Thursday, January 5, 2012

Adventures in Planning the Future

I originally wrote this post on August 22, 2011 but was too scared to post it at that point. I was sick to my stomach realizing that our plans were changing and was trying to come to terms with the fact that babies might be a reality way sooner that we had initially thought.

I've vacillated about writing this post for a week now. I'm not even sure if I'll post it but I'm sitting here, one big ball of nerves and I can't think of what to do except spill my guts or cry for an hour and I don't think it's something that's worth crying.

When I was 10 I got my period. Sitting in 5th grade science class, snapping at my partner because he wasn't making our lightbulb light up right. I was the first in my grade to take the step into womanhood even though I was one of the youngest and the school nurse sat me down to explain all of the things we had yet to go over as a class.

Throughout middle school I was riddled with cramps and would often miss at least one day of class a month. The summer after 8th grade I started having irregular periods. For the first time I had a period that lasted 2 weeks and was dangerously heavy. The following year I visited the OB/GYN for the first time and was put on birth control for the first time.

In the 8 years that followed I tried every type of oral birth control possible, and yet sometimes my period would last 2 weeks, sometimes it would come every other week, and sometimes I needed vicodin to ease my cramps. Eventually it got to a point that the nurse practitioner I had seen thought I needed a surgeon and my new doctor suspected I had endomitriosis. In the summer of 2007 they did laproscopic surgery to look for endomitriosis. As I went under anesthesia I told my mom that I knew I would marry Jus.

As it turns out I have endomitriosis on my bladder as well as my uterus, which meant that cauterizing it off wasn't an option as it would burn through my bladder. Following surgery it was decided that I would go on Lupron, a shot that would essentially put my body through menopause. The idea being that we would be "rebooting" my system. Lupron shots lasted a year resulting in a year of hair loss, no periods, mood swings & hot flashes.

During that year Jus was subject to many tears, often he would ask why I was crying and I would say I just didn't know and then cry more because I was crying. (vicious cycle, eh?) The fact that Jus stayed with me through that time makes him even more amazing. Jus & I often say that since we got through that year we can get through anything.

Following Lupron I was put back on oral birth control and had six months of period free bliss which was followed by a year or so of the most regular, normal periods I have ever had. But of course it didn't last. Once again feeling stuck by my situation my doctor recommended that I get an Implanon insert. Implanon lasts for 3 years and I think that if I was a regular girl with regular periods it would have been a wonderful choice. When I went on Implanon at 23 Jus & I decided that when it came out at 26 I would go back on oral birth control for a year and at 27 we'd start making babies.

I'm currently wrapping up my 2nd of 3 years on Implanon and for the first year it was pretty normal. Cramps were bad but I was having one period a month. Of course life doesn't stay normal for very long. This year I've started getting my period every 3 weeks.

Since July 22 I've had my period 3 times.

That's 18 days of the last 31.

Yep, it sucks, I have cramps that aren't controlled by prescription pain killers and every time I get my period I automatically feel drained. I am so tired of having my period, being able to cry at the drop of a hat and being medicated for cramps. Not to mention the lack of intimacy that comes with constantly having your period.

Lately Jus & I have rethought the whole baby making thing and had decided that when the Implanon comes out in September 2012 I'd stay off birth control. We wouldn't measure my temperature or go crazy but we wouldn't try to prevent pregnancy. That gives us a year to get the Behemoth finished and get our brains wrapped around the fact that we'll be parents within the next couple of years.

Last week I had my yearly, I had just finished period #2 and started the appointment by telling my doctor our plan. She was excited to hear that we were getting ready to have a baby because for the past 4 years she's been telling me pregnancy is the only option at fixing my endomitriosis.

And then she started talking specifics: I need to get healthier, not drop a ton of weight but get to a point I can maintain throughout pregnancy; I need to start taking prenatal vitamins next summer; and I need to get pregnant within the first 6 months of going off birth control. She's worried that after the first 6 months my endomitriosis pain will be so bad that birth control will be my only option.

That's where the record screeched to a stop. Jus & I were planning on being casual about the whole baby making thing and she's telling me we have 6 months at most?

