better to put back in the uterus for a chance to grow.

Depending on my response each cycle, it’s possible to bank each month instead of taking a break.

We’ll see how I respond in order to know if we need to add injectibles like Menopur/Cetrotide.

Realistically it’s hard to see how many banking cycles we need.  I told him about the worry of running out of resources in preparation for donor egg cycles.  He said we should and will evaluate the situation one cycle at a time.  This is what my therapist told me as well.  I said that I always feel pressured when Bob asks me how many cycles I want the money for so he can save it up once and for all.  I get stressed out having to make that decision right now.  Now both professionals told me that I can’t really do that.  My therapist said that I may decide after one cycle with my own eggs that I have had enough.  I can plan all I want but in reality we just won’t know what will happen.

Dr. No Nonsense guarantees me that although he may not be the one who will be present at every single appointment, he’ll monitor my cycle and progress closely.  So I don’t have to worry about my questions not being answered or my concerns not being addressed.

Today is ten days past ovulation.  My period should come in five days.  I hope to call the pre-cycle coordinator next Monday to have the nurse create a calendar for me.  On cycle day one, I can call the clinic and start the clock.

Friends, we are back in the game.

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34 thoughts on “Acceptance, Toxic Friendship, and a New Beginning

  1. I know exactly how you feel about “toxic” friends! It’s so frustrating but I do the same thing as you and take everything that’s said personally when deep down I know it’s unintentional and they have no idea on the impact of their words. I’m enjoying reading about your journey and your experience with your new therapist lately. I’m going through a similar journey and have had one session with a therapist after our second miscarriage earlier this year and I do think it’s been the best thing so far because it’s allowed me to step back and see things in a better light. It’s easy to lose perspective of the bigger picture when you’re experiencing some many ups and downs on this crazy infertility roller-coaster, so it’s great to read about others and feel validated in my emotions as well. I won’t be patronizing and say everything will work out in it’s own time, but I will be reading and hoping and praying that this journey has a happy ending for you. All the very best! Candy xo

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    • Thank you so much for commenting and I’m so sorry for your losses. 😦 This road is so tough and I am sorry you have experienced all the heartaches as well. Glad you’re following and reading. And also glad that your therapist helped with navigating this journey with you. Again thank you and good luck to you as well, if you are still trying to have a baby.

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  2. I am so excited for you that you are starting another cycle. And I agree that you need to just take it one cycle at a time. Whenever I have tried to plan anything in this process, nothing goes as I envision, so I eventually just gave it up to the universe (or God, however you want to call it 🙂 ). I am glad you have your therapist and Dr. No Nonsense, it sounds like you are in good hands! Wishing and hoping for you every day, hugs!

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    • Thank you girl! I am starting to get excited too! Emotionally I think I am ready. Talking to the therapist as well as the doctor definitely helped solidify the plan. Thanks for the wish and the hope! Much appreciated. 🙂

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  3. Ugh. I had a friend who did the same thing for me. Thinking back I kinda wish I had a therapist to talk too, because reading your post made me realize that she was a trigger for me. I ended up backing off of the friendship for awhile and it did change the dynamic of our friendship, but that is the way life is sometimes.
    The RE at our office prefers Femara over Clomid bc it is supposed to have fewer side effects. I only used Femara so I can’t speak for that, but thought I’d throw it out there.
    Taking things one cycle at a time, though it makes it difficult to plan financially, is probably better for your stress levels – I mean only worrying or planning for one thing at a time.
    I’m so sorry you’re having so much trouble with this friend and I hope you are able to work through it. Crossing fingers for this upcoming cycle. (((HUGS)))

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    • Yeah I have tried both and haven’t had much of a side effect. After doing high stim and low stim, I actually figured that fertility drugs don’t do much to me. 🙂 Hence, poor responder. *sigh* Yeah it does make it difficult to plan financially if we take things one cycle at a time. Bob will be about to have a heart attack not knowing how much we will need. Thanks for the support, girl!

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  4. That is one of the most annoying things when someone tells you not to give up. Does it look like you are giving up? NO! You are trying everything possible. And she of all people should know that movements aren’t going to affect anything after an embryo transfer. She works at the clinic for crying out loud! I swam, ran, power walked, had sex and whatever else they tell you not to do and it didn’t affect the outcome at all. I guess I’m just mad that she seemed to lay the “guilt” on you for the miscarriage when we all know that it wasn’t anything you did or didn’t do.

    As far as worries about future regret, you just have to do what you think is best given the information you have. I know that you pray about it a lot. Just ask God to make the next steps clear so that you have no doubts.

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    • I know right? I am far from giving up. My friend is a little clueless. Anyhow, as for the next steps, I am doing better these days. The more I pray about it, the more I feel comfortable and at peace with my decision. It’s a process and I am coming close to being totally comfortable with it. Thank you!

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  5. IMO, sometimes friends like that (unless you plan to sever them altogether) need to have the boundaries clearly laid down: “It bothers me when you say X because it makes me feel Y and I would like you to stop.” You are so sweet, trying to phrase everything so diplomatically, but she seems too dense to sense that she’s upsetting you. I like that your new therapist has been able to offer you such healthy perspective, and in general, you sound strong!

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    • Thanks girl! My friend…. I just don’t know how she’d react if I all of a sudden tell her that she has been making me mad. I actually blocked her on gchat today. So she won’t be able to see me online. I think that’s the best for now. My therapist rocks! 😀 How are you doing? When are you going to start your new banking cycles??

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  6. It sounds in this update that you are starting to get your head around things and getting to a place where you feel comfortable with yourself and your decisions. I totally support your decision to back off from your toxic friend. There are times in one’s life where drama and cluelessness are just too much to handle. Take care of yourself xo

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    • Thanks! Yeah I am getting more and more comfortable with my decision. The therapist definitely helps. My friend does not help. but it’s okay. I don’t plan on telling her much.

