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How to feel better during IF

Posted by ivfsurvivor , 18 September 2011 · 764 views

Through my time on IVF.ca I have found many people want to know what to do to help themselves feel better, so instead of typing the same thing over and over, I decided to put it here for those who are interested.

Here is what I have found helpful and helped to bring me to the positive place that I am at today, dispite ongoing IF issues.

Get a journal. Go find a nice, special notebook and start writing. Write until you run out of ink. Write until you can't hold the pen any more and have to tape it on. Write until you fall asleep. Write until you can't see through the tears. Write until you feel better or are out of things to write about. Write until ..... well you get the idea. Once the whole thing is over then you can do a couple of things, you can read it or burn it. I couldn't read mine, I tried but it was too painful. To see the pain I was in at the time almost drove me back there, so I have put mine away for now and write when I feel the need. If you are done with your IF journey, or just feel the need, you can burn your journal and send your dispare up in smoke. Don't do this on the computer though. Here's my reasoning behind that....1) people are more inclined to read an electronic journal, it doesn't seem as personal, than they are a hand written one, 2) if you want to burn it, you have to print it off and now there is a computer/printer in the middle, so is it really YOUR feelings you are burning?? 3) If you use a pen or pencil, but inparticular a pen, then your thoughts and feelings are flowing out of you, into the pen and onto the paper. If you use the computer, nothing is flowing anywhere, it is just clickity click.

B12 shots were a life saver. B12 is a stress hormone that IF patients use in tremendous volumes, because of the stress we are under, and since B12 is typically found in red meat it is the hardest vitamin to get from our diets in adequate amounts. It is also baby friendly. I start the shots the week before I am scheduled to start with the suppressant meds and continue to one week post retrieval, helps me tons. Seems like when you are exhausted you can't sleep, if you can't sleep you are exhausted...and around we go. You get B12 shots from your Dr or Naturopath (ND). Since it is available by Rx only it is typically covered by your drug plan and if you have ND coverage it may be covered there as well.

Self Hypnosis. You can get CDs for this from a book store or natural/health food stores. This process forces you to focus on something other than IF, and you feel like you have had a full nights sleep, for 20 minutes of down time.

Do something, anything, fun and enjoyable. Research has shown that feel good hormones last for a period of time after the activity, so you get a few hours of feel good time. You may have to force yourself to do this, but you CAN do it.

Find a friend you can trust, I mean trust with your life. Not talking about your feelings is not very female, so keeping things in makes us feel worse. Don't choose a friend that will recite platitudes that you hear everyday, but choose one that will allow you to vent and she (or he) will listen, be a soft place to land when you need it and give you hugs when you need them the most. :th_abighug:

Grieve. You are infact grieving a loss, at least the loss of an easliy conceived pregnancy and maybe the loss of a biological child. You need to allow yourself this process, failure to accept and embrace this process will only lead to problems later. :icon_cry:

IF is also more common than you think. Once you start talking about it with people you find that almost everyone either knows someone that is dealing with IF or is themself dealing with IF, however we are a private bunch and therefore think we are the only ones.

Have faith in yourself to make decisions. You need to be your own advocate in this whole process. You need to do what you need to do, no matter what the recommendations of your RE. They wanted to convert us to an IUI cycle because I only had 4 follicles. Well we knew that if we converted and failed we couldn't accept that because we hadn't done what WE needed to do to feel as though we had done everything we could have. So we pushed forward to an IVF cycle and got 2 eggs, then 2 embies and finally 1 baby. We had hope and faith and trusted what we wanted to do and voila, success.

Don't look at IF as a contest in which you win or loose. We are conditioned to believe we can control the out come in a contest, we can control if we win or if we loose. In IF we do NOT have that control. We can control the journey to a degree, but we can't control the outcome. Look at the end result as desirable or less desirable. We have no control over desirable/less desirable, therefore it is not as personal. Once I changed my outlook to desirable/less desirable, the less desirable outcome (m/c at 7 weeks) of our last IVF cycle didn't hurt so much. Was I upset?? Yes, absolutely. Was I devistated?? Nope. I realized that whether our pregnancy continued to 40 weeks or not, was not influenced by me. I had no control over the final outcome, someone else did, but not me, that was outside my circle of influence.

