Looking Through Spring Colored Glasses
Spring colored glasses.
I've decided to put them on today.
I'm going to share some pictures that I've taken in the last two days and let them take the place of a thousand words.
Spring Flowers in the Fertile World
Lisa Rosenthal's Google+
Reproductive Endocrinologists and Meteorologists Are More Similar Than You Think
Storm Nemo came and came and came and just when we thought it was over, it came some more. You may have been one of those folks who got less than predicted by meteorologists. I was not. We got it full blast. It's gorgeous. The forces of nature hit full on, here in Brookfield CT. I love the snow. And I did not lose power, phone or heat. We had plenty offood and were warm and cozy as the storm raged around us.
The weather forecasters have been so right on target for the last several years. Have you noticed that? I did, with storm Nemo. The snow so high that opening the door was a struggle. And that shoveling out was necessary for the dog to be able to wade through to the yard.
The meteorologists have been right when they predict snowstorms, hurricanes, tornadoes, tropical storms and they are right when they predict the sun shining through the clouds. They have been right a lot. Not every single time, not the exact amount of a snowfall or when it will land. Or exactly when it will start or stop. But right so much of the time that very rarely do I make fun of the school closings before a single snowflake falls anymore.
They are right when they predict challenging weather conditions and they have been right about predicting stay outside all day conditions. They were right last summer when I was trying to decide which day to join friends to go swimming. The sun was out and beautiful all day, long into the evening. They were right in the fall when it was time to go and pick out a pumpkin or to go raspberry picking. Yes, in the last several years, I've had renewed respect for our sometimes maligned weather forecasters and meteorologists.
Why Are Reproductive Endocrinologists Like Meteorologists?
Infertility and fertility treatment. What on earth does the weather have to do with fertility treatment? Board certified reproductive endocrinologists remind me of meteorologists. Stay with me here for a moment. I promise, I'm connecting the dots. They predict, based on all different criteria, what your chances of becoming pregnant will be. They will go much further than that.Your fertility specialist will take all of your individual, personal, medical and physiolgical information and formulate the best plan possible on helping you become pregnant.
And here's a point to consider.We hear the bad news. We hear it really loud. We hear even iffy news, as bad news, really loud. Can we hear the good news? Think of it as the fabulous weather forecast. As the bright, shiny, warm days. None of us like to hear that our FSH is too high or our AMH is too low. None of us want to hear that our progesterone levels are up and down. That our periods and therefore our ovulation is irregular. Those are the predictions of clouds and rain and wind.
Those are the things that we don't want to hear, don't want to know, don't want to be true. Like well trained, well supported, well educated meteorologists, board certified reproductive endocrinologists have tools at their disposal. And those tools do measure those things that aren't going well. Those tools also measure those things that are going well. We hear the bad news.
I suggest that we also hear the good news. That our endometrial lining is the right thickness. That our estrogen levels are where they should be. That our follicles are growing, responding to the medications that we are taking. That our insurance has covered medications and treatment. That the Connecticut state mandate means that you can afford to do one more IUI. That our partners/spouses are finally on board to move on to IVF. That the IVF retrieval went well. These are just a few examples of good news. We believe the bad news when we hear it. Let's take time out to believe the good news when we hear it too.
In one moment, everything can change.
Where I live, the landscape is now permanently altered.
I’m referring to the storm that hit so violently yesterday.
Trees broke in half and fell or leaned.
Wires were down.
Expected routes home were impossible to use.
Finding my way home last night was like traveling on an obstacle course.
Roads were closed; trees were down every other block, lightening was coursing through the sky.
Hail was so large that it sounded like someone was throwing rocks onto the top of the car.
I had to park two blocks away from my home because there were trees, an electrical transformer box, and wires all hanging into my driveway.
What did it remind me of?
It reminded me of you. The paths that feel and are so convoluted. Expecting one thing and finding out that it’s going to go a whole other way.
It reminded me of me. Trying to stay calm while feeling under siege. While unable to get home. Of being on unexpected, less welcome routes home.
Of not being able to get home.
Traveling last night felt like infertility in the most concrete way I’ve ever experienced.
Infertility is often described as a roller coaster.
It can also feel like a destructive storm.
Last night’s storm, though, held hope and light.
Neighbors were out, seeing if anyone needed help.
Emergency services were working immediately, assessing and clearing.
Within a short amount of time, some trees were cleared by anyone with a chain saw.
As far as I know, no one died. From what I saw, trees fell mainly on land, not houses, not cars, not people.
Yes, last night reminded me very much of my path to fertility.
And today, I am home safely.
Ok, I’m obsessed with the weather. Not only obsessed with the weather itself but also obsessed with making analogies between weather and life. I love storms!
And then I usually do make the connections with infertility. Infertility, weather and life. How much free will, how much a force of nature. How much are we just on for the ride? I have noticed more than occasionally that the more that I want something, or rather, the more that I try to force something, the more challenging it becomes.
