I stood at my bathroom sink, topless, with the first shot in my right hand and a section of my belly pinched in my left hand. I took a deep breath in, exhaled and injected myself. It was eight o’clock in the morning on a Friday and my path to preserving my fertility had officially started.
Later that night, I had three more injections to give myself. And that pattern followed day after day for the next 12 days. Some days I would inject myself with five different drugs on the same day, all prescribed by my fertility doctor to help make the egg preservation experience as successful as possible.
Over the next two weeks, all my feelings, thoughts, body, awareness and emotions expanded. I experienced extreme mood swings, unprecedented stress, migraines, cravings, bruises, nausea and fatigue. I would wake up sobbing, feeling a depth of sadness I never experienced before and after several minutes of intense crying it was gone. Minutes later, I was laughing, enjoying a sense of boundless joy and excitement. One minute I was incredibly carefree and peaceful and the next a blinding migraine came on. The migraines were a regular side effect I experienced.
Freezing my eggs as a single woman has made this whole experience even harder. I was surrounded by couples in the clinic. They stared at me. I smiled and kept to myself. We all shifted in our seats pretending we were there for the same reason. I didn’t allow myself to become sad about my singleness while in the clinic, as I watched men comfort women before another blood draw or another ultrasound.
I stayed as focused on the end result as possible. I made this decision because the man I hope to raise a family with one day has yet to show up. I’ve only met a handful of single women who decided to preserve their fertility, but it’s been important for me to stay in touch with all of them. We exchange war stories about the highs and unbearable lows. I get texts like, “Hang in there. Go get a massage. I love you and you are amazing.”
I took those messages to heart. And the support I had from my female friends around the country provided me with a deep sense of comfort.
The biggest surprise I experienced was the lack of financial support for women who preserve their fertility. Fertility drugs are not covered by most insurance companies. The financial stress I endured during this time broke me — both literally and figuratively.
The entire experience took me beyond any state of comfort or understanding I was aware of and it forced me to change. It forced me to ask for help, emotionally and financially. It forced me to create a brand new relationship with myself.
As a result, I learned what I was really made of — incredible love, acceptance, compassion, humility and confidence. I let go of any and all inhibitions about my body throughout the 12 days while on fertility shots. I had to. Everything expanded — from my bra size to my ring size.
And I’m OK with it all. I’m grateful I went through this experience and I’m so grateful it’s behind me.
To any single warrior-women going through this journey on their own or about to start, please know this. You are not alone. There are women who want to support you as you move through this. I met dozens of women when I started talking about it. We’re learning from one another.
What we’re doing to preserve our fertility isn’t something to be ashamed of or embarrassed about. We’re action-orientated women and doing the very best we can in this world. Be kind to yourself. And reach out.