Friday, April 15, 2011

Physical Pain of Infertility

Throughout the IF world and blogs, you hear and read of the emotional pains that are caused by infertility. The horrible pains that IF patients are subjected to month after month is unbearable! Unless you have personally suffered from infertility or pregnancy loss, you can not possibly imagine the depth of pain that it inflicts upon your whole being. It's like this deep pit of sorrow and hurt that can't be filled. You just feel sooo "empty".

There is also the financial pain the infertility causes. Infertility treatments are often not covered by insurance companies. It's so unfortunate. Infertility treatments are very expensive. Just this past year, I have personally spent over $7,000. That's all in cash. You have to pay up front for medications and procedures. No payment plans, no credit cards, all cash. That's a LOT of money to pay and still have no baby to show. That's not even including the co-pays, days of work missed, or gas for driving over 50 miles one way to the doctor appointments every other day.

Nobody ever talks about the physical pain of infertility. First, there are the countless blood draws and transvaginal ultrasounds done every other day first thing in the morning. At night, you have injections with medications that sting and leave bruises on your belly.  Then, there is the HCG "booster" shot that causes ovulation. This injection will cause your already swollen ovaries to burst and throb and ache very badly. The insemination process itself is similar to having a pap smear, but that's unpleasant enough as it is! Then there is the horrible bloating and ovarian pain and cramping caused during the actual ovulation process. Imagine menstrual cramping intensified for two weeks...if you are like me, and develop cyst after ovulation, your ovary can swell to ten times or greater it's normal size and all of the swelling and fluid will cause you to gain 5-10 pounds overnight. Then, while your superhuman ovaries are large and overstimulated, you are unable to exercise or move for fear of an ovarian torsion which is very dangerous!! The ovaries can become so incredibly large that they can actually twist upon themselves and the blood flow is then compromised, this usually results in intense pain that sends you directly to surgery! Along with the hyperstimulation, you are also given doses of progesterone to supplement during your waiting period. This horrible hormone causes breast tenderness, irritability, moodiness,'s like two weeks of the worst possible PMS ever!

So, during fertility treatments, my body is poked, prodded, probed, and it responds by making me bloated, moody and generally unhappy and cranky. My husband is very supportive and helpful, but this has easily been the worst cycle of treatments in our six year marriage. The worst part? This entire painful process may not even end in a successful pregnancy. So, maybe that's why I am so cranky when women complain to me about their "two day cramping before their period starts"...really? Two days??

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