Remembering the dark days of IVF

For those of you who don’t know what Clomid is it’s a hormone. It makes eggs grow on women’s ovaries and provides a more favorable chance of pregnancy with IUI’s.

Clomid threw me into a deep depression. It was not only the third failed IUI attempt but I am very sensitive to hormones so down I went. I entered December feeling God awful. I saw my therapist who I hadn’t seen for over a year and I remember just sobbing. He was taken aback because that isn’t me. He told me to see a psychiatrist, he was worried I was actually deeply depressed and needed anti-depressants. I saw a psychiatrist. He told me I was moderate to severely depressed and needed an anti-depressant. He also talked about health care professionals not taking care of themselves, and that I may need an IOP or something. I was working on an inpatient psychiatric unit at the time, and there was no way I was going to an IOP with patients of mine.

I took one dose of Lexapro and felt even worse. It threw me into a fog for a day, and I was like Fuck this. I booked a cruise for my thirtieth birthday which was in January, and met with our fertility doctor. We decided we would proceed with IVF starting in February after my cruise.

I went on the cruise with two of my best friends. One of whom was actually working on the cruise ship. Yes we went for free. Yes knowing an officer on a cruise ship is freaking amazing. The head Chef made me grilled lobster on my birthday and sent a cake to our cabin and a bottle of very good champagne. I jumped off a pier into the Gulf of Mexico on my birthday. I drank a lot of tequila and a lot of champagne and thought I was going to die the following day. I didn’t though.

I came home refreshed. I forced myself to go the gym every day before, during, and after the cruise. I kicked myself out of my depression and put on my game face for IVF. I needed it. IVF kicked my ass.

And it all started in February that year. 2015. Started with shots. So many shots. I was allergic to the first one- and my conversation with my fertility doctor went like this, “So the Lupron gives me hives, and is extremely painful to inject.” I showed him the hives. They were big, red, and painful. He looked at them. “Okay, so we really need you to take this though. So just maybe take Benadryl or something.” I had to inject the Lupron into my hive laden body for three full weeks. After the first week I added some growth hormone which was wicked expensive and I treated like liquid gold. After that we added another one. I don’t even remember now. I just know at one point it was three shots a day, two pills, continuous hives, bruises, and hormonal craziness.

The Progesterone was an intramuscular injection- it was really thick and kind of a lot of liquid, and could only be injected into my butt. I was on that daily for a full three months and I stopped it early because my butt could not take it anymore. It got to the point where I cried every day when it was given to me. Not full on sobs, but tears coming out of my eyes.

This is an aside- I administer Vivitrol as a psychiatric nurse practitioner. It’s usually to young guys who are drug addicts to prevent relapse. It’s a big needle, thick, only can go into the butt, and is once a month. They all bitch about it, they all say I have no idea how much it hurts, and many of them have literal panic attacks and insist on laying down to have it injected and literally whine the whole time. In my head every single time I’m like, “Dude. You don’t even know.”

I literally have tears in my eyes typing this because I remember so much pain during that time period and so much hope but so much fear. I remember feeling so fortunate but also so scared working in a hospital. I had to let people in on my secret. They knew I was gone a lot in the mornings (at appointments), one resident walked in on a nurse giving me my injections one day when it got to the point that I couldn’t self inject anymore. He was super awkward but super nice but I also felt the need to explain I wasn’t getting shot up with anything illegal. People knew. They were all supportive and friendly, but it was still scary.

As a society we don’t encourage women, especially lesbians, to talk about their fertility journey. Because of fear. Fear of discrimination, fear of miscarriage, fear of so many things. This time of year for the last two years has been hard but also empowering because I remember the fear, the pain, but then I see my two sons and I’m like fuck yeah. I made you both.

My last digression and comment to this blabber is after the pain and after the hives went away and the bruises on my belly and butt went away I was seven weeks pregnant. I started bleeding. I thought I was having a miscarriage. We already knew it was twins. We went for an ultrasound on a Sunday morning with my fertility doctor. He turned the camera toward me, and I saw them there, two little beating hearts. He showed us the big dark thing on the right side of them both- there was a large blood clot. He told me almost under his breath, “One wouldn’t have been enough, the blood clot is so big, it would have taken one out, you needed two.”

One year before I saw a psychic. She did a medium reading. She told me my Grandpa kept saying, “One’s not enough.” She literally said that phrase about ten times. So when we had to decide if “One egg will be enough or if you want to do two…” I immediately said two. We had to do two. Then, at seven weeks, I knew why.

I don’t regret the pain. I don’t regret the depression. I certainly don’t regret having two. I remember that ultrasound vividly because it was like all the pain and all the shit from the last year came full circle. Came back to a chance meeting with a psychic that changed the course of my life.

To anyone going through their own infertility journey- stay strong. Go on a cruise. See a psychic. Put on your game face. It’s not easy and it’s the opposite of feeling good. But that moment when it all comes together in the end is worth it.