Like I said before, there are going to be some ugly thought, some ugly words, and some ugly feelings. Maybe I'm oversharing. But here's the thing, if my journey through something so frustrating, so physically and emotionally draining can help to make someone else's journey a little easier - if sharing my story can, at the very least, make someone else feel like they are not wading the murky waters of infertility alone - then I feel like it is my obligation to share.
January 20, 2014
Friday I went to the doctor. I am still angry about my appointment. There is likely a rant to come. There may be profanities. Sorry.
I was seated in the exam room and not long after my doctor walked in. She looked at me and said (in an incredibly supercilious voice), “Hi! Pregnant yet?” And then she laughed. She actually laughed.
For someone who is dealing with infertility, this is quite possibly the cruelest, most insensitive statement ever. I wasn’t even angry right away. I was in shock. So shocked that I didn’t even realize I should be angry until several hours later. I was at that appointment at her request to discuss fertility options. It’s not like I surprised her with this appointment. She knew why I was there.I stammered, “Um… no. I should probably get an award for how astonishingly low my progesterone levels were.” She snottily replied, “We don’t give awards for that.”
Then she chastised me about my weight gain. Seriously?! I am working out more and eating less and I am still gaining weight. My upper lip is hairy and my chin is zitty. I don’t know what I else I can change.
Later in the appointment she gave me two different options to move forward with fertility: 1) Take progesterone to induce a cycle, followed by Clomid to hopefully induce ovulation, or 2) Wait for a cycle to happen on its own, and then begin Clomid.My response, of course, was to get the show on the road and start with progesterone. I very rarely have cycles, and they certainly aren’t regular. I have had one single cycle on my own in the last five years. As soon as I stated my preference, she quickly said, “Let’s just wait.”
I know that everyone has bad days, but being flat out rude is unacceptable. Particularly if your profession is caring for others. I also know that I should find a new doctor. But here’s my predicament, when I am not trying to conceive, I have a hormone pellet implanted into my hip every 3 months; this clinic is the only clinic in the area that will do that. The next nearest hormone-implanting doctor is several hours away. My fear is that if I leave her care now, she will not take me back as a patient later. And to function normally later, it seems worth it to have to deal with a bitchy doctor now.
I have a feeling that my doctor does not appreciate patients who take charge of their own health. But I believe in self-advocacy. If you do not educate yourself and fight for yourself, who will? It helps that I have a crazy-good memory (on things that do not help me at all in everyday life) and that I have been through this process before. I remember what worked last time. I know about my syndrome, I understand hormone levels. I am not pretending to be as educated as my doctor; I would never make it through even the least prestigious pre-med program. But I know and understand what is going on with my body. I refuse to play dumb to make someone else feel authoritative.
The doctor I had during my previous fertility process has since retired. He was fabulous and I did not give him my permission to retire – when I told him this at my last appointment with him, he said, “That’s why my retirement announcement letter didn’t come with a customer satisfaction survey.” My current doctor took over my case as soon as I became pregnant. I loved her as an OB. I am very unhappy with her as a GYN.
January 21, 2014Stupid PCOS. I’m currently up 34 pounds. At my heaviest, I was 257. At my lightest (in recent history), I was 160. I am now back up to 194. And I’m pissed about it.
It takes a generous amount of liquid hand soap to get my wedding ring off and an act of God to get it back on. I would like to get it re-sized, since I last had it re-sized when I was at my lightest. But I feel like making my wedding ring big enough to fit my currently chubby fingers would be admitting defeat.
It’s amazing how something so small can make you feel so horrible. I hate my body right now. I hate looking in the mirror.I am trying to remember that this process is just a blink in time. It feels like forever, my body is getting fatter each day. But this will be worth it. I keep thinking forward to the moments of joy that come with new life. This frustration will be worth it.