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  7. You could have written about Myrtle: she is a trigger for negative emotions, which is why I put the ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy in place. I think the UCSF clinic offered more flexibility, not only with the logistical convenience. I may still have some Menopur, let me know if you end up needing any!

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    • Yes sounds like Myrtle doesn’t it? I still have the Menopur you gave me last time, I think. May expire soon if we don’t use it up. I’ll take you up on it when/if we need it. Thank you!

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  8. Unfortunately, your friend seems like one of those people whose response to a friend in need is to try to “solve” their problem rather than just listening to them and being there. The end result is that it seems like she’s minimizing your problems by offering these overly simplistic “solutions” that won’t work. That doesn’t mean she’s a bad friend, but that she’s not the best friend for you to be around right now. I think your therapist is bang on. You are going through enough without expending energy on someone who doesn’t get it (although she SHOULD, and that’s the super aggravating part!).

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  9. Oh so many lucks and prayers! I am always in awe of your strength, even during the most difficult of times. But I am so sorry about dealing with your acquaintance. I don’t know if I would call her friend because of her responses. Sometimes I wonder if people just say things to fill in the gaps. As opposed to just being there.
    But, Honey, I am so excited for you and so hopeful!

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    • Oh thank you girl. Ha you’re funny. She is a friend who tries too hard in the most ineffective way. 🙂 Thanks for being excited! Let’s hope that we’ll make some embryos!

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  10. I admire your patience with your friend. She deserves to be smacked! Your therapist seems great! I’m excited that you are moving forward and hopeful this will be the steps to get you your sweet baby!

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    • Thanks girl! I hope you’re enjoying your summer… read about your family reunion/picnic… It’s so tough. 😦 I hope that you’re having a great time planning your wedding. It’s coming up soon!

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  11. It looks like you have plenty of supportive friends here. I think you can do without that particular one for now. If she’s really a good friend, then you can pick up your friendship in the future.
    I understand about not mourning embryos. I fully believe they are individuals who have every chance at life (my argument for those who say we can trash them). BUT according to my RE, I had two miscarriages. It didn’t feel like that to me when my first news was being kinda sorta pregnant but it looks bad. I mourned but not in the way a woman would who is told yes she’s pregnant. If something happened to my two snowflakes before I could transfer them, I’d be upset but it wouldn’t be as devastating as if I’d lost them after a positive pregnancy test.
    I like the sound of Dr. No Nonsense. I can’t stand not being able to plan and my husband would drive me crazy I saying things like “we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.” I’ve loosened up a bit but it’s still a hard thing not knowing what the future holds, or at least being able to fool yourself into thinking you know.
    I think you’ve made some real progress talking to your therapist. I’m so glad for you. I can’t wait to hear more updates.

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    • Thank you! Yeah about this friend. I have struggled with her for quite some time now. I think the best for me right now is to stop telling her things. Yeah I still struggle a bit with how many cycles to do and how much money we should leave for egg donation.. I know we’ll get there though. Thanks so much for your support!

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  12. Your friend sounds ignorant even more than insensitive to me. I have never had IVF, but I cannot imagine lecturing you on not moving around too much. I would not talk to her about this stuff any more. You can be friends with her, but NO infertility talk, lest you want to end up clocking her.

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  13. Definitely sounds like your friend is not being super helpful right now. And you need to be in a good mindset without wasting your energy on people who are insensitive or don’t get it. Glad your counselor is helping you through this.

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  14. I love your therapist! She gives you the best advice. As for your friend, she sounds annoying, condescending and not empathetic at all. Either give her boundaries or cut her loose. I just hate to see how much you give of yourself and feel so guilty when they don’t give back. As for missing your embryos; I think that the grief is so ethereal. There’s nothing really to miss–just the idea of what those embryos would become. The dreams and the happiness associated with those embryos. It’s hard to hold fast onto something so intangible. I don’t think that I’ll be grieving my embryo for long. I’m sad, and I’ll probably be sad in 9 months, but I don’t think it’s going to be an overwhelming grief.

    I’m glad your going with UCSF, they sound like the right place for you. I also have Menopur and Bravelle (2 vials of each) if you’re interested.

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    • I took a first step today and blocked her from my gchat. She won’t see me online for a while. I have had enough of her and I just don’t want to get upset for no reason. Yeah I don’t know.. I still can’t wrap my mind around my embryos. I think about them and I cry sometimes. I probably think more about what they could’ve been…. Thanks for the offer of the meds! I actually need Ganirelix and the trigger shot. Will probably have to get some. How are you doing there?

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  15. Urgh, those were not cool things that she said to you. I felt annoyed reading them on your behalf!! Comments like “don’t give up” really bug me because I can’t help but think… I’ve been at this for 4 years now? I’ve spent almost all the money we have on fertility treatments? I’ve gone on crazy diets? I’ve spent a fortune on supplements? And yet, I’ve still failed. How is that giving up? I’ve tried harder than most people to get pregnant! You are a better person than me, I just can’t deal with people who are like that at the moment.

    I will be thinking of you lots for this next cycle. From my experience, everyone I have spoken to from my clinic found egg collection uncomfortable but bearable without general anaesthetic. Mine was horrific, but I have severe endo and adhesions that have stuck all my organs down so they don’t move, which was the reason for the pain. Having said that, I survived it when I was awake so worst comes to worst you will know for next time if you need better anaesthesia! Sooo much good luck. I will be following your blog lots over the next few weeks xxx

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  16. Pingback: MicroblogMondays: “Remember to Relax” | In Quest of a Binky Moongee

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