Wednesday, November 3, 2010

It's Inconceivable?

In general, clinical depression occurs in approximately 15 to 25 percent of the population, and women are twice as likely as men to experience depression. Because women are most likely to experience depression during the primary reproductive years (25 to 45), they are especially vulnerable to developing depression during pregnancy and after childbirth.  Postpartum depression (PPD) is a major form of depression and is less common than postpartum blues. PPD includes all the symptoms of depression but occurs only following childbirth. It can begin any time after delivery and can last up to a year. PPD is estimated to occur in approximately 10 to 20 percent of new mothers.*

After writing last night, I felt like I had a fever that suddenly broke, and I feel much better.  This morning, poor Phoenix's tummy was gurgling and growling and just making the most horrible noises, and so loudly, too!  So we are going to the vet real early tomorrow morning.

I actually watched some of the political reporting that was on TV before I went to work this morning!  It was kind of exciting to see that some decisions that I made actually made a difference.  I finally feel like I'm understanding more about politics, and that's also exciting.

I received a phone call today to schedule an interview with an ambulance company, that a friend of mine from EMT school works for.  The interview is next Wednesday, so I have about a week to study up, and I plan to come out of the interview with full knowledge that I rocked the written and practical exams so that there's no question about why I won't get the job.  The reason I probably won't get the job is because of my driving record.  I have 4 total speeding tickets in my life, and two of them are from the last two years, the last one being the one from Boulder that I paid too late which caused my license to be canceled.  I can pretty much tell now that this will end up being the reason they won't hire me.  They allow a few dings to the driving record, as long as they were a decent amount of time past and/or plead down from speeding to defective vehicle.  However, I'm hopeful.  All I can do is impress the shit out of them and hope for the best.

Something I've wanted to write about for a long time is my diagnosis of Endometriosis.  It is a disease that I would certainly wish on my worst enemy (most of my worst enemies are female) because I am petty.  Endometriosis is a disease that effects the uterine lining. For some reason, as yet unknown, it causes the lining of the uterus, called the endometrium, to grow both in increased quantities, and in places other than inside the uterus.  It can grow outside the uterus, on and in the fallopian tubes, on the ovaries, on the utero-sacral ligament (the thing that holds the uterus in place in the body), and even on the non-reproductive organs like the bladder.  Really, the only way to stop the endometrial tissue from growing all over the place is to stop having a menstrual period.  The female body stops generating endometrial tissue when it stops preparing the body for the implantation of an embryo - so basically, pregnancy is the only way to cure Endometriosis.  One of the complications with Endometriosis is that when the endometrial tissue grows in and on the fallopian tubes and other places, and the body begins to shed the intra-uterine lining, it also stops feeding blood to the other places where endometrial tissue is growing.  So those spots of endometrium more or less scab over and are broken down by the body.  However, when this happens, just as with a cut or laceration anywhere on or in the body, scar tissue remains in the place where the bleeding was.  So there is a good chance that scar tissue left over from the random endometrial growths can prevent an egg from actually being able to travel from the ovary to be fertilized at some point.  Growths on the ovaries can prevent the egg from being absorbed by the fallopian tubes as well.  The largest complication due to endometriosis is infertility.

I've been on oral birth control for a very long time, probably since I was 18, but mostly because I had such painful periods, not because I was sexually active.  After living with the pain and the heavy periods for like 4 years, I did some research on the internet, and made an appointment with my lady doctor to get it checked out.  I had all the symptoms, but the only way to know for sure was to have a laproscopy (a procedure where they make tiny holes and use a camera and a probe to take pictures and a biopsy of any extra tissue found in there).  So I had the laproscopy, and the doctor found "all kinds" of endometrium growing "all over the place in there."  I use quotes because those words are not exactly something you just forget, when you hear them from the doctor.  After the official diagnosis, my doctor and I set to work to try to find a way to prevent the pain and the heavy bleeding that was interrupting my life each month.  We tried the special birth control Yasmin, which is the oral birth control that stops females from menstruating once a month and has them menstruate only once every three months.  In a more aggressive move, I was put on Lupron, a depo shot that put my body into a form of early menopause.  I had to take calcium supplements and other extra vitamins to replace the vitamins that were leaching out of my body after the lack of hormones prevented their usage.  I had hot flashes, and was mostly miserable.  This shot was something I would have had to receive once every three months, and I got two shots before I decided that it wasn't worth the side effects.  During this time, my family also switched insurance to Kaiser, so I was forced to start seeing a male gynecologist - which was nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be; he wore a bow-tie and a pin on his coat that said "Listen to Women."  Anyway, Kaiser really focuses on prevention instead of treatment, and his goal was not to continue to treat the symptoms I was having, but to try to prevent further damage.  I had an intra-uterine device put in to try to stop my periods altogether, but I have a "tilted" uterus, so it caused me nothing but extra pain for a couple of months.  The last resort was to just go on continuous birth control, which means that I wouldn't take the last placebo week of the pack of pills, I would just go straight into the next pack.  Those commercials are right, there is no clinical need to have a period when you're on birth control.  So for a long time, I was not having my menstrual period at all, and boy it was WONDERFUL.  However, every so often, I would take the placebo week because something in me felt like I was really working against nature by never menstruating at all.  Then, after my final break up with Aaron, I stopped taking the birth control altogether.  Boy was that a bad idea!!  I had a couple of regular periods, but then I was bleeding for three and a half weeks instead of 5-7 days with constant cramping.  I had finally gotten my own insurance by this point and went back to the same doctor's office I had been to originally.  My old doctor was not at that office anymore so I was assigned to a new doctor, and she's been pretty helpful.  She put me back on oral birth control, but when that didn't stop the bleeding and the cramps, and I literally had been bleeding for three straight months, I asked if she could switch me to a different, higher-dosage estrogen birth control to see if that made any difference.  I've now been on it for two months (or six weeks since I don't take the last weeks) and have FINALLY stopped bleeding.

That seems like a lot of information and it's all very personal.  But it's become one of the things that is constantly on my mind.  I wonder if all the messing around with different treatments and everything has caused enough endometrial tissue to grow in odd places that there is irreversible scarring in there and I won't be able to conceive naturally when I am actually ready to have a baby.  Watching or reading anything to do with people's struggles with infertility reminds me of the very good possibility that I won't be able to have kids someday.  I love babies, and I love my sister's kids.  I treat Phoenix as though he is my own, and so I know that I will really want to have kids someday, and it scares me to know end that I might not be able to or that I might have a very difficult time trying to conceive.  I've always wanted to know what it feels like to be pregnant and to give birth, and it doesn't matter how many different women I've had describe the whole experience to me, I just want to experience it for myself.

I've tried to apply to be a surrogate for couples that can't conceive themselves, but you have to have given birth before in order to do that.  Surrogacy would be a perfect solution!  I would be able to cure the Endometriosis, and I'd be able to help a couple have a baby themselves!  I've even considered advertising on craigslist to be a surrogate for someone, but that seems to cross the weird line into flat-out creepy.  I've considered getting pregnant via means of a sperm bank and then putting the baby up for adoption, but that seems like a horrible thing to do just to make myself feel better about the whole thing.

Anyway, that's what I wanted to get out of my brain today.  I've been carrying that around with me for a very long time and it's nice to talk about it.

*"Mental Health America: Postpartum Disorders." Mental Health America: Welcome. Web. 03 Nov. 2010. <>.© copyright Mental Health America

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