I just don’t know how long I can endure this. It seems more painful this time to gain this weight. When we decided to start fertility treatments with Little K, I was a smoker (I quit prior to beginning treatments), I was already overweight, I drank too much pop, I ate like crap, and I never exercised. This time is completely different. I had lost nearly 100 pounds, I don’t smoke, I rarely drink pop, I eat healthy, I exercise 5 days a week. But all of that hard work seemingly went down the drain the moment I stopped taking birth control.I know that I’ve said over and over and over that the number on the scale doesn’t matter. And it doesn’t usually. I know that my self-worth has nothing to do with my weight. That is just so much easier to know and understand when you are happy with your body. It is incredibly hard to remember when my body is getting fatter and my hormones are out of control.
I feel so uncomfortable in my own skin right now. I feel ashamed to go out in public. I hate wearing jeans. I’m just, in a word, frustrated.
March 2, 2014
I feel like I’m living in my own personal hell. I know that sounds pretty dramatic. And it is. But my hormones are completely crazy.
I’m getting fatter by the day. I knew this would happen. I don’t even weigh myself because it doesn’t even matter anymore. I cringe every time I have to put on real clothes because I never know if anything in my closet is actually going to fit anymore. Even my workout pants are becoming snug. My stomach is huge. It disgusts me every time I have to do a jumping movement at CrossFit because it bounces and pulls my pants down in front.
It would be different if I had the joy of growing a baby. But I’m not pregnant. My body hates me, and when we decided to attempt to tackle infertility it decided to expand at a rapid pace once it no longer was being treated for PCOS.
I saw a friend from my old CrossFit box recently. She saw me, looked me up and down, and tried to hide the shock on her face. But I saw it. It was just a flicker, but I saw it and I recognized it because it is the same look on my face when I unexpectedly catch my reflection in a full-length mirror. She wasn’t trying to hurt me. She wasn’t trying to judge me. But I was hurt. I felt judged.
It’s always easier when you think you are the only one who sees the ugly, but it’s particularly horrible when you watch someone else spot it too.
The fertility treatments have been pretty terrible. The first treatment is Progesterone, which I take for ten days in hopes of starting a cycle. It makes me bat-shit crazy. And mean – so mean. While on progesterone, I yelled horrible things at my husband, I screamed at my sister for trying to cheer me up – telling her that I didn’t need her Pollyanna attitude, I told my CrossFit coach (whom I highly respect) to stop bitching at me, I gave Little K a spanking he probably didn’t really deserve, I made a rude comment about the size of a good friend’s head, I sent a text to an old friend brining up conflict that needed to just be left in the past, and I got into a heated Facebook debate over gay rights - with my Grandma.
And the thing is I am always just as surprised as everyone else when those things come out of my mouth. It’s like the words travel directly from my uterus out my mouth; completely skipping my brain. Then I have to apologize profusely. Because the things that I say and do while taking Progesterone aren’t even things I would normally think, let alone say out loud.
I was reading a study on babycenter.com about fertility treatments and one woman, after just a few days of Progesterone, tried to divorce her husband (to whom she was happily married and trying to conceive with). It’s nasty stuff.
Following the Progesterone is when the period comes. This one was decidedly unbearable.
Then comes the Clomid, which wasn’t nearly as bad as I had remembered it being; but still bad enough. With Clomid comes hot flashes, forgetfulness, sleeplessness, more hot flashes, unexplainable crying, irritability, depression, exhaustion, migraines sluggishness, etc.
Then after all of that you are supposed to begin trying. Having to count the days of your cycle and draw hearts on your calendar on days 9-18 to schedule intimacy really takes the romance out of everything.
Through all of this, I have found myself feeling anger at Mr. B – because it’s just so easy for him (aside from dealing with my psychosis). He doesn’t have to be the problem, he doesn’t have to see his body get destroyed, he doesn’t have to feel like shit because his hormones are going insane and still have to try to pretend to be normal. His body isn’t constantly disappointing him.
It’s not his fault. But damn-it, it’s just not fair.
I just want to cry. All the time. I want to punch every mirror I see. I want to hide in a hole where no one has to look at me. I don’t feel like I deserve to teach yoga, and I certainly don’t want a classroom full of fitness-seeking adults staring at me. I am constantly on the verge of an anxiety attack. I can barely complete a straight thought. I am constantly exhausted, but can’t sleep.
