Sister, can you spare an Ambien?

I’m half glad that none of my doctors have ever suggested or agreed to prescribe Ambien – but this week I’m really hurting. I can’t get my brain to shut up for a New York minute, never mind long enough to fall asleep or get anything approximating restful sleep. I’ve used OTC sleep aids and sometimes they help but, more often than not, they’re just no match for the 24/7 anxiety broadcast happening in my cranium.

I keep worrying about how to approach this problem, trying to figure out whether we should try to get into one of the top 10 infertility clinics – with the ensuing additional costs – or try to find something closer to home. Then I think we need to find a clinic that specializes – or at least has experience – in dealing with our particular issues (DOR and MIF). Which could still be a crap shoot if we don’t like the RE. I don’t even have an ob/gyn I can fall back on just to actually run some new labs right now. I’m so tired of having my head spin like the girl fromThe Exorcist has taken the reigns.

I’m mentally exhausted by all the non-stop chatter. Sometimes, I really just want to disappear into a fog of oblivion. But then I worry about the potentially addictive properties of prescription drugs – to say nothing of their interference with a woman’s cycle, hormones etc…and I think…well isn’t that just the Catch-22 from hell??

These past few days, I’ve not just been plagued with the constant – and familiar – fears surrounding any DOR diagnosis. Especially in the absence of an RE, a scheduled IVF etc. But, in addition, I’m now constantly worried and freaked out about the increasing risks of birth defects inherent in trying to conceive once you’re over 35. That, in itself, makes me almost want to NOT try. I know it’s not PC to admit this, and I’m certainly not looking for a designer baby – but I just could not handle serious birth defects. Go ahead, judge me, hate me – you can think I’m a horrible person for admitting it, but I know there are plenty of others who feel or think the same thing but just keep it under their hats. I get it. I’m not comfortable talking about it with people face to face most of the time – especially because of all the surrounding issues I definitely won’t delve into. But there it is.

So I keep thinking all day, all night – about how all I really wanted was to just have a normal life with my loving, lovable husband. How we never really even talked about the whole baby/family issues because we instinctively knew we both wanted the same thing. In hindsight, I wondered why we didn’t talk about it like so many other couples – maybe we did long before we got married but, honestly, I can’t even remember. All I know is that when I’m with my husband – snuggled together on the couch while we’re watching a movie, holding hands as we walk, smiling and laughing…I’ve never felt such searing pain as the thought of possibly being deprived of biological children. I’m lucky enough that my husband loves me no matter what – and that, as much as he wants children, too, he’s fine with alternative family building options and he can live without them. He just wants ME to be happy. And that, of course, makes me feel even more guilty – and like even more of a failure as a woman and as a wife. Because while we both have IF issues, the reality is that his are easy – if not inexpensive – to overcome. Mine, on the other hand? Shelf life built in from the get-go, and with no awareness of the potential pitfalls, I guess the sad truth is that I was in denial for far too long – and now I’m paying the price.

I tried to fall asleep before leaving our bedroom and snuggling up on the couch, solo except for the rhythmic snoring of one of our fur-babies who’s installed near me. I want to bury my face in his fur and cry – but I don’t, because I figure that I’m not the only one who’s dealing with all these issues, the anxieties, the insecurities, the palpable anger and frustration. I’ll probably end up reading the rather crappy book I inexplicably got into last night just to give my brain something to focus on that doesn’t involve the dare-I-dream babies I wish I could believe we’re still meant to have. I know that, for most men, a boy is a source of pride – but, for me, all I’ve ever thought about when I did think about having children (without any sense of desperation before) was having a little baby girl…all pink and cute. I think about so many things that I want to do with our children, but I know that if it doesn’t work out, I have to learn to live without them – if not for my own sake, for my husband’s. Isn’t it funny how you can go from not really thinking about something to becoming borderline obsessive?

Of course the other side of the coin is that the constant sleep deprivation isn’t just wreaking havoc on my day-to-day activities – it also affects your cycle, your moods, the nuts and bolts of your fertility (however compromised that may be from the get-go). Which then leads to more anxiety, less restful sleep, etc – you see where I’m going with this.

To boot, my lack of quality sleep and the anxiety are apparently having some decidedly unpleasant physiological side effects – break-outs and muscle spasms that, honestly, make me just want to lie in bed and pull the covers over my head and, like Phoebe, cry out “Don’t look at me! I’m hideous!”.

So…let’s just say that if you’ve ever seen an overturned garbage can after some critter got into it during the night, you’ll have a good idea of the metaphorical mayhem that reigns supreme in my head these days…

18 thoughts on “Insomnia

  1. Girl I know exactly where you are and the thoughts you have! But then one day I realized…HEY! I don’t have to “ponder” and every thought that comes into my head; and from that moment on, every time a thought that provokes fear, worry, doubt, unbelief, anxiety, etc. I kick it out and start thinking about only things that only make me smile. It sounds simple, but it has really made a difference. I used to even take benedryl at night to help me fall asleep but now I don’t have too. Don’t get me wrong, I still have thoughts that cause worry, fear, anxiety, etc but that’s because I choose to continue to think about them. It’s not always easy to kick them out 😉 hehe!

