A long-winded post about my thoughts-and-feelings swirl

Ohhh, so much has been going on. As usual. I am actually home “sick” right now because I needed the time to get my head, heart, and spirit in alignment. I lost my temper at work yesterday, became overly frustrated with a receptionist and an HR person, and ended up crying, telling a trusted co-worker every detail of what I have been through and even about donor eggs (!). I can’t believe I so totally let it all out like that. I’d had no intention of sharing anything about IF with anyone at work. But out it came. She was lovely and said, “Sometimes it helps having someone at work know what you are going through, just so you don’t feel so alone with it,” and I could have hugged her for that. Because it’s true. I walk around at work feeling as though I have this secret life—which I do! And the immensity of what I can’t talk about, what I can’t share, what I can’t explain, feels more immense the closer I get to choosing our next option.

I came home and could not stop thinking about my health insurance options, which I have to select by this Friday to have active insurance by April 1st. I have been asking our HR person to let me know what the deal is with preexisting conditions for each insurance plan available to me. I was not blogging at the time that I had insurance through GHI as a student, but let me sum it up for you: absolute f’ing hell. Because I’d had no coverage before getting the insurance, they did not cover anything without sending both me and the doctors preexisting condition questionnaires. Long story short, I became a manager of questionnaires and insurance claims, and this ate up a great deal of my free time for months; if I hadn’t followed up and managed all of it, I would have been out thousands of dollars (on top of the $350/mo I was paying for the insurance).

So I was up until 5 this morning, reliving that hell, worrying that I was going to enter it again, and being mad at the HR person for blowing off my questions for days. Also getting mad at the receptionist for telling several people, including my boss, that I broke her fax machine, which is simply not the case. They all responded by telling me that they think she is quite crazy and no one takes her seriously, but I still couldn’t let it go. The thoughts latched into me with their little claws. I didn’t try to inquire using the Byron Katie method—the anxiety overpowered that impulse.

Obviously what is going on here is the surfacing of a deep yearning for control. I want to know exactly what is going to happen with each insurance plan. Is it going to be terrible to need a PCP referral for specialists? Should I pay $700 a year so as not to have to go through a PCP for everything, or should I go with the free plan? How many specialists will I need to see to do my RBA pre-cycle screening requirements? If none or one or two, then that’s certainly not worth $700, is it? Which IF tests of mine are still valid, according to RBA, and which aren’t? What exactly is a sonohysterogram, and have I had one already? Is medicaid (which I’m on now) going to make me pay out of pocket for the lovenox and antibiotics it paid for during my IVF, because I was employed (though uninsured) at that time? RBA says they won’t treat patients who have medicaid, according to the Stark Law—but they will if I go off of it before my phone consult, right? And on and on and on! Topped with new thoughts: I need to stay home tomorrow, I’m not sleeping at all. Will my boss be upset? What if I need to call in sick “for real” sometime? Will they give me a talking-to? And on and on, grasping, grasping, catastrophizing, grasping…

I feel better now that I am out here in my beautiful back yard, typing in the sunshine. But I know that this overwhelming anxiety was triggered by being offered insurance and believing that if I don’t pick exactly the right one, something bad will happen. I will screw everything up, even my chances of having a child–yes, the thoughts go there. Quick.

I think: I am the only one I can count on. I am alone in this. I have to figure everything out and make all the right decisions or I won’t be able to have a child—and no one will care. No one will help me if I screw up. No one will make it all better and give me money and opportunities for the next step. It is all up to me. And I can only blame myself if it doesn’t work out.

Control, control, control.

I will say that I am getting better at overcoming the anxiety. The volume is turned down and I am aware of the craziness of the thoughts, am mindful that I am swirling. The feeling I have now is one of shame—ie, Why couldn’t I sleep last night? What is wrong with me that I couldn’t sleep? Are people at my gossipy workplace talking about me because I had heated words with the receptionist? Did I handle that poorly?—but that, too, is uncalled for suffering. I am so afraid of losing my job, but my boss loves me and things are going good there. I am also afraid of my job, at times, because I work in a windowless group office and this contributes to depressed and anxious feelings. But these polarizing thoughts are entrapping, so I let them go.

DH asked me today if I have always felt so much pressure to make the right decision (i.e.. with insurance)—have I always been so hard on myself, experienced so much anxiety and fear when it comes to making decisions like this? I said no, that if I didn’t have a baby at stake (at least in my mind) I would just pick the free insurance and be done with it.

Sometimes I wonder how DH sees me—we have only been together for 4 years, we are still learning some basic things about each other, but 2 of the 4 years have been colored by IF.

IF does seep into quite a few things. We recently talked about getting married, for example, and he mentioned that if we did something small, he’d like to invite a couple of friends in addition to family, including one of his oldest and closest female friends. This friend had an affair behind her husband’s back for two years, while continuing to sleep with her husband; when she was caught, she continued the affair anyway, and continued to lie about it, sometimes asking DH and I to be her alibi. She finally broke off the affair, and she is now pregnant with her husband’s second child—she was TTC at the same time that DH and I went for IVF, and actually expressed her concerns to me about how long it was taking her to get pregnant (which I handled gracefully, I have to say, taking her concerns seriously and offering advice). When I saw photos on FB of her son reading a book to her pregnant belly, I thought: Hmm. Okay. And I tamed the feelings and thoughts (which I will leave to your imagination). But when DH mentioned inviting her to our future small, intimate wedding, I was speechless. Of course I wouldn’t deny him that. But how will I feel, interacting with her (and her pregnancy, or her baby) on my wedding day? But then I think: If I wasn’t going through IF, this would not be a problem. I would recognize her path as her path, enjoy her company (she’s funny and smart), and leave it at that.

Anyway. Thank you, as ever, for listening. And now I’m going to ride away in the sunshine on my bicycle to a yoga class, amen.

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  1. I have control issues too. And IF just makes them worse. Becuase NO ONE can know what we are going through and how we feel and NO ONE can deal with the mess of insurance, donor options, etc for us. Even our partners can’t totally understand how this feels. So we blog. And it helps! And yoga dosen’t hurt either! Enjoy!

  2. Your sentence “DH asked me today if I have always felt so much pressure to make the right decision” sounds exactly like what IF has done to me. I obsess and obsess about making the “right” decision all the time. I walk around all the time with a large white folder (I’ve switched purses to accommodate this behemoth) that has all my research and notes and questions in it. If I don’t have that folder, I feel lost and un-anchored. This is not a healthy behavior, but I feel that I have to micromanage everything because, as Kimberly wrote above, no one else will deal with this mess for us. I’ve read that only 2% of couples even make it to IVF, and I think some of that is organization that is required to even get started. IVF and donor egg IVF require an overwhelming amount organization to figure out options, medical records, financial management, medication adherence, etc. You miss one thing- as when my nurse told me one hour too late to trigger but luckily I caught that- and you’re screwed. Not to mention you can wait a month to even talk to a doctor about treatment, so you’ve gotta plan ahead for everything. Anyway, I’m sorry you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed. I often repeat as reassurance to myself a quote I read somewhere one time and am sure to bungle; “I can’t say it will be easy- but it will be worth it.” This is not easy, but I keep my eye on what is hopefully going to be the reward someday soon.

    • Yes—-this feeling that you cannot relax, cannot let your guard down, for even one minute, because you have to stay on top of every little thing. Oh, the white folder—I hear you. I have a red one. And a green one. And various other manilla ones. Thanks for writing. It helps.


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