tmi alert! tmi alert! don't read past this if you don't like hearing about women issues! =)
today, i watched a dvr'd episode of grey's anatomy. it was this past season's finale where meredith grey ends up being granted temporary custody of a baby she and her husband are trying to adopt.
it got me thinking of me and hubby's casual conversations to adopt at some point. we always thought that we'd like to have two biological children and adopt our last child, maybe even a 4th. and now i'm really considering it as an option in the very near future, sooner than i thought.
i've always had wacky menstrual cycles since i first got my period at age 13. i don't remember there ever being two consecutive months of a "normal" period. my periods were incredibly sporadic or would last for weeks. from the age of 14 - 27, i had been on some type of birth control pill to regulate my cycle. the only reason i had stopped bcp's was when hubby had quit his job to be self-employed so we both lost our health coverage under him. hubby and i applied for private health care and he was granted coverage while i wasn't due to the 9-month treatment i was receiving when i was found to have been exposed to tb during a tb scare at the school i work at. (i succesfully finished the treatment and just recently had a chest x-ray completed to confirm tb clearance just a couple of months ago. yay me!)
anyhow, at the time i lost my medical coverage, i had a couple packs left of bcp's. hubby and i talked it over and agreed that i should probably stop using the hormones. i was tired of taking the pill each day and wanted my body to be free of any artificial hormones. we weren't actively trying to conceive at that time but not actively trying not to. during that time, i probably had a period or two that year. then there was a good 7 months where i had no period. i had always been told by my obgyn that not bleeding for more than 3 months is unhealthy and could lead to complications down the road, like a thickened uterus lining and increased likelihood of some cancers. i didn't expect to be pregnant but just in case, i would take a dollar store pregnancy test the day of a party or celebration just to be sure i was safe to drink. each negative test did not alarm me but i realize now that this was probably not a healthy sign. hubby and i were so busy that i couldn't even fathom becoming pregnant so it was a relief to see a negative result.
so i made an appointment with my obgyn in december '08. at the start of each women's health appointment, a urine sample is collected. i had just taken a pregnancy test a few days before so i knew i wasn't pregnant. i explained my reason for coming in to see dr. k and she discussed with me medication she would prescribe to kick-start menstruation and "clean" me out. before she would prescribe the medication, she checked the test strip the medical assistant had used to be sure i wasn't pregnant. then she told me she saw a faint positive line. i was shocked! i had just finished telling her that i wouldn't mind having a baby soon but was fine not having a kid yet, either. the medical assistant promptly brought in an ultrasound machine and they measured the fetus to be only 4 weeks, which is the earliest that a positive pregnancy urine test could be read. i was floored! yet, i was also cautious when dr. k described to me the risk of first trimester loss.
since i had experienced a miscarriage in 2004 and because of my menstrual difficulties, i thought it was still likely that i might lose the pregnancy so i prevented myself from being too "carried away." i told some family and friends shortly but kept this information from most people until i was well into my second trimester. i didn't even start reading the baby books until my 14-week appointment and yet throughout the pregnancy, i prevented myself from being "too excited" in the case i would not be able to carry the pregnancy through full-term. hubby and i chose not to know the sex of the baby and didn't decide on any baby names until i was in labor and delivery. i think this also prevented me from feeling super attached. i don't know if that's good or bad but i think this was a better alternative for me instead of being insanely stressed out and fearful while pregnant.
fast forward to 2011. hubby and i have a beautiful 2 year old daughter who is the light of our life. wanting children about 2 years apart, we realized the optimal time to try to conceive would be between january and july, at the latest, to have a baby in the "off-wedding season." i knew i didn't want to start trying until around the time of our vow renewal so i could fit into my wedding dress so the window for us was actually march - july.
