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Tag Archives: Panic attacks

Head Games

11 Jul

Today I’m 14DPO, CD35. Aunt Flo hasn’t arrived (I assume because of the progesterone), and I have been spending the last five  hours refreshing the same window on my browser. The one that will, sometime tonight, show me this morning’s beta results. Usually the blood tests show up on the site at 6pm. Once they didn’t show up until midnight. It’s now 9:30pm and nada. There are butterflies in my stomach and my head hurts. I keep on running to the bathroom, doing the TP dance, looking for spotting.

I haven’t POAS in three days. I was all out of them at the house, and I didn’t buy anymore, convinced, that this was it. This month is a bust.

On Saturday night I had a freak-out moment. I don’t even know what triggered it. I was kissing Shmerson, and all of the sudden I felt like a fat useless blob. Like nothing. I had a panic attack. For the first time in a long time. In the bathroom, choking and gagging over the sink, I told Shmerson that I was done. I want my right tube gone. I can’t handle another month like this. This is hard enough as it is, so the less question marks the better.

Then Sunday rolled around and I decided to wait one more day for the beta. I saw a tiny bit of brown spotting in the middle of the day. Then the real head games started. Maybe that’s implantation bleeding? I’m still feeling nauseous. Maybe I’m pregnant after all?

So off I went this morning to the lab to get my betas taken again. After that was done I picked up a pee stick at the pharmacy and ran to the bathroom in the building. BFN. But this isn’t an early detection test. This isn’t FMU. There’s still a chance. Please let there be a chance.

Even though I know there’s really not much of a chance at all. Even though I know I’m just going through the motions and getting my hopes up for nothing. Even though I know that in a week or two, once AF has come and gone, I’ll be in Dr. Twofer’s office begging him to remove my tube, because I’d rather have one working tube than have two and risk another ectopic. One less question mark. One less head game to mess with me.

As I write this I keep on going back to that webpage and hitting refresh. Butterflies in my stomach each time I do. Knowing that it’s most likely going to be negative. Trying to ready myself for the blow, but knowing that when I see that negative test result, I’ll be crushed for the second time in 4 days. Because somehow I managed to get my hopes up again. Apparently I have a tendency toward masochism.

I’m afraid to hit “publish” on this post. It seems so final. What if I hit refresh one more time, and the results will be there, and they’ll be positive, and then I can erase this whole post and start again, announcing a pregnancy. Starting a whole new round of head games and anxiety.

But I have nothing else to write. So I’ll publish. But first I’ll hit refresh one more time.

***UPDATE: Half an hour later, and the results are in. I am, indeed, a masochist.

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The Power of Control

6 Jun

First, an update: Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner! Eggs in a Row got it right in the betting pool.  Spotting started today at noon. So she gets chocolate! Yay! Also – stop by her blog and leave her some love – she had a lap a couple of days ago.

Now on to the down and dirty business of my complete emotional breakdown yesterday. Yep. It was a hoot and a half.

I’ve been on edge for days and days. The fact that AF wasn’t showing up was stressing me out beyond belief, which made me even more stressed because I realized at one point that stressing myself out would make the bitch take her sweet time even more.

Then yesterday – the day I was SUPPOSED to get my HSG, I woke up to some devastating news. A dear friend had miscarried for the 4th time. She had gotten pregnant right after my last loss so she hadn’t told me about it to spare my feelings. She lost the baby a few days ago at 9 weeks. I felt terrible. My heart ached for her, and I couldn’t help but feel a pang of guilt because if it wasn’t for my own crap, I may have been able to be there for her more. I love this woman so much and all I could do was stare helplessly at a screen and try to find some words of comfort, which felt like too little, too late.

At 4:30 I was supposed to have an appointment with a geneticist to get the ball rolling on a chromosomal work-up for Shmerson and I.

At the same time, I was cramping like crazy, AF wasn’t showing herself, and to make matters worse, I hadn’t been able to get a hold of Dr. Twofer for days. I had emailed, called, and nothing.

He needed to get me a consent form for the HSG (at that point scheduled for this Thursday) and he was MIA. I was freaking out. By 2:30 I had tried and failed miserably to get some work done, I had broken a glass, and I was going out of my skin. I decided to get the heck out of the house so as not to subject Shmerson to my wrath, and to walk around a nearby mall until my appointment.

Window shopping did nothing to ease my feeling of being on the verge (neither did the large fries). I don’t know why, but I was hoping the geneticist would at least let me feel like I was doing SOMETHING to control this whole frakked up situation.

The appointment went something like this:

Doc: So – why are you here?

Me: Three miscarriages. All in the first trimester.

Doc: Any live births?

Me: Nope.

Doc: Ok – my lab at the hospital will be sending you Form X in about a month, and then you take it to your health care provider, and they will convert it to Form Y, and then you and your husband will come in for blood tests, and about two months later, you’ll get an answer.

Me: Um.. Ok.

Doc: Just so you know – there’s about a 90% chance that these tests will not give you any answers at all, so you may as well keep trying to get pregnant. If you do get pregnant, give me a call and I’ll try to speed things up. Any questions?

Really – what could I ask? I thanked him and left the room. I walked down to my car, and started having a breakdown in the parking lot. I called Squish bawling my eyes out, telling her about my friend’s loss, about my own stupid body not cooperating, about Dr. Twofer disappearing. Then I lost it completely. I had my first panic attack in months while on the phone with her (thank FSM that I had a xanax handy). And I just kept saying “I’m done. I’m done. I’m done with this shit.”

She managed to calm me down enough for me to realize I needed a mommy pep talk, and after talking to my mom, I was finally in a together enough state to make the drive home, puffy-eyed and emotionally drained.

When I got home, I finally saw an email from Twofer. Turns out he was out of the country last week. But, since he’s not officially a doctor that works with my health care provider (remember, I went to him for a second opinion), he couldn’t get me the consent form I needed for the HSG.

So – an hour of being on hold, three conversations with random receptionists, and a couple of bouts of me suppressing throwing the phone at someone later, I finally realized that I had no choice but to bite the bullet and go to Dr. Blunt to get the frakking form. So I made an emergency appointment at his clinic and sped over there.

I disliked Dr. Blunt before. Now – I hate his guts.

I’ll spare you the details of the appointment. I caught him up on the third miscarriage. Told him I had gone to Twofer for a second opinion. Told him about my ovulation date, my last beta, and how I was concerned about AF not showing. Basically, he said that since AF hadn’t yet reared her ugly head, he wanted me to go get my betas checked to make sure I wasn’t preggo, and if I wasn’t, he told  me to go ahead and get the HSG as planned on Thursday.

Oh. Then he said: “You know what your problem is? You over-manage yourself.”

Or in other words – “I don’t get why you bother to do your research, keep detailed records, or educate yourself on your body and your options. You should just let us big male doctors run the show. And did I mention I’m hung like a horse?”

Ok – that last part was in subtext only. But I was livid.

I clenched my teeth (I still needed that frakking form after all) and said: “Well, I tried to just let things go and then I miscarried for a third time. So I’ll just continue to do things my way, thanks.”

(You freaking egomaniacal prick).

So I left his office, consent form in hand, vowing to never go there again unless I have absolutely no choice.

Because tomorrow and Wed. are a holiday here, I knew I had to get those betas this morning.

