Temporary State of Madness

Infertility is one of those things that you don’t quite understand how difficult it is until you experience it yourself.  I admit, if I had a patient just like me prior to this, I would have thought to myself, “It’s ok, she’ll be fine.  She has a child already, she got pregnant on Clomid so she’ll conceive again, probably without IVF.  She’s 37, so she still has time.”

The reality is that when I get my period, it sends me into a temporary downward spiral.  I got my period again yesterday, and all of a sudden I feel like a failure again.  All of these negative thoughts take over.  I wonder what I’m doing wrong- am I too stressed?  Am I eating too much sugar?  Am I not sleeping enough?  The reality is probably nothing.  I’ve been telling myself that we’re just starting to try again after the miscarriage, so it probably won’t happen right away.  But I can’t help it.  It’s like the quote about grief being incomparable.  Pain and emotional difficulty- no one can tell me what I’m allowed to feel.  Even myself.  I’ve tried to talk myself out of it.

I started to feel angry about everything, and unfortunately my husband bears the brunt of it.  He worked yesterday on a Sunday, and during the day while I was alone with WZW, I started having some light bleeding,  I figured it was my period, so I started feeling sad, but tried to hold it in, and didn’t tell him about the bleeding.  We had already agreed to do the pregnancy test together when he came home based on the timing since ovulation.  But when he came home, he started doing work around the house and such.  So by the time I did the pregnancy test, it was getting late.

When I finally got the negative pregnancy test and had a chance to let my feelings out, I was a mess.  It was 10 o’clock at night when we both needed to go to bed, but I was crying, and angry that we didn’t do the test earlier.  I felt like he knew it would upset me, so he delayed it.  Now it was going to affect my sleep and the following workday.  I just felt like a crazy, emotional, irrational person.

I know it was the right decision for us to move again (this is WZW’s third home in his 2.5 years).  But it’s stressful not feeling settled, and not being able to find things because they are either buried in clutter/boxes or somewhere in storage.  When I’m already feeling bad, then every little inconvenience upsets me.

With puffy eyes, I got myself up early this morning, and got WZW ready so he could head to daycare.  I went into work, early as usual, and started reviewing my charts for the day.  I got through a handful, but I couldn’t keep going.  Being mentally present to take care of 20-something patients all day requires me to be at my 100%.  And instead, I felt daunted by the day ahead, and still wanted to cry.  I didn’t want to set myself up for another breakdown at work, so I decided to cancel and head home.

So now I feel like a failure for missing work.  We doctors feel like we have to go to work unless we’re on death’s door.  But the fact is, my work requires so much mental energy, and requires me to be engaging for all of my patients.  It would be a disservice to them if I tried to get through my workday given how horrible my emotional state is today.  And God forbid I miss something important clinically because I’m not fully with it.  Since I’m the type of person who got through high school without ever getting a detention, I still feel guilty.  Even though it was the right thing to do for me and my patients.

I really want to be pregnant, but thinking about the nausea with the recent pregnancy, I also dread it on some level.  I know that pregnancy is going to have its own discomforts and inconveniences.  I almost feel a sense of resentment towards this child that doesn’t even exist yet.  Don’t worry, I won’t actually feel that way when the baby arrives.  I’m just being honest with all of the negative and crazy thoughts that run through my head when I’m feeling this way.

I am aware that Clomid can cause mood changes.  I don’t know how long they last, and if it’s possible that part of my craziness is due to the Clomid.  I’ll have to ask the fertility office the next time I go in.  I don’t want to be one of those women who blames her emotions on hormones/medications, but I do wonder if that’s why I feel extra unhinged this time around.

My husband asked if I have unresolved feelings about the miscarriage.  Perhaps I do, but I didn’t think I did.  I think that having the negative pregnancy test again is a reminder of failure and loss for me, so it’s upsetting.  It’s hard to go through this over and over again when we’ve been trying for a year and half.

I know that things will get better, and that this is temporary.  I try to remind myself of that, but sometimes I can’t handle things and it gets really difficult.  And that is ok, too.  Thanks for allowing me to vent.


2 thoughts on “Temporary State of Madness

  1. Meg May 1, 2018 / 7:50 pm

    I can’t claim to understand the brunt of what you’re bearing right now, but I have an idea based on how I felt when I had a negative pregnancy test with #2. It is awful and I don’t think that anyone who has any idea would expect you to just forget and move on in a month or three. It’s your body and mind that went through this, and I don’t just mean the miscarriage, I also mean the trying for the year before, the planning, the going to the fertility specialist, the tests, looking at the calendar and clock… all of it. The miscarriage feels like the disappointing end to that line, but of course, it’s not the end. You know this, but I’m saying it anyway, it’ll happen.

    In my case, I find that I’m extremely susceptible to the effects of progesterone and it makes me emotionally crazy too. However, I always realise afterwards that the things that upset me when I’m super emotional like that are not nothing, they are usually things that are on my mind, or bothering me somewhere deep down anyway. The hormones just bring them into sharp focus and drop my tolerance of them. They don’t usually cause new, random things to come up. Maybe you needed to express those things anyway, even if you ended up expressing them in a way you might not have otherwise chosen.

    Re the moving – for the first 2 years of J’s life we split our time between 3 countries (not really by choice). The longest we stayed in any one of those countries was 5 months. This meant long haul flights every few months, ranging from 15 – 24 hours of flying, jet lag of up to 12 hours, a new ‘home’ every few months. Different weather, different environments, the whole shebang. We felt terribly guilty about moving him around like that but had an aim in our minds to settle as he got older. That’s what we’ve just done and a month ago moved in our home (for a couple of years anyway). He has already forgotten the last place we were at and seems to be getting well settled here, which is a great relief.

    Please don’t feel bad about missing work. In the grand scheme of your career, taking some time out for yourself, especially when you so need it, is nothing at all. Although it may not seem so always, we patients realise that doctors have lives too!

    And resentment towards baby – I have the second child and on the really really tough days (which there are quite a few of at the moment with the grumpy, cranky toddler in the process of dropping his nap, the move to a new place where I don’t know anyone, our life in boxes, a baby that won’t under any circumstances take a bottle, etc) I wonder if having this baby now was the right decision. Maybe we should’ve waited till we were already settled, till J was a bit older, till my career was back on track, till…etc etc. Deep down I know, as I suspect you do, it was the right decision and I am very happy really. I don’t think feeling that resentment is anything bad, unusual or rare for that matter.

    Hugs POB. I’m thinking of you from halfway across the world (across an ocean anyway). Your hubby sounds like a good one 😉 and I’m sure he’ll understand. Look after yourself as you go through this super tough time. That quote comes to mind about when you’re going through hell, keep going.


    • Paleo OB May 6, 2018 / 1:58 pm

      Thanks, Meg. Really appreciate your support. My husband is great, and when I told him you wrote me, he said that there are some things that only other women going through similar experiences can understand. So it’s really nice to hear your experiences, and to know that I’m far from alone in how I’m feeling.

      Wow, I thought we’d moved a lot but you guys definitely take the cake on that. Don’t feel guilty- kids are so resilient, and I’m sure J will turn out just fine. If anything, he’ll be more receptive to change and will be able to go with the flow more easily in life later. My husband is proof of that.


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