Monday, April 28, 2008

In The Beginning

Today I'm having cramps. It's the second day of my period after stopping the birth control pill which I take for "menorrhagia".

(FACTOID: Menorrhagia is an abnormally heavy and prolonged menstrual period at regular intervals. Causes may be due to abnormal blood clotting, disruption of normal hormonal regulation of periods or disorders of the endometrial lining of the uterus. Depending upon the cause, it may be associated with abnormally painful periods [Wikipedia]).

Since this is my first period following discontinuing the pill, I cannot be tested to see if my ovaries are functioning. I am told I have to wait until my second "pill-free" cycle to see if I'm actually producing eggs. I can tell you that it sure feels like my ovaries are working because right now they are hurting like a bastard--(pronounced with an English accent). I hate the thought of two months worth of periods which are uncontrolled by the pill. I hate the bloody mess of it all. All I can say about that is..."bloody painful is--as bloody painful does"...STUPID!

The only reason that I have not given in to the temptation to have a hysterectomy or some other surgical/medical intervention is the thought that it would permanently remove my ability to have children. Even though I have tried to make peace with being childless, the thought of permanently removing my ability to bear children would cause me to sprout tears in the most unlikely places. These tears would even come when i was near or around children. (I recall bursting into tears over a decade ago, while in a Target store watching children look at Halloween costumes--and more recently when one of my male class mates spoke about swatting a bee off his daughter only to be attacked and stung by the bee "like any good daddy" he said. [spoken with a southern drawl])

I was told when I was 23 years old that i would probably never have children due to hormone imbalances. This was after being treated for 3 continuous years of nearly non-stop bleeding. While I had NO desire to bear children at the time, I recall feeling like I had been hit in the face with a brick. I actually recoiled physically and felt detached from my body for sometime afterword. I don't think the doctor was thinking about how I would be impacted by that news. I don't think I understood it myself. As the years passed I had plenty of unprotected sex with my boyfriend and husband...(I mean boyfriends--and there were a few of them) but, i never became pregnant.

Oh...I read all the books on being childless and what it means to be childless in America. I tried to fill my life with activities, work, and friends. I had several foster to adopt situations that failed to give me a child, and I tried Clomid a few times...but still no children.

(FACTOID: Clomifene (INN) or clomiphene (USAN and former BAN) or Clomid or Clomifert is a selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM), used mainly in female infertility due to anovulation (e.g. due to polycystic ovary syndrome). [Wikipedia])

When I was younger (35), I gave myself the projected cut-off age of 45 to produce babies. It never happened... I almost gave up hope and was planning to have an endometrial ablation when I met 2 woman at a critical care nursing conference who greatly inspired me. It is so strange how this event transpired, as I think I was actually sitting in the conference thinking about when would be the most convenient time for me to have the procedure that would end my menorrhagia , as well as my child bearing abilities, once and for all. I was not at peace with getting the procedure, but I felt it was time for me to accept being childless and move on with my life. I consoled myself with the idea that there were always foster babies to care for, love, or adopt.

(FACTOID: Endometrial ablation is a medical procedure that is used to remove (ablate) or destroy the endometrial lining of a woman's uterus. This technique is most often employed for women who suffer from excessive or prolonged bleeding during their menstrual cycle but can not or do not wish to undergo a hysterectomy. The procedure is most commonly done on an outpatient basis. Uterine ablation is contraindicated in patients who may want to get pregnant.[Wikipedia])

As I said, I was at a critical care nursing conference when I met 2 woman that changed the course of my thinking. One of the women, a civilian guest speaker, had children at the age of 54. (no, that is not a typo--or 45 upside down) She had 2 children utilizing a carrier. I was very inspired by her vigor and spirit for life. I was equally impressed that she was willing to take on the demands of parenthood at her tender age of 54. As we were chatting, another woman entered into the conversation. She was a high ranking military officer. She had fertility treatments by a local civilian doctor, as she was older than the age of 42, which is the cut off for military fertility treatments. I mentioned that I, too, had missed the military cut-off for fertility treatment and did not think a civilian doctor would treat me now that I was 46. Next thing I knew, the military officer was leading me to her office where she presented me with a brochure from her fertility doctor's clinic.

Although, I was shy about calling the doctor, fearing rejection for my "advanced" age, I forced myself to do it. I stammered through the call. I recall the only complete sentence I spoke was "I want to have a baby". The doctor and his staff treated me with dignity and respect. Wow! "It might really be a possibility", I thought as I left my first appointment...I felt very happy, and peaceful at the same time. I might actually get to realize my dream of bearing a child and being a mommy. It was the most unique and satisfying feeling I had ever that point in my life.

Well, there you have it...or, at least the turning point when I decided to give pregnancy one last try. It's not that I wouldn't still attempt being a parent through fostering or adoption...I was even very open to "special needs" children. (In fact, my 2 prior foster to adopt situations were with "special needs" babies). More, I simply wanted the experience of bearing a child from my body...Is that so strange?

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