And guess what? I overslept today (thanks iPhone alarm clock and insomnia!) and missed the lab hours. I was hysterical. Knowing the clinic would never give me an HSG without recent negative betas, I called and pushed my HSG – again – to this coming Sunday.

20 minutes later, I go to the bathroom and see that I’ve finally started spotting.

I sat there and laughed. I mean, seriously- what else could I do?

(at least I know that pushing the HSG to Sunday now was completely warranted, since I’ll be on CD 6 and probably only a day or two after AF goes away again).

I have to tell you that the minute I had that consent form in my hand, and a solid plan and timeline in place, I already felt better.

Earlier in that parking lot I felt like I had no control over anything. It’s amazing what a wonderful illusion of control a tiny piece of paper in the shape of a consent form will give you.

This is what sucks about our situation. If I controlled the world, my lovely and amazing friend would not have had her loss. She wouldn’t have had her first one – let alone her fourth. If I controlled the world, pricks like Dr. Blunt would get humiliated (ohh! let’s play a game in the comments – fantasy ways to humiliate Dr. Blunt! I’ll start with having him march naked down a street full of infertile women, and have them pelt eggs at him while disparaging the size of his Schlong – now it’s your turn!).

Ehem.

Sorry – were was I?

Right. If I controlled the world, I would have a baby by now. None of the people I love would be in pain, or I could do something magical to make that pain go away. I would also do what I could for world peace and non-fat bacon that tasted exactly the same as regular bacon. But you know, I’d start with the pain of the people I loved first. (That and Dr. Blunt’s De-Schlonging).

But I don’t control the world, and all I have is a freaking consent form, a panty liner eagerly awaiting to be swapped away for a heavy pad and some tylenol, 6 days of waiting for my HSG, and a feeling of helplessness because I can’t make my friend’s pain go away.**

**Honey – if you’re reading this – and I don’t know if you are – I love you. I wish I could do something to make this better. For both of us. For every woman in this crappy situation. But especially for you. Remember that no matter what, I’m always here for you.

PS – just in case my friend is reading this – let’s also use the comments to send her some love, shall we? I’m not naming names out of respect for her privacy. Just call her Mrs. Awesome, cause she is. So: de-schlonging fantasies about Dr. Blunt and massive love for Mrs. Awesome in the comments… Ready… Go!

Anniversary Week Post 5 – I Want My Husband.

24 May

“You can only bring one person in with you.”

It’s the end of July. I have just been diagnosed with a blighted ovum. I’m at the hospital to get a D&C. Both Shmerson and my mother are there. At patient intake that is what I am told.

One person.

I look at both of them. I know they both want to come. I am scared out of my mind.

“My husband. I want my husband.”

That’s the moment I realized that I was truly married.

I mean – I think a lot of people who get married never really get MARRIED. But Shmerson and I – well, we were about three months into our marriage. And we were a family already.

This was the first of many realizations about love, marriage and family that I have had in this last year. This first year of marriage. This year of depression, anxiety, loss, and growth. When you get married, even before you have children, remember – you are already a family.

This choice – my husband over my mother. This choice proved to me that I was truly a ‘wife’ now.

I didn’t have to force myself to make that decision. It was my husband. Of course it was my husband. I didn’t even blink.

“I want my husband.”

I think that’s been the crux of our first year of marriage. We are truly a family. We have truly learned what that means.

***

It’s November 19th. We have just decided to move back to our old studio apartment in my hometown, to take things easy and regroup after our second loss in three months.

I haven’t been sleeping. I haven’t been functioning. I’ve been waking up in the middle of the night screaming.

3:30am. I’ve had another panic attack. My third or maybe fourth that day. I go to another room to watch something stupid on my computer to try to distract myself and tire myself out so I will be able to sleep. We have a lot of packing to do. The movers are coming the next day.

4am. I feel a bit calmer. I go into the shower. I don’t even know what sets off another attack. But all I see is a dark gaping hole and horror. Complete terrifying horror. I collapse in the shower, screaming. The water still running.

Shmerson, who was fast asleep in the other room, runs into the bathroom. My screams have woken him up. This isn’t the first time, either.

He turns off the water, grabs a towel, and wraps me in it. He hugs me and tells me that he loves me. That’s all he can do, really.

A month later I’ve finally come to my senses enough to understand that I can’t go on living this way. I break down and find a psychiatrist. The panic attacks finally stop, and I start this blog.

And through all of that, through all of this – there is my husband. Cheering me on. Telling me he loves me. Telling me I’m beautiful despite the extra 20 pounds that three failed pregnancies and months of anxiety and depression have added to my already plump figure. Despite the fact that I spend half of my time a total and complete mess. And I sometimes take it out on him. He tells me he loves me and that I’m beautiful.

Through all of this – he is there.

April 2oth (wow, i can’t believe it’s only been just over a month. it feels like eons) was the first time I’d ever had to spend the night in the hospital. I was scared out of my mind. I didn’t know what was going on. Shmerson didn’t leave my side for a second. And when they kicked him out of my room at 2am that night, he slept on a cot in the hallway. Just so I would know he was there.

This is the man that I have married.  A man who has been with me through the hardest year of my life. Probably of his as well. A man that still makes me laugh, that reads this blog every day and has become a huge supporter and a part of this community that I have found for myself. For both of us. A man who takes it in stride when I unceremoniously announce to him that in a year we’ll be flying to the States to attend a wedding of a woman who I’ve never met in real life, but who I love like a sister. Who celebrates with me when another announces her pregnancy after more than a year of trying. Who emails back and forth with another, talking about Whiskey and inviting her to crash on our futon. Who gets it. Who gets why I need this space and cherishes it as much as I do.

A man that bravely stood up a couple of months ago and wrote openly about our losses on facebook, because he wanted to be there to support others.

My husband.

****

When you get married, there are always little nuggets of doubt. My brother is divorced, and just leading up to our wedding, I was kind of freaking out. I talked to my brother about my fear. About loving Shmerson, but worrying that maybe that wasn’t enough.

My brother told me that we were perfect for each other, and I should calm the fuck down.

He was right.

My body and my soul have been through the ringer during this last year. I have been at the lowest points possible. The literal depths of pain, despair, and grief.

I have also grown, and learned, and tried to find meaning through all of this.

I often talk about that. About finding meaning in this insane roller coaster of a year. Trying to find a “why”.

I don’t know why. There are very few things I know. In fact, I feel like each time I’ve got things figured out, I get bitch slapped and realize that I probably know nothing.

But there’s one thing I do know: We have gotten through this. We continue to. We continue to love and support each other through this. Our first year of marriage will always be this sad pit of grief and despair.

But it will also be the year that we learned how to be a family.

The year that we learned how to compromise our plans to help each other, and still be happy within that compromise.

The year we realized that we will be amazing parents, because now we will love and appreciate a healthy baby more than we ever thought possible.

The year that we pulled each other out of the muck and mire of loss and depression.

The year that we learned just how strong we really are.

The year that we started the new tradition of high-fives and saying how much we rock when we get stuff done, or find a healthy compromise and make tough decisions.

As I wrote these last few sentences, I started crying. Shmerson had just gotten out of the shower. He sat next to me on the couch, buck naked. He put his arm around my shoulders and said:

Next year we’ll have much happier stories to tell.

I hope so. I really do. But even if we don’t, I know we’ll get through it. As a family. Because that’s what we do. Because we rock. *High Five*

Tomorrow – Shmerson insists on telling his side of the story. 

