Anxiety. Or: how infertility made me crazy. *warning birth trauma trigger*

I’d never had anxiety before. I’d had a few experiences after my first car accident when I’d be driving and someone would get too close and I’d get anxious, but I didn’t have anxiety. I once had a panic attack while kayaking when an orca popped up right next to us, but I didn’t have anxiety.  Not like what I have now, oh no.

I think it all started at BoC’s planned home birth. I had a horrific panic attack on the operating room table during my c-section. Long story short (do I have that ability?) my water broke and for 48 hours I only had contractions when I was resting (or not, as the case was), as soon as I got up to move, everything slowed down. Acupuncture, herbs, etc… nothing. Finally the next morning I drank a castor oil milk shake and bam… party was started. I labored for 10 hours in the tub and was complete. And then I started pushing. And pushing. And pushing. I pushed for 13 hours. THIRTEEN MOTHERFUCKING HOURS. Then my midwives (and I) decided it was time to transfer cause this baby (who was never in any danger) was not coming out. 2 hours later, I was on the operating table and she was so stuck they had to go in vaginally and push her out. Yes, that means some stranger’s forearm was in my vagina. Yeah, I had an epidural but it makes you not feel pain, you still feel pressure.  So there I was, cut wide open after 3 days of not sleeping, 13 hours of pushing with a strangers forearm in my vagina. Sorry, I lost my mind at that point. I was screaming obscenities and begging the anesthesiologist to get me out of there. When S2 brought BoC to meet me I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t focus, I couldn’t pull myself together to meet the child I’d waited so long for. That’s seriously fucked up.

About a year after B0C’s birth I started having bits of anxiety when leaving for work. I only worked 3 half days a week but leaving her was getting harder, not easier.  A brilliant friend had the genius idea that I renovate my basement and move my alternative healthcare practice home. It didn’t happen for about a year, but just planning it helped… that and some therapy to process her birth.

Fast forward to Jan 2009, FET #1. I went into this cycle with ridiculous confidence. Before we even showed up for transfer I was googling due dates. Then there was the positive beta that was so low I couldn’t ever believe in it, and the follow up beta that was lower. What a fool.

The next month shortly before my period I was inexplicably struck with horrific anxiety. I didn’t even know what it was, I just couldn’t breathe, couldn’t focus, couldn’t function. I tried GABA, rescue remedy, breathing, etc… no avail. It would come and go with each period, showing up for a few days to a week before my cycle and then dissipating after I started bleeding. FET#2 didn’t help matters much. As the summer of 2009 progressed toward the month of sheer hell, I was so anxious I was barely functional. I had no idea it was anxiety I just spent the summer acting like super woman, canning 75 pints of jam and 36 quarts of fruit. My daughter was being evaluated for autism and I was slowly (or not so) descending into a pit of anxious misery.  I had a script for xa.nax for the days I couldn’t breathe but it made me tired and distant which doesn’t make parenting too easy.

IVF#2 also known as *miserable failure* didn’t help matters much nor did the fact that the negative beta call was the same day we got the report confirming the autism diagnosis. Crazy much? Right after starting my daughter in speech therapy, I scheduled an appointment with a new therapist for myself. I thought we were done done done with infertility treatment and had to grieve and deal and also had this new dragon named Autism to slay.

Little by little the anxiety subsided. I was fully prepared to take a daily anti anxiety med if it was necessary, but I didn’t feel like I had a chemical instability, just emotional. The occasional xa.nax and gaba was enough to get  me through.

Until we met with Dr. M last week. Three days after our meeting, I woke up at 4 am and couldn’t fall back to sleep. I’d start to doze off and then wake with a start, thinking that I couldn’t breathe. It took me 30 minutes to realize I was having anxiety, and after 3 doses of gaba, there was no change. I spent the entire day feeling like a crack head, unable to sit still, think straight or breathe. Finally at the end of the day, I had some medicinal mari.juana and an hour later I could breathe.

I haven’t looked at donor profiles since then. I’ve had 3 more days of crippling anxiety, but none as bad as that first day. Thankfully I also had therapy, and acupuncture.

See, I like control. I loooooove being in control. I like knowing how things will play out, who is in charge (preferably me) and that everything will go as planned. Guess what? infertility and autism don’t let me have control. The idea of giving up MORE of that control and having an egg donor? Apparently, sent me over the edge.

I’m still not ready for a daily anti anxiety med, but I’m also not ruling it out.


~ by zeneggs on April 4, 2011.

2 Responses to “Anxiety. Or: how infertility made me crazy. *warning birth trauma trigger*”

  1. Sigh. Unfortunately I come by anxiety rightfully with my genetics. But it didn’t really hit full velocity (or maybe I just never really recognized it as such) until the kids were born. I’ve always struggled with getting outside my comfort zone. But adding parenting and some super shitty family stuff I find myself experiencing it so much more.

    I don’t have the greatest coping mechanisms. But I do find that if nothing else recognizing it and being able to verbalize it has helped me immensely. I’m like you – I don’t do well with lack of control.

    You’re not alone. And all I’ve got right now is I love you. And I’m always here. Even if all I can do is listen and remind you to breathe like you do with me.

  2. I think I had one advantage that helped me to come to terms with DE faster. When I was pregnant with Toddlerina I was terrified she would also have a tragic genetic disorder like my previous pregnancy.

    The RE and OB told me over and over it was a one time event, but I could never take it to heart. Switching to DE made me feel safer. I was willing to sacrifice whatever the differences of a genetic relationship might have – they are all in my head anyhow, not my heart.

    Consider redefining what control means to you. I was able to see it as an exchange for a strength. It could take some time, but it was my key changing point.

    Great post.

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