Monday, July 12, 2010

warning: downer post ahead


After finishing my antibiotics from the cough/cold/funk I caught at the end of June, my left ear began to hurt. Bad. I hemmed and hawed about going back to the doctor, but finally decided to bite the bullet and have him check things out last week. Thankfully, it's not an ear infection, but I am clenching my teeth at night. It's something I did often in my early college years and it's due to . . . wait for it . . .  stress. Go figure! The conversation with my doc, who I've seen since age 12, went a little something like this: 

Doc: It's definitely not an ear infection. It's your TMJ. You're clenching your jaw again. Have you been under a lot of stress lately?
Me: Dr. Young, you've known me for 13 years. When am I not stressed?
Doc: Good point.

So here I am: back on steroids during the day and on muscle relaxers at night to help loosen my jaw (which means drooling, and lots of it. I know you think that's hot). Of course, neither of these medications takes my stress away. Acupuncture does help, but I can only go once a week. 

None of these things helps me to finish my house and get organized before my mom moves in later this month while her new house is being built. None of these things helps me prepare for my first semester as a graduate student. None of these things helps me with the stress of my job. None of these things helps us deal with our obnoxious neighbor.

And none of these things bring me a baby.

Waiting over the last few months has been therapeutic, yet it's also given me a lot of time to think about the future and all the "what ifs" that come with it. I guess I've been thinking about the what ifs a little too much over the past few days, which is part of the reason why I'm blah. And I think we've finally come to a decision about the future--one that answers a particular what if that I can't seem to get out of my mind:

What if IVF fails?

The answer to that question will have to wait for another day and another post.


Josey said...

Ugh, I hate when fellow TTCers have days (weeks/months/years) like this. This is the 4th post I've read in a row today with very much the same tone. I'm sorry you're feeling so down in the dumps about everything.

Remember, the mind is a powerful thing, so try to think instead "what IF i get to hold my own child after this round of IVF?"

Hang in there ... it's okay to bawl, but then do your best to let that pain go, at least for awhile.


Marla said...

I apparently clench/grind my teeth at night. I sleep with a mouth guard in - you know, the kind football players wear. Lol! It's pretty nasty, if you must know. Even though I brush my teeth before bedtime, eventually the mouth guard starts to look, ummm ... yucky.

Sorry that your stress is causing you physical pain. That sucks! :(

A said...

that was my "What IF?" question for the big project. and, heartbreakingly, I am living that today. I consider us to be pretty darn happy, but it is almost unbearable to check up on people who went through IVF close to when we did but it worked for them.

Praying you won't have to know what it's like for IVF to fail (hug)

AL said...

Hugs, Katie. Sorry for all the stress, you have a lot going on right now.

I wish someone would come arrest (or hmm kick the crap out of) that neighbor of yours because you don't need his crap. Everything else is plenty.

Can't wait to read what your decision is on if IVF fails. I've been wondering the same thing in my time off TTC.


Amber said...


Kakunaa said...

Now that I'm in to my IVF, I am thinking positive, or at least, not thinking negatively. Which is a HUGE difficulty. I know the feeling. Me, not stress? Right. The words, "You need to try to relax" applied to ANY part of my life make me laugh in a sort of sarcastic ironic way....I'm so there with you.

Just Me...C said...

TMJ sucks! I also have it and am awful about grinding my teeth at night thanks to stress and anxiety. It sounds as though you and I both have been habitual with our stress since too young of an age. Hang in there and hope the ear stops hurting soon.

ifcrossroads said...

I had the same thoughts while prepping for IVF. Feel free to email me if you want to talk off-line ... especially about IVF ... I'd love to know more about what you are thinking in the way of clinics/etc.

I'm so sorry that you are in pain. I've heard TMJ is horrible. ((hugs))

COME ON BABY said...

We must be in the SAME mood. I posted the same thing about 30 minutes ago. "What if IVF doesnt work???" Scary!!!!!!

Secret Sloper said...

I'm so sorry, Katie. I feel those blahs, too, truly. I'm eager to hear how you've answered this last question, but I get that you're not quite ready to share it. I hope your week gets better.

T said...

I hate that question!!! But it is one that I ask myself every flippin day.
I hope that question is never answered for you. I pray that IVF will finally give you the family you have forever dreamed of.

JC said...

Ugh, I'm sorry you've been sick and stressed and everything. Sucks! I hope things get better. Friday's are usually ok for me at work if you want to do lunch this Fri? Just let me know ;).

Erin said...

I'm sorry you've been so sick and stressed. Thinking of you!

The Baby Race said...