Sunday – The Day of the Doctors: Help me prep!

8 Apr

Ok, so here’s the deal: I’m a mess.

No, seriously. I’m a complete mess. The last week or so I’ve been detached, I’ve had middle-of-the-night anxiety attacks (something that hasn’t happened to me in months), and two uncontrollable crying fits in the last 48 hours.

Something’s up.

I mean – duh, of course something’s up. What I mean is, too much is up. I think my anti-depressants aren’t working. And I think it’s not a coincidence that I started having panic attacks as soon as AF showed up.

So I decided to make Sunday my Day of Doctors. I already mentioned making an appointment with Dr. Twofer. That’s happening at 6pm. At 3pm I have an appointment with my GP just to go over some blood tests and get my mega-vitamin-D prescription renewed. So – I decided to go all out and add Dr. Happy Pills to my appointment list at 11am that same day. I’m a woman on a mission. By the end of sunday, I want to know what the hell’s going on with my body. I don’t care if it’s me being control-freaky. It’s time.

And for that – I need your help!

I’m about to spew a very long list of concerns and problems I’ve been quietly not thinking about or talking about. Once I’m done with them, I want all of you guys to chime in – I want to hear your opinion. What tests and workups should I be asking for? What am I missing? Am I exaggerating with anything? Should I just shut up? Because I tried shutting up with Dr. Blunt, and with all due respect, it just made me sit around and wait to have another miscarriage. I really want to feel like I’m in control of my body.

So – this is something I don’t think I’ve actually done on this blog before, but without further ado – here’s my whole sordid history:

Age 17 – first bout of depression and anxiety – periods start to become irregular. Go on BCP. (I think these two may be connected. More on that later)

Age 22 – Diagnosed with PCOS – stay on low dose BCP. No other action taken. Anxiety and depression still come in bouts.

Age 27: Lose the pill. Meet Shmerson. Periods incredibly irregular. Use condoms as Birth Control. Anxiety and depression still there. Still (somewhat) under control.

Age 29 – present (halfway to 31):

Because of Jewish Laws and such, I needed to make sure that AF was done a few days before me and Shmerson’s wedding, so that I can go to the “Mikveh” and the wedding would be recognized by the rabbinical institute here (long, annoying patriarchal story).

Anyway, because AF wasn’t regular, and the wedding was coming up, I took provera for 3 days to jump start AF. It worked. Because AF was irregular leading up to the wedding, Shmerson and I had decided to TTC right away (as in during the honeymoon). I was completely clueless even about ovulation at that point. Turns out those rabbis know their stuff, because the way they time it, you ovulate right around your wedding day. Clever bastards. So (I assume) due to that AF jump start I ovulated on our honeymoon and tada! Baby made. Didn’t find out I was preggo until I was around 5 weeks because I was so used to AF not being regular. I POAS on a whim and got a BFP.

Betas were normal. First US at 5 weeks showed a small sac.

I go and get my genetics tested to make sure all is well. I get the all clear so shmerson is told he doesn’t need to test for hereditary diseases.

Second U/S was scheduled for 8 weeks. 4 days before that I started bleeding, diagnosed with a blighted ovum. I ended up getting a D&C on the day we were supposed to see a heartbeat.

Anxiety and depression get worse. I decide they will get better if I get preggo again (really smart of me).

Surprisingly, AF shows up exactly when it’s supposed to – 30 days after D&C. Positive OPK on CD20. BD from CD 15-CD 21. Faint BFP on CD 27.

Now this m’dears is when things get complicated. Here’s where I share some stuff I haven’t shared here before, probably because I was too scared to think about it, let alone write or talk about it. It’s only in the last few days that this whole affair has started to come into focus for me.

So – Faint BFP on CD 27. Time to get a blood test to confirm right? Wrong. A perfect storm was brewing. It was Rosh Hashana – which is Israel’s equivalent of everyone else’s “Holiday season”. Two weeks of EVERYTHING being closed. Between that and my total state of denial I kept on putting off the blood test. I figure I would just go “after the holidays”. Denial is a wonderful thing.

But I knew I was preggo. I kept on getting BFPs. I peed on many sticks during those two weeks. Another fun fact: My anxiety was through the roof. This is when I started waking up in the middle of the night with anxiety attacks (this was every night. and they were BAD).

So, holidays are wrapping up, and I start bleeding. I call my obgyn. He brings me in that same day. He does an U/S, and he doesn’t find a thing. No sac. Nada.

He actually believes I’m either not preggo or I got my math wrong. I assure him: Positive OPK on CD 20. I’m almost 6 weeks along. Trust me.

He tells me that I need to get my betas done so that he’ll know whether he needs to go looking for that fetus. (In other words, there’s a chance this may be ectopic).

So the next morning, I get my Betas. They’re in the high 900’s. Bleeding still going strong. OB says to wait 72 hours and get another beta. I can’t wait that long. 48 hours later I get a second beta. it’s 1200. Numbers aren’t doubling. I call the doctor. By the time he calls me back I’m already passing clots. I know it’s over.

I come in two days later, he sticks his magic wand in my hoo-ha and says that all is clear. I say ok. I’m destroyed.

I don’t think to ask why the hell he didn’t see a sac in the first place, and why he’s only looking at my uterus and not at my tubes. I don’t think I want to know. I don’t think about the fact that this could have been ectopic.

Anxiety and depression become unbearable. AF becomes a clockwork 29-30 day cycle (this is the first time since the age of 18 that this happens without the aid of pills). Ovulation happens always between CD 17 and CD 20 (usually closer to 20).

I break down emotionally in December and decide to go to a shrink as Shmerson and I pick up the pieces and decide it’s time to figure out what’s up.

In the meantime, I start having a slight sense of cramping on my right side during AF and up until ovulation. Then it goes away. This happens every month. I decided to ignore it (oh god please don’t let there be something wrong with my tubes. please don’t tell me my last pregnancy was an ectopic and this pain is because of that).

I go see Dr. Blunt. I don’t tell him about the pain because I’m stupid and I’m in denial. He sends me to do a clotting test. My MTFHR says I’m a Heterozygote. Dr. Blunt says that means that I’m fine and I don’t need anything. He suggests progesterone supplements after a BFP. I ask him to do a hormonal workup (all I’ve had checked is my thyroid) he says I don’t need it. I’m uneasy with this, but in the spirit of “letting go of control” I go along with it. And in that same spirit, he doesn’t give me an US or anything.

In the meantime, I go to my GP for a general blood workup- high blood pressure and a vitamin D deficiency, and also, elevated lymphocytes, which are basically antibodies. That usually happens right after a sickness, but for me I’ve always had it. Doctor wants to monitor lymphocytes. I have no idea why and whether that has anything to do with anything.  I start taking prescription dose vitamin D and decide to quit smoking because that will obviously help with the blood pressure thing. And yeah, I should really quit smoking because of all the other stuff too.

I quit smoking. Shmerson and I start TTC again. Ovulation not monitored but guessing it was on CD 17. AF starts on CD 30 and that freaking pain on my right side comes right along with it (worse than ever).

And on the night before AF starts,  I wake up with an anxiety attack. The first time that’s happened since I started meds. And then the next night it happens again.

And the last two days, I’m pretty much as much of a wreck as I was right after the second miscarriage.

