Hello Hormones: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
We needed to decide what to do next. Trying to get pregnant has meant a series of decisions- not fun or easy. At our follow up consult with Dr. Murdock, it was decided that we would proceed with a Clomid IUI cycle when my next period came.
All our diagnostic testing came back normal, which is great. Oddly enough, though, a part of me was hoping that they would find something wrong- nothing big, just something that could be fixed! I just really wanted answers as to why things weren’t working in our favor in regards to getting pregnant. I also figured if we had an answer as to why things weren’t working properly, we could fix the darn thing that wasn’t working properly.
Dr. Murdock was so supportive and reassuring- I was grateful for her kindness. Leaving the appointment, Dan and I were both excited to have a plan to move forward. And, of course, in the back of my mind, I thought – “Oh maybe my period won’t come, and we’ll be pregnant and not have to go through any of this.”
Well, fast forward to Halloween. I woke up that morning and was excited to get dressed for work and see the costumes my amazing coworkers had come up with (I work with some very creative people!). I never imagined at the start of a pleasant day, that I’d end up in tears.
Day 30 in my cycle and there were no signs of my period... No zits, no cramps- sure, my emotions were ricocheting all over the place, but what else was new? So, I took a test because- what if? We’ve all heard those stories about women who miraculously get pregnant after having their HSGs and I thought, “Oh maybe I can be one of the lucky ones.”
No such luck. Negative. Again, in a long series of agains.
I couldn’t cry, I didn’t even feel angry... just numb, nothing at all. Another negative, really?
My mind rushed to fill the numbness with familiar thoughts- maybe it’s just not meant to be; why isn’t it happening; and of course, what did I do to deserve this?
Then to make matters... worse? Is that the right word to describe the uncomfortable combination of numb, guilt and disappointment? I don’t know if that’s the right word, but on my way home, I saw parents trick or treating with their children. I logged onto Facebook and saw more of a reminder of what I do not yet have: families and photos of kids dressed in their adorable costumes and thought why can’t this be me?
Then the pain I had expected came flooding in, drowning out the numbness. Then I felt the emptiness that was missing, from looking at those photos- knowing it’s so far from my reach. It’s just gut-wrenching, literally twisting my stomach unrelentingly.
A few days later, my period came and that meant the start of our treatment cycle. Again, with the wildly swinging emotions- I was pissed I got my period, but then that anger quickly changed to excitement because I started thinking, “Ok, this is happening. Let’s do it!” Riding that wave of hopefulness, I let myself think, “How cool would it be to be pregnant for the holidays (this is my absolute favorite time of year!)." And then reining myself back in and thinking realistically- what are the odds that pregnancy would happen with the first treatment cycle? Probably low. Maybe it’s my defense mechanism- to not let myself get too excited because I don’t want to get let down. Who knows. Up and down. And around and around.
There’s a reason that a roller coaster is such a commonly used metaphor to describe the feelings one experiences with infertility and fertility treatment.
I started Clomid on a Monday and didn’t really notice any “side effects” until Wednesday.
Oh geez. Let me preface this by saying, my amazing coworkers- I love them all so dearly and felt (feel) so bad because they must have felt like they had to walk on eggshells around me; they probably thought, “Who is this person and what did she do with Justine?" A huge THANK YOU to all of them for being so supportive and loving towards me during this time.
So, yeah, those side effects- let’s talk about them. Now, for some women, they don’t feel any side effects, but I wasn’t so lucky. On Wednesday, I noticed myself feeling incredibly irritable- little things that typically wouldn’t bother me, DROVE. ME. NUTS. Little things. Minuscule things. I didn’t have the patience for ANYBODY and was just not feeling like myself. I didn’t want to be around me, so my poor coworkers/family probably felt the same way, although they are too kind to ever admit that.
I just didn’t feel like myself- a very scary feeling. Certainly, an out of control feeling. I felt very PMS-y and wondered why I was feeling like that. My period wasn’t due to come anytime soon, so I was puzzled what it could it be. Was I overtired? Sure, but who isn’t?
And then it hit me- the CLOMID. Duh. That’s the reason why I felt like the incredible hulk. Big. Green. Mad. Inarticulate. Full of rage. Why didn’t I realize it sooner? I guess the distractions that I put into place– throwing myself into work – to kind of “forget” what was happening- worked. I was just going through the motions…
What a relief to take my last pill on Friday (I was on Clomid for 5 days) and now, I wait for my first appointment, post medication, to see how my body is reacting to the meds. It’s possible that we could have the IUI procedure towards the end of next week -EEK! SO EXCITING!
As hard as it is, I’m staying hopeful, positive and optimistic. I just keep that image in my head, and close to my heart, of Dan and I holding that beautiful baby for the first time. That’s my motivation and I can see it so clearly that it brings a smile to my face, even through the tears.
About Justine Houle- "Where’s the F%&$#!ing Stork?!"
Justine Houle loves a great pair of shoes, and her boys Dan (husband) and Ralph (a very handsome pup hailing from Tennessee which must be where he gets his southern charm). She began her career in childcare and then joined the RMA of CT team in 2011 as a Patient Coordinator. She's served several roles in the organization since then but most recently as the Marketing Operations Coordinator. She is well known for her impeccable style - and recently became an independent stylist for Stella and Dot. On the weekends, she can be found tooling around with her boys in Fairfield, CT where she grew up and currently resides.