Posts Tagged 'PMS'

The Post Post Post

[Warning: This blog post contains personal body related information; not for the squeamish or uninterested.)

I realized yesterday, when I got what seems to be my period, that I used to blog about it every time I got it for over a year. Many, many cycles of trying to conceive were ended with me writing about the onset of my menses. Without looking back, I am sure that each of those posts were full of woe. I remember trying to convince myself that the cramping or spotting was really a result of implantation; despite its recurrence, I’d stay up late pleading with Dr. Google so I could retain the possibility of being pregnant—even one more day—until the real blood flowed.

Now, I feel truly ambivalent. It’s been 2 years since my last period, and I don’t know how to associate with it anymore. Am I technically post postpartum? I know the period will most likely change over the coming months and when I eventually stop nursing, but the onset has left me befuddled—kind of how I feel about a lot of things these days. The result of continued interrupted sleep? Probably.

I'm baack!

I’m baack!

Speaking of nursing. I always thought I’d want to nurse as long as my child would want to and let her wean as she lost interest. But lately, the constant whiny demand for “nuh-thEEEng!” has me wanting out. Getting grabbed by the shirt collar and yelled at in the face for something that is actually starting to hurt again (sore nipples) is nothing like the soulful connection Josie and I used to share. Especially now that I have to go back to cramps and bleeding, it seems like we should make a trade. I shed my uterine lining every month and she finds comfort from me in other ways.

One feeling that is mightily clear and present is that of shame. I have not figured out what to do for an income and when and how to do it. I try telling myself that being with Josie every minute of the day and getting household things done is a job, though unpaid. But my older more persistent voice says that I am lazy and entitled and “not enough.” The shame of not being a working mom is surprising to me. I have often thought the hetero-normative working mom gets a raw deal having to work and be main caretaker, cook, maid, etc. So why be so self-punishing for being a stay-at-home mom for now? Added to this shame is guilt for actually yearning to work outside the home if only to get away from Josie sometimes. I fought hard to get her into our lives; how can I now want to be away from her? Many moms have told me to just get some small job, that it’ll be worth it for the separation, yet I’m having a hard time believing that bagging groceries would make sense in the context of my new life with a pre-preschool toddler. On the other hand, the universe has been slow to deliver unto me a new and highly satisfying career idea. The thoughtful present “me” definitely feels like I have my hands full most every second of the day, but the nagging inside my head “me” is apparently a masochist.

Instead of the usual Moment of FoG (Funny or Gross), I thought I’d share some of my GaS (Gross and Sad): If you go back about 9 or 10 months of posts, you’ll see that I had some work done on my anus to relieve the incredible postpartum hemorrhoids no one tells you about. It helped a lot. But something I’m starting to come to grips with (no pun intended) is that certain functions “down there” will never come back online—not the way they were before the birth. In spite of the many months of physical therapy, I have only regained a portion of the feeling in my muscles around the episiotomy and internal (forceps and other) tearing. What this means, combined with a healthy dose of Eastern European IBS, is a constant struggle with shit. Most of the time, I can’t completely eliminate and can’t feel what has come out. The wiping is never ending, and when I try to get it all, I end up with hemorrhoids again! I know people have it a lot worse. People with broken backs who lose all feeling spend much more effort on this every day. But because I am mostly functional and only uncomfortable and inconvenienced, the time it takes from my life, as well as the pain and frustration, do not afford me any kind of disability pay; I just need to suck it up (no pun intended) and get on with life as usual. Bending over to walk Josie pushes on my gut which pushes other things, and I do this all day long. I can’t imagine getting work done in the short time Josie naps when I need that time to clean up around the house and in my caboose! The most frustrating thing for me is that, again, no one talks about this stuff. I know one other person who has similar issues, but I’ve heard of so many more from my health care providers. I wish I knew why women don’t talk about the nasty parts of pregnancy and postpartum life. Is it shame? Do we truly think our bodies are that original that no other woman has experienced something similar? I hope, at least, that sharing my GaS (don’t get me started on gas) will reach some blog reader out there and that she will feel less freaky and alone.

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Such Sweet Sorrow

One of the most unexpected (and tender) experiences of my life was saying goodbye to our sperm donor Friday morning. Unlike college, dating, marriage, death, etc., it’s just not one of the things you expect to do when you grow up. We’ve known for months that E2 is leaving to travel Europe and who knows what afterward. It was still really sad, but also sweet, embracing him one last time.