I have realized that it was all nice and good while Shmerson and I weren’t TTC, but now that we are again, I need to take control of my care. I cannot wait around to have another M/C.

I also can’t spend another TWW like I did this one. I also cannot handle being back with all of that anxiety and non-functioning depression. So when I go to my day of doctors on Sunday (in case you’re curious, sunday is Israel’s monday), I want to come armed with everything I need to tell them, everything I want to ask, and a list of every test me (and possibly shmerson) need to take.

I’ve got a few guesses.

I think that maybe – just maybe my PCOS is causing a hormonal imbalance that has resulted in increased anxiety, and that the meds may be masking that.

I think my second pregnancy was an ectopic that cleared, though I have no proof of that except the beta numbers and that stupid nagging pain on my right side that was never there before.

I think that if I have another miscarriage I may go insane.

And now I need your help.

What do I say to Dr. Happy Pills? Should I stay on the anti-depressants if they’re not working for me? Should I just detox off of them and hope that balancing out my hormones will do the trick and take xanax until that happens?

What do I ask Dr. Twofer? The man’s a gyno and an endocrinologist, and I’m paying for a private consultation, that means, everything is on the table. Every test in the book. I just don’t want him to think I’m crazy. Am I imagining this ectopic? What affect would a prior ectopic have on TTC at this point?

Have at it ladies – I need all the help I can get. I need to come in armed with a plan and take control of this Biyatch.

So – theories, personal experiences, debunkings, lists of tests, screaming at me to shut up, lists of questions – all of it. Lay it on me.

Thanks!!

What If

15 Mar

First – an update. The woman who I posted about yesterday gave birth to yet another healthy baby boy. I officially clicked “hide” today on her profile. Don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner. She has gone from “I’m not crazy about her” to “I hate that woman” in the course of 24 hours. Yay her.

Thanks for everyone’s lovely and supportive comments yesterday. They really did help.

But yesterday sucked – on a lot of levels.

However, today, some of the sources of that suckage were revealed with my monthly visit to Dr. Happy Pills.

Yeah – turns out my whole “let’s lose the patch” plan – well – not so much with the smart.

I had my first uncontrollable crying fit in months last night. And it was terrible because Shmerson is away at reserve duty and I was feeling particularly alone (luckily, Court was there to talk me down from having a cigarette and squish was there to talk me down in general). Today, when I entered Dr. Happy Pills’ office, exhausted and puffy eyed, he said: get yourself back on the patch. Now.

Then came the barrage of “me knowing betters” that included “but the nicotine is already out of my system!” And “I don’t want to get re-addicted!”.

His answer: Get the lower dosage patch but get yourself back on the freakin’ patch.

See- turns out those cigarettes were medicating my anxiety issues even more than I thought. Now that I’m clear headed (back on a lower dosage patch) all of the sudden, the last few days – the crying fits, the disconnection, the over eating, the not going to yoga, the not handling anything with even an iota of rationality – well, they’re all making much more sense.

Yeah – nicotine plays on the same exact places in the brain that happy pills do. This means I have to WEAN MYSELF OFF SLOWLY or go completely batshit – (see the last few days as an example of me going batshit. Though what you read on the blog was tame compared to what was raging in my head).

So – I am now back on a low dose patch. I will wean myself off of it slowly. I will listen to Dr. Happy Pills properly from now on. No more “me knowing better.”

(You’d think I’d have learned that lesson by now, wouldn’t you?)

The thing is, with the emotional rollercoaster of the last week or so, going from doing the happy dance to rock bottom in the course of hours, having a constant internal dialogue with myself about smoking versus non-smoking, a lot of fears have started to creep back in.

On a lot of levels today’s appt. with Dr. Happy Pills kind of sealed the deal regarding TTC again. Along with my regular prescriptions, he also gave me a script for a less effective, but preggo-safe anti anxiety med to start taking as soon as I get a BFP instead of the xanax. All areas are now covered.

So it’s official. I’m a non-smoker (now with more regulated mood swings!). I’m down to a single glass of caffeinated something per day, I’m getting stuck with needles once a week, I’m taking folic acid, and I own my very own yoga mat. I’ve got my bases covered. I’m ready to become a baby making machine.

But…. What if…?

Let me stop here and share with you an excerpt of a draft of something that I started writing a few days back. This is a post about re-framing traumatic experience, which I will most likely publish in the next few days, but with all of this stuff omitted, since you’re reading it here, and it turns out it has no place in that other post. So, here you go:

Take my next BFP – lord knows I’ve had enough trauma with pregnancy to last a lifetime. And I’m in a rather precarious place. It’s going to be a third pregnancy. If this one doesn’t stick that means that we have to start pulling out the big guns. Thinking of plans b, c, and d.

If I miscarry again, that means that in the eyes of every single doctor I turn from “repeated aborter” to “habitual aborter”.

I’m a third time offender. In California that’s a life sentence right there (ha ha I made a judiciary funny).

I’m not dreading pregnancy (well, duh). I’m not even dreading those first few weeks, which I know will be hell on so many levels. The fear. The anticipation. The worry. Did I mention the fear?

But I am determined to make this entire process of going back to TTC a  better experience.

I’ve quit smoking. I’ve tossed the OPK’s. I’m letting go of control. I will have fun having sex with my husband like any other normal couple should.

And once I get that BFP – oh my are things going to be different. There will now be a doctor that I like and trust (already made sure of that). That doctor will be forced to give me an emergency contact number, so that if something goes wrong, I will be going to him to get the bad news, and not be subjected to the humiliation of having a stranger tell me the news.

I will not spend my next pregnancy in denial. I will count the pregnancy from day one and not wait “until I see a heartbeat” or “until the 12th week” to make it count and appreciate it.

Yes I will be scared out of my wits. But I’ll have you guys here with me the entire time. And if I miscarry. If something, spaghetti monster forbid, goes wrong? If I officially make it into the three-timer club……?

This is where I got stuck writing the post. All of the sudden I found myself without an answer to that particular “What if?”. I was so sure I had it all figured out. I was so sure everything was in place. But I forgot about that last “what if?”.

What if I make it into the three-timer club?

What if all of this hope, all of this optimism, all of it gets shattered?

I’ve had all the tests that you’re supposed to have at this stage of the game. As a two-time offender.

That doesn’t mean everything’s ok. It means that everything that’s been tested is ok. There’s still a battery of highly invasive high-tech thingamabobs that have yet to be inserted into my uterus because I haven’t made the transition from “repeat aborter” to “habitual aborter”.

This is what’s been haunting me for the last few days. The possibility that this saga has just begun. That with this next BFP, despite every heart-wrenching step I’ve taken, it still will not be enough. I will still cross the threshold from “repeat aborter” to “habitual aborter”.

It’s that “what if” that is scaring me right now more than anything else.

It’s that “what if” that brings on the self destructive thought of “what’s the point of all of this? what if it won’t make a difference?”

And now – I have no choice but to just wait and see, and push that particular “what if” aside as best as I possibly can.

But I know that this “what if” is what will be haunting me for the next few months. And what sucks is, there’s really nothing I can do about it.  My inner control freak is currently having a serious temper tantrum.

 

Birth/Rebirth

10 Feb

I’ve been working on a kind of funny/kind of ranty post on and off today, and I promise I will post it a bit later (yes, you subscribers will have to deal with two emails in your inboxes today, sorry).