I love the weather because it reminds me that my life would not be perfect if I were more organized. My life would be more orderly if I were more organized, but it would not be perfect. Regardless of how carefully I had set up my day, all my plans were blown away by the snow storm we are experiencing. It is a snowstorm that makes us believe the meteorologists, even when they are so often wrong. They were so right about this one.
And yes, it reminds me of infertility. Carefully, well organized plans. The first plan, for most of us, is to have a partner that we love that we want to have a child with. Any of you out there remember how challenging that can be? If not, speak to one of your single friends, they will be able to remind you.
We women need to find that partner earlier rather than later to avoid certain fertility problems. Our wisdom allows us to make better choices as we get older, in terms of partners, but getting older does not make it easier to have babies. That feels like a heart wrenching choice and some of us choose to become single parents, rather than wait for the partner who we would like to parent with.
Going on with our well laid plans. How many of us thought we’d be seeing a medical team to become pregnant? Some of us did absolutely everything we could, for years, to avoid becoming pregnant! Who expected that when we wanted to, it would be so difficult? Whether because we waited until we found a partner, waited until we were more financially secure or didn’t wait at all, it’s a shock to find out that medical help is the way our babies will be created. Not in a loving, intimate setting, but in a doctors office. And yes, how lucky did I feel that there were doctors out there that could help, even if it wasn’t in my original plan.
I can still remember listening to one of my friends talk about planning her children by what astrological sign she wanted them to be. Yes, really. Talk about family planning. The most odious thing was that it worked for her. She has an Aquarius, Taurus and a Libra. Of course, over and over again, life has interrupted her carefully laid plans, in the way that life does.
And if life hasn’t done it, we always have the weather.
Enjoy the storm…..
It’s hailing on the east coast, except where it’s snowing or raining or sleeting. It’s November 8, so it was a surprise to wake up and see so much white, slippery stuff on the ground. And, it was not supposed to do this. And it’s supposed to get warmer, as I am watching the thermometer drop.
Things don’t always go as they are planned. Or as they are planned around. If you read this blog regularly you know that infertility and weather are two very constant themes. They often seem like metaphors that are made for each other. Particularly in New England, where if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes and you’ll have something different. (Same is true, by the way in San Francisco and many other places in the US.)
How true is it of a fertility cycle as well? It’s science, definitely. Medical, absolutely. But I believe there is also some magic involved. Especially with highly trained, board certified reproductive endocrinologists. They adjust here, they adjust there, and treatment is always depending on how we, as patients, are responding. Sometimes things go faster than we think; sometimes it feels like time is standing still.
So, yes, there are times when I meet with our doctors and visualize them with capes and wands, sparkling the air with magical dust. They look at you, as individuals and learn, adjust and re-adjust as needed.
And back to my weather report for the morning. Wait a few minutes, it’ll change.
Here in Connecticut we have had a glimpse of the types of storms that normally we just read about. Floods, high winds, downed power lines, electricity in entire cities out for over a week and more. Rivers overflowing their banks for the first time in decades.
Overwhelming. Just as infertility and treatment can be. Unpredictable. Just as the dips and turns in fertility treatment can be. Frightening. Just as hearing an upsetting diagnosis can be. And no way of really controlling what's going on, either outside with the stormy weather or in the midst of fertility treatment. Sometimes, even with the best infertility protocols and management, your retrieval will come earlier or later than you think or expect. Sometimes a fertility cycle will more move slowly or more quickly than is typical and you are taken by surprise about when you need to take time off from work. Out of control feels just that; out of control.
And unpredictable is just that as well. Unpredictable means being unable to plan, to schedule, even to commit to anything. The more patients that I listen to, the more I hear and remember how difficult this piece of fertility treatment is. Just the simple act of not being able to make a date with friends to go out, to the more complicated issues around planning a vacation become more and more challenging.
Disappointment is a big factor here as well. When we expect one thing, to find out that something different is happening, how do we see it? Is it possible to see an extended cycle as an opportunity? Possible to see any disappointment as an opportunity? At our best, yes, I think so, I hope so, and I definitely strive to make it so.
Then add in these factors; not sleeping enough; eating choices that are less than healthy; having few releases for the anxiety that is building, and I believe that disappointment will win and the opportunity will not be seen.
Thank goodness for those good moments, that heartwarming news, those hopeful feelings; they help counterbalance all of the above. If the weather is stormy now, well, it's supposed to be a beautiful weekend. The flowers are flowering, the earth is brightening, and the storms are feeding the earth. Sleeping, eating and creating ways to release tension are all ways of keeping the disappointment in perspective. Letting the unpredictable come and go and realize the ebb and flow are just part of the rhythm of life, in or out of fertility treatment.
No question that it's challenging. And we're right here with you so that you don't have to go through it alone.