Before starting the TTC journey, I never expected it to be so emotional. I’ve known for years about my PCOS so I knew that I might have to go through the whole fertility treatment process. But somehow I was not at all prepared for the emotional rollercoaster I’m on. The few friends who had talked a bit about it made it seem very matter of fact (went to doctor, took meds, have baby). Perhaps it is that simple for some people. For me, the lack of control and the uncertainty associated with the process has made me slightly crazy.
Today, I went to get a pedicure. I haven’t gotten one for ages and it’s spring and might as well celebrate life in some form. It turns out that random customer next to me is preggers and starts talking about it and I immediately start tearing. I never used to be quite this emotional. The ectopic pregnancy has made it even more painful. I was almost there. Almost done with the process and on the road to being ‘normal’. Almost able to hear a heartbeat and start doing all the things ‘normal’ pregnant women do. Now, I think this is yet another emotional scar that I’ll carry with me for a long time.
I realize now that when I was first diagnosed, I was incredibly naive. I wasn’t even dating my husband then so as much as I always knew I wanted to be a mother, it was still very far in the future. Plus, we have modern medicine so how bad could it be?
I never even thought about the emotional toll. I’ve gone through months of seeing the spotting that heralds my period and still holding onto the hope that it’s implantation bleeding (even though the timing totally doesn’t make sense). Months of missing periods and hoping against hope that this time was it only to realize, that PCOS strikes yet again. The treatment cycles at the fertility clinic actually restored some semblance of calm. At least I was doing something productive and I was ovulating! Now.. I’m not too sure. I’m actually glad for the enforced break in trying after the ectopic resolves. I’m not sure about my husband but I definitely feel the need to recenter.
The thought of resuming the constant poking and prodding and tracking just feels so exhausting. Again, something I didn’t expect – effectively this is almost like a second job. There’s the RE doctor visits and blood tests and checkups. Then there’s the more regular than usual annual checkups (gotta get my flu shots) and gynec appointments. Then there are the endocrinologist appointments. And then there’s the planning involved with figuring out who to go to when and making the appointments. And this is the bare basics. Other things that take time: worrying about diet (do carbs really make that much of a difference? god knows I’ve tried going low-carb and still no sign of a baby), worrying about travel coinciding with the various appointments (I still go to school in my old city and go back once a month to meet my advisor), googling about every symptom, agonizing through the 2ww, wondering about finances, dealing with the insurance companies, cursing the insurance companies (actually to be fair our insurance is pretty good, it’s our HSA company that kinda sucks), googling organic X (where X is makeup/perfume/food/what have you), googling success rates of various procedures. Some of this can be avoid, sure. But even just the appointments, scheduling and insurance is time and energy consuming.
Anyways, the upshot of all this is I’m tired. Just tired. I still have sore boobs because, of course, that was the first sign of pregnancy that I had. I took so much comfort in that. Every morning I’d get up, still feel sore and be at peace that the baby was still there and doing ok. Some use that was. And now its just mocking me. I’m achy and crampy and bloated from the methotrexate. I’m super anxious about blood test results for whether it’s working or not. At least, I’m no longer have panic attacks about surgery (I’ve never had surgery in my life. Or anesthesia). I’m also physically not in great shape. I was on enforced relaxing schedule during the 2ww. Then the couple of weeks after that, told to rest a lot during early pregnancy (I did slowly start working out then). And once the ectopic was diagnosed, strongly told to not do much in order to avoid a rapture. So now, I’m also really out of shape.
Maybe things will be different, maybe I’ll be pregnant again by then but I have a feeling Thanksgiving will be bittersweet. Of all things I was excited to have the best excuse to not host Thanksgiving (which I usually love) – I’d be due around then! But now.. well, maybe now is not a good predictor for how I’d feel.
PS – After reading this, I realize that I’m not giving my husband enough credit. To give him his due, he comes with me for every single blood test, appointment and ultrasound. I also told him early on that I refuse to give him any sympathy for his tasks in the process. He deals with some of the scheduling but usually the nurses call me with the results so its easier for me to handle it. I deal with most of the insurance stuff mostly because I handle the money in the family. As for all my googling/trying to educate myself — well, some of that is me needing to be in control and knowing what to expect and some is that only I really know what I’m feeling.