But something happened today – just now actually, that I really wanted to write about. I kind of don’t know how to tell this story, so I’m sorry if I’m a bit rambling.

Let’s start with 2 facts that you need to know for context:

The first, is that in my yoga classes, my instructor usually does about ten minutes at the end of just lying on your back with your eyes closed. I usually walk out quietly during those ten minutes because I can’t lay still for that long without feeling major anxiety.

The second, is for the last year or two, when I drive, or walk,  or do anything that requires me to be alone without distraction, I listen to audiobooks (usually harry potter). This helps me keep my mind from wandering, which as above, leads to major anxiety.

So today I FINALLY got to yoga – after two weeks that I hadn’t gone because of crazy work and a blown-out back. It was a class with a different instructor – he does vinyasa (sp?) which is far quieter and slower than the class I usually go to – Ashtanga. But I like this guy lots, and I was jonesing for a class – so off I went. In the car, ipod in my ears, audiobook playing.

The class was great – though I was a bit rusty due to two weeks of sitting and staring at excel spreadsheets.

Then came the last part of the class. Before the 10 minutes of just laying there – this instructor told us to sit, cross legged and just be aware of our breathing. He said something like “our body always breathes, until we die”. This sentence alone would have usually sent me sprinting out of the room, because that word is a trigger for me. But no. I sat there. quiet. Breathing.

Then the weirdest thing happened. I started meditating on an image. First – I never meditate – let alone on an image. Second – the image, was, well – it was what I saw come out of me during my second miscarriage. It was that bit of tissue  – that tiny bit – that when i saw it, I knew it was the baby.

I’m sorry if it’s an uncomfortable description for you to read.

But i looked at it, there in my head, with my eyes closed.

At the time, when it came out of me – I flushed it. I wanted nothing to do with it. I cried. I only got a one second glimpse of it. But apparently it was such a painful picture that it stayed. Though I never called up that image. It was buried in the back of my mind.

And today – for ten minutes straight – I looked at it. I looked and looked and saw that i could look at it – without fear. Some sadness, yes. But I could look.

After ten minutes of sitting and breathing he instructed us to lay down. Let our bodies surrender completely to gravity. And I started meditating on that word – surrender.

And my mind drifted on. This month – sometime in the next thirty days – I was supposed to give birth to a baby.

I meditated on that. Birth. Surrender. Birth. Surrender.

Rebirth.

Rebirth.

I am in the midst of precisely that. Rebirth. And I know it’s happening now – I can feel it. My friends can feel it. My husband sees it. Everybody keeps on saying “wow, you sound great.”

And I say – thanks. I feel pretty good. Not great. But I’m ok – you know?

Rebirth.

And I lay there in the class, breathing. Surrendering.

When the class was over I walked out – and as per my usual habit I  turned on the ipod and hit play. The words of the narrator started – and then I paused. I said – no. No. I want music. I want to hear music. I don’t want a distraction. I want to feel the feelings I have right now.

Surrender. Rebirth. Joy.

Yes. Joy.

And I put on some songs, and I hopped in the car, and I sang and sang at the top of my lungs. And I got to the house – opened the door, still singing. And I hugged and kissed my husband. And I started crying and he looked at me and asked what happened.

And I answered.

“I’m Ok.”

Conversations with my therapist

26 Jan

I walk in today, still feeling down, still unsure of everything.

Me: I’m so confused. I met with a head hunter and she told me what my potential income would be for a full time job, and for freelance and part time, and basically said that in terms of where we live, I have to take into consideration at least a 40 minute commute because there’s nothing in the area.

Her: Ok

Me: And I had a meeting at that community center, and they love me and want me to teach there, but they’re not sure whether they have space for me this year. I’ll know next week. Either way the salary is crap.

Her: Ok.

Me: And I figured out that the best way to move forward in terms of getting a film off the ground is to go for this grant along with the guy who wrote “make-up” with me – because I think it would be good to have the safety net of a writing partner and it just makes sense.

Her: Ok. So what’s wrong?

Me: I’m freaking out! I’m depressed! I don’t know what I want! I don’t know anything!

Her: *laughs*

Me: What’s so funny?

Her: You actually know quite a bit.

Me: Huh?

Her: You’ve just spent 10 minutes giving me your current options, with real, concrete explanations. This is the first time you’ve ever done that. There was no fantasy – just real steps to getting somewhere.

Me: Really?

Her: Really.

Me: huh. But I don’t know! I can’t make a decision! I’m so scared!

Her: What scares you?

Me: *15 minute rant in which I list everything I’ve ever been afraid of* Oh, and I’m going to die.

Her: None of this stuff has happened to you.

Me: I know. I tell that to myself. And then I get around it by telling myself that whatever happens I’m going to die eventually. ***

Her: Well, making decisions isn’t going to kill you.

Me: I know it’s not rational, but this is what I tell myself and then I start having an anxiety attack.

Her: (keep in mind that this woman rarely says more than three sentences per session – so this was mind blowing) You know what I think? I think that this thought is actually your insecurity  – your fear of living. Every time you stick your head out the door – that thought sneaks up and goes “Boo! get back into that dark room!” Every single time. Because you don’t have faith in yourself. You know how last week we spent the entire session talking about make-up? Well, guess what? I didn’t need to talk about make up. You did. I saw make up. I know what you’re worth and it’s a heck of a lot. And it’s not just in movies. You’re smart, you’re talented in so many ways, and yet you cling to other people telling you this rather than believing it yourself. So every time you peak your head out the door that little thought sneaks up on you and says “Boo! You’re not good enough! Get back in the corner!” And you listen. You just need to realize how wonderful you are, and maybe that thought won’t sneak up on you as often.

Me: *head explodes*

Me: *miraculously does not have a panic attack during this entire conversation*

Me: But I’m scared. I’m scared that if I’m happy I’ll die.

Her: I promise you you are no more likely to die than the rest of us.

Me: *bawling. still no panic attack*

Holy jeez guys – I think the zoloft is starting to work. (not to mention that my therapist is a brilliant and amazing lady)

 

***this is the first time I’ve voiced this in writing, and maybe only the third time I’ve expressed it out loud in any way.Simply writing it out is making me anxious. But no panic attack, so progress!

The Pros and Cons of “I don’t know”

25 Jan

Is this my new normal?

I’ve been really down these last few days, and I’ve been trying to figure out why. I’m sure increased zoloft has something to do with it, as well as things I’ve mentioned in my last few blog posts, but there’s more to it than that.

I may be revealing a bit too much of my crazy here – but sometimes I look around and say to myself: You are 30 years old. You have been married to Shmerson for 7 months. You’ve had 2 miscarriages. Your name is…

Seriously, it gets down to me telling myself my name. Then I have an anxiety attack.

I’m happily married, healthy (relatively), financially ok (again, relatively – could be better), I have wonderful friends, and I love my family.

And yet, when I lay these facts out in front of me I feel scared.

I’ve been trying to remember whether this kind of stuff happened before I started the pills. It did. It happens less often now. But I think it happens for the same reasons.

These last few days I’ve been freaking out, because of the career stuff I’ve been trying to get moving. I keep on getting asked “where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

I keep on making up bullshit answers. In my head I keep on saying “I don’t know.”

You guys have to understand – that is not normal for me.

At age 12 I declared loudly that I want to be a director. I had my life planned out down to the smallest detail. I had an oscar speech memorized. I was set.