it's now september and i have bought a number of pregnancy tests and ovulation tests these past few months. none show me the result we would like. it doesn't even appear that i am ovulating, which is disheartening. since giving birth in august 2009, i've maybe had two or three regular periods or at least regular for me... in may, my period lasted for about 4 weeks (a very light flow). a couple months past and then i had my period again. since july 9th, i have had a light flow. this is super annoying, to say the least, despite how light the flow is. after enduring this for the past 8-9 weeks, i went in on the first of this month to see dr. k again. she decided to prescribe to me the same meds she would have prescribed to me when i hadn't menstruated for 7 months. provera, she said, would help to stop the bleeding and regulate my cycle. i was to take it daily for 10 days, which would lead to a period shortly after. i was to start the treatment all over again at the start of the next two months.
the provera ended up leading to a regular period, one that was bright red blood and not the scant light brown i was used to. i didn't think too much of this but it continued through the week and didn't look like it was letting up. i emailed dr. koh and she let me know this was normal. she asked me to wait through the next 3 months before i would see regular cycles. so i waited...
i decided to use the diva cup again, which i love. it's a reuseable menstrual cup made of silicon and is super easy, sanitary, convenient, effective, and comfortable. it also is a measuring device of sorts and the one i use holds up to 1 oz. of fluid.
by last sunday, i realized how heavy the flow was. i was leaking like crazy out of the diva cup, which i found super odd. i realized i was having to empty it every 1 hour to 1.5 hours when normally i could wear it for 6-12 hours with no issues. we were on an outing with friends to the annual ghirardelli festival so bathrooms were not convenient. as much as i hate them, i ended up using a portapotty and had to remove the diva cup, opting for a bulky maxi pad that i ended up flooding. i changed again and flooded the next jumbo pad. it was embarrassing to have to tie my sweater around my waist like i had to when i was an unprepared teenager. by evening, i started to rack up the number of times i had changed out the diva cup and realized i had probably lost about 8 oz. of blood. that's a helluva lot of blood loss! i've always been on the anemic side so i began to worry.
the next day at work was monday. by mid-morning i had changed out the diva cup about 3-4 times, in addition to the one time that morning before i left for work. by lunchtime, that would make 5 oz. of blood loss. my coworkers encouraged me to call my doctor. i called the advice nurse and although the standard they normally use is # of pads per hour, she was alarmed and scheduled me for a same day appointment with the nurse practitioner i love.
np t was not as concerned when i first came in to see her. she let me know that my dr. should have told me that a lot of blood loss is normal when starting provera. she was also puzzled at the fact that dr. k wouldn't prescribe double dosage for a quicker treatment, as she would have. np t wanted to do a manual exam to check my cervix. upon removing her hands, i notices the look of alarm and panic on her face as a large amount of blood was released and she had to quickly remove her gloves from her hands to try to catch up some of the blood spillage. i know there was a big mess below me. "yeah, we're gonna do it my way this time," is what she said, referring to the new prescription she would give me that same day. she admitted that the amount of blood i was losing was out of the norm and she prescribed double the dosage of the hormones i was normally given plus something that would help stop the bleeding.
np t has me starting the treatment over again so that i will have taken the hormones for a total of 22 days when normally 10 is the max. the hormones are strong stuff and i have been out of whack lately. some of the side effects are good, like mood swings on the upside and weight loss, but others are not so good, like the horrid sleeping patterns, acne, moodiness. i am to take on this treatment for 3 months and then np t has advised me to go back on bcp's for 3-6 months, highly recommending at least 6 months. she believes my cycle is way out of whack and needs the help from these hormones to synch back up. during my appointment, she did ask some questions about trying to conceive and i almost felt like she was screening me for the possibility of infertility treatment, which i hadn't thought of before. basically, i'm recommended not to try to conceive for the next 9 months.
i can't help but feel disappointed and scared that i won't be able to conceive. i would love for el to grow up with a sibling, especially one close in age. this is why the idea of adoption is really tempting to me at this point. i have a sense that el was a miracle baby and for that, i am truly grateful and blessed.