Monday, January 24, 2011

There Lived A Beautiful Princess...but she got fat on infertility meds


“Inside some of us is a thin person struggling to get out, but they can usually be sedated with a few pieces of chocolate” ~Author Unknown

The third phrase in a fairy tale is frequently something to the effect of “there lived a beautiful princess.”  Beauty is a tough thing when you’re dealing with infertility.  I’ve taken an injection of HcG, the pregnancy hormone, lots of times to trigger ovulation for an IUI or IVF.  No one has ever said to me, during this process, “Oh…You are positively glowing.”  No.  Usually I get a comment from my husband like “Sweats, again?”   To which I have to shamefully reply, “I’ve really grown to appreciate elastic waistbands.”

I don’t know about the rest of you, but infertility has not been kind to my waistline.  In fact, this weekend, I reached a milestone…and not a good one.  As of Saturday, I am officially 60 pounds heavier than I was when I first started treating for infertility.  That’s right…not a typo…60!!!  And, to paint the picture in all its ugliness, I was not thin when I started this journey.  In fact, my first RE was on my case about my weight from the beginning, repeatedly telling me how much being overweight would hurt my chances of being pregnant (needless to say, he is no longer my RE).  I won’t give my exact weight to you…even in an anonymous blog I am too ashamed to share that little tidbit.  But the number that stared back at me from my scale’s display screen on Saturday was like a big slap in the face.  And I might have needed it.

I’ve been in denial about the weight I’ve been packing on for a year or two now.  I don’t lie about the fact that Ben & Jerry have become two of my closest friends.  How could I?  But I have lied to myself and to others about the extent of the problem.  Food has become my drug of choice and with infertility, there are a lot of emotions to be numbed.  Some nights I can feel sad, angry, scared and bored all at the same time.  Those are typically pizza nights.  I never reach for a salad in times of despair. 

So, reaching Saturday’s milestone made me face up to the fact that, not only has my weight been on a steady incline since finding out getting pregnant wasn’t going to be easy, I have also been on a binge for a long time.  I am eating enough calories for two or three people a day and I truly didn’t even realize it.  I tried to trace the binge back to its beginnings and, to my astonishment, I can recall the exact moment that it started.

A few days before Thanksgiving, I received the news that my IVF cycle was cancelled because, after 24 days on stimulating medications, I still had no follicles growing.  I was devastated.  I went for a drive to gather my thoughts and when I got home, I had a text message from my husband’s younger (and only) sister, announcing that she was pregnant with the family’s first grandchild.  I literally threw-up when I read the message.  I love my sister-in-law.  She rocks!  And I am really happy for her, but her pregnancy has been devastating to me.  She got married a year and a half ago and she and her husband had decided to wait to have a baby until they bought a house.  I was so relieved when I heard about their plan because I thought “Well, at least we’ll have chance to get pregnant first.”  Awful, I know…but I couldn’t get past the fantasy about having the first grandchild.  So, my sister-in-law and her husband closed on their house in October…and she announced her pregnancy in November.  That is the day the binge began.

I initially pulled it together to be the supportive person that I am expected to be, but the pregnancy was always there in the back of my mind and sometimes in the forefront of my mind.  Then, I had to deal with Christmas.  I was having panic attacks about how I was going to deal with Christmas at my husband’s family’s house, as it would inevitably become a celebration of the pregnancy.  My husband’s response was not to comfort me…oh, no.  He got irritated with me, said he couldn’t understand how I could be mad at his sister for being pregnant (sometimes guys really don’t get it), and told me not to ruin having a niece or nephew for him and not to ruin Christmas for his family by moping around.  He has been put in his place for these comments, but he did serious damage to my already fragile self esteem that day.  In addition to feeling miserable that I wasn’t pregnant, I now had to feel guilty about feeling miserable.  I made it through Christmas without making a scene, but I have only recently pulled out of what I can best describe as alternating bouts of mild depression and severe anxiety.  That was how the binge that I am on began and how it kept being fueled through the holidays.  After that, I think momentum just took hold and carried me through January.

So how do I fix this situation?  I’m not sure, but I think it is good that I at least am asking the question.  I know taking away my own excuses would be helpful.  Yeah the stimulating medications make you put on weight, but not 60 pounds and not when you aren’t even on the meds anymore (which I’m not).  I think that dealing with my own guilt and self esteem issues (related to my infertility) would help, too.  I’m hoping that admitting this issue to all of you will also be helpful…accountability never hurt anyone.  If anyone else has tackled this issue and has some advice for me, I would be so appreciative if you shared.  I know I can’t be alone on this one.


Endo_Life said...

You are not alone on this. I am currently trying to work out how on earth I allowed myself to gain so much weight! I was once a healthy 130lb woman. Now I have gained a little over 100lb and somehow some way it has to come back off.

I totally get how you felt about your sister in law besdies feeling elated for them it is like a knife to the heart at the same time.

Lindsey said...

I also know exactly how you feel about your sister in law, but for me its my sister. Its so hard to be excited when you feel so left behind...

Princess Wahna Bea Mama said...


Thank you for sharing. It feels good knowing that I'm not alone.

Monica said...

Thanks for sharing. You have an amazing writting gift. I was underweight all my life and gained 75lbs in less than 3 months. Turns out I'm Celiac and that also caused some IF issues.

Princess Wahna Bea Mama said...

Thanks, again, ladies for sharing. I joined a gym last Saturday, motivate in part by this post and your encouraging comments. However, I would much rather stay here, in my comfy warm bed, writing and reading blogs then travel out into the freezing cold and snow to get to the gym. That lack of motivation is really tough.

Lees J said...

Wow - I just found your blog, and I gotta tell you, it just resonates so much w/ me!! You're definitely not alone and it's so good for me to hear that I'm not, either. The comfort eating, the weight, the anxiety/panic attacks... I've so been there this past year. I just started getting counseling about a month ago. Once the panic attacks started, and once I started not wanting to do all the things I do, and once french fries became the only thing that would calm me, I knew I needed help. Now I wish I'd have started sooner. Thanks for your blog!!

joluvskev said...

This is an amazingly beautiful and well written blog. Your courage to put your feelings in writing is not only therapeutic for you, but it’s very therapeutic for those of us going through the same thing that can't put it into words. I have spent countless hours looking for a blog such as yours. Sad to say, but they don't exist. I have just found your blog tonight, but I am already feeling like I found a true counterpart. Although our reasons for fertility are different, our process at this point is the same. I started out being over-weight. I have spent the last 5 years being told that I had no shot at being pregnant because of it. Last summer we found a great Dr. that we feel believes in us. She said that the 260 lbs. I weighed could be part of an inhabitant, but that my getting pregnant didn't hinge on this. I do have POS and am type 2 diabetic. I have worked hard over the last year to get the diabetes under control. We finally got our first shot at IVF in December. My body failed to respond to any of the hormone stimulation. The Dr. had us stop. I too, mourned a pregnancy that was never conceived. We tried again in February. This time we doubled all of the meds. My body barely squeezed out one mature egg. To our disappointment, it was not a viable egg. I feel like our dream died. I gained at least 15 lbs. between both cycles. And today I am now at 280lbs. I didn't want another failed attempt. My husband, who took some time to come around to the option of an egg donor, finally had a light bulb moment and realized how important this decision was. It took us almost 6 months to start this process. I am now worried that my weight will inhibit my chances of this impending implantation. Hearing your struggle with weight gives me some much needed hope. Thank you.