I had expected it all along, and I almost forgot to mention: no, the IUI didn’t work.

This wasn’t upsetting in the way I predicted.

Let’s back up for a sec. As instructed, I had been using Crinone gel (a supplemental progesterone) since the Tuesday following the IVF-turned-IUI. Everybody responds to each drug a bit differently. I had managed fairly well on the IVF drugs thus far; I didn’t expect that the progesterone would wreck me as much as it did.

I was on the progesterone for 10 days total. At the beginning, I could tell I wasn’t faring well. Then again, we’d just gotten our diagnosis (diminished ovarian reserve) due to the cancelled cycle, and that’s a tough one to swallow. I was sad, I slept poorly, I had trouble eating, nothing was fun. Those are classic signs of depression. So what? I had a really good reason to be depressed. I tried to address the situation; I attended a support group for the first time ever. I saw my therapist (my first therapist ever, btw). I went for walks. I tried to shake it.

By the time this past Wednesday rolled around, I was in extremely bad shape. It was clear from the vanishing physical symptoms that my natural levels of progesterone were falling because I was not pregnant, but the supplemental progesterone was still kicking my ass in the mental health department. I went to a very dark place last week. My husband R. was a little scared, I think.

(My posts from that week were halfway cheery because I wrote them last weekend, when I had some alone time, and I scheduled them to post. Sorry if that’s misleading.)

I disobeyed doctor’s orders and stopped the Crinone a day early, the day of my blood test. I was positive that the IUI had not worked; I had taken a HPT that morning to confirm the negative. I also took an applicator with me in my purse just on the off-chance that the HPT and everything had lied, but no need. I’d called it.

By that night, I was already coming back to myself. Bear in mind, that’s the evening after I’d had a BFN confirmed – and I was beginning to laugh again then.

Forgive the melodrama, but I need to say this to you, internet: I have now learned entirely new depths of darkness.

I told my IVF nurse about this, and she referred me to my GYN to talk about the possibility of an antidepressant. I’ve made the appointment.

Please note: I’m not eager to take an antidepressant. I never have before, I don’t want to now. I intend to ask my GYN if there are any other ways to counteract the emotional effects of the progesterone before I take anything that I don’t feel like I need apart from the time when I am actually taking the progesterone.

However, R. and I are also aware that we can’t go through that again.

My hope is that progesterone after IVF won’t be as severe. Because the cycle was cancelled, my one dominant follicle (and any others that were still halfway around) was allowed to rupture, as per usual. That means that there would have been a cyst present to release progesterone naturally, as opposed to after an egg retrieval, when there is no cyst. My conclusion, which has not yet been confirmed by anybody who’s been to nursing or med school, is that I was basically enjoying a double or triple dose of the chemical that makes me sad anyway as part of PMS. If that’s true, I hope to avoid an antidepressant.

If not, I will need help.

I’m not quite sure my exact purpose in confessing all this to you, blogworld. Perhaps it’s therapeutic. Perhaps it’s a PSA of sorts to watch out for your own possibly depressive symptoms on all these intense drugs.

I will end on a slightly happier note, adding to my list of small mercies begun in an earlier post:

  • I can go back to a more rigorous exercise routine for the next several weeks.
  • I picked up my birth control prescription on Friday afternoon to begin the next IVF attempt… and it was free! The pharmacy tech said something about how it was due to recent health care legislation? I didn’t catch that part of the Affordable Care Act, but as any IVF patient knows, when somebody hands you a drug, any drug, for free, you don’t wait to ask questions. You run like hell for the door, drug in hand. Now, if only the same could be applied to the Gonal-F…

Thanks for reading, y’all. Make sure you post a comment and let me know if you’ll be starting a cycle soon. I need some new cycle buddies to cheer on.

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