Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Monday, October 29, 2007

For Sale Or Rent

One 38 year old multi-para uterus. Cheap.

I'm carrying around some excess baggage these days. Not to be indelicate, but...it's my uterus. I'm done with it, you see.

The human body, unfortunately, does not recognize that parts of it have become obsolete or extraneous. And so, my ovaries keep plugging away, releasing eggs that will never grow into babies, and my uterus keeps preparing to receive that tiny little granule of DNA each month. It doesn't seem to understand that never again will it cushion and noursish that tiny spark of life within it's lush walls.

Which would all be well and good except that suddenly, my periods have become a torrent of agony and inconvenience. Literally. I know that's normal as a woman approaches her 40's, and I know that some women have dealt with difficult periods all their lives.

But for most of my life, periods have been more like apostrophes; incidental little things that didn't make much difference in my life one way or another.

I was a late bloomer. I didn't have my first period until I was 16, though of course I pretended that I had much earlier. I guess I felt like some kind of genetic freak because I hadn't menstruated yet. So I went to great lengths to make the charade believable. I faked cramps. I excused myself often from class, making a big show of checking my handbag and then taking it with me. I complained bitterly about "the curse" of womanhood.

What a goon.

When I did finally have my period, it was somewhat anticlimactic. My best friend and I were lunching at a fast food restaurant. When I went to use the bathroom, I was surprised and elated to find tiny red blossoms of uterine effluvia dotting my underwear. I purchased a tampon from the vending machine, and that was that.

Henceforth, my cycles were infrequent and very very light. Even into my childbearing years, I would sometimes only ovulate once or twice a year. That was just fine with me.

Until I wanted babies. And then I realized that my reproductive system wasn't really in optimal condition for conceiving.

Nevertheless, I did conceive after only three months of trying. But because of the infrequency of my periods, I didn't realize I had been so lucky until I was almost done with my first trimester. I was 10 weeks pregnant before it occurred to me that the extreme fatigue I was feeling might be something more than the natural consequences of our carefree but frenetic childess lifestyle.

Don't hate me, but, finding out so late, combined with the fact that Pre-Pubescent One was six weeks early, meant that I was really only pregnant, as far as I knew, for six months. I found out in late September, and he was born in early April.

It took a little longer to get pregnant with Diminutive One. Breastfeeding Pre-Pubescent one had stopped my periods altogether and once he was weaned, it took a while for my body to get the message that the baby factory was open for business once again.

When I did finally get pregnant three years after Pre-Pubescent One was born, I suffered an early miscarriage. I was devastated. It wasn't so much losing a baby, although of course it saddened me. But it was very early and I knew that my body had rejected the pregnancy for a good reason. I was able to be mostly philosophical about it. My real worry was that it would take another three years to get pregnant.

The miscarriage occurred on September 30th, 1997. December 9th I found out that I was pregnant again. Very pregnant. Nine weeks pregnant. Do the math. It just doesn't work.

Nobody really understood how that happened. The doctors theorized that the pregnancy had been a twin pregnancy, and that was somewhat supported by the fact that Diminutive One was born weighing over 9lbs. Building on that theory and calculating from the date of the miscarried pregnancy, I would have carried him 44 weeks. That seemed unlikely, as he did not display any of the typical signs of post maturity, nor did the placenta.

It was a true mystery.

I think it's more likely that my wonky system spit out another egg unexpectedly very shortly after the miscarriage. But who knows?

About that time, my younger sister started trying to get pregnant with a profoundly disheartening lack of success. It was ultimately discovered that she suffers from PCOS, a very complex disorder that results in varying degrees of infertility. She almost never had periods, which meant she almost never ovulated. In addition, she had a bicornuate uterus, which further complicated matters.

She eventually had three beatiful children, including a set of twins, so her story has a happy ending.

I began to suspect that I suffered from a milder form of this disorder, but since I could conceive, and I was really pretty happy with the infrequent nature of my periods, I never really persued a diagnosis.

So there's my reproductive history.

Perhaps you can understand then, how disconcerting it is for me to now be experiencing excruciatingly heavy and prolonged periods, debilitating cramps, blinding migraines, and terrible backaches. And, in an even crueler twist of fate, my periods have become cursedly regular. Every month without fail, for the first time in my life. It figures.

Sometimes, I can't even leave the house on the first couple days of my period because I have to change so frequently. In Chicago this summer, while dining at the Russian Tea House, I had a terrible accident that resulted in a very embarassing mess, even though I was heavily protected.