Remember that IF is NOT your fault. You did nothing, said nothing, thought nothing, ate nothing, drank nothing, heard nothing, saw nothing, touch anything, you did NOTHING to cause your IF issues. You are NOT being punished for something you can't remember doing. You just happened to be the unlucky winner of this lottery.

Remember that you can do this, you will make it through this process, no matter what the outcome. And you will be a better more patient, understanding person when you come out the otherside.

My :crsd: for all experiencing IF, I hope you get your wish, but if you don't......YOU will be okay.

T.

  • gibasgirl likes this



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silverdollar
Sep 18 2011 09:39 AM
Those are lots of good tips on what worked for you. I think it is important that each person finds his or her own strategies, and these will vary widely depending on the person. Writing helped me too, but not in a private paper journal, but by blogging here. The comments people contributed were often the most valuable piece. No matter what the outcome was, I would never think of burning all that history and growth. Seeing a skilled counselor who has personally gone through an extensive ride with IF was also very helpful, but this isn't for everyone.
    • Iman77 likes this
Thanks for sharing, ivfsurvivor. You have some really good tips there.

I agree with SD that we all have to find our own way of coping. For example, it's a whole different story to go through IVF when you have had success already. I'm not saying it's an easier experience by any means, but I do think that people who are still trying for #1 after multiple cycles have a completely different set of fears/thoughts to contend with. Same with those who are using donor sperm or eggs - there are deeper issues to wrap your mind around.

But, that said, I think it's very helpful to read what has worked for other people and to get fresh ideas. For example, I'd never heard of B12 shots - I'll look into it!
    • Iman77 likes this
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MaybeBaby2012
Sep 18 2011 04:10 PM

Those are lots of good tips on what worked for you. I think it is important that each person finds his or her own strategies, and these will vary widely depending on the person. Writing helped me too, but not in a private paper journal, but by blogging here. The comments people contributed were often the most valuable piece. No matter what the outcome was, I would never think of burning all that history and growth. Seeing a skilled counselor who has personally gone through an extensive ride with IF was also very helpful, but this isn't for everyone.



I totally agree...finding any sort of outlet is very helpful. During the 2nd year of our IF I sought online counselling and let me tell you, it was THE BEST thing I could have ever done for myself. You do ALOT of soul searching during IF.
Good ideas, for sure! Just take care of YOU! :)
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ivfsurvivor
Sep 22 2011 02:53 AM
Ladies, I agree with you totally on finding what works for you as an individual. I agree that those who are still looking for miracle #1 have a totally different set of issues ahead of them, however, I also believe that sometimes, we need to accept what is before us. I know easier said than done in this game of IF. Would I be so, I don't want to say flippant, but it feels like that sometimes, but let's say positive, it sounds better, if we hadn't been successful the first time around. I don't think so. Although I know all these things and have paid thousands of dollars (okay not me, my benefit plan) on psychotherapy, to realize them, when you are in such pain putting these thoughts into action is extremely hard.

I appreciate your thoughts on what worked for each of you. There are many people out there who are just starting on this journey and they are feeling lost, they need help and any that we can give is welcomed I'm sure. This is EXACTLY why I wrote what I wrote, hoping people would add to it, and that those who are in need can find some guidance and pick what works for them. There are many stratigies (sp?) and you really do need to pick and choose what works for you. Blogging worked for Silverdollar, but not for me, I don't like sharing my pain so openly, but she does. MaybeBaby2012, could you provide some more information on where you found on-line counselling, I didn't even know such a thing existed. And you are correct, you thought you searched your soul when you were younger, that has nothing on IF.

I can't burn my journal either and don't think I will ever be able to, but I do know that for some people it can be extremely cathartic. It was suggested I do that, but couldn't bring myself to that point. I did do it once when I was dealing with severe PTSD and it does work, but the circumstances need to be correct.

I hope people can take away one thing from all of the ideas posted, one thing that helps them make it out the otherside without imploding.

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