Last week this is where the post was going to stop, I hadn't written it but was planning to open a discussion about this whole planning thing and trying to mentally prepare yourself. I figured most of my readers were about the same age and could help out with some opinions about overcoming the fear & excitement that has washed over me this week. I haven't been able to talk about much besides babies and Jus is feeling good about the situation too.

When I started period #3 Saturday I wanted to cry. In the last couple of months my endomitriosis has gotten so much worse that all hell's broken loose and I'm afraid that over the next year it will just continue to get worse. I'm terrified that I'll end up having my period every single day and when we start trying the endomitriosis will be so bad that I won't be able to get pregnant.

So now we're talking about taking the Implanon out early. As much as I look forward to having a baby with Jus it really freaks me out. I know there is never a good time to have a baby because they will always change your life in ways you'll never know. But don't you think it's a good idea to have a kitchen first?

I'm not even sure the purpose of this post. I'm so excited, nervous, worried and stressed, I can barely think about anything but our future babies. I find myself getting lost looking at baby items on Etsy. And every once in a while I can't believe we're this grown up, it was just a couple of years ago that I was a kid, right?

If I've decided anything in the past week I think it's that couples who are blessed with surprises are lucky because they don't have to go through the stress of planning when to bring a life into the world.


Syndal said...

wow-I can't believe the hell you've been through. But this post is kind of really cool to read now. had you thought about the mirena IUD? many (not all) will have their periods suppressed with that, and it lasts up to 5 years.

Krysten @ Why Girls Are Weird said...

I'm one of the lucky ones that's never had much of an issue with my period so I can't even imagine what you must go through. However, I could see how Syndal's suggestion of Mirena could work?

Amy said...

Wow!! What an amazing post!! It must be so amazing to look back now and see how much of a blessing this pregnancy is to you guys!

I'm so happy for you both, and hope that getting pregnant will help with your endomitriosis!

Otherwise you'll have to become a baby making machine! :)

Jessica Perkins said...

Wow, thanks for sharing!
You are such a strong woman! It's great that Jus was there to be strong with you and stick it out for the best and the future. It makes some of my stresses seem so simple and easy.I hope this pregnancy and birth goes smoothly for you. I'm so very excited for you!

Kim Dale said...

This was really inspiring. You've been on a roller coaster, I'm glad Jus helped you through everything! I love your blog, you are a wonderfully strong woman and I'm super happy for you over your pregnacy! What a reminder that life is very unpredictable. Thanks for sharing!

LatteLove said...

thanks for sharing - what an ordeal. I'm so happy for you that there is a healthy baby staying in your belly, even if things are happening off your plans. pregnancy must not be too bad considering what you'd already been dealing with!

Jessica said...

Wow, I had no idea you went through all of this! Kudos to you for sharing. I hope this pregnancy is smooth for you and provides you with some relief!

Deidre said...

Oh Cole, I am so sorry! I'm having laproscopic surgery next month for endometriosis (although my case isn't nearly as bad as yours - I'm so very sorry).

I've heard that acupuncture and chinese herbs actually treat endo really well and that might be something worth trying. I'll be doing that after the surgery instead of the pill/hormonal therapies.

Caitlin said...

Wow! I have a lot of admiration for you for writing this all out...I'm sure it wasn't easy. There are some in my family who suffer from endometriosis and I know from them how horrific it can be. I'm so glad you guys are finally getting to experience pregnancy and having a baby. I'm wishing you guys all the best. <3

kate o. said...

Oh GIRL! This is so crazy and intense and I can only imagine the absolute vagina/uterus hell you've lived in for the last 15 years. Big hearts!

I don't know if I would have been much help back in August, as I was having strange baby-desires right around that time and wishing I could back to America and have one!

Hannah said...

Thank you so much for sharing. My story is quite similar (and yet very different) from yours, and the way you put your self out there really humbled me. It is easy to get caught up in me-me-me but to see the pain you went through really broke my heart. I'm so glad that you have Justin in your life, he seems to be a rock and so supporting - and soon you'll have LBL!