K took him to make his final deposit at the clinic. We want to be sure we have enough of “him” to fertilize K’s eggs if mine don’t cut it. The two of them decided to mark the last hurrah with a ride on the tram that goes from the clinic at sea level up to the fancy university hospital on the hill. A lover of the earth and not moving, I opt out of said joyride at every opportunity because heights are also not my thing.

Up, up, and AWAY

So after he donated, they went up and then enjoyed the view from the top. They’ve bonded on many other occasions as well, usually while I was upstairs with my hips in the air. I love that they had these special times together. In the end, it may be their genetics that, through my body, thrive and take on the future.

They picked me up, and we hung out for a bit before taking E2 home. When we got to his house, I sat frozen in the driver’s seat. K had to make the chin sign that says, “Honey, get out of the car and say a proper good-bye.” We met this wonderful dude about a year ago. I went through all kinds of crazy trust issues at the beginning. I’ve come to love him, and he is the guy I want to be the biological other half of our future child/ren. All of this was swimming in my brain when I got out of the car and bum-rushed the poor bastard. When K hugged him, she said, “We want to have your baby!” to which he replied, “I hope I never hear that again!” It was good to end on a big laugh. I really hope that in a couple months he is somewhere in Spain, at an internet cafe, reading an email about his life-making sperm.

In the meantime, I’m finally getting my period. I was beginning to fret because I usually get it on day 24 or 25. But now that the lady hath announced her arrival, look out! I’ve already had one cry this morning, and that’s on my own, self-produced hormones. I’m drinking of the raspberry leaf like there’s no tomorrow, hoping to delay the need for painkillers. As I said to K out of my pathetic wet face, “Here we go.”

Well Trained, But No Bone

One of the weirdest parts of this whole process is seeing signs in everything. Not faces in toast, but “see, because of that, I must be pregnant.” It’s constant during the two waiting weeks of each cycle. This time the sign was brought to us by our dog… in her mouth.

Last weekend, we had an unusual weather day in the Northwest and decided to walk to our nearest dog park to let the pooch run and for us to enjoy the strange, warmth-giving orb in the sky. The park was filled, and our anti-social girl takes off to the tree-shaded area where she likes to hunt but never catch squirrels. We usually follow a pace or two behind to keep an eye so she doesn’t decide to run out of the park altogether. This one time, we were so D deprived that we decided as long as we could see her tail, we could stay way on the opposite hill and enjoy the sun. Well, after a minute or two, we see her tail making strange spazzy movements. K said it looked like she was doing the crouch-n’-pounce with a small dog; this seemed likely because, if she’s gonna deign to play with any dog, she’ll do so with small dogs. But then we decided to start walking toward her and see what was what. At the same time, she starts trotting toward us, in sight of all the dogs and people and god, lifting her legs like a show pony, proudly displaying the fattest squirrel I’ve ever seen hanging limply in her mouth. We were horrified (I have a strong aversion to rodents bordering on a phobia). We got her to drop it, and I grabbed a big stick to keep her away from it while we panicked about what to do. A very unhelpful male human informed us that we’d better get rid of the very fresh kill before other dogs start messing with it. Well, we only had the plastic newspaper sleeve we brought along for Killer’s poop, and I sure as hell wasn’t going to use my hand to lift that thing and try to shove it through the 6-inch diameter hole of the trash can. I asked a stranger to use her cell and called the Park dept., but of course they were closed. We had no choice but to suck it up, put the leash on, and take that park-length walk of shame in front of all the judging eyes — leaving the carcass right where it was. After getting home and calling around, we realized no one was going to clean that thing up but us. So we drove back this time, with a shovel, garbage bag, and no dog. Having to do a disgusting thing, having been horrified and humiliated by the action of our dog, I was sure that we passed some huge universe parenting test. I saw the big, furry, glassy-eyed sign that I had to be pregnant this time.

Alas.

A couple days ago, the PMS signs started rolling in. And as much as everyone tells me they are the same symptoms as pregnancy, I say that I have come to this point in so many cycles, in my own body, thank you very much, that I know what these signs were saying. I won’t go into them here, but once my temperature dropped, I knew. The negative pregnancy tests were just the verification I needed to stop taking the twice-a-day progesterone pills that have been fueling this latest loop of my hormone roller coaster.