I've had enough.

I always thought I would be terribly saddened if I could no longer create and harbor life, even if I had no plans to do so. Just knowing I could seemed very important. As the years have passed, it's become markedly less so, much to my surprise. I suppose I have moved into a different phase in my life, and am no longer defined by my reproductive abilities.

I still love babies. Oh how I love them. I love the way they smell, I love the way they sound, I love the way they feel and warm and boneless in my arms.

But now when I see them, more often than not my first reaction is "Gosh, he/she is so cute, but I bet Mom's not getting any sleep.", or something of the sort. That raging baby fever has cooled to a tepid appreciation of a beautiful biological process that I no longer have an interest in perpetuating. I'm happy to leave it to younger women with more energy.

So I'm thinking...

Ablation? It's a strong possibility. Less extreme than a hysterectomy with a much faster recovery time. But that doesn't guarantee periods will stop, and the procedure carries some fairly scary risks.

Hysterectomy? Well, that would be optimal, but frankly, I don't relish the thought of my uterus being yanked out through the ole baby chute. I'm somewhat surgery phobic, but in addition, I don't think hysterectomies are usually offered as an elective procedure.

Too bad I can't just give it to someone who needs it. It's my ovaries that have caused all the problems, the container is in perfect condition. It grows big healthy babies. Pre-Pubescent One at six weeks premature, weighed 6 lbs. Had he been full term, it's likely he would have been 10 pounds or more.

Wait. Maybe that's not a ringing endorsement. Let's just say it grows strong healthy babies.

So, if you need it, let me know. Maybe we can work something out.

19 Comments:

  • At 2:38 PM, Blogger URBAN PEDESTRIAN said…

    Before you do anything drastic like medical intervention, I would like to offer the very strong possibility that you will have a very early menopause. Can you put up with the wonky periods for a bit longer? In another year you could be completely done. You started getting your periods very late, which is one indicator of an early menopause. You had light, infrequent periods -- another indicator. If you have low body fat, that could be another. Maybe wait a bit and see what nature has in store??

     
  • At 2:52 PM, Blogger Kathryn said…

    Some people swear by natural remedies for crazy periods. My friend had such heavy and painful periods that she couldn't even walk. She went to the chiropractor (maybe 2 or 3 times) and they were completely better. Not a problem at all anymore. Also, maybe some kind of herbal remedy? I don't know of any off hand, but check google or something. ??
    I got my period when I was 15 but I was NOT happy about it. I was a total tomboy and was so pissed I wouldn't be able to go swimming or do whatever I wanted anymore.
    Good luck with the wonky (love that word) periods.

     
  • At 3:03 PM, Blogger Carol said…

    I can't beloieve I'm saying this, because philosophically and logistically I completely disagree with myself here and would argue myself silly, BUT...

    My hysterectomy was one of the best things I've done. That said, thank goodness I forbid them to take my ovaries! Those little things are important... But my uterus, once I was done having kids? Yeah, I was ready to GIVE it away!

     
  • At 3:05 PM, Blogger jen said…

    I don't have anything to offer to this other than i thoroughly enjoyed the post.

     
  • At 3:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I had the endometrial ablation. It was not 100% successful. My periods are lighter (as in barely there), and last maybe 2 days tops. However, I still have the excrutiating cramps I had before the ablation. If your problem is not simply hormones being wonky, the ablation may not solve anything.

    See your GYN. You may simply have a fibroid or polyp, and need a D&C. If it's more than that, a hysterectomy may be the right choice.

     
  • At 4:26 PM, Blogger Beth said…

    I so agree with Carol! I had heavy periods my whole life - really unbearable. Now, my hysterectomy was for a different reason, (ovarian cancer kinds snuck up on me) but after all that was over, I was soo happy every month...

     
  • At 4:39 PM, Blogger Veronica Mitchell said…

    Are you familiar with the reproductive behavior of wisteria vines and walnut trees? They have adapted to flower and fruit profusely in really bad years. They have evolved to be their most prolific when it looks like it might be their last chance to reproduce.

    And so, my poor dear, have you. I am so, so sorry.

     
  • At 5:25 PM, Blogger flutter said…

    Oh, babe.

     
  • At 5:38 PM, Blogger margalit said…

    I have PCOS. You pretty much described how my perimenopause went. VERY heavy periods, pain like there was no tomorrow, dibilitating headaches, having to stay home from work with a heating pad and big bottle of advil. It sucked. And it went on for a long time. Finally, my doctor put me on BCP, and voila! Problem solved. Now... I'm pretty much done with my girly bits, although I went a full year and then got 2 freaking periods a few months back. That's because I'm being punished for being so happy it was all over with, I think.

