Saturday, August 9, 2008

"Clomid Was My Gateway Drug"

While reading Blood Signs this morning, a Peggy Ornstein quote caught my attention. "Clomid was my gateway drug." I thought this was the perfect line. It says everything I fear about Clomid.

The path I am traveling seems well-worn, and as I look ahead, I am of two minds about whether I want to continue in the direction it seems to be headed. You start out this process with clear ideas on how it is going to work and what you want out of it. But then things change, and you make a million decisions to do things you said you would never do, and things that once sounded like sheer lunacy start to feel perfectly normal. . .and yes, it sounds a whole lot like the path that you hear about perfectly respectable people following to becoming homeless junkies. And given the cost of ART, perhaps the analogy to being a homeless junkie is particularly apt, because it's easy to see how you could invest all of your resources in this process, and find yourself with nothing at the end.

Many months ago now, we made the decision to create a family, and tossed the birth control. We talked about our ages (upwards of 35 for both of us), and how we felt about ART (opposed). We tried, and got pregnant within a few months. We had a miscarriage. We then had some trouble. We talked some more about ART (well, we thought, maybe a little--but no needles). The doctor first says no intervention is needed yet, but then Clomid is ultimately recommended. We talk about that (Terrific T. is all for it; I am not so sure). And here we are.

I know that compared to an IVF drug protocol, Clomid is nothing. But I don't even take ibuprofen all that often. I'm not really into medication, unless it comes from a corked bottle. My god, look what a mere antibiotic did to my system this spring. And if we do this, and this doesn't work, what is next?

Peggy Ornstein writes
"The descent into the world of infertility is incremental. Those early steps seem innocuous, even quaint: IUI was hardly more complex than using the turkey baster. You're not aware of how subtly alienated you become from your body, how inured to its medicalization. You don't notice your motivation distorting, how conception rather than parenthood becomes the goal, how invested you become in its "achievement." Each decision to go a little further seems logical. More than that, it begins to feel inevitable."

She also writes that
"Becoming a parent can't give me back the time -- the entire second half of my 30s -- that was obliterated by obsession. It doesn't compensate for the inattention to my career, for my self-inflicted torment, for the stress I put on my marriage."

And then she says this:
"That's the insidious thing about infertility treatments: The very fact of their existence, the possibility, however, slim, that the next round might get you pregnant creates an imperative that may not have otherwise existed. If you didn't try it, you'd always have to wonder whether it would've worked. That's how you lose sight of your real choices -- because the ones you're offered make you feel as if you have none."

How far am I willing to go? We always said no intervention. We always said adoption. But it's so hard not to just try "one more thing." I feel like I'm standing on the edge of a precipice. It's just a little pill. It's easy. Or is it?


BB and MTB said...

For me, the journey from trying naturally to full blown IVF was simply a means to an end. For us from the beginning, there was little that we wouldn't try or at least consider. I knew rather quickly that Clomid wasn't going to work for us since it thinned my lining so drastically. After that, the decision to move onto the harder drugs was easy. It is a slippery slope.

In any case, the decision is yours and your husband's alone, and while you can learn from the experience of others, it is up to you to decide how much is enough. Good luck w everything that comes next for you.

VA Blondie said...

That slide into IVF and infertility treatment has sort of freaked me out. I think that is why I waited so long to see an RE. I am mid thirties and only started seeing an RE a year ago.

It is tough when the doctor is telling you IVF is the best way to get you pregnant. We actually decided no on IVF. At least right now. It just did not feel right for us.

It is your decision. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise. You two have to do what is best for you.

JamieD said...

I thought only the first step would be the hardest, but every step has been so difficult.

You are right in your thinking - ifi you give a little bit now, where will it stop?

And at what point have I morphed from a woman who wants a family to a crazy lunatic who will stop at nothing to only get pregnant?

I think the questions may be the same for all of us, but the answers will be very different.

Io said...

Peggy O. always seems to hit it on the head so perfectly.
I hope you are able to figure it out.

Wordgirl said...

Hi Queenie,

I'm so glad I found my way here through the winding roads of the blog-o-sphere...I think I definitely was where you are -- and now having made decisions that ultimately were against the grain we're left with the diagnosis that IVF is our only route -- and boy do I not want to go down that path. I've tried my best to just honestly assess what I could make peace with...and when I got to a roadblock, as I have now, I just weigh it all...but it is hard.

I'm with you,


Gin said...

Ah Queenie - the false hopes get me every time! Clomid just seems the accessory to it all. [sigh] I love the new header by the way! Very fancy!

Clomid Side Effects said...

My name is Helen Page and i would like to show you my personal experience with Clomid.

I am 30 years old. I have taken for 3 months. My progesterone level after my first dose of Clomid was 65 so I knew that I had ovulated. Couldn't try the second cycle on it because my husband went out-of-town while I was O'ing, go figure. Hoping it worked this month!!

I have experienced some of these side effects-
Mood swings, increased appetite, hot flashes, increased pain during ovulation, abdominal pain, mild but infrequent headaches. Also, I used to be on a consistent 28 day cycle, but I think Clomid might have lengthened it as I'm now on a 31-32 day cycle.

I hope this information will be useful to others,
Helen Page