Taking progesterone isn’t an actual WPATH recommendation since pretty much every HRT study seems to be based on counterfeit progesterone and horse-piss estrogen (not even a joke), but word on the street is that bioidentical progesterone is a beneficial addition to trans-fem HRT. Turns out they were right, but in ways nobody would expect. So I ask the doctor for some progesterone and since there’s really nothing harmful in trying he gave me a prescription. The stuff is not exactly cheap, but I thought I’d give it a go for at least a month and see if it did anything. I started noticing effects within four days. It certainly clarified certain urges early on that had been nebulous since starting HRT, but it also came with a bout of womb dysphoria; my abdomen ached for the lack of one and I cried for some time.
Nine days of taking progesterone and suddenly my mood is in the dumps for apparently no reason. As the day wears on I notice a constant mild headache and some cramping. Could it possibly be?The second day was worse than the first. Spent two full days in bed with heat packs and all. Seems fairly certain that this is, in fact, a period. The cramping became less intense over the next two days, but it was complemented by a new sensation: My body longed to be pregnant. As far as I knew it was the one thing I could not actually be. It was rough.
Towards the end of the fourth day I thought the period was mostly behind me, but a mysterious nausea and slight vertigo began to creep up on me. I barely made the bus ride home that evening without vomiting it had become so bad. I had no idea where this came from. I didn’t feel like I was actually sick with a cold or flu, but there was obviously something wrong.
The next day it was somehow even worse. I couldn’t do anything without my body threatening to vomit. I became suspicious… could it be? I wrote down all of my symptoms and while doing that I noticed other differences. There was the nausea and vertigo, of course, but still had a vague headache, tender breasts, and some gut issues from the period. I was very tired and my lower back ached. But I also noticed that I had gone off what was at the time a common snack of carrot sticks and hummus. The very thought of eating raw vegetables sickened me. Just that week my partner made vegetable stock and I had to do everything I could to isolate myself from the smell. I then checked the symptoms of what I suspected it was and saw another symptom: linea nigra. I checked myself and sure enough, it was there. Faint, but it was definitely there.
I was pregnant… or at least my body thought I was.
The next day I steeled myself and got to the pharmacy. I had to get something for this crippling vertigo and a pregnancy test as a sanity check. I was pretty sure I couldn’t actually be pregnant, but just in case something vital had been missed. Even though the morning sickness had eased a bit as the day went on, it made what was normally a simple 15 minute outing into a nigh-impossible task; I was in a cold sweat the entire time. I asked the pharmacist for a pregnancy test and whether they had anything over the counter for morning sickness. She gave me a strange look, “is this for yourself?”
“Yes.” She shrugged off the apparent absurdity and fulfilled the request. The only thing she could give me for the morning sickness was some ginger vitamin pills. I was willing to try whatever she could give me at that point. The ginger did take the edge off a little, and thankfully the test came back negative; at least something made sense about this situation.
After a full week of this I managed to get in with my GP. Getting there was a struggle, but the expression on his face when I told him I was (not) pregnant was priceless. He asked me a few questions just to make sure nothing was seriously wrong, then prescribed me the anti-nausea meds normally given to pregnant women. They certainly helped. The symptoms eased over a few weeks before disappearing altogether as my body became used to the new hormone levels.
It seems fairly common for trans women to develop a regular monthly cycle on HRT despite taking the same amount of hormones every day (no, nobody knows why it happens), but experiencing first-trimester pregnancy from it seems practically unheard of. So far I’m the only one I know of that this has happened to. While I am very grateful for the experience it was very rough on me mentally; I’m already keenly aware that I do not have a uterus and this is a bittersweet reminder of that fact. I do feel the maternal drive and it is a cruel thing, knowing that I will never have the option even if I never wanted to take it. I guess this is just a struggle I share with all infertile women.