Winning the lottery… one ultrasound at a time…

Oct 31, 2022
ultrasound photo, fertility support

Another ultrasound of not-so-great news and more feelings of tears welling up before I can even get my pants back on. I am rushing so fast to get dressed, so I can get out of the ultrasound room before I start crying. But then I realize I have to stop the tears and make it through the long hallway and out the door before I get out of the clinic. I have to keep it together that entire time and then I can lose it once I get to my car. 

The pep talk starts. Then when I tie my shoelaces, I just start crying. It’s not a loud cry. Actually the tears would only be recognizable to another fertility warrior, but I am crying, nevertheless. I am crying for this ultrasound, for the ultrasound before that, for the one before that. I am crying for this cycle, for the cycle before this one and the cycle before that. I am crying for the hope I had, for the hope I had last cycle and for the hope that I so desperately cling to and want to continue having. I somehow think that I will succeed. That I will make it over this mountain of despair and pain. And just as fast as the tears start rolling, I stuff all that loss back inside again, as I finish lacing up my sneakers, so I can emerge from the dark room into the bright hallway without tears rolling down my face and with some of my dignity intact.

This is IVF. This is what a poor responder’s follicle tracking ultrasound typically sounds like. This is what this poor responder’s follicle tracking ultrasounds typically sound like. This has been most of my experience during my fertility journey. I have Diminished Ovarian Reserve or DOR as we call it in the fertility world. So many acronyms! Basically, I don’t make a lot of eggs. And what eggs I do have, the quality of those eggs is not so great. This is my infertility diagnosis. And this is my fertility challenge. Click here to read my story.

When people tell me “oh you should try naturally”, or “you know you never know”. I almost feel like saying, well I do know because I had a bunch of extensive and invasive tests done and I received a medical diagnosis that explicitly states I will have a very difficult time getting pregnant and that even going through IVF is not going to be a walk in the park or a guarantee

Most people who have never gone through infertility or understand infertility just think IVF is a magic pill. You swallow it because it is a choice that you have, and you get a baby. In fact, most people think that magic pill will automatically give you multiple babies, twins or triplets! Most of us struggling with our fertility wish we could just grab a bottle of wine and our partner and just get pregnant the way we see everyone else getting pregnant. In fact, someone once asked me if I was going to try to get pregnant the right way! I mean can you believe that. 

I love when people say are you going to try naturally or have a baby the regular way. What does that even mean anyway? I mean so I am not trying and apparently my journey is not hard. Yes, I definitely want to be poked and prodded and stuck with needles daily and not have an intimate connection or a fun time with my husband while we try to have a baby. 

So yes, I get mad at those comments, and I want to scream. And then I say no. I am not going to let someone’s ignorance control me or make me feel bad about my journey or about how I am fighting every single day for a baby. So, I don’t let that affect me…anymore. I smile on the outside, laugh on the inside and shrug it all off so that I can keep fighting and that I can win this war. 

So, when I go to my ultrasounds it is not uncommon to be told that I only have a few follicles growing. Usually, three, maybe two. If we see five it is like a party in the ultrasound room! But when we see one follicle it is the complete opposite of celebration and dancing on the ceiling. Instead, we are faced with tears, decisions that are never fun to make either way for what to do right now and what to do in a few days, a few weeks. The conversations are always somber, and the thoughts go into the despair area. Feeling like a failure. Feeling shameful about my diagnosis and my infertility. And of course, being angry that I am even here in the first place. I am sad. I am hurt. And I am exhausted. 

So yes, I get flooded with all those thoughts and all those emotions from the years of doing this, from all the past cycles and hurdles I faced. But then I tie up those shoelaces and I figure out how to get back on track. How to reframe my thoughts. I tell myself that it only takes one. That hitting the fertility lotto is possible. Because if I don’t get back on track and reset my mind, I will just tumble into a dark hole and I am not good for anyone. I am not good for myself, for my husband, or for my fertility. 

So here are a few tips that can help you when you are feeling down about your fertility or when you get bad news at your ultrasound appointment. These tips are mental skills, developed from my sports performance background to help you run your fertility marathon. I use these tips with the women I help and also are a part of my online course that will help you optimize your fertility. 

I wish you will never have to use these tips but hey there are days when we are just not on our “a-game”. And whether you use them for your ultrasound appointment or some other stressful time in your life, these tips are here to help you feel better about yourself and about your situation, no matter what stage you are in. 

As always… Stay Fierce. Stay Fiercely Fertile.

How to maintain a positive and balanced mindset from a sports performance perspective:

  • Reframe Thoughts – Reframing thoughts is essential to creating, developing and sustaining a balanced and positive mindset. Your thoughts become your actions. And your actions are inevitably something you have some control over. We can’t control what we feel or how a situation might make us feel, which may trigger our thoughts, but we can work on controlling those thoughts so that when we get triggered emotionally, we don’t spiral. Click here for more on reframing thoughts.
  • Write it out Sometimes it is so helpful to get our thoughts out on paper. We are with our thoughts all the time! Journaling or just writing down what we are thinking can be powerful and can make us feel better about ourselves and our situation. I would get a journal or a notebook and use that as a way to write down what you are feeling. You can journal in the morning when you wake up or in the evening when you go to sleep.
  • Positive self-talk – As I mentioned earlier, our thoughts can shape our behavior. And the way we talk to ourselves, that inner dialogue we have with ourselves, can either create support or cause distress. The way we talk to ourselves can also have an effect on the way our mind and bodies connect and work together to support our performance. So yes, talking to yourself in a positive and healthy way is so necessary. If our self-talk is negative or anxious, we can perform from a negative or anxious place, which won’t be effective. If we are always talking down to ourselves, we will condition this feeling, which will affect the way we feel and the way we act. So, when we are going through fertility struggles and especially IVF, monitoring our self-talk is important. Having more balanced and less critical thoughts can be helpful to our success and our performance.
  • Breathing The power of breath! Yes, it works and yes, it is helpful. Breathing can make us relax, de-stress and can reduce lots of anxiety. It can help support positive thoughts and decrease those overwhelming feelings. I teach a really effective and simple breathing technique in my online course that you can use anytime and especially during those stressful times of your IVF cycle.

Want to learn more effective tips like these to help you during your IVF cycle? Follow my Instagram page @fiercelyfertile and click here to take one of my courses!

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