    Talk to your gyn and discuss BCP as a possibility. It's a common cure for these perimenopausal periods.

     
  • At 6:05 PM, Blogger Mac and Cheese said…

    This was an interesting post for me. I also got my period late in life, only have light, infrequent ones, and also worry about how I'm ever going to conceive my second child. We were dealing with a fertility specialist for our first child, then an egg kicked out without having to have much intervention. Hopefully I'll get lucky like you did on the second attempt.

     
  • At 6:58 PM, Blogger vanessa said…

    Welcome to my world of pain and misery. Well, at least a couple days of the month. Today I thought my uterus was going to fall out. I kept checking my pant leg to make sure that it hadn't slipped out when I wasn't paying attention.

    What a blessing that you and your sister were blessed with your babies despite circumstances! God is so awesome, isn't He?!

    If your religion doesn't preclude you, you might want to consider birth control. I was on Depo Provera like 100 years ago (when I was young, stupid and "in love") and it greatly reduced the frequency of my cycles. I don't think I had more than one occurrence a year for the entire time I was on it. Plus, it was easy because it consisted of just one shot in the butt every 3 months. So I didn't have to worry about remembering to take a pill every day.

    Just a thought.

     
  • At 7:29 PM, Blogger bubandpie said…

    I've got the super-heavy periods too (right now, in fact - do I need a TMI warning here?). My mom swears I'm too young for peri-menopause, but I dunno...

     
  • At 7:47 PM, Blogger Irreverent Antisocial Intellectual said…

    Just had ANOTHER hemorrhaging episode, damn fibroids. My surgery is scheduled for December - just uterus, keeping the cervix and ovaries ... AND I'm getting an epidural and staying awake the whole time.

    Everyone thinks I'm nuts (in real life anyway) but we're done with the kids and frankly, I don't need the uterus anymore - it's a pain in the ass and dysfunctional, so it needs to go. I'm just not that attached (ha) to it anymore.

    Anyway, my personal belief is that there's no reason to suffer - and you are suffering - so do whatchyagottado.

     
  • At 8:28 PM, Blogger Magi said…

    Another PCOS'r here. Though infrequent, my period were always heavy and painful unless I was on the pill. I took the pill from 18 until I was 42 with occasional breaks. When off the pill, I would not have a period for months. When it did come, it was so bad I would practically hemmorage. On the pill, my periods were light and painfree. At 42, I developed a pulmonary embolism. The doctors determined that the most likely cause was the birth control pills. I am never allowed to take estrogen again in case of recurrence. I'm now considered high risk. I was lucky though in that my PE was discovered.

    Since then, my periods have been regular, but extremely heavy and painful. Just like yours. I keep hoping that menopause will kick in for me soon.

     
  • At 10:57 PM, Blogger slouching mom said…

    as someone who is headed for a hysterectomy, and someone who has, umm, torrential periods of late thanks to a fibroid, do i ever get this post.

    in solidarity with you, BA.

     
  • At 9:02 AM, Blogger Oh, The Joys said…

    I FEEEEL you here. The older I get, the more and more it's like all my organs are trying to fall out my hoo hoo once a month.

     
  • At 9:29 AM, Anonymous Andrea said…

    Since both time I've been pregnant I got that way on the first try (and yes, I do appreciate how fortunate I am for that) I would say I'm not the candidate for a uterus transplant. But I may consider donation after this baby is born!

    I would only second everyone else's support. Talking to your doc about your options could ease your situation in ways you never expected. And the chiropractor idea isn't a bad one either. They can help with the migraines, too.

     
  • At 10:51 AM, Blogger sltbee69 said…

    My BFF had the endometrial ablation due the same problems you are having. She was a virtual prisoner in her home for the 1st 2 days of her period. It helped "maybe" 3 months and while her periods are a bit better, she's regretting she just didn't have a hysterectomy. I say if you are done having kids, go with the surgery.

     
  • At 10:41 PM, Blogger cndymkr said…

    I feel your pain. I've always had horrible periods. The migraines, the heavy bleeding and it has never been on time. It made getting pregnant difficult. At 45, I've been waiting and waiting for menopause but no luck yet. A hysterectomy sounds like a great solution but my girlfriend had one and the recovery is long. Oh the joy of being a woman.
    jean

     

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