I call this chapter in my infertility journey “The Deer in Headlights.” Some women choose to take a break from TTC for a multitude of reasons. The biggest one being they need a serious emotional break, but my current situation is a little different. My doctor adamantly told me recently, “Absolutely do not get pregnant for the next six months.” He went on to explain that I am at risk of Gestational Trophoblastic Disease (GTD) due to the suspected partial molar pregnancy I had with my sixth miscarriage. GTD can turn cancerous. I interpreted his professional explanation into something like this in my mind, “Julie, don’t be the world’s biggest idiot and go get pregnant if it puts you at risk of cancer.” Got it! Message read loud and clear doc.
Although it’s a seemingly simple task, it’s also a real mindf***. It’s too easy to inadvertantly condition my mind to think “sex is bad” over and over again for six months. Not to mention the fact I’ve had so many miscarriages over the years it would be a very easy belief to take on. But my doctor did not say, “Don’t have sex” he instead said, “He needs to use protection and you should be on birth control.” As much as I hate being on birth control, if it means potentially preventing a flare up of GTD that could turn cancerous I will happily take that daily little pill.
I normally hate being on birth control. Years ago I took a birth control pill that I think caused my blood pressure to go so sky high my nurse said it was at “stroke levels.” I decided to stop taking the pill immediately, making no other lifestyle changes. When I came back to the doctors office several weeks later they told me my blood pressure was completely normal and said, “You must be exercising and eating better.” To which I replied, “Nope I’m still a couch potato and eating junk. The only change I made is I stopped taking that birth control pill.” To this day I’m convinced the pill caused my blood pressure to reach “stroke levels.” I learned that one of the possible side effects of that birth control pill was “increased risk of stroke.”
Flash forward about one decade later to today and my blood pressure is genuinely high and I need medication for it. I’m hoping once I lose some weight it will help lower it. So what do you do if you have high blood pressure and your doctor tells you you need to be on birth control? Ask about the progesterone-only pill or “mini pill.” Thankfully I am able to follow my doctor’s orders and it not affect my blood pressure by taking this alternative pill. But it is not some magical pill, it comes with side effects too.
The biggest side effect I am experiencing currently with this birth control pill is mood swings, mostly feeling weepy. It is so damn hard to keep my emotions in check. Even a simple moment of drama in a movie can cause a tear to roll down my cheek now that I’m on this pill. And a hard day at work…don’t even get me started. Let’s just say Kurtis is getting lots of hugs and sniveling from me lately. Both he and I are legitimately concerned about the effect of this pill on me. “Why do you have to take the pill if I’m using protection?” he asked me. I explained my doctor wants us to be doubly sure we don’t get pregnant until my body is ready. I’m also dealing with daily headaches and some have been turning into full-blown migraines. I am not a happy camper lately.
I plan on asking my doctor about what he thinks as far as the mood swings and this pill. I imagine he will tell me they will wane as my body adjusts to them. When my neurologist (for my migraines) was asking about any new medication I was on, told her about the mini pill and how I was concerned about how I’m having more headaches and mood swings. “I would think those would go away soon because you are getting a steady supply of hormones with no placebo pill week.” This was reassuring I suppose, but I haven’t yet reached that state of equilibrium. Hopefully within the next week or so I won’t be so weepy over nothing.
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