Part of the process when beginning IVF is to be suppressed using birth control pills. Typically, clinics like to suppress you for 18-19 days. It can vary depending on the clinic and you. Our clinic advised Jen to be on birth control pills for 19 days. After the 19 days of birth control, Jen would start her period and we would begin our injections 3 days after completing the last pill. The purpose of the birth control pills is so that the clinic can control your cycle. The pills will stop you from releasing any eggs.During Jen’s antral follicle count, she had 16-18 eggs, and those eggs will remain when we start the ovarian stimulating medications.
We were excited to start the birth control pills because it meant we were one step closer to starting the injections, which meant one step closer to hopefully becoming pregnant. However, Jen was not anticipating the side effects she experienced from the birth control pills. Being a lesbian, Jen was never on any contraceptives before because she didn’t need them, so her body was not used to the change in hormones.
The side effects that Jen has increased since starting the birth control pills have included:
- Headaches. The migraines were quite severe for the first four days of taking them.
- Dizziness. Jen experienced dizziness on day 4 of the pills.
- Nausea. Jen experienced nausea on day 4 of the pills.
- Vomiting. Jen experienced vomiting on day 4.
- Insomnia. Starting on day 4 to now on day 12, Jen has not been able to sleep well. The birth control pills have caused her mind to be very active during the night. She feels almost “manic”.
- Breast tenderness. This symptom has been present since starting the pills.
All of the side effects to the pill have been pretty manageable with an exception to the insomnia. Jen has been feeling pretty crazy due to it. We have tried to come up with some solutions to the insomnia and alertness during the night.
The following things we have tried:
- Night time sleep aids, such as zzquill. If you find that you are feeling quite alert from the pills, you may try sleep aids. They don’t always help Jen, but sometimes they are effective.
- Meditation: We recommend using Circle and Bloom, which is fertility meditation. Circle and Bloom has proven to be quite relaxing for both of us.
- According to Reiki.org, Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It is administered by “laying on hands” and is based on the idea that an unseen “life force energy” flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. If one’s “life force energy” is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy.
- After completing Reiki Jen felt instantly more relaxed. We recommend it for helping to clear your mind.
Honestly, if you find yourself experiencing some or all of the side effects Jen is experiencing, try to remember that you will only be on these pills temporarily. Pretty soon you will be starting the IVF injections.
We will take our last birth control pill on March 2nd and are set to start our first injection on March 5th. IVF along with many other seems seems to be a waiting game. I think the key is to try to find some patience and peace during this stressful time.