Disoriented

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Rarely, there comes a period of time when everything I think I know for sure is questioned. I mostly like the new, the different. I enjoy novelty, new trends, new technology. This is perhaps why I love to travel and why I enjoy our proximity to Silicon Valley: I love NEW.

But I don’t necessarily love surprises.

The Meteor

I think a general feeling of confusion began when that meteor hit Russia. I hate meteors. They scare me. I think the primary mission for NASA should be predicting and protecting earth from asteroids hitting us. Yes, I am totally serious. One of the reasons I support President Obama is because I know he thinks meteors are a real threat. I know this makes me sound like a crackpot, but well, there you have it.

SO: when I heard on the radio that a meteor had hit Siberia, I was freaked. I had read that Asteroid 2012 DA would narrowly miss earth (yes, I keep track of this stuff) so this was an unhappy surprise. I rushed home and went on YouTube and watched the videos. Shudder.

The Tragedy

A week later, the uneasy feeling still trailing after me, I met with the contractor who has been redoing our basement. He told me that his main sub-contracter, a man I saw almost every day for a month, a nice guy who had painstakingly reassembled a fussy Venetian mirror that is a family treasure and who had chatted with the twins: he was dead. Our contractor had been driving to the store to pick up dog food when he saw a van parked on the side of the road surrounded by police cars and an ambulance. With a sinking feeling, he recognized the van as the one that belonged to his employee. He pulled over, only to be told there was no hope. The sub-contractor had passed away of a heart attack while driving. He was only 52. I am still dumbfounded, and sad. I assumed he had many years ahead of him.

The Joyful News

That very same day, I got a text from Esperanza asking if I was sitting down. If you haven’t gotten the good news yet, please visit her! I don’t know if I have ever talked about this, but I have been taking Esperanza’s diagnosis of Diminished Ovarian Reserve rather personally, since it was the very same diagnosis I received at the exact same age. I know her diagnosis was not about me at all, but I was so very angry when I heard the news, because I remember how hopeless the prognosis was, and how no one understood how different and poor the stakes were. Also, truthfully, I am a bit of a know-it-all about DOR. I have really tried hard to keep out of E’s decisions, and respect her very different set of factors determining treatment. And also try to remember that the same diagnosis can lead to different results. (Wildly different, even.) I’ll admit here too that I didn’t have much faith in Eastern medicine to primarily treat my own infertility because of my OWN experience (The diet and the supplements were flop until I combined them with Western medicine) so I’ve been astounded at what has happened with E. And truth be told? I feel kind of stupid. Did I not try hard enough with the Fertility Diet? Did I rush to use fertility drugs? Will these decisions be hazardous to my health later on? I’m feeling a lot of self-doubt and regret. Before, I’ve always been able to confidently say why my poor prognosis directly led to our decision to do IVF, and to do it fast. (“Time is not your friend,” I was told. After 2 1/2 years of TTC, I had not once gotten pregnant on my own and my chances of TTC naturally were “less than 2%.”) But now, I find myself second-guessing that rush to treatment.

At the end of the day, it’s silly to second guess such things. I’m so very happy that I have my wonderful twins. And that’s all that matters.

I will say, however, that both of these antidotal episodes have reminded me of the incredible importance of eating the right foods, unlike any major medically-backed studies that I SHOULD have paid attention to. Growing up, my family ate peerlessly healthy meals: dark green vegetables, a lot of fish, olive oil, garlic, tomatoes, beans and legumes. These were the MAIN parts of every repast. There was no dessert, and locally baked sourdough bread was our only treat. The twins eat the food I grew up with now. But I don’t. There is a major reason for this: I have horrible acid reflux, the legacy of a drug I took to increase my breastfeeding supply. (Was I too obsessed with “Breast is Best?” More regrets.) A lot of food is painful to digest, so I end up eating things that are the LEAST painful: crackers, rice cakes, yogurt, bananas. Nothing very nourishing. I take a good multivitamin but it’s not the same. Then there is my Matcha Green Tea addiction. (Caffeine from green tea is the only kind I can tolerate.)

I think it’s time for a change.

Have you ever gone through a period where your “certainties” have been questioned? Was it a good or bad thing?

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “Disoriented

  1. so, in a word: (deep breath) … yes. I started therapy two weeks ago. For what I thought might be depression. And I think that the ground may be moving from under me. I don’t know what’s true any more. It’s enough to make me want to throw up … and it’s a scary place to be. So I get it. Sending hugs.

