I take over 30 pills a day, I drink disgusting fertility smoothies (I brag that I have acquired a taste for wheat grass, who am I kidding?), I get weekly acupuncture. For both IUI cycles I did all my own shots, including Menopur to the butt. And I know it can get way worse than this.
But the worst right now? Is getting to my IVF weight. Technically, I’ve gotten their twice already. The first time, May 28, was my cousin’s daughter’s birthday party and I guiltily ate a ham and cheese on a croissant sandwich, barbecue ribs (later at dinner), a few bites of cake, a scoop of potato salad, a spoonful of beans, some pasta with vodka sauce, and a handful of popcorn. That sounds like a crazy amount of food but it was a birthday party followed by a Memorial Day picnic. The next day I was 2 pounds over my IVF weight and it took me a full week to lose it.
June 3, just this past Saturday, I hit my IVF weight again. And then I had 400 calories of movie theater popcorn, a dairy free gluten free southwestern rice bowl (filled with vegetables), and chocolate avocado mousse. The next day I was 2 pounds over my IVF weight.
My metabolism is shot. I don’t get to eat dairy or gluten and haven’t in months, I don’t have any caffeine or alcohol, and as of last week I am doing 3 miles a day on the treadmill. The dietary changes are to reduce inflammation and in turn hopefully help my ovaries, but it also is helping my weight. The scary part is that I have to get way below my IVF weight to be the correct weight on their scales. I have to get way below that weight to even be considered healthy.
I’ve never been thin in my life, I’ll never be thin, and I am healthy at a weight that is very overweight but is 50 pounds less than my current weight. Actually, I’m very healthy right now but I have to lose the weight for IVF and truthfully I prefer to be 50 pounds less than my current weight anyway so I might as well try. And I’ve already lost 35 pounds since my all-time highest weight.
My weight gain from my happy weight to my highest weight is bookended by my ectopic pregnancy in 2014 and my 9-week miscarriage in 2016. Maybe it’s poetic that I gained weight after my losses so I am losing weight to have a baby.
That’s what energizes me on the treadmill. Every time I get tired walking, I shout “for the babies!” and I crank up the speed and start running. Don’t worry my treadmill is in my house so I’m not an annoying psycho at the gym. Since January, every time I want to have a cup of coffee, sweets, any kind of dairy product or wheat product, I ask myself, “Do I want that or do I want a baby?” And even though I want a baby 100%, I’ve made the right choice at least 95% of the time. It’s hard. I’m very overweight but I’m not a normally unhealthy eater. It’s not like I was eating fast food. It’s hard. Not everyone has to go through this for IVF and it’s just another obstacle I have to get through. I was cursed maybe with my genes, both for my weight and for my diminished ovarian reserve. It’s hard because I am hungry and tired all the time right now but I have to get through this. I have 22 days to get below this weight barrier.
I read the studies about weight and IVF outcomes and it’s not entirely conclusive that being overweight = worse. It looks like sometimes overweight women produce fewer eggs, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they have worse pregnancy outcomes, sometimes they have better. I know that a lot of the statistical risk factors about overweight women and pregnancy aren’t things my OB was ever worried about and that’s why IVF clinics want women to be a certain BMI, to eliminate statistical poor outcomes of pregnancy. It’s just something I have to do, and I’m going to get through this.