Then I woke up one morning in October of 2010, in the middle of losing a second baby, and I looked around and didn’t understand how the hell I got here.

Up until 3 months ago, I never took more than 24 hours to make any big life decision. Can you imagine that? I always KNEW. It was always solid. I was always sure. `Move across the ocean? Sure! Drown yourself in debt for grad school? Easy! Move back across the ocean? OK!

Now I can’t go to a restaurant without spending 15 minutes debating whether I want fries or mashed potatoes.

My initial theory of course is that this is a healthier way of being. “Knowing” led me to a state of stagnation, because I couldn’t reconcile my “grand plan” with real life.

But my god – this is freaking me the hell out.

I used to manage my anxiety by planning. By KNOWING. And now, I don’t know.

I don’t fucking know.

I can’t see farther ahead than a few months, a year at most. and that freaks me the hell out.

and even that’s unclear. I can get pregnant easy enough – so let’s assume shmerson and I start TTC in March. I will, if past experience is any indication, have a BFP by april or may.

But then what? what if I miscarry early? What if something else goes wrong later in the pregnancy? What if something goes wrong with giving birth? What if I have a healthy child? How the heck am I going to support it if I don’t know what to do with my life?

I don’t fucking know.

Part of being depressed is a sense of hopelessness. I swing between that and hope on an hourly basis.

I now understand the importance and the consequences of my decisions. I understand that they can lead to me fucking bleeding in the bathroom losing a second baby, or collapsing screaming in the shower at 4 in the morning because I’m in the middle of an unbearable panic attack.

So I don’t decide.

I don’t fucking know.

And frankly, I don’t know which one is scarier.

Honey – is it normal to just – listen to the radio?

28 Dec

Hi there Zoloft!

Thanks for kicking in. Took you a while.

The hubby and I were driving to tel aviv today. At one point I asked him – well, you can tell from the title of this post what I asked him.

Hubby: What?

Me: You know – like, sometimes, is it normal to just sit and listen to what people on the radio are saying and not think of other things at the same time as you’re listening to them?

Hubby: Um, yeah….

Hi me! Welcome to normal.

I described it to a friend of mine today. It’s as if for 13 years (!) someone has been telling me that the sky is green, and one day I just stick my head out the window and open my eyes and the sky is… blue.

Mind you, being the control freak that I am – I didn’t completely embrace it. In fact, it freaked me out. Think about it like this – if for thirteen years you had a buzzing in your ear, it would become something that you’re used to. And perhaps – when that buzzing disappeared, you’d think something went wrong with your hearing.

IT IS SO FREAKIN’ WEIRD!!

I had a few moments where the anxiety was in the back of my mind (at this point purely the psychological type) and was telling me – panic attack! you should be having a panic attack!

And I admit it came close to it – but in the end, I was fine. I am fine so far.

I actually had fun today. For the first time since my honeymoon six months ago – I had fun.

I guess I just need to get used to this new normal.

Weird!

The horses are coming so you better run

28 Dec

Happiness hit her like a train on a track
Coming towards her stuck still no turning back
She hid around corners and she hid under beds
She killed it with kisses and from it she fled
With every bubble she sank with her drink
And washed it away down the kitchen sink

The dog days are over
The dog days are done
The horses are coming
So you better run

Run fast for your mother, run fast for your father
Run for your children, for your sisters and brothers
Leave all your love and your longing behind
You cant carry it with you if you want to survive

The dog days are over
The dog days are done
Can you hear the horses?
Because here they come

-From “Dog Days Are Over” by Florence and the Machine

After my second miscarriage, I felt numb. Then I put this song on a loop and finally broke down crying in a way that I hadn’t done before (but have done many times since).

I didn’t think about why those lyrics hit me so hard at the time. Now I think I kind of get it.

The song – at least for me – is about a woman running away from her happiness because she is so afraid of the pain she would have if she lost it.

Shutting herself off from everything she loves, because she is afraid to be hurt.

“Happiness hit her like a train on a track.”

I think that’s how I feel when I’m at my most anxious. Afraid of happiness. Running away from it.

I have been for a long time.

I remember way back when I was 20 – Alanis Morissette came out with her second album – an album which I love to this day. And there was a line in “Thank You” that made me react the same way:

“How about not equating death with stopping”

Have I been running for that long?

That’s a scary thought.

Anxiety and fear are my way to keep control. I think the reason I’ve been struggling so much over the last months is that I am starting to realize that I am tired of running. That I may be ready to accept happiness in my life in longer bursts, and perhaps finally deal with the losses I’ve had in my life.

Not just my miscarriages.

I have never let myself grieve for anything or anyone. So now I am making up for decades of not grieving.

I still have grief for my two lost babies.

I still have grief for Ran Baron, who I loved and was lost in a suicide bombing in 2003. I was 23.

I still have grief for my amazing grandparents, who were lost in a car accident when I was 19.

I still have grief for my innocence, which was lost to date rape. I was 14.

And now it washes over me. All at once. 16 years of grief and pain, masked by anxiety and my constant need to run.

I can’t say that “the dog days are over” for me quite yet. Hopefully this time when they are, I’ll choose to stay still.

I am so incredibly sick of feeling this way

26 Dec

Today was a two xanax day. The first because I was nervous to find out the blood test results, and the second was because I met a up with a friend and any and all talk about the future became completely overwhelming (I have more to post about this meet-up, but will do it another time).

I called my mom and told her that my B12 levels were within the norm. Then I started crying.

Yep – this means that I need to find medication that works for me. This means that there isn’t a magical answer and cure for what ails me.

I also called my aunt and cried to her for a while.

They both said basically the same thing;

Just snap out of it. Everything is fine. You’re driving yourself up the wall. Get over it – start taking care of yourself and you’ll be ok. You’re exaggerating. Calm down.

Well – thank you so much for that! I just need to snap out of it! Of course! How did I not think of that sooner? I mean *snap!* here we go! I’m all better! Thanks for the great advice mom and aunt!

I know they meant well. I don’t blame them. I just… well, I just can’t seem to do it.

I so want to not feel this way anymore. I so want to have energy, and to function and to feel ambition and hope constantly – not just in sporadic waves.

But I don’t. I’m not. And it sucks. And I want it to stop sucking.

Please oh please can things stop sucking now?

Musings on Anxiety, Depression, Peace, and Patience

23 Dec

When I don’t know where to start I go chronologically – so please, bear with me. This may be long. Buckle up, make yourself a cup of tea or something.

So I don’t know if it’s the zoloft that’s still kicking in or what, but yesterday was an awful, awful day.

I’ve been trying to avoid taking the xanax (huge mistake) and I spent all morning anxious and detached.

And then things just got worse. I spoke to the psychiatrist and he said (very wisely) if you feel bad, just take it. It’s ok. So I did. the anxiety stopped – sort of, but then a whole other flood of emotions came rushing in.

On Monday night Schmerson and I had a long talk – and at the end of it I “made a decision” that I should stop working for my father, because it’s not good for me emotionally.

Yeah – apparently making big decisions when you’re emotionally unstable  – um, well, that in itself is a bad decision. The whole thing just made me tailspin into a whole new set of confusion.

So I thought yesterday would be a good day. I went to tel aviv and made plans with friends, thinking that would make me feel good. After the xanax, I was in the car on the way to pick up my best friend (same one I saw on friday). Since we don’t use names let’s just call her “Squish” because that’s my nickname for her…

So I pull over to pick Squish up and for some reason I just – collapse. Crying uncontrollably. An absolute mess.