  2. Um. Story of my life (said with a wry, soft smile). In a word, yes. I feel as if the ground is constantly shifting beneath my feet. Most recently we have had some personal/marital strife which has made me unsteady. That has never happened before not even in the five years of infertility treatments. Recently an acquaintance, someone and one of our playgroups, has become pregnant. It does not usually bother me but this one hit me hard for some reason. I find myself casting back a lot about choices, about my youth. My best friends terminal cancer diagnosis has been devastating for me. I haven’t written much about it because I hate to make it sound like you have cancer “it’s all about me” that’s not it at alll… But it has thrown everything into such stark relief– health choices, the role of the genetic dice, things we can’t control… This is the time I try to go back to my Buddhism.It is the only thing that seems to calm me. I am terrible at cleaning my own time. I have begun to tell myself that I must exercise every day if not for my health then to quell my anxiety.
    Xoxo

    Love

    Pam

  3. Oh lady, this post really resonates with me. I, too, was thrilled with E’s news, but also felt it as a slap in the face. Why didn’t all my efforts work? Did I not try hard enough? Was I not worthy of a baby then? It’s a vicious circle to find yourself caught in and makes it hard to both celebrate a friend’s success and focus on YOUR success – whether it came naturally or via IVF. Hang in there and be kind to yourself.

  4. Gail K

    Everyday, I learn something new that I was “certain” was another way just a year ago. I often say that I’d gladly go back to college if only I could know what I know now, 17 years later. While I don’t really regret any of my life choices, I know that I’ve definitely learned from mistakes and grown wiser as I’ve aged. And, I’ll probably find things in my 40s that I didn’t even know about or deal with correctly when I was in my 30s.

  5. Oh, please don’t beat yourself up. You can only do so much with what you know at the moment, and what you have energy for. That is fantastic news for your friend, but I can see why it makes you question your choices. But thruth is, even if you had given it a real chance (diet and suppliments and what not…) you might have ended up where you are today anyway. You just don’t know. Sending hugs across the pond.

  6. I’m sorry my news caused you to reevaluate your own choices. I totally understand and I think it’s human nature to try to understand things that sometime can’t be understood. Te truth is, everyone is different, every body is different. Something that helps one person might not help someone else. Your body was dealing with DOR but it also had other stories to tell. Stories you may not be aware of. Just like my body had the story of DOR but has other stories as well. And there is no way to know it was anything I did that caused this, there is a really good chance it was dumb luck. Just like it might be the case that the conception and birth of your twins might just have been dumb luck and not the result of anything you did differently that cycle. We want there to be a reason because that is so much more comforting that “it just happened” because if that is the case then it could just have easily not have happened.

    The truth is you worked so hard to have your children. If it didn’t happen after 2.5 years the chances of it happening, no matter what you did, were so slim. And if it had happened it would have probably been dumb luck, like me. 2.5 years is more than we would have tried. That is a long, long time.

    I also turn to Buddhism when I get like this. I’ve been doing that a lot lately, reminding myself that my anxiety and fear is all about my attachment, that I don’t have to fear that which I don’t know, that I’m in this moment and it is the only true moment, not mired by the obscuring fog of memory or distorted by the warping anxiety of uncertainty. It helps. Sometimes. 🙂

  7. I kind of see the whole diet thing differently… I worry that because I don’t eat certain things, like bread or chocolate or butter or cream or lollies or meat except for fish or pasta or cheese… that my body is lacking stuff that could help get me knocked up. I eat loads of lentils and chick peas and veggies and fruit and nuts but I just keep thinking, what if my body just needs some vitamin or something that it’s not getting just because I can’t/won’t eat certain foods? It probably doesn’t make any difference at all though. Probably.

  8. Well, if it makes you feel better, I tried all of the available alternative treatments, including massive dietary changes, TCM, vitamins, etc. etc. before resorting to IVF, and guess what? BFN. The only thing that worked was IVF. I wish I’d been able to just do IVF at 1 yr. It would have saved me almost two additional years of grief, countless dollars and tears, and two years to try for #2. Each person really is different, and luck has a huge part in all of this.

  9. Sometimes I fel like I’m constantly looking backwards and questioning every decision. Try not to beat yourself up about decisions made and things done or not done. Who knows if it would be different? I did one year of acupuncture and Chinese herbs. Fat lot of good that did me. My friend got pregnant a couple months after starting acupuncture. Meh.

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