Friday, May 9, 2008

In The Beginning...

... no, I'm not quoting John 1:1. I just figured I'd back up a bit and give you some history about my TTC journey.

I could alternately entitle this post "Birth Control is the Devil in Pill Form," but I'll stick to the less bitter title for now.

So, I got my first period at 14 1/2. Thaaaat's right. Yeah, it was real fun for me in junior high (and 1/2 of 9th grade), I didn't even need a bra. I had to have a special physical check-up in order to play Varsity basketball in 9th grade. BUT, unlike most girls, my periods started out very, very regular. I got my period every full moon, every 28 days, right off the bat. Then, some time around 11th or 12th grade (probably from all the basketball playing), they started getting a little kooky. By my freshman year of college, they were a MESS- - I didn't think much of it, except for the fact that my skin started breaking out really badly. Finally, when I had a 21-day period (or what I thought was a period, now I assume it was just irregular bleeding unassociated with an ovulatory event), I decided it was high time I get myself to the ob/gyn.

So, here I am, a 19-yr old college virgin, going for my first pap smear and ob/gyn exam. The Dr. was a man. On top of being emotionally uncomfortable, I was also in a lot of pain... after all, nothing had ever been up there before- he hadn't even bothered to warn me, or take it slow. So, as I'm limping out of the exam room into his office, he tells me he's going to Rx "the pill" for me. He hands me some brochures, tells me "they'll make your periods regular" and then adds, "plus, if you do meet that special someone, they are 98% effective..." which just pissed me off, since I had already told him I wasn't sexually active and was not planning on becoming sexually active. (What I figured later was that he saw I did not have a hymen, and probably, like an idiot, just assumed I was like every other college girl and was sexually active. I had had a bad accident on the jungle gym in 3rd grade... ouch, I can still feel it. I wonder if my hymen is still on that playground??) Oh, and as an added bonus, "they'll help with your acne!" He hands me the Rx, and sends me on my way.

After a few months on the pill, I started to get really frustrated. Sure, my skin was clearing up (a huge plus when you're a girl in college looking for a boyfriend), but would I need to be on this thing for the rest of my unmarried life if I didn't want to bleed for 21 days every month?? What was wrong with me? Why was I having these crazy cycles? I decided to go see my sister's female ob/gyn next. She came highly recommended.

This Dr. did an u/s on me, and was the first to tell me that I had "tiny cysts on my ovaries" which were benign, and would not present a problem for me. Her solution? You guessed it- THE PILL. "How long do I need to stay on this?" I asked her. "Oh, I'd say about 6 months, that should be enough to 'trick' your body into getting regular again. And if your periods are still irregular when you come off, we'll try another 6 months." Fantastic. So basically, I WILL be on them for the rest of my unmarried life.

Now this is the part that really makes me want to jump in my car with all of my Creighton Model charts, ultrasounds, pics from surgery, and prescription meds at the ready, drive to that Dr's house, bang on her door, throw everything at her and say, "Oh, REALLY???"

I asked, "Well, will these cysts create a problem for me when I do decide to start a family one day?" (At 20 yrs old I was already anticipating the birth of my children.)
Answer: "Oh, on the contrary! Being on the pill will make your body THINK you're pregnant the whole time you're on it! So, when you do want to get pregnant, it will be easy!"

So, on and off, on and off the pill, and 6 years later, my cycles are whackier than ever. I had this subconscious feeling that starting our family was not going to be as easy as it sounded...

I say subconscious because on the surface level I absolutely did think we could get pregnant whenever we chose to. Hey, after all, I was equipped with the Creighton Model, and knew exactly when I was most fertile. So, what did I do? I decide to leave my teaching job (my very FIRST teaching job after getting my teaching certificate... it was the perfect position that I had always dreamed of- Kindergarten teacher in a Catholic School), because I was going to get pregnant and be a stay at home mom. And what was the result? I haven't been able to get placement as a lead teacher in any other school (yet). I have taken a HUGE step down, and am working as a teacher's aide- it drives me CRAZY that I have a degree and a license that I am not even using :(

So, not only did I really mess up my career with that move, but I also decided I was going to start telling people that we were planning on having kids right away. (How long could it take, I thought?) Hence, many close friends now know the struggles we have been going through (though not in great detail), because they knew we started trying 2 years ago and still aren't pregnant. Nowadays I am only telling "new" people on a need-to-know basis, like the lead teacher in my classroom (she needed to know why I'd be out for 2 weeks post-surgery). But otherwise, I am very private about all of this stuff (she says as she types her BLOG, lol!)- no, but seriously, it is an embarrassing issue still, especially since so many people don't understand it. There most certainly IS a stigma attached to infertility. I've always been the girl who could, and did, achieve everything I set my mind to... so it's hard to think people look at me as a failure for this. Though, if I've learned anything, I've learned that life and its creation is not in our hands, but in God's. I have to stop being so hard on myself for this...

The last time I felt like I had everything was our wedding day. I was standing on top of the world... all of my dreams were just within my grasp, my life was just beginning. I have to laugh now at how naive I was, and how silly some of my choices were. Life, to me, was a series of decisions that I would make and follow through. Well, I forgot one important detail... only MY life is in my control. Not the life of my unborn children. I was already projecting my desires onto them, before they were even conceived. I've definately learned my lesson.

Here is a song my college female a cappella group sang, based on a poem entitled, "On Children." In college, I barely understood the lyrics. Now, they speak to my very soul:

Your children are not your children,
they are the sons and the daughters of life's longing for itself.
They come through you,
But they are not from you,
And though they are with you,
They belong not to you.

You can give them your love but not your thoughts,
they have their own thoughts (they have their own thoughts).
You can house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in a place of tomorrow
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You can strive to be like them, but you cannot make them just like you.
Strive to be like them, but you cannot make them just like you.


Karey said...

Welcome to the infertility blogging world! I love finding others using Creighton. I myself have felt slightly called to be a practitioner (it keeps coming up but I'm not ready to fully admit it yet), but thought you had to go to Nebraska for training.. but I see that you are going in NY. Interesting. There's also a chance we went to the same dr. in NJ, but then again, there might more than one in that part of the state.

I love that you view infertility as a gift and something to embrace. I only recently came to that understanding. It makes all the difference in the world when you know God is in control of this.

I look forward to reading more of your blog in the future!

Unknown said...

Ames...I'm praying for you every day!!! Giant ((HUGS))! Love, Granny! LOL! :D

Karey said...

Okay I just noticed on your timeline on the side of your blog that we did go to the same doctor. Isn't she and her office great? I was only there for an ultrasound series, but at that point, she was the only "Catholic" doctor I'd ever met and such a breath of fresh air.