Friday, May 13, 2011

How I got Knocked Up with a "Broken" Reproductive System

For the past 8 years I have been battling severe endometriosis. In 2003 I had my first laparoscopy and at my post-surgical check-up my doctor told me I should have a hysterectomy because the endometriosis was so bad. I was only 20 years old.  Three surgeries, 2 rounds of medical menopause (from a yucky drug called lupron depot which is also prescribed to treat prostate cancer and causes crazy side effects), and FOUR doctors later I am pregnant.

But getting here wasn't easy. The surgeries suck balls. Menopause sucks even more and I can't  believe I let another doctor convince me to do a second round. Let's backtrack a few months:  In September of 2010 I began getting lupron injections again because I was constantly in debilitating pain and I was tired of letting people cut into my uterus. The plan was to do menopause by taking three lupron injections that last 3 months each.  Well into the 3rd month I was so tired of showing up to important meetings drenched in sweat, gaining weight and being a complete bitch that I decided to quit the lupron and try to get pregnant instead.

The lupron should have been out of my system by the beginning of December. It wasn't. I was eagerly waiting a period so that we could immediately start trying to conceive. At the end of February I decided to call my doc about the missing period and she said I needed to come in immediately for an ultrasound. I ended up getting my period the day before the appointment but they made me come in anyways. The ultrasound results were fine but my doctor still wanted to put me on Provera (a scary hormone that induces menstruation) and then Chlomid (an even scarier drug that induces ovulation.)

Since I JUST started a period after 6 months of hot-flash-hell, I was not about to go on two other crazy hormones. So I refused the prescriptions and decided to try to conceive for at least 6 months before taking a serious fertility drug like Chlomid.

During my stint on lupron I read "Taking Charge of Your Fertility", a book that has changed my life. You see, unlike what your OBGYN will tell you (unless they are on board with FAM), not every woman's body is the same and therefore not every woman has a 28 day cycle with ovulation occuring on the 14th day. It's hogwash. A big fucking lie. But when I went to my preconception appointment back in December the nurse handed me a little sheet on how to get pregnant and it contained these same lies.

Luckily for me I am a smart woman and before I was handed that sheet of paper I had already read the whole TCOYF book and I knew the sheet of paper was bogus (big shout out to my Kelli W. for telling me about the book!)

The book in a nutshell: women's bodies are different. Some women have 20 days cycles while others have 32 days cycles.  The same woman can have one cycle lasting 28 days and the next a 42 day cycle. So how the hell do women a) get pregnant or b) keep from getting pregnant if we are fed the wrong information?

The answer is easy! Practice the Fertility Awareness Method, or FAM. Since studying FAM and practicing I feel so unbelievably in control of my body. Basically, every morning before you get out of bed you take your temperature and record it. Then throughout each day you pay attention to your cervical fluid (dry, sticky, clumpy, stretchy, wet) and record this to into a chart. The highest-quality fertile cervical fluid is stretchy and wet, like egg white--this means you will ovulate soon (the spermies need this kind of fluid to swim to your cervix and egg; the clumpy  or sticky cervial fluid makes it hard for the spermies to get up there).  The morning after you ovulate your temperature will spike and stay up.  What this means is you have a a way to track EXACTLY when or when not to have sex!

This system is great for a number of other reasons like detecting potential fertility problems, but you need to read the book to get all that info.

Here is my chart--the hearts are when we had sex, you can see the temp spike and first green vertical line when i ovulated and the plus sign and second green vertical line for when I got my positive pregnancy test!
Pretty ah-mazing, right?!  I have never felt so in control of my body. The other great thing is that because I knew when I ovulated I was able to take a pregnancy test super early instead of waiting for a missed period AND my due date will be more accurate. Oh, and I'd like to offer a special "fuck you" to the asshole doctor who wanted to remove my lady bits and to the other doctor who told me I may never have children. With FAM, we got pregnant on our very first try. 

Also, for ladies who want to try a natural and free form of contraception--I highly recommend FAM.  I plan on using it for birth control once our little poppy pops out in December.

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