So there we were with these magic pills that are supposed to make my ovaries work. I felt like Jack with his magic beans... this will work. I knew it. It had to, right? I took them as directed. Whoa.
Now if you do your research... you will find that the risk of side effects from this medicine, especially the low dosage that I was on (25mg), is pretty low. I had all of them.
- Hot flashes. These were particularly bad at night, I would wake up drenched in sweat. It was gross and uncomfortable. Not to mention that I work in the only doctor's office in the world that is perpetually too hot. Not a good combination.
- Bloating and abdominal discomfort. Good thing I wear scrubs most days. Whoever invented that drawstring thing is a genius. The other time I would have to spend in either sweats or leggings.
- Weight gain. Yep, I gained 10+ pounds in a matter of days. That's normal right?
- Mood swings. Goodness... the mood swings. I could go from being the nicest person in the world to being the angriest in a matter of seconds. Oh and let's not forget the crying. Just one "joke" from my husband could put me in the floor in a pile of tears in no time. This would take some adjustment. We argued, I got mad at anything he would say. Oh you don't want to eat what I cooked for dinner? Welcome to World War 3. Any jokes felt like a good swift kick in the stomach. Instantly I could produce enough tears to fill a salt water swimming pool. It was awful. I didn't feel like myself. I knew my husband had to be wondering where this person came from and how he managed to marry this lunatic... the hardest part was that I couldn't help it. No one warned us that it would be this bad. For that "medicated" week, I didn't even know who I was and why I had no control over this!
- Nausea. Check.
- Dizziness. We aren't just talking a little bit. We're talking, try to lay in bed and watch the world spin around you kind of dizziness. Like after taking strong pain medicine and seeing "trails" behind things. Like drinking an entire bottle of wine and then trying to work.
- Headaches. Ugh. I have battled migraines and chronic headaches all my life. Why not take a medicine that would compound that?
- Alopecia. To pile on top of how bad I felt about myself... my hair began falling out. Fantastic.
So I went in and they did an ultrasound to see what was going on. "Wow" the girl said... "there's a lot of cysts here." Boy, was there. More than 5 large ones on each ovary, and a variety of smaller ones as well. I knew that stuff was supposed to produce follicles... but that many?
Then I was taken into my Doctor's office, and she closed the door. Well this can't be good. "Are you in pain?" Yes. "How much weight have you gained?" More than I should in a matter of days. "Okay, I'm going to tell you something and it is going to upset you" ... "You shouldn't try to get pregnant this month" WHAT?!? But that's the whole point of THIS!! "You are suffering from OHSS, ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome. The risk of a great number of multiples is too high, and you are my top priority. I think it would be too much of a risk to your health if that was to happen." Tears. "I'm sorry, I know this sucks." What is the risk of this happening? "Well that's the hard part to explain, I have never in my career seen anyone get hyper stimulated from this low of a dose." Ugh. Go figure, me, the interesting case. "I'm so sorry this is happening." At least that was genuine. The thing is, if you get pregnant while suffering from OHSS, it gets worse... much worse... and lasts throughout the first trimester. She got misty eyed herself watching me take all this in. The infertile woman who is now too fertile and told she can't even try for a baby this month. It was awful. Yet another time I regretted telling my husband not to take off work to go with me to an appointment.
When I left I called him on my way home and gave him yet more bad news. I was sentenced to go home and rest. Take the next day off work. AVOID water because that can apparently make the condition worse. Load up on Gatorade and/or PowerAde. No I would NOT be able to run that fun LuvMud 5K we were looking forward to, but I could go and watch, as long as I sat most of the time, and didn't get overheated.
It was on the way home from that 5K that the cysts began to rupture. Holy cow. It was intense. Miserable. Even with the pain medication. When I got home, all I could do was either lay in the bathtub in the hottest water I could stand or lay in bed on a heating pad... trying to manage the pain. I drank as much as I could... the thirst was indeed excessive. There would be no baby making this month.
Later I would regret agreeing not to try that month. But I would have many "if only" months ahead.
This is when I would begin a strategy to avoid falling back into my depression. I keep a list of blessings in my head. On those bad days I would go through a list of good things in my life. Sometimes it kept the depression away, sometimes it didn't. I still found myself asking many times... "God, why is this happening to me?" "Why does this have to be so hard?" I still wasn't leaning on Him like I should. I should have been casting my burdens upon Him, letting Him help me to carry them... instead I was questioning Him a lot... At least I was talking to Him. FINALLY I was talking to Him on a daily basis. Progress.
I prayed for strength to get through this. At least I didn't have to be admitted to the hospital as many women who suffer from OHSS do, I had a mild case... and if this was a mild case I sure as heck did NOT want to experience a severe one. I would be closely monitored from here on out.