What It’s Really Like to Freeze Your Eggs
By: Rylee Dahl
The first month of the year is focused on new beginnings, fresh starts, and turned leaves. January also happens to be my birth month. However, last year, on what’s considered to be a benchmark of a birthday, my 21st was overshadowed by the start of my egg freezing cycle.
I categorize it as tedious due to copious doctor appointments that are quick but nevertheless a hassle. What’s annoying about it is the medication that must be administered religiously.
My medication routine (it’s different for everyone) is two injections daily, a pill for the first five days, an added injection in the morning for three days, a trigger shot two nights before the procedure, and antibiotics started on the day before the egg retrieval. This is a two-week-long routine and as I filled my body up with hormones, I became an emotional smorgasbord.
I was already cloaked with sensitivity before starting the process and felt nervous, anxious, sad, and angry at a situation I felt I had no control over. My body has dictated a lot of the paths I’ve attempted to trek that get overthrown, yielding to the fragility of my material self. With depleted emotional energy, I felt isolated and misunderstood which created a tension that seeped into my household.
The emotional eater in me consumed my willpower as I ate my way through the month. Gaining weight led to a loss of confidence and I felt completely stagnant, as physical activity is not allowed during this process.
My self-esteem was even more diminished due to my inability to book jobs as a model; I would go to multiple castings and not get chosen for any. Although I’m aware that the modeling industry is dripping with rejection, I began to take it personally.
If I reach a certain breaking point, I’m prone to hyperventilation attacks and although it had been over a year since the last one (a personal record), during an argument with my mom, I broke.
I felt panic creep up and my emotional dam burst. I kept saying “I’m tired,” as I struggled to catch my breath. I’ve learned to relax by thinking as a third party, repeating, “calm down” and forcing my breathing to stabilize. While it sounds simple, hyperventilation attacks can be pretty intense when you’re unable to control your breathing and they worsen if you can’t ground yourself.
In addition to managing these attacks, I still was trying to gather my opinion on IVF. Going this route and deciding to have a baby this way is very deliberate, so I was plagued with questions like, “What if my baby is unhealthy either physically or mentally?”
My spirit would be crushed and the guilt would be unimaginable because I selfishly brought a child into the world instead of accepting my natural fate.
Also, when choosing to get pregnant, all eggs from the cycle are fertilized while the best one is implanted and the rest are forever in the earliest stage of development unless picked for another pregnancy or discarded. I’m pro-choice but this fact was a bit unsettling to think about as my reality.
My body had trouble regaining hormonal balance and side-effects of this included a pesky rash that appeared on my face and lingered for about four days. I also tried my best to center myself emotionally and mentally. Finding balance goes farther than hormones, it’s a daily task and an effort to maintain stability.
The month of January is not forever; I will move past its torment and piece my life together with a product I’m proud of. Everyone has a personal January and we mustn’t let it morph us into defeatists.