The Infertility Diaries



A couple weeks ago, I met a friend for coffee to go over my experience with the infertility drug Clomid. She was just about to start her first round, so I shared that all my rounds have been very different, but with each round she should be prepared to experience:


weight gain
excessive hunger (which probably contributes to the aforementioned weight gain)
nausea
severe bloating
lower abdominal pain
bouts of crying
extreme irritability

Fun, right? It's a small price to pay for a successful pregnancy, especially since Clomid is the least serious of interventions (it's oral and not an injectable). Still, fertility hormones are no joke, y'all. Yesterday I burst into tears because my favorite drive-thru Starbucks barista told me that it was his last week on the job. I mean, let's ignore for a minute the fact that I'm frequenting the Starbucks drive-thru way too often if I'm on a first name basis with the barista, and concentrate on this not being a normal person's response. I'm going to go ahead and attribute this one to drug side effects.

Back to my friend. I went over all the logistics of taking a fertility drug with her, and described all the physical symptoms, but didn't touch upon attitude and outlook. What I wish I would have told her was, it's easy to become overwhelmed with sadness while going through this season. But, keeping positive and thinking about the big picture is almost as important as taking those pills (or getting those injections). Keeping positive doesn't necessarily mean imagining your perfect outcome (if you're going through infertility, you've already experienced your "plans" not working out). In fact, your end outcome might be totally different than you ever imagined. Maybe the answer for you will be adoption, or maybe you'll be like my sweet friend who, just months after welcoming boy/girl IVF twins learned she was pregnant again - Irish triplets!

In the meantime, try to live your life. Be present. Be thankful. It's helpful to keep in mind that a baby won't solve anything. Having a baby isn't going make life magically happy. Years ago, I followed a blogger going through secondary infertility (the inability to conceive after already having had a successful pregnancy). She was understandably sad, and expressed this, making it sound like if only she could have another baby, everything would be flowers and rainbows. Well, she did have that second healthy baby, but her blog is still a downer. She reminds me that dwelling on what's wrong (or the things that aren't going according to your plan) just takes up time and space in your mind - time and space that could be filled with something else, like all the things that are going right. Back in undergrad, I read the writing of Viktor Frankl, and his message is still with me today. He claimed that when everything has been taken away, the one and only thing you retain control of is your attitude. Y'all, this man was talking about being thankful for a noodle in his soup at a concentration camp. If he could choose his attitude in a situation like that, I certainly can as well.

I'm not saying infertility isn't hard. It's hard. The emotions associated with it are grief, anger, sorrow, embarrassment, disappointment, plus the lingering feeling that it's "not fair" - not fair that it's easy for so many other people, but not for you. That other women don't need treatments that do all sorts of awful things to the body, and then don't work. Again, big picture friend. Maybe the treatments will work someday, and God Bless those doctors because fifty years ago those drugs and procedures didn't exist. Or, maybe your baby will come at a different time and in a different way than you previously thought. My best advice for combating the infertility blues? Feel your feelings (wallow in loss, stay in bed, paint your nails black), and then move on. It's a marathon (unfortunately), not a sprint. Keep occupied during the infertility season, taking care of yourself, and staying busy, busy, busy.  This definitely keeps the dwelling/obsessing at a minimum (or at least from completely taking over). Unfortunately, I don't have any advice to deal with the physical symptoms of fertility treatments besides wearing flowy tops and maternity leggings (for the inevitable puffing up like a marshmallow) and keeping lots of tissues on hand (for the hormone induced sobbing when you learn your favorite barista is leaving the job). #infertilityproblems
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6 comments

  1. Yes to this. I remember going through treatments. I had to take metformin and pills to help my egg quality. It is such a long road and your body is out of whack and just having a hard time. I remember this like it was yesterday. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. You are one of nine that I'm praying for with regard to infertility issues. NINE. That number is so large that it's just baffling to me.

    I love your positive attitude, though. I am the absolute worst at being positive in negative situations and I always look up to those who are able to dig deep like that and find the rainbows. And you are so right about our attitude being the one thing that we can have control over when all else fails. I will definitely take those words to heart.

    You are in my prayers. XO

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  3. I hate that you are going through this, but really appreciate when you touch on it. The way you write about it is refreshing, and very honest. Thank you for sharing!

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  4. I'm sorry that you are going through this but I love your outlook and being thankful in the now. It's so easy to get caught up in what we hope for instead of being thankful for what we do have. I know too many people that are going through infertility right now and my prayers are with you. Sierra Beautifully Candid

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  5. Thank you for sharing friend! Outlook is everything and perspective is a lesson we all need to hear regardless of life circumstances! Prayers your way!

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  6. I went through eight years of infertility and finally adopted my first daughter. When she was four I became pregnant and went on to have two biological children (now grown). I will pray for you that you will be successful in adding to your family. I bet your son will be a wonderful big brother!

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