Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Yes, Virginia, you really CAN get pregnant on your period.


Part 1:

It sounds like one those things that maybe, possibly should not be true but it most certainly is.  First, let me back up a little. From the earliest days of me getting my period (and I started early, the summer before 3rd grade…good times), my periods have always caused me intense pain.  I know everyone says their periods suck, I mean really there is nothing great about bleeding for days. There is honestly no way to spin that as an awesome thing, unless maybe you were worried you were pregnant and then *whew* “Not this time Mother Nature!”. 

Anyway, I would always tell my doctors that there was something wrong with me and they’d act like I was being overdramatic and then recommend I go on birth control to make the pain more manageable.  So, I did. I did that for almost 10 years until finally it didn’t matter what brand I was on, I was spotting uncontrollably all month long.  Until in a moment of wisdom, I said, “Fuck this” and threw my pills in the trash. I’d like to say I stayed off of hormonal birth control forever, but I had a brief flirtation with the NuvaRing (more on that later). I was 25 years old when I got myself off of birth control pills and, at first, my cycles  weren’t too bad.  They were heavy, but I was managing with the power of the pad/tampon combo and plenty of Advil.  As the years passed, it got worse and by worse I mean passing blood clots that went AROUND the damn super plus tampon and were more than the pad could hold. Seriously, it slid down my leg and I was terrified. I thought I was dying or having a miscarriage, it turned out it was neither, but that didn’t make me or my ruined clothes feel any better.

At this point in my story, I decide it’s time to lie. I felt like I wasn’t being taken seriously by my OBGYN doctor, so I told my GP (general practitioner) that I was never going to get pregnant with these issues.  For some background, my GP is like another grandpa to me and he was always giving me the “you aren’t getting any younger” speech. He hooks me up with a fertility specialist who was kind of confused by my phone call because I wasn’t actually trying to get pregnant, I was only attempting to fix myself and make life bearable again.  The best thing that came out of that phone conversation was the name of my current doctor. They said, call this guy, he’s good with this kind of thing and…bonus! He’s down the street from my job.

I wish I could say that he immediately discovered my issues, but it wasn’t so simple.  The one thing I will say is that this was the most humanizing experience I had ever had at a doctor’s office. EVER, in my life.  It was a small office, with some questionable d├ęcor, but everyone was friendly.  Then I met a man with a high level of energy, intelligence, and empathy who gave me my exam and then HAD ME GET DRESSED and meet him in his office before he spoke to me. Nothing was rushed, no wham, bam, thank you pap smear...now get out. There was no awkward conversation while I was half-wrapped in a paper gown, sitting on a table. He sat down and went over my issues and it made me feel heard by an OBGYN for the first time in my life.  We discussed what types of tests he wanted to run to get the full picture of my health and we were off to the start of a beautiful relationship.

My doctor had me do bloodwork, but nothing interesting turned up, he wanted me to give the hormonal birth control one last go since it had been a few years and I had never tried the NuvaRing. The NuvaRing worked okay for about 3 months and, as an added benefit, it made my boobs way bigger. I actually had to stay on it until my wedding was over even though I was ready to stop because I was worried my chest would deflate and I’d have to get my dress altered again.  In fact, my breasts were so large, my mother insisted I take a pregnancy test before the wedding so that I didn’t accidentally drink while pregnant (Moms, amirite?). No big surprise, the test came back negative and I threw the bonus test that came in the package into a drawer. I was happy to get off of the NuvaRing because it made me feel so dry. It was a painful, Sahara desert level of dry that was so uncomfortable, I actually chose to have my usual period problems instead and that says a lot.

About 4 months later, my doctor wanted to move on to a uterine biopsy since I was having so many clotting issues and pain with my period. We scheduled the biopsy for the time in my cycle that it would make the most sense and I saw him again in a few weeks.  The procedure itself wasn’t so bad, I mean it wasn’t like a “10/10, would do again” situation, but I was still able to return to work that day.  I did not give my biopsy another thought until my results came back and they came back clear! Which was great, but also a little confusing because here is this doctor doing all of the right things, but not finding any answers.

Part 2: The Drink-ening

I detect earthy undertones and just hint of, "we're getting fuuucked up today".
The Mister and I were invited to Spring Wine Festival at a local winery, which sounded lovely.  I imagined us taking small sips from fancy glasses like civilized adults in an open air tent and being generally very sophisticated. But….these are our friends coupled with alcohol, so that was strike one. Strike two came in the form of the winery owner being completely hammered, ripping the portion topper off of the bottles, and freely pouring wine into the cups of folks who could answering hard-hitting questions like, “what winery are you at, right now?” (Spoiler alert: it was on our wine glasses, the banner behind him, the tablecloth in front of him, etc.…you get the picture). We’re all feeling great, we each bring home cases of wine because all great decisions like that are always made when you’ve already been drinking.  There is some more hanging out a super-awesome BBQ where we all dig into our cases of wine before heading home.  You can pretty much take my initial vision of what a wine tasting is, crumple it up, and then pour wine onto it until it drowns and THAT is what actually happened. It was kind of great.

Keeping with the theme of awesome decisions made while drinking, the Mister and I are finally alone and feeling romantic…but, alas! I am on my period. Never to be dissuaded from a drunken mission, we find a way to navigate the mess.  Somewhere in this, I convince myself that I know my cycle, even though I have never tracked it once in my entire life, and since I’m bleeding I’m sure it’s fine if we don’t use a condom. Now, I went to health class I knew pregnancy was possible, I really think a small part of both of us knew that we wanted kids together, which makes it a bit easier to throw caution to the wind.

Flash forward to the next month, I get a positive test (a whole story in and of itself for another time). So, I will add: Yes, Virginia, you CAN get pregnant the first time!  I later discovered that a “uterine scraping”, which basically what my biopsy was, is considered a fertility treatment and can create a welcoming environment in your womb for a fertilized egg. How much that contributed to it happening, I’ll never know, but happen it did.  It frustrates me when I meet people who say pregnancy can’t happen on your period, because it is impossible to prove them wrong without oversharing.

#pregnancy #drinking #wine #winetasting # humor # periods # periodproblems

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