I’m afraid to admit that to Mr. B. He’s being so patient with me. He’s so supportive.
Last night I was in tears before we had company over. He hugged me and said, “I love you. I have loved you for more than ten years. I have seen you high and low and in between. And I have loved you through all of it. I took my vows seriously. I said 'in sickness and in health' and I meant it. I love you no matter what you look like and no matter what I look like. You are beautiful and I will always think so. Okay?”
It’s going to be okay. I’ve just got to stop hating myself.
Wednesday I go for lab work. What I will learn is whether or not I ovulated. From those results we will either plan for the next round of fertility or wait a few weeks for pregnancy tests. I feel like maybe something happened, I’ve been cramping during days 9-18 – which, according to Dr. Google, can be a sign of ovulation.
At this point I don’t even know what I’m hoping for. I just want to sleep for a really long time.
March 12, 2014On day 21 of my cycle, I went in for lab work like the diligent infertile I am. I was, again, cautiously optimistic (which has seemed to be my new norm).
The optimism came from a series of what I suspected were symptoms of ovulation. I Googled the pain I was having in my lower abdomen, and, according to Dr. Google, I was either ovulating or I had some sort of rare uterine cancer that would at any moment start hemorrhaging and result in an angry alien baby. That Dr. Google can be a real asshole.
Through the whole process I have been feeling like I am slowly drowning. Or slowly falling off a cliff. Or a ship slowly sinking. The day of the lab test I plummeted into darkness. I couldn’t stop crying. When I finally did stop crying I was completely emotionless. A walking zombie (which isn’t as cool as it sounds – I’m talking to you, weirdly zombie-obsessed-hipster). Mr. B tried to talk to me and I either cried or stared into space; finally telling him that I wouldn’t mind crashing my car and dying, because the nap sounded so nice.
He was terrified and didn’t know what to do besides tell me he loves me and that this process could be over at any moment. If I’m done, he’s done. My health and happiness is so much more important than any of this. I told him that if it didn’t work this time, I’m done. I can’t do it anymore. I can’t physically or emotionally handle another cycle of this.I cried myself to sleep that night.
The next morning I received the call from the lab as I was walking Little K into school. 0.3. Zero. Point. Effing. Three. I cannot explain the immediate disappointment mixed with rage that came over me. A month of hell for 3-tenths of a point of improvement?!
You had one job, uterus. ONE job!
I bawled until I was physically sick. I felt so defeated. I was angry at every woman who is able to just make a baby like she could whip up a cake. I mocked every accidental pregnancy I’d ever heard of. I was angry, bitter, and devastated.I was mourning for a baby that wasn’t even a possibility yet.
That night we discussed all our options, including adoption. And decided to give it one more try. Just one more.
I’m afraid though. My treatment doses will have to double this time. I feel like I am already barely keeping my head above the dark waters of depression as it is. I’m afraid that my levels will improve, but only just enough to make us try “just one more time” again and again and again. When do you stop?I’m depressed because my hormones are so out of whack, and nothing seems rational to me right now. Not a thing. And I’m depressed because I feel like my body is mocking me at every turn. Want to get pregnant? Not a chance! Want to keep off that weight while you are on fertility medicine? No way, fatty! I feel utterly defeated. I look in the mirror and want to cry. My face is fat, my back is fat, my legs are fat, and my stomach is fat. Everything is fat. Fat. Fat. Fat. I look like a bloated toad.
I am so out of my mind that Mr. B came home today from a business trip, with a gorgeous diamond ring. An early anniversary present. I could only muster, “It’s very pretty. Thank you.” I feel so sorry for him. I just don’t have any extra energy to every try to seem excited about anything right now. I’m utterly exhausted. I told him I don’t even know how he can stand to look at me right now, let alone be attracted to me.
A while back we discussed adopting another puppy. Mr. B said it was either a puppy or a baby, and we decided on baby. Right now I’m ready to throw in the towel and get that puppy.