Thursday, May 29, 2008

Red Rain

In third grade all the girls in my class were sent home with a permission slip. But this "trip" didn't involve a big yellow bus and the boys weren't invited (at least, not yet). No, this trip was different. This was a trip through the glorious female reproductive system!

One afternoon after school we all shuffled down to the school library and sat cross-legged on the floor among the copies of Corduroy and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. The school nurse, who had previously only been seen for headaches and lice checks (and possibly that time I’d forgotten to wear underwear beneath my skirt and someone had noticed as we climbed the stairs…), stood in front of us with charts, posters and an assortment of “feminine products” and explained to us about our bodies and the beautiful changes they were to go through. I don’t recall the metaphors she used – although it undoubtedly involved butterflies – but I will never forget The Pad. The giant, diaper-like hunk of cotton with a series of sinister looking clips or buckles connecting it to a belt. A belt! I couldn’t imagine how I could squeeze that belt beneath my clothes (clearly I wasn’t sure I could even fit panties under them) and was certain that everyone would know when Auntie Flo came to visit. I wondered that afternoon if I would know when I got my period. And I wasn’t sure I ever wanted to find out.

20 years later and I’m still not sure if I know when I get my period.

In addition to the rest of our cornucopia of fertility issues, I have a wicked LPD. The spotting is random and plentiful. The month I got pregnant with my twins I started bleeding at 2dpo. A fun fact: in four pregnancies I have NEVER had a BFP before I started bleeding (and we wonder why I always assume I’m pregnant). I even had what amounted to a full period from 10-15dpo that month. So while bleeding is no mystery to me, AF is.

Imagine, at 29 years old, explaining to a nurse that you don’t know if you have your period. You might, but is it red enough? Does it “flow”? How can you start meds on CD3 when you have no idea what CD3 is?

I started spotting last Saturday. On Sunday I thought AF might’ve made her official appearance…but then she tapered off. Monday there were moments of the illusive “red flow” but they were sandwiched between hours of dry pantyliners. And today, Thursday, I still don’t know if I have my period. I’m just about to give up on trying to find it.

I deserve a medal for not POAS already.


seriously? said...

I really do love your blog - you have some of the same thoughts I do! I actually felt like an idiot trying to use my fertility monitor (when I first started trying to chart), test on day 6, which day is day 6 day 6 from spotting? Day six from my one day flow? I had to call the doctor and ask.

I still don't quite know which day is which so I guess.

I started spotting on Saturday (cd 24) night then it was on and off through Tuesday. Nothing yesterday... Did she come and go? Did she not come? Should I test? Last night I decided to wait until Saturday to test (longest cycle not pg was 31 days). Today in the early morning hours of work, There she is. Hello AF, thanks for coming.

Good Luck this cycle!

jp said...

My second (and current RE) caught on to the fact that my cycle was seriously seriously messed up. I was bleeding and ovulating or surging at the same time, so that wasn't a "real" period. What he did for me was to start to see me on a weekly basis, sonogram and blood work, to measure the levels of hormones (estrogen dropping, progesterone rising, LH, etc) and finally, we got on track, so that I was actually cycling on "day 2" rather than some random day there was what I considered "enough" blood!!
See if your doctor will do this for you-
Good luck!!

Jen said...

While I definitely feel your pain, you make me laugh! I loved your recollection of learning about the pads, etc and until just now, I completely forgot about the belts. LOL! Too funny. I do hope you find some answers to this confusion. I'm sure it's frusterating.

Emily said...

Hey Amber! Thanks for stopping by my blog! I remember having to give that chat to my 5th graders when I was still teaching - oh how I wanted to tell them all the ways it could go horribly wrong! Oh well - one in six will learn someday I guess!
You do deserve a medal!!

SAHW said...

Wow, that's tough...every month when I would get my period, my DH would always say, we should at least be thankful you get your period, and at that time, I would always want to smack him (jk! :), but now I am realizing how much harder it must be to not have a regular period...

I don't remember belts at all...guess I wasn't paying attention?

Pepper said...

I was going to query the same thing JP wrote about (regular blood tests), but she did a way better job than I could have. Not knowing whether you're having AF or not has got to be incredibly frustrating! Ugh. So sorry.

I love your comment on my blog, BTW. Anyone who uses the words "dude" and "douche" in the same breath definitely speaks my language. :o)

Smiling said...

I know that I'm commenting well after the fact as I spend my sick day home reading through your blog. I hope you don't mind.

I feel even more relieved by this post than I did about the religon one. I have never ever known when my period would come. 2 weeks to 4 months was my 'cycle'. I tell the donor coordinator over and over again that I have no idea where I am in my cycle. I mean how relvent is 109 days unless the last one wasn't a 'real' period in which case longer! Or does she want to count the ones induced by bcp? Or all the other permutations that happen for me!?!

The biggest 'aha' I had is when I asked a doctor about HRT and if that would be bad if I sponateously got pg. He just looked at me and said not to worry as it would only be 2 weeks of exposure max. I blankly stared back. He then slowly said "because if you didn't bleed at the end of each pill pack you would know to take a HPT and stop the HRT accordingly." I had to progess that for a few minutes - it was such a novel thought, having a reason to 'know' to take a test. Huh? Who would have thought - certainly not me!