    • You know, I definitely like the way you approach this problem! I’m going to have to try that 🙂 I keep trying to remind myself that I have so much to be thankful for in my life – but for us, the last few years have been extremely difficult, with IF just being the proverbial cherry on top. I’m trying to fight my way back, but it’s hard. Because of all the stuff that’s happened, I have a really really hard time connecting with people in real life – I’m always anxious about the whole “do you have kids” question, which is both inevitable and “normal” given our ages. But I’m also not comfortable going around telling everyone under the sun about our issues, so I basically just avoid social situations – and that, in itself, is BAD. 😦

      • oh yes the whole “Do you have kids” question. I hated it too. Before I was fully confident that YES one day I would have children because I REFUSE to let infertility drag me down, I would break down in tears with that question. But over the course of the year, I answer with a no, but then say “BUT” I will one day. It’s not always easy. I have also learned that since so many friends and family read my blog, they now understand why I don’t have kids just yet and the question gets asked a lot less. Thank goodness!!!

      • That’s definitely a blessing to have people around you who understand and support you! 🙂 I have to admit that I have a really, really hard time being upfront about it in a face to face situation. I think part of it is because we’re both on the down slope towards 40, and I feel like if I say “not yet” I’ll get either a snarky comment or laughing with the obvious implication of WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?? I keep trying to think that we’re not meant to be child-free, but it’s hard not to wonder how many others thought the same thing and ended up having to live that way…But I’m working on my “negativity” – I’m trying to turn the frown upside down!! 🙂

      • I think sometimes people struggle to have children and then just give up and accept it. Not always the case but I think it plays a huge role in it. I don’t think our age matters and all things are possible. 🙂 I’m believing for you girl! Also, when people would ask me , I used to respond…”Not yet! But we sure are having a lot of sex to get one”. That kinda implies there might be a “challenge” involved and it makes them think twice before asking that question again. hehe!

      • Awwww, THANK YOU so much!! That really means a lot to me. I’m trying not to let the whole age thing get the better of me, but honestly the way the docs I’ve seen treated me, you’d have thought I was 50 and trying to get knocked up. It was really disheartening. 😦 But I love your response, that’s AWESOME – might have to borrow that LOL. Thanks for the pep talk, I really needed that 🙂 🙂 🙂

      • If it makes you feel any better, I am only 30 but they say my eggs are the quality of a 60 year old woman 🙂 I used to let it get me down but I know that they only have limited amount of knowledge and ability. With my belief in God, I know that all things are possible. He is not limited by time or age 🙂 That’s what I cling to. I hope you have a better week! Chin up! Keep believing in the impossible! I have heard and seen too many “impossible” situations become a reality and I always think about those things.

      • I’m glad that you can rationalize your journey this way 🙂 I’m not religious, so I’m just grateful that I haven’t had anyone tell me something incredibly unhelpful for me personally. The worst thing, though, that I’ve ever heard (or, rather, read), was one IFer whose relative told her that God had given her cancer so she couldn’t have kids. I swear, I will never forget this – a perfect stranger to me, and I wanted to slap her relative silly. I think it’s great if a belief or faith helps someone – in general, in life, with IF etc – but I also don’t think it should be crammed down someone’s throat who just can’t relate to it, and certainly not in the way that happened to this poor woman. I do try to pull myself up by my bootstraps by thinking that people have overcome far worse odds than what we’re facing – I mean, in Turkey a woman was able to conceive after she had a uterus transplanted into her body! Thanks for reminding me not to give up and to keep believing that my time will come 🙂 🙂

      • what?! If this woman had ever opened her Bible she would see that Jesus went around healing ONLY the sick. He never placed sickness on anyone!! I would be like you…ready to slap.

      • You know, there are way too many people pretending to be Christians who don’t know the first thing about what being a Christian actually means. I mean – I’m not religious now but my grandmother used to pray with me when I was little, and I used to have “conversations” with God. But I really, really hate it when people use religion to mask what is really just a bad, mean-spirited character.

      • what?! If this woman had ever opened her Bible she would see that Jesus went around healing ONLY the sick. He never placed sickness on anyone!! I would be like you…ready to slap.

      • It really never ceases to amaze me how judgmental people can be. But then I try to remember that it’s something I’m working on as well – so maybe I should just accept that people sometimes say things they don’t mean, or they come across the wrong way. However, there are definitely exceptions and obviously there’s absolutely no excuse for what this woman said.

      • I agree. Sometimes I too open my mouth and speak without first letting it “run around the track”. hehe. But I agree with you, this one was uncalled for;unfortunately it’s not the first time I have heard someone say this to someone. I think sometimes people find it easier to accept if they have a reason as oppose to just wondering “why”

      • Honestly, I wish I could worry/care less about this kind of stuff – it would make it much easier to reach out, to be open and upfront about the problem. Part of it is also a feeling of protectiveness towards my husband – you know how some people can be, and the last thing I want is to worry about someone making a derisive comment about my husband. At the same time, I keep thinking: it’s not our fault and we shouldn’t let the ignorance or judgment of others make us feel like it is or like we should be ashamed.

      • I totally get that 🙂 It took me awhile to get to the point where I am at in regards to be open and letting things “roll off”. It didn’t happen over night but I am living proof that you can and WILL get to that point 🙂 I refused to talk about it with anyone at one point and I think now everyone withing a 30 mile radius knows about our situation. lol

      • LOL I definitely think it’s better that way – for your own sanity, anyway. I’m working on it – figure that if someone’s going to be judgmental or mean about it, that’s on THEM.

      • Oh…and my grandma had my mom when she was 43 🙂 She had her first child when she was 22 and struggled to have another….until 20 years later. lol! Then BAM! Baby was on the way 😉 It can and will happen for you too!

      • LOL that’s hilarious! You know, one of my grandmothers actually had children later in life too – none previous. I have this little piece of paper in my desk where I wrote down at what ages she had children – sort of like a reminder to keep believing and not giving up 🙂 🙂

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