What It's Like to Give Up Your Body to IVF MedsAela Mass
It’s amazing to think back on the last 16 months of my fertility journey. If you had told me before all this started that I’d still be without a child now or not pregnant, I’d have looked at you like you were nuts. What’s more: Had you told me then that I would have gone through everything I’ve gone through since I started this journey 16 months ago, I wouldn’t have believed you in a million years.
As I not-so-patiently wait for my pregnancy blood test from my 4th attempt at pregnancy (my 2nd FET), I think about how different all my tries have been. In fact, only a few things make them similar: my desire for it to work, the worry that it won’t work, the time each cycle takes, and the fact that every cycle has included the use of IVF meds.
The meds have been one of the hardest parts for me. Not necessarily because any one of them has been terrible (expect of course, Lupron which I will never use again). More so because because my life has been surrendered to pills, creams, injections, and suppositories for well over a year.
And so has my body.
I know, I know. You moms are sitting there scoffing, “Pfft, just WAIT until your body becomes a hostage to pregnancy, and labor, and breastfeeding, and an insane life afterward!” Well, I can’t wait, actually. And I’d gladly say goodbye to the body I once knew if it meant it was “sacrificed” for motherhood. Gladly.
But right now, my body isn’t mine. It belongs to my IVF drugs.
At 8:00 a.m., it’s swallowing an estrogen pill and a low-dose baby aspirin.
At 1:00 p.m., it’s swallowing another estrogen pill.
At 7:00 p.m., it’s swallowing yet another estrogen pill.
At 8:00 p.m., it’s getting injected in my backside by a 1 and a 1/2 inch needle with progesterone.
At 9:00 p.m., it’s getting spooged with progesterone cream up my vagina.
And that’s one day. That’s this cycle only. My three other cycles have all been different, and my two first “fresh” IVF cycles were even worse.
This has been my past 16 months.
Oh, except for that time I actually did get pregnant! Then I was able to stop most of the meds 12 weeks into that pregnancy. But then my water broke at 17 weeks and I lost my twins. Three days later, my milk came in. I suffered from night sweats because of the hormone fluctuation. The list of body changes goes on, and you can read all about it here. And when we decided to try again, we hit a roadblock and I needed a uterine catheter put in after my hysteroscopy. Boy, was I happy the day that thing came out!
But this was just a tangent. Let’s get back to the topic at hand: IVF meds.
Each cycle, each try, you become a slave to the calendar, to the clock. And it seems the only thing you’re doing is watching time to see when your next injection is, to see when to take your next pill, to see when your next transvaginal ultrasound is, to see when your egg retrieval will be, to see when your embryo transfer will be, to see and we all do this when your due date will be if the transfer works, to see when your pregnancy test after the transfer will be, to see when the results of your pregnancy test come in (longest 3-hour wait EVER!), and the worse part — to see when you’ll get your period again to start it all over because you’re not yet pregnant. Again.
I’ve gained 12 pounds over the last 16 months. I joke that I never lost the “baby weight” after my twins died, but it’s hard to explain that to people when you don’t actually have any babies. And besides, not all the weight is from that. In fact, most of it is from the IVF meds.
My body is a slave to my med schedule. And all this from a girl who wouldn’t even take an Advil for a cramp before I started this roller coaster of a journey.
This has been the commitment of a lifetime for me. And I can tell you that all the side effects the sore backside, the teenage-like skin, the hunger, the loss of appetite, the restlessness, the tiredness, the anxiety, the hormone-induced headaches, the dizziness, the weight gain, the INSANE mood swings all of it will be worth it when motherhood finally blesses me.
But in the meantime, injections, pills, creams, and suppositories it is.
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