With all my crying, poor K had to ask my mom, who was here a couple weeks ago, to come back and take care of her baby. I feel 12, but I have to say I am really looking forward to some more sympathy cuddles. In the meantime, I’ve decided that I’m emotionally and mentally nearing my limit. I want to move directly to IVF. If that doesn’t work, then I feel we’re done. I’m only 35 for fuck’s sake. And I’ll be done trying to have a baby?!

Is this really my life?

I’ve been seeing and hearing physicist Brian Greene making the NPR and Colbert Report rounds this week about his new book on parallel universes. I totally buy it, even if it’s just based on math at this point. Because somewhere along the way, my life switched with another “my life” that I am less familiar with. In that other life I’ve been leading, we are all at the park: me, K, our kid, and both my parents, and we are enjoying the sun while our dog chases squirrels from tree to tree — and, as always, failing to catch any.

One Way or Another

I’m sitting in my teashop, hoping none of the other patrons can read the agony on my face—aglow in MacBook sheen. Another period and another day o’ pain. Really bad pain. Is it wrong to want to get pregnant just to take a 9 month break from the cramps? I’m here because I am taking baby steps to Walgreen’s. I have my first prescription of Clomid waiting to be picked up at the pharmacy, and I just can’t get myself there yet. The teashop isn’t technically on the way, but it’s out of the house, which I haven’t been since our return from the Christmas, er, I mean, the Midwest.

Probably on the plane to Chicago, I inhaled a happy virus floating on the Southwest flight’s recycled, cabin-pressurized air. I hacked my way through four nights at a suburban hotel; literally all coughs and no ZZZs. The heaters in every room, plane, and car helped to further dry my irritated throat. Please add to this unpleasantness nonstop Christmas music and my personal discomfort with all things crossy and christy. Ooh, and don’t forget the food allergies!

I’ve set up quite an ugly scene, but the truth is that everything went pretty darn well on our trip to family land. I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of Catholics when we arrived at K’s grandparents house in Indiana. But all were very decent (no horn checks!). Some folks spoke with us a bit, but mostly it was an opportunity for me to put faces to names and support my lovely K, who definitely needed to be there. It was the last Christmas Eve celebration that her grandmother and grandfather would be hosting as they will be moving into a small, more manageable place this year. I can only imagine how overwhelming it was for her to see full-grown humans where she last saw babies, and full-fledged parents where she last saw younger cousins.

We spent Christmas day with the other side of her family, who have known me for almost 9 years and who, as it turns out, may struggle more with my un-Christianness than with my being another lady. But, with the genuine affection I’ve developed for them over the years, I gave it my all (Well, not sign-of-the-cross-before-dinner all, but I did see The Chronicles of Narnia in 3D. Funniest thing about this is that I had to inform K that it’s a big ol’ Christian allegory—why do American Jews know these things?!).

Is that Aslan or me on Clomid?

Anyway, I brought my virus home with me, tried to give it to K, and only recently, finally, started taking the Western meds. I love me some Chinese herbs and such, but ‘nough’s enough. On the health front, I’m happy to report, unsurprised, that I am STD free! I am all set to proceed with the fertility treatment as planned.

So I’ll finish this post and run right over to… the pet store across the street to get our pup some treats. Then I’ll go to… the library to pick up a CD on hold. But right after that, I’m heading to… the grocery store. Shit. Walgreen’s shares a parking lot with the grocery store. I will have put it off to the final errand.

Why the trepidation? If you’ve read any other posts in this blog you’ll know the general answer to that question. But the specific one is that I fear the monster inside me and what hormone play will do to my otherwise carefree demeanor. And I fear a gotcha universe that will mess with my life, as follows: you want to be pregnant? here, have multiples! how did that Clomid treat ya?

BUT, I will do whatever it takes. I will have me a baby to love and teach and be in awe of and nibble. It’s been suggested to me that, in the face of infertility and the poor odds, it’s good to have (or at least discuss) a plan B. Adoption? Really? Do people really let lesbians adopt? What countries would we need to exploit? What funds beyond funds would we need to procure? Finally, are we up for the challenges of raising a kid that will not only have two mommies but have two very white mommies? I read this article last night that looks at the growing prevalence of non-white Jewbies. Of course, the article discusses the phenomenon in terms of heterosexuals, but I took the message to heart: I waited too long. I got an education. My infertility… is all my fault. Check it out here. What do you think?

The Value of Hope

Hope is a topic my mother and I have been discussing lately. Maybe hope is not the right word exactly; maybe it’s positive thinking (or wishful thinking).

