It’s been eight days since I started injecting my stomach with .10cc of Lupron every evening. It’s the first of six drugs I have to take for my IVF cycle, and its intent is to slow the roll of my ovulation — because, apparently, I’m an early ovulator. When my fertility center sent me home with the little vial of Lupron, the nurse gave me a piece of paper that explained instructions, provided contact info for questions, and listed potential side effects: hot flashes and headaches. I’ve experienced both to some degree, but neither have been cause for alarm.
But it’s the side effects not listed on that sheet that have me most concerned.
At first, I was so excited to begin taking the fertility drugs because I knew it meant that we were that much closer to becoming mothers. And, of course, I’m still extremely excited to get pregnant. But the deeper I get into taking these — and it’s actually just one drug so far! — the weirder it all feels. Injecting myself with an artificial hormone that reduces the rate at which I ovulate so that my eggs are more certain to be as mature as possible, therefore increasing the likelihood of successful fertilization, seems so very scientific. And, well, it is.
“I thought, going into this, that I’d be OK with having to take all these drugs in order to make a baby, but doing so goes against a lot of what I believe in.”
Perhaps that’s what is so hard for me to wrap my brain around: the science behind all of this. I’m a pretty natural girl. I rarely wear makeup, I use chemical-free cleaning products, I try to pay attention to the foods I eat. And suddenly, I’m shooting up in my bathroom. It feels very disconnected from who I am.
But maybe that’s just a side effect.
The past few days, it’s been hard for me to decipher whether I’m feeling anxious about taking Lupron or if Lupron is making me feel anxious. My stance on consuming drugs and the pharmaceutical industry in general is currently at battle with my desire to have a baby. I thought, going into this, that I’d be OK with having to take all these drugs in order to make a baby, but doing so goes against a lot of what I believe in.
My wife thinks that Lupron is having an effect on my moods, so it’s hard to tell if what I’m feeling is simply what I’m feeling or if the Lupron is somehow changing my regular moods. Just this morning, Sara called my shortness with her, “‘Roid Rage.” When I asked her what that meant, she said, “You know, like steroid rage. ‘Roid rage.” Both of us agree that I’ve hardly been full of rage, but I certainly have been short, quick to react, and easily irritable. And that’s just the past two days.
It didn’t help that today we found out I have to continue taking Lupron for the next six days because one of my follicles is larger than they’d like for it to be at this point in my cycle. But to me, I look at that large follicle and think how good and healthy of an egg it’s getting ready to produce all on its own — the natural way. And all I really need is one gosh-darn good, healthy egg. But they want numerous healthy eggs. To up the chances of successful fertilization. It’s hard for me to turn my back on that one strong follicle just to make their job easier.
I know it’s more than that. I know that doing what they instruct me to do will truly yield the best outcome. After all, they are the professionals and this is what they do day in and day out. But it’s difficult for me because I don’t necessarily suffer from infertility. Their methods are geared toward women who have been diagnosed with infertility, who have tried for years to conceive and have been unsuccessful. That isn’t my situation, and I can’t help but wonder if all these drugs are simply unnecessary.
I think of pregnant women who create birthing plans and wonder: Why can’t women trying to conceive with the help of a fertility center create conception plans? Why can’t I say, “I’d like to go with that one strong follicle that’s about to produce one good and healthy egg, and I’d like you to try to fertilize it” and take my chances? If it doesn’t work, if it puts us back to square one, then so be it. I trust my body and I know what it’s intended for and created to do, and I don’t doubt its ability.
I know that IVF drugs are so useful and so helpful for so many families. I just don’t know if they’re for me, or if Sara and I need them for our journey.
Read more of Aela’s writing at Two Moms Make A Right