Thursday, April 3, 2008

Probably too much information...

...but I'm going to write it anyway.

Some of my faithful readers may not know this, but childbearing has been hard on my body. Complications, surgeries, and hernia repairs kept me in fairly constant pain and various levels of incapacity for about four years. In spite of this, I very much wanted another child. I always just assumed we'd have a two child household, and never bothered to imagine things any other way. But, as time passed and the health implications of another pregnancy became very clear and very scary, Andy and I decided together that we simply could not take that risk.

As my dad said when I told him this, everyone makes a decision to stop having kids at some point. This has helped immeasurably as I grieve the child that will never be and my long-cherished vision of my family. Hey, I'm not the only one who's come to the end of her reproductive life! The decision is an emotion-filled one whenever you make it. I have my good days and my bad days with this stuff, but at this moment I can not fathom a time when I will not be entertaining the "what if" of creating another human being.

Now that we've decided this, it's time to move forward and to that end we looked into beefing up our contraception. For awhile, a vasectomy seemed like a good option, but there are some concerns that rule that out at least for the foreseeable future. My preferred option became an IUD. Because I absolutely did not want to go on any sort of hormonal birth control ever again.

And then I went to my GYN. She talked me into going on the pill because it is reliable but not long-term and she thought it was a better option than an IUD for a gal who's had a lot of pelvic pain and doesn't want to risk more. I am so easily intimidated by "experts" who treat me like I don't know my own body and therefore need to be led around by the nose. Rather than sticking to my guns, I caved and started taking the Yasmin birth control pill a few days later.

And then everything went all to hell.

I couldn't figure out why everything was so annoying, why the world had suddenly gone from rosy to unbearable. From where I was sitting, it was all Andy's fault and I was paranoid that he was actually scheming ways to make me feel like a worthless lump. I was tired, grumpy, couldn't eat, couldn't sleep and started having heart palpitations. And that chest pain? Well, it's not blood clots (yay!) probably just panic attacks. A week and a half in, Andy sat down next to his very teary wife and asked if I there was anything I needed to talk about. I started babbling and blubbering and it took us all of about 3 minutes to realize that it had all started when I started on the pill. I wanted to see it out-sometimes these things do get better-and contacted both the GYN and my psychiatrist.

My psychiatrist was helpful-he upped my meds and thanked me for keeping him in the loop, asking me to check back in should I need anything. The GYN was slightly less helpful, saying that we should just switch to condoms with emergency contraception as a backup. I have no idea in what world that constitutes a viable option for a couple angling for sterility. That pretty well pissed me off, to be honest.

As the month wore on, the increased anti-depressants weren't having any effect, so my psychiatrist recommended further adjustment and I gave up on Yasmin. Clearly not the pill for me. My GYN offered up more vague discouragement about an IUD, but I'm going for it anyway-just have to wait until the right time of the month to call and get one fitted. I'll be going for the non-hormone one, thank you very much.

So, here I sit. I'm taking double the anti-depressants that had kept my mood stable for over a year. Two weeks after quitting the pill I'm still not sleeping well, still teary, still unmotivated, and still seeing a glass that's 2/3 empty. I have no idea who is sitting here typing this, but I don't like her very much and desperately want her to go away so I can get back to my life. It feels like very unfair fallout for such a carefully considered decision. I'm sure I'll stop feeling sorry for myself once balance is restored, but in the mean time I'm pretty grouchy and miserable.

Thanks for reading-it felt good to unload that one on the interwebs.

7 comments:

Aunt Linda said...

You know that song "I Enjoy Being a Girl"? It lies. Being a girl/woman is not easy at all and often darn hard to enjoy. Making the decision that you are not going to have more children is hard enough than having your body do crazy things with hormones just makes it worse. Hang in there. You are loved. You are a great mother with a wonderful, darling daughter. You will find other joys of being a girl. (none of them related to hormonal mood swings that I have ever seen in my life.) As your father would tell you, hang by your thumbs. As my father would tell you, this too shall pass. As I will tell you, life stinks sometimes. Hug your daughter and your husband and pat yourself on the back.

Joe said...

"pat yourself on the back" Right on, Auntie.

Hugo said...

What about more permanent solutions?
And that can be done by your husband ...
We're still not completely 100% decided on #2 yet but I have discussed and decided that when that decision has been made and over I'll get a vasectomy, I know some people who did and there really is nothing to it except that it's permanent.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to the book I believe YOU gave ME several years ago, Taking Charge of Your Own Fertility, I am now on a birth control regime which seems to make both of us happy.

I did get tired of taking my temperature, and never completely trusted the ovulation detection thing anyway, but with my Gyne's blessing, we're only sexing it up during my period or a few days afterward, and using a "comfy condom" (no need to protect against STD's, so we can play with non-latex and soforth) on other days.

I, too cannot do an IUD or the pill. This routine makes me much, much happier, Now to resolve the pelvic pain and we'll be home free!

regarding not having kids, well, here's what I've come to: I'm not having kids. But if the urge should become overwhelming at some point, there are plenty of things, including children, who need nurturing in this world.

There is absolutely NO LACK of things which will benefit from my nurturing at some point in the future!

Plants, dogs, orphans, girls in Afghanistan who need schools, little sisters, homeless people, old people, reading programs, high school students, foster children...if I should feel an extreme need to provide care for someone in the future? guess what? I think there will be a way to do it.

google/blogger doesn't like my password for some reason, so this will be anonymous, but it's Niki!

Roni said...

I've had family members struggle with pelvic pain, pills, chronic inflamation of tissues, contraceptives that have failed at exactly the wrong time, excessive child production etc. It's never easy, sister, and I totally sympathise with what this aspect of life is like for you and Andy.

The good news is that I now have 4 family members who were faced with the surgical sterilisation option. After taking it, each has taken the deep breath that only a clear and happy conscience gives. They are much happier, more relaxed, and very comfortable knowing that their bodies and lifestyles are now stable for once. Sure, permanent sterilisation isn't for everyone, but for the people I know it's been a very good move.

Hang in there. Things will level out, and YOU DO have control of your situation. Go with what's right for you and then have a cup of coffee on me.

SWE said...

Thanks, everyone. It's great to have so much support out there. I have been stunned into disbelief by how much havoc one stupid pill can cause. Things are getting better-slowly- and I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you for being here for me. :)
-Heather

Anonymous said...

Hi, honey. I feel so badly for you. I know what hormonal hell is, for sure. For me, it's kind of the opposite situation - now that I'm off the pill (endometriosis, IC both aggravated by artificial hormones) and going through the changes immediately preceeding menopause, I have some really horrible days. There are some days I'm so weepy I try to just stay in the house.

Hopefully the side effects from the pill will wear off very soon now that you have stopped taking it. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you that the clouds will lift soon!

I'm sorry too for the health problems you've had. Looks like you and I have inherited the "lots of female problems, lots of inflammation and pain problems" gene that someone apparently threw into our gene pool for fun.

Sounds like you are making the best decision for you, on the childbearing thing. I'm sorry for the loss you must feel as you have to decide on a path different from the one you envisioned at first.

They are all right, life DOES stink alot of the time. And hardly anyone ever talks honestly about it, which really ticks me off, LOL.

Try to be good to you during this time and baby yourself - give yourself little treats and comforts, just whatever lifts your spirits. Try to be around people as much as you can be, even if it just means trips to the library or shopping mall or grocery store. Sometimes it helps to be around other people.

Love Aunt Lorrie