For a week I have been experiencing premenstrual cramping and (you gotta love it) facial out-breakage. There’s also been an increase in mood. I know from doing this 7 times that these signs mean my period is coming and that there ain’t no baby. My mom encouraged me not to conclude anything about no-baby until I actually bleed. I see her point. I do. It’s just that holding out “hope” (and rubbing on the progesterone cream every night) once I know deep, deep inside me where things are headed is almost more damning than the barrenness itself. (By the way, using the word barren just then is an example of anti-hope that my mom discourages.)

So you tell me, lovely followers of my blog (soon to be comment makers, I hope), how does hope play into your experience with trying to conceive?

Good, Bad, Ugly

Good: I’m sitting in an over-sized puffy chair looking out the picture window at the beautiful garden of my new house.

Bad: I am not pregnant. Again.

Ugly: The cramps. I woke this morning to the sound of my own voice crying out for pain meds.

So, depending on which I focus, my day’s mood could go just about anywhere! I’ve had such a slow start this overcast morning… I’ll bet you can guess where I’m headed.

BUT, if I can get over the cramps (I mean, most every woman since the first one had ’em and got on with things), then I can let the fact that the sun will come out (and with it heat, humidity, and mosquitoes) motivate me to get up and water this handsome landscape I now call home.

Before I go, I want to mention our latest in the quest for child. I was talking with my acupuncturist about a concern over E2’s bike riding (it’s his mode of transport, which he rides right up to our place for our “dates”). After speaking with her sister, who apparently works with balls (her words, not mine), she said the short-term ride on a hot day could affect the sperm. This past insemination occurred on some very hot days. When E2 showed up, her was beet red and so very sweaty; I can’t imagine the boys were cool at all. There is also the long-term riding issue, but I don’t think we’re there yet.

Although I’ve offered before to pick him up from work so he doesn’t have to ride over, I hope he’ll understand that it is no longer “an offer” as much as part of his job description. As my wise mother pointed out to me recently, we’re not paying him for sleepers!

Snap

I got rubbed the right way today by my extremely talented wife, Handsy McRubster (I’m not being dirty; she’s a licensed massage therapist).

Then I got rubbed the wrong way.

I was using this website, FertilityFriend.com, which I learned about from a fellow blogger. It lets you enter all kinds of information so you can chart electronically, and then it is supposed to show you the best time to… well, this is where the rubbing began.

I noticed that in almost every bit of textual explanation and direction, the words “have intercourse” were used. I only found the word “inseminate” in one place. So, I thought I’d send them a friendly suggestion since many women might find their tool helpful, whether having intercourse to conceive or not. I guess I was wrong.

I wrote: I was really excited to learn about your website. However, I soon became very disheartened by the language used throughout. Many TTC women are not having intercourse to conceive. I suggest you add the word “inseminate” to your text for a more inclusive environment.

They responded: Oh I think you are misinterpreting the meaning of what we do. It is not about being inclusive or exclusive, it is about being accurate. We can advise people about intercourse timing because we have a large body of data and large amount of experience about it however we cannot let people believe that we will advise them about insemination timing. This is is [sic] in most case [sic] under strict medical control and the last thing we do here is interfere with members’ health care. As for the small minority of members who would perform at home insemination we do not have enough data about it to be extremely precise so using a too inclusive term would be actually misleading. Part of the tools we propose can be used by some people and part by others. It is not meant to exclude that I can assure you.

Best wishes,
FertilityFriend.com.

First of all, don’t get me started about the snarky “Oh.” Second, WTF? The difference between intercourse and insemination of fresh sperm is exactly nil. If they just want to be safe, and don’t want to step on any medical toes, then they could either 1. make a disclaimer about that up front so no naive lesbian spends hours using their website only to find out it’s not for her or 2. stay out of the health care business. Third, women conceiving (or trying to) without intercourse includes lesbians as well as straight women, which is not such a “small minority.” How does your Members-Only jacket look on you now, bizatch?

I know, I know. Liability, liability, liability. But really, any disclaimer about the general effectiveness of their tool for pork-lovin’ women would suffice for us kosher ones as well. Why not just say, “You know what? We’re always looking for ways to get new users and make more money. Thanks for the suggestion.” and then ignore my ass? We established in an earlier post that I’m PMSing, but do I have a shred of a leg to stand on here?

Your thoughts…


(Disclaimer: No men were harmed in the making of this blog.)

The Family

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