Every time I start an IUI or IVF cycle I’m a bit down. Possibly some of this feeling is related to the fact that I actually have to resort to fertility drugs in the first place. Some of it is the almost daily clinic visit. But I’ve also discovered that some of it is hormonal. Yes, hormonal! We women are ruled by our hormones in the most intimate of ways. This truth hit me like a thunderbolt one day as I spoke with Dr. G.

“How’ve you been? So good to see you!” she chirps.

“Oh, been better. Tired, sluggish, exhausted,” is my reply.

“Ah, that’s just because you’re low on estrogen,” explains Dr. G. as she goes through the blood results with me. “Don’t worry, pretty soon you’ll be feeling like super woman.”

And in fact, that is exactly what happens. There is a pattern in my life: first week of cycle I’m low on energy and listless. Second week, when my estrogen kicks in — whether natural or synthetic — I am roaring to go. Third week, I could still outrun an athlete on empty (okay, an amateur athlete). Fourth week I’m grouchy, blue and tired. Rinse. Repeat. One of my questions is, how do I get that estrogen ecstasy all of the time? I know that elevated levels of estrogen is bad for us, with links to breast cancer, for one. But I want to feel invincible all the time. It feels great. My second question is, my g-d, what will menopause be like?!

One of the funniest side effects is that I diagnose myself. The husband might remark that I’m really crabby one day and I’ll just respond, oh it’s my progesterone levels; they’ve kicked out all the nice estrogen. As if that’s a good reason to be grouchy with someone. And so on I go, on the hormonal merry-go-round.