So sorry about the stress. Really excited for you to start school though!

Littlest True Blue said...

Well, I am glad you identified the source of your pain and I hope the muscle relaxers help! I suggest you go and spend a whole lot of time with your adorable puppy and get a little cheered up! Hoping things look a lilttle brighter soon!

Dawn said...

I'm sorry that you are having trouble with TMJ right now.

It's okay to have some downer days when you have so much happening at once.

Sending you lots of hugs!

CW said...

I know how you feel. My first IVF just failed and it was horrid. In fact in truth it really peed me off. But I keep thinking it is going to work. It has to. We just have to keep hoping and believing that one day we will have our children.

Amanda said...

I would suggest trying a mouth guard too.

I have good feelings about your IVF. I think your time is coming. :)

christine said...

Agh! Funks are the worst! I have been in my fair share during this "journey" of infertility. Blah is all I can say. It is so hard to think of the negative what ifs, but I really hope that your IVF is successful!!

By the way, I just LOVE the name of your blog, I've made it my new personal motto...I'm trying to no longer think of the ifs but the whens.

Jessica said...

I have asked myself that daily for the last 7 months and unfortunately our 1st IVF didn't work so we had to face that question. It sucks but we are moving forward with our FET because we want a baby. I hope you don't ever have to deal with that question and your 1st IVF works!!

Tillie said...

So sorry about the TMJ and the stress..not cool...and drooling is totally hot :)

erika said...

TMJ sucks:( I hope the meds will help and your pain goes away very soon.
I am sad to see you are feeling down. The things you are listing in this posts and the what if's are all overwhelming. I am sorry about the stress.
I hope you will feel better soon!
Thinking of you!

Trisha said...

I'm sorry about the TMJ, hope it gets better soon. I think feeling that way and wondering/doubting is all normal when you have to process IVF. I had those same questions. Then when we were in the thick of it, I never thought twice about it; we just knew it would work. Keep your chin up and take it one day at a time, it really does make it easier!

S.I.F. said...

"What if IVF fails."

That is currently my biggest fear, so I hear you on that one lady... I wish there was something I could say to alleviate your stress, but I get it. I so get it.

Nothing about this ride is easy.

Alex said...

I think time to think and heal is good, and yet it also can be too much time. I find that I do much better when I DO something - and have something to do and focus on. I really hope you feel better soon!

Adele said...

TMJ is the absolute pits. A friend has suffered with this for years. I hope those muscle relaxers give you some relief.

It sounds like an awful lot of stuff for one woman's plate, and ANYONE would be stressed. Take those questions one at a time. It's the only way not to lose one's mind:(

KeepOnTrying said...

Sounds like you are going through a lot right now...just try to remember to breath. I would recommend a night guard of some sort so you don't grind your teeth down. I sleep with one and it really helps.

serenity said...


What I decided to do was put off the worrying for some other time. What if our last ditch IVF fails? I'll deal with that worry later.

Otherwise the unknown and the fear just builds and builds and you can't escape it. Ali Domar ("Conquering Infertility" - awesome book) called it mindfulness. I called it just living in the moment.

It doesn't always work WELL, but it did help me calm down when I felt the depression weigh me down.

Hang in there, hon.


Laurie said...

I'm sorry about the stress. It's never fun. I can relate to the jaw thing. I've been clenching my jaw for the past few months and have destroyed one of my molars and I have to get a crown put it. I've ordered a mouth guard to prevent further damage. Funny thing is that I actually thought I wasn't stressed out that much!

Crossed Fingers said...

I"m a jaw clencher too - it sucks. And it HURTS in the morning. I hope you feel better soon.

What if IVF is the last step to finally get a sticky BFP?

Gurlee said...

Sorry to read about your TMJ, I hope the mouth guard helps!
I can relate to your what if. It is what scares me the most about IVF.

Kim said...

I have TMJ issues myself and I can always tell when I'm clenching and grinding....because when I'm not, I'm drooling too! So yes we are hot!

You have a lot on your plate right now litty missy. Handle each thing as they come and relax and breath as much as possible. the further ahead of yourself you get- the more what ifs come up, the more stress that surfaces. SO try and be in the moment....I know its hard but it will get you through the day. xoxoxoxoxoxox

Sara said...

As a fellow jaw clencher, I can totally relate. It is not easy to just "sleep" at night and let go of all of the things that stress us out in our lives.

By the way...I didn't know there were muscle relaxers that could help solve this problem. I am currently on my 4th bite splint to try to solve my grinding. If you get a chance, let me know what you do to help with this. Thanks! :)