March 26, 2011

Hamster Head

In an article in Psychology Today, Ellen McGrath defines rumination as:

"...a style of thinking in which, like a hamster in a cage, you run in tight circles on a treadmill in your brain. It means obsessing about problems, about a loss, about any kind of a setback or ambiguity without moving past thought into the realm of action."

Check, check and check. 

Ruminating about my loss, my next steps, my chances of success and my future is all I've been doing the past week and a half.  Quite frankly, I am exhausted. 

In less than one month I will be 41.  Night after night, like the hamster in a cage, all I do is wonder:
  • IUI? (again)
    • My RE says my ovarian reserve is good.  I have plenty of eggs but, as history as proven, the eggs might be of poor quality. 
    • Do I waste time with IUIs and hope that I get a good egg, knowing that Bravelle gives me cysts and I can only do every other cycle?
    • Are IUIs a waste of my precious time?
    • How many more BFNs can I handle?
    • Can I handle another miscarriage?
  • IVF
    • Does the process of IVF put my eggs at risk?  I've read several places that IVF does not help in cases where the problem is egg quality, that by being out of the body, the eggs decompensate even more.
    • Is it a waste of money considering all of the above?
    • Can I handle failure?
  • Donor Eggs
    • Cost.  Enough said.
    • Loss of my dream of having my own child. 
  • Stopping Altogether
    • What do I do with myself for the rest of my life?
    • How do I move forward?
    • Is giving up at my age not being strong enough?
Night after night, as my mind whirls around its little well trod hamster path, I've decided "stopping altogether" is not an option.  In my struggle to come to terms with what has happened thus far, my disbelief at all the time I've "wasted" since I started this journey and my complete and utter frustration with myself and my body, I am just not ready to throw in the towel. 

By process of elimination that leaves the other options.

I suppose I am jumping the gun a bit.  I haven't even heard back about the chromosomal analysis.  I haven't had a follow up appointment with my RE.  I haven't even gotten back on track with my cycle. 

Still, it's my personality to be utterly prepared and organized.  This ambiguity is maddening. 

To provide some relief I've done the following:
  1. Contacted my RE.  We will meet in two weeks to talk about the next steps.
  2. Reached out for counseling referrals.  I don't think I need medication for what is a situational crisis and possible depression, but I do need some support.
  3. Stopped reading studies on poor egg quality and the unlikelihood of pregnancy at 41.
  4. Delurked in a couple miscarriage forums and shared my story and provided support for others.
As the article states, "As you ruminate, you deepen the grooves in the brain, intensifying levels of anxiety and depression".  I do not want these hamsterish ways to mark a deep and permanent groove in my brain.  I do not want my thoughts to impact my body in a negative way.  Besides, I need my sleep!


  1. FWIW, I too had a problem ovulating early and used Ganirelix to keep it at bay. I did only IUIs and had success with #8 at age 40 3/4. I had 3 losses in a row before that. Don't lose hope.

  2. Ugh! Decisions! I agree though - I'm putting myself in a good vibes bubble. Anyone who mentions age, old eggs, etc, gets a firm shove right out of my bubble!

  3. i have no words to offer you that will give you hope - i am a walking testament to the fact that we don't always get what we want [11 years ttc and lots and lots and lots of miscarriages - so many i refuse to put a number on them anymore] but if the desire is still there strong enough - don't give up.

    "Is giving up at my age not being strong enough?"

    no i don't think so. i'm turning 32 in less than 3 months time and i've given up - we just can't endure anymore heartache. does it mean i'm not strong? absolutely not, i've had to be strong to get through what we've already gone through. knowing your limits and admitting that enough is enough is actually not weak, it's very very strong, you're recognising your threshold and sticking to it.

    i'm so sorry for your losses, i know how hard they can be but you will know when enough is enough.


    p.s. you have a new follower.

  4. I've just clicked over from LFCA, and I'm so sorry to read about your loss. Big hugs. Your hamster wheel-brain sounds much like mine, except the choices I ruminate over are slightly different. My husband and I also have age factor, but in our case it's male. I wish you best of luck with your upcoming RE appointment. Take care :)

  5. I found that IVF worked when nothing else had (although after that, it didn't work again). If IUI's are getting you pregnant, though, then I don't know. The advantage of IVF is that you can get a lot of eggs and then kind of pick out the best ones (or at least, the best-looking embryos). It's a tough decision, though.

  6. loss sucks. I'm in a very similar place. Get pregnant easy but can't hold on to them. 5 losses in a row over 2 years. Donor eggs probaby not ever going to be an option due to cost. Husband won't even discuss fostering.
    Guess I'll keep playing the lottery. ~sigh~

  7. I stumbled upon your blog and I am so sorry for your loss. I have to agree... Losses SUCK! After numerous canceled cycles and losses I found an option for DE. The Czech Republic. There are MANY clinics to choose from in CR but I decided on Zlin. The only possible "set back" would be that donors are completely anonymous per Czech Law. We now have a child from our cycle over there. The cost is about 5000 euros (plus airfare & hotel). There isn't a long wait because it's a college town.

    I hope this doesn't sound too "pushy" or that you should give up but I thought this could be an option you could have as a back up plan. I debated about sharing this website, mainly because it's my "secret clinic" but I hated the thought of anyone missing out on an opportunity b/c of $. You'll know if/when you're ready to make the move to DE. I won't lie and say it was an "easy" that I took lightly but I will tell you I have NO regrets going forward! And a good thing about DE is you have time to decide if this is an option for you.

    Best of luck in whatever you decide to do!