Squish takes control of the situation. She drives us to a coffee shop and I bawl and bawl and bawl.

“Why don’t I have any hope?”

“What’s become of me?”

“I used to be such a strong ambitious person with so many dreams and hopes – what the fuck happened?”

Squish really tried her best to calm me down. And it kind of worked, but on the inside I was still more or less a gaping black hole. No hope. No joy. Emptiness and fear.

Had I had the strength to write a blog entry at that point it would have been titled “Wanted: hope”.

I’ve had bouts of depression before. I’m more of an anxiety person but I know what depression is. Yesterday was beyond depression. It scared the living daylights out of me.

What finally made me sort of calm down was a conversation I had with my brother. He’s six years older than me and we’re incredibly close. I think he understands me better than I understand myself.

He said:

Calm down.

What’s happening to you is that you spent over a decade being a careerist with buttloads of ambition, and now you all of the sudden don’t want that as much. Now you want a family and you don’t know where to place your ambitions in that framework. On top of that you suffered a loss. It’s overwhelming, but it’s not the end of the world.

He reads this blog. He thinks I’m making a mistake by obsessing over wanting another baby so fast.

He said he thinks I need to heal my body and my soul. I may think I’m ready for a baby but right now – well, I’ve got to get my shit together before doing anything else.

I hated hearing that. Knowing that he’s right made it even harder to hear. But he is right. I need to heal. The problem is I don’t know how long it will take and that is and will most likely continue to drive me crazy.

But I am overweight, I’m depressed, I’m confused about my future, and I smoke. That does not a good baby-vessel make.

So fast forward to today.

A small caveat before I go into the rest of this story: I am not a spiritual person. Not even close to it. I’m a cynical skeptic – which probably doesn’t help my anxiety. I lack any sense of spirituality. I wish I had it. I just don’t.

And I started yoga last week.

Talk about skeptical. Yoga always made me think of froofy chicks with dreadlocks who go on month long treks to india and eat lots of curry. I hate curry.

But – something inside me made me think that yoga may be a good place to start getting re-acquainted with my body so I can take better care of it.

So I signed up for an intro course – once a week on wednesdays. Today was the second class. The instructor – an incredibly sweet guy – not only takes us through the moves and positions, he also explains why they are done, and the connection between the mind and the body.

He doesn’t go into anything truly spiritual. He just points out how easily our head clears when we pay attention only to our breathing and movements.

At the end of the class today we sat down and he started talking about the way the mind moves around from one thing to another, and how yoga can be a tool to inner peace by clearing the mind.

I know – it sounds froofy when I write it. But he really does have a point. When I was moving from position to position and paying attention to my breathing my mind was clear. I was calm. which is sooo incredibly rare lately, it’s pretty amazing.

So the yoga instructor said three things that just hit a nerve with me.

The first was this:

“I want a motorcycle. I want it very badly. When I finally get a motorcycle – I will be incredibly happy. Why do you think that is?”

we answered: “because you finally have it?”

He said: “No – because I no longer want it. It’s the relief of no longer obsessively desiring something that causes the happiness – not the fulfillment of that desire.”

The second thing he said:

“When you see a child going through turmoil you embrace the child. why do you scold yourself and when you go through the same? You need an embrace just as much as that child does.”

The third:

“My mind races all of the time. I don’t always know who I am but I use yoga as a way to rule out what I am not. I am not my fear. I am not my stress. I am not my anger.”

By the end of that little talk I was blubbering.

Which I must say is rather embarrassing in front of ten people who I only met last week.

But my god – that man hit a nerve. More than one actually.

Allow me to work my way backwards and again, I apologize that this post is so long.

I am not my fear. I need to remember that. I have spent months consumed by anxiety. So much so that it has become the only thing that defines me.

Yeah – I should stop that.

Embracing myself: I keep on saying that I need to be better! And Now! I need to make decisions and move forward immediately! I am so hard on myself for not being ok. It’s like the xanax. If I need to take it for a little while I need to look at it as an embrace – not a defeat. Why torture myself when I have a way to make myself feel better?

And now the most important thing that I took from what he said:

I want to be happy that my child will be born because I have a child, not because the obsessive desire is gone.

Does that make sense?

I’m an incredibly impatient person. If I didn’t have some restraint, I’d already be trying to get pregnant again – despite everything being so incredibly chaotic.

How terrible and irresponsible is that?

It’s awful.

On one hand, I really and truly want a child. On the other – I really and truly need to heal and bring some stability into my life.

I also need to start moving on. If I want to heal, I need to stop mourning for the person that I was before the loss.

I need to stop mourning. Period. (And this is not from a place of impatience this time – at least I don’t think it is).

It’s not that I can just wave a magic wand and no longer have incredible sadness over the loss of my babies.

However, I can change the way I channel it.

So I am officially changing the direction of this blog. I am now going to try and make it about healing myself. Embracing myself, so to speak. Figuring out my direction in life, and making myself whole again.

I truly believe that would be a far healthier use for this blog.

I will still allow myself to mourn when needed.

To talk about the miscarriages when needed.

But I want to start talking about healing.

I want a child. And I want to be happy when that child comes for the child itself – not because the obsession has cleared from my mind.

It’s going to take more patience and self-embrace than I’ve had – well, ever. But I think it’s time I do things right for a change.

Yoga – go figure.

 

Yesterday really sucked

22 Dec

I don’t know why exactly a breakdown happened, but the whole day was a complete and total mess. I felt like I was falling apart at the seams. By the time I got home all I could do was go to sleep.

It was a one advil, one zoloft, two xanax day with a whole lot of revelations.

I’ll try to write more later once I’ve processed it all.

The weird and wonderful world of expressing yourself

18 Dec

I’ve always considered myself an artist. I know that sounds pretentious, but I have. Up until a few years ago I’d used painting, writing and video to basically “puke” up all of the messed up crap that I went through in life. I’ve had some loss, and some tragedy and I used to use art to work through it. but some stuff happened to me a few years back that sort of clogged all of that up.

I won’t go on a long rant about what happened, but the bottom line is that the second I started turning my art form (film, in this case) into my chosen career (or at least attempting to do that), that art was no longer an outlet for me. In fact, it wasn’t really art anymore.  And, somewhere along the way, things got even worse.

I stopped telling people things. As in – important things

It wasn’t all the time mind you. I still spoke to friends about dilemmas, sadness, and crisis…

But some things basically remained unsaid. And those were the worst and darkest things. I was afraid to say them out loud. I was afraid because I thought that just the act of saying them would bring on a panic attack. Just saying them would literally kill me.

I was never a big supporter of pills but now I totally understand why they do help. Why sometimes, they are the only way a person can finally “puke” all of their crap out into the open.

It may be cliche’, but at the end of the day – admitting your pain, and having it acknowledged by those around you really can be the beginning of making things better.

And if you’re so overwhelmed by panic and fear that you can’t say it out loud – well, then it eats at you. It can destroy you from the inside-out.

Today I met up with my best friend. I hadn’t seen her for a while because, well, she’s an incredibly wonderful and incredibly busy person who works full time to put herself through school. I don’t know how she finds the strength to work as hard as she does at everything she does and I adore her for it – but that discussion is for another time.

