Scene: Pharmacy waiting room on a Friday evening in November. Two women are simultaneously called to the pharmacist's window to receive their prescription of birth control pills. One looks tired, having to wrangle two young boys while her husband offers feedback on how she should be parenting. The other looks equally tired, approaching the window with a look that suggests she's carrying the weight of the world and most certainly doesn't want to be screwed with. As the pharmacist hands them the exact same prescription, he proceeds to go over all the details, starting with use to ending with a myriad of side-effects. The lone woman nobs impatiently, clearly wishing the pharmacist would simply hand her the package so she can be on her way. The other woman is wide-eyed, staring at the pharmacist in disbelief as her husband translates all the instructs. Finally, the pharmacist ends his diatribe and asks if there are any questions. The mother responds with a "yes" and then looking directly at her husband, she asks a question in broken English that takes everyone within earshot by surprise: "Why you no get vasectomy?"
Let's start with the obvious: the BCPs are kicking my butt. Today alone, I've found my mind wandering to less than cheery places and the tears have come way too easily. Part of this has to do with the news that I'm once again an aunt, part of it is the usual life BS, but it's hard to mistake the feeling associated with these drugs. How upside down I feel while on them.
I remember the first time I ever took BCPs. I was 21 yrs old and had finally convinced my mother I needed to be on them as my periods were very uncomfortable. The sense of freedom that came from finally being in charge of my fertility was probably enough to overcome any discomfort I may have felt. That and I was 21 yrs old. Little did I know I would spend the next 8 yrs of my life on various forms of birth control: pills to start, then onto the "Patch"(which I really did love) and even the Nuva Ring for a few short months. Religiously adhering to them out of fear of an unplanned pregnancy and "ruining" my life.
What I wouldn't give for an unplanned pregnancy now.
Fast forward to winter 2011. Grey and I are gearing up for our first IVF. Reading over the protocol, I notice that BCPs are my first medication. "Piece of cake" I think. I've been on BCPs before and never with any issue. Despite warnings of others suffering, I convince myself that this will be the easy part of the protocol. It will only be a couple of weeks before I'm eating my words, wondering aloud why I'm struggling on a daily basis. It won't be until after round 2 of these meds that I'm able to recognize this change is it's own special type of blues: the BCP blues.
Before I continue, I need to clarify that I'm actually a champion of BCPs. I firmly believe that without this technology, women would still be in the dark-ages, restricted to the home and slaves to their fertility. Birth control liberated women, giving them control over their bodies and allowing couples to chose if/when to build their families. Frankly, I believe educating both men and women about fertility and family planning is critical to ensure human health and happiness, allowing people to explore who they are and where they fit into the world without being saddled with life-altering responsibilities because of a one-night encounter. I believe family planning makes for better parents. Hence I'm a huge supporter of making birth control free and widely available. Of educating teens about its uses and encouraging them to become proactive about acquiring it.
Still, the irony has not been lost on me that all my IVF cycles have started with BCPs. That the infertile, who can't become pregnant on her own, requires a medication that is meant to prevent pregnancy in order to proceed with fertility treatments. Part of me wonders why these pharmaceutical companies aren't paying me to be their poster child for their product.
Then I get a week in and remember why.
I know I should bitch, that instead I should be thankful we have another opportunity to do another round of treatment. I also know that going through all of this could very well be the road to us finally bringing home a child. For all this madness to end and for both Grey and I to finally be at peace. Still, the future is uncertain. And as much as I'm trying to remember that a lot of this depression is drug-induced, it's hard not to slip and feel totally worthless.
Two more weeks of pills to go. Then we're on to more adventurous medications and fun side-effects.
Come on universe. You owe Grey and me a happy ending.
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