So after a rather long and deep conversation i finally said something out loud:

I lost two babies.

she immediately started to counter the usual “comfort” in this situation: ” well, they weren’t really…”

I cut her off. I know she meant well, but still.

I lost two babies.

It doesn’t matter if the first wasn’t really a fetus -just an empty sac. It doesn’t matter that the second didn’t make it past the 6 week mark.

For me – they were babies. No matter what medicine and science say. They were babies.

The moment you find out you’re pregnant, no matter how much trepidation you have, you start building a fantasy. the Labor, the nighttime feedings, the name. the color of his or her hair. Their smell.

I would find myself putting my hand on my stomach and talking to both of them quietly, when no one was looking. And they were both  girls, by the way.

With baby girl 1 the first time we spoke was when I was out walking the dog. I started thinking about how our little puppy would adjust to having a new little sister. It was really a beautiful breezy night out and I was feeling incredibly content. I stopped, looked up at the sky – and took a deep breath. I put my hand on my stomach and said: I love you. I want you to know that I already love you.

No matter what the doctors say. No matter what science says. for me I had two little girls. And I loved them both.

You know, I don’t consider myself a spiritual person. I’m pretty much a skeptic when it comes to well – everything.

But at times, I can’t help but think that both of them were actually the same girl. She popped in for a while – you know – to see if I was ready to welcome her. To see if she was ready to take on the challenge of being my daughter. She had a look around, and saw quite a bit of chaos.

She hung around for a bit – just to see if maybe she just happened to pop in on the wrong day.

And then, after a while she said to herself “Nope – not yet”. And she decided she would wait just a little bit longer.

On days when I feel optimistic I think to myself: I have to prove it to her. I have to make everything perfect so that the next time she comes, she will decide that it’s time to stick around and let me raise her and love her.

Well – maybe not everything needs to be perfect. But things definitely need to be calm. and mostly on the inside.

Panic attacks did not start with the first or second miscarriage. I have been broken for a very long time. Now it’s time I start fixing things, so it’s time I say things out loud. things I have always been afraid of saying those things that scare me the most. And maybe finally having the ability to say them will help the storm inside me clear just enough so that when my baby comes back in to visit, she will decide to stay.

Chapter 14: bless you, xanax

17 Dec

And 14 posts in, we are up to yesterday. I go to the shrink, and he gives me this lovely little pill. And for the first time in months I feel calm.

It’s just for the next couple of weeks, until the Lustral/zoloft kicks in, but my god – clarity is a good thing. I am functioning, I can concentrate. I can eat again (which may or may not be a good thing!).

I keep on poking around in my mind looking for a panic attack. Sometimes I find the beginning of one. Sometimes I don’t, but that’s progress.

Yesterday I even managed to speak to my psychologist about being creative again.

You know – looking at this objectively dear reader, whomever you are, you may think I’m nuts. You may think it’s a cop-out to take pills to deal with my crap.

Heck – I feel that way sometimes.

But a friend once told me that pills are a bridge to help you step from darkness into the light. And lord knows, I need that bridge.

Chapter 13: 5 days of panic

17 Dec

So on day one of the pills I felt good. Mostly because I was happy that I finally took a step. My friends were proud of me, my husband was proud of me, bla bla bla.

then on day two things started getting weird. I was feeling restless and jittery. i couldn’t concentrate. I was panicky. All the time. $h*t was bad.

And it kept getting worse and worse. All I wanted to do was sleep. I had absolutely no appetite (which, for those who know me – is WEIRD!)

Things were just messed up.

Two days ago I snapped once again. I had a project to do and I couldn’t keep it together. I was literally feeling like I was losing it. Finally I called a friend who had some experience with this and she told me to call the shrink. this is not normal.

See – I have a tendency not to ask for help. To “tough it out”. She was yelling at me “ASK FOR HELP!” And my poor husband, who is incredibly sane and sensible, had no idea what to do with me. If I was a wreck before, now I was the shards of the shards of the dust that you find after you clear the wreckage out.

So back to the shrink I went.

Chapter 12: Happy pills?

16 Dec

I spend two weeks feeling like a person who’s learning to drive stick but keeps on throwing the clutch.

some background: I basically make my living doing freelance content work. Web, cellular, that kind of stuff. On occasion I try to get a film off the ground, but my self confidence in that area has been shot for quite some time.

So I work from home. This may sound like fun, but trust me – it is not.

The two weeks after the move are spent with me trying to get projects off the ground, procrastinating, not sleeping, watching lots of mindless downloaded programming, having panic attacks, and falling into a detached stupor.

What I wrote above was basically an accurate description of every single day.

10 days ago I had enough.

I’ve been thinking about going on anti-depressants for quite some time. I always resisted. And now I want to have a baby, so how the heck can I even consider it. I barely even take advils. so anti-depressants? Me? Really?

Well, three panic attacks per day and an average of 3 hours of sleep per night are apparently my limit.

That and the fact that I was feeling stuck. Unable to function. Trying to drive a stick and throwing the clutch at every hill.

10 days ago I decided that enough is enough.

I knew I may change my mind in a split second. So I told my husband. I told my best friends. I told my mom. I told my psychologist. I told my brother. Everyone except my dad because he wouldn’t understand.

Luckily my dad is not the blog-reading type.

I made an appointment with a psychiatrist. He just had a cancellation the next day. So on Thursday December 9th I spent an hour in an office describing a decade of anxiety and depression. and the two months of utter hell that I have just been through. He prescribes Lustral – for you americans – AKA Zoloft.

He says it should be safe if I get pregnant. It’s time to stop the suffering. But there’s a catch:

I have an anxiety disorder. And that means that with the pills, it will most likely get worse before it gets better.

I can handle that, right…?

Chapter 11: Breaking point

16 Dec

We move.

For about 3 days I’m starting to feel content. Picking up some of the pieces. Some. Slight optimism. But no. I’m still not doing well. Panic attacks. Insomnia.

I am not functioning. I haven’t been functioning for months.

I lost two babies. Nothing makes sense anymore.

I go to a new OBGYN. I like this guy. He’s sympathetic. he’s sweet. I think he and I will get along just fine.

Next stop: hemotologist (how the heck do you spell that?) to check why the heck this keeps on happening.

I feel better for two days.

And then – not.

Every time I scrape my way up a wall I slide right back down.

I am stuck. Everything is stuck. I am shattered.

Chapter 10: Panic

16 Dec

I’ll detach emotionally for a second so I can give a little background. I’ve had anxiety attacks more or less since the age of 17. I also sometimes have long periods of depression.

Usually these things are manageable. I always find a way to crawl out of it. Some therapy – a new project – something always brings me out of it. I always find the strength.

I’ve had panic attacks before, but the week leading up to our move back to haifa brings on Horror attacks. there is no other way to describe it. Sheer terrifying screaming I-am-going-to-die horror.

Don’t worry. It won’t last. Just get through the move. Then things will be better.

I am lost. I don’t know who I am. I don’t know what I want. I don’t know where I’m going.

I am in a million little pieces.

A mentor and hero of mine suggests I write a love letter to my dead babies. She means that I do it through video – my medium. I am after all a filmmaker, right? Right. Maybe. I don’t know what I am.

So I just write them a love letter. A letter in which I tell them how sorry I am that I am not a whole enough person to keep them in my body.

I am in a million little pieces.

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