Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Old health news

I've had a Mirena IUD for almost a year now and I haven't had regular or heavy periods since it was inserted last April. But on Thanksgiving weekend of 2007 I started having one of the heaviest and most painful periods I've ever had in my life.

The cramping was horrible and I was ready to head to the emergency room and have the IUD removed immediately. The period lasted for almost two weeks and after the first few days, I realized that I was not only passing blood but also what appeared to be tissue and that my breasts were extremely tender, to the point that it was painful to put on a bra. The only other time in my life that my breasts were that tender was when I was pregnant with Jack.

I went to the doctor and she confirmed that I had gone through a miscarriage. It's strange because I thought with the IUD I wouldn't be able to get pregnant, but it does happen sometimes. I didn't know I was pregnant and we were not planning on having a baby so it was a relief to know that the IUD worked, even if it was a little slow to take up arms against an unwanted and unplanned pregnancy.

My breasts remained extremely tender for about six weeks from the time the bleeding started. And yes, my hormones were wacky and out of control. (Just like a full-term pregnancy, but without the pay-off of that cherubic face to smile at you when you make funny sounds with your mouth.)

It was a really strange experience and I don't really know the words yet to explain the emotional toll this has taken on me but one thing I do know is that I'm glad the IUD worked.

I think it's strange to live in a society that wants so hard to convince us that "life" begins at conception. My upbringing was very religious and I even attended several anti-abortion rallies when I was younger (and way more Republican.) Some people that knew about the miscarriage wanted me to grieve and be devastated by this loss of "life" (mostly the Catholics in my family that were at my grandmother's funeral in January) but I didn't feel devastated. I felt very emotional while it was happening but I blame that mostly on the hormones that were racing through my body.

It's moments like these that point out just how hard it is to get away from one's upbringing. I almost feel guilty for not feeling worse about the fact that I miscarried (which is an offensive word anyway because it makes it sound like it's somebody's fault, e.g. the woman's, because maybe if she'd carried the embryo or fetus just a little bit better it wouldn't have been expelled from her body as a gross painful mess of tissue and blood,) and for feeling so happy to have had proper birth control in place to help avert the crisis that would be a pregnancy at this time in our lives.

And that makes me feel weird too because I'm happily married and have such a wonderful family, why not add to it? But I'm too selfish. I want my life back someday. I don't want my life to only be about making and raising children. I have dreams and I want a career and I don't want that career to be about using my body as a baby-making machine. My brain is more valuable than that. (Little tip to those of you thinking of getting pregnant: it sucks. Pregnancy sucks, labor sucks, delivery sucks. It's gross, dirty, nasty, painful business. I'd be more than happy to provide you with more details if you so desire. And as for the stuff that comes after the labor and delivery, like the years of yourself that you must give up in order to raise responsible, compassionate, and non-homicidal or psychotic children, well, I've got a lot to say about that too.)

I think about all these things and I know that it might sound kind of crazy, but although I wasn't displeased to have miscarried (because the alternative, e.g. carrying a pregnancy to term or having to deal with abortion-related decisions would have been way worse,) I was a little sad. I don't understand it myself so I don't really expect you to either but I hope that at some point in the future, once I'm farther away from this, I'll gain some perspective and clarity on the situation and be able to understand exactly why it affected me the way it did.


stu42j said...

I'd be very interested to know what rational or scientific argument there is to suggest that life begins at some point other than conception. Simply being alive, of course, is very different from having a Soul or, the secular equivalent, enjoying the full rights of a Human Being.

I know this is not really the main point of your post but it is something that has been bothering me a lot lately so I would greatly appreciate any enlightenment you might be able to provide.

Anonymous said...

"I have dreams and I want a career and I don't want that career to be about using my body as a baby-making machine. My brain is more valuable than that."

*side note- I know you weren't being offensive or talking down to anyone here- I just wanted to give the flip side of that coin. :)

Some womens' dreams are of becoming a mom. That has always been and is my dream for my life- that is what I want to make my career- the making and raising of children.I believe that is my purpose (which is a part that comes from my Faith which some people don't understand, and that's fine.) I don't think that that makes me any less of a woman than someone who desires to work in a more 'professional' field. My dream has always been to be a wife and a mom. Children are my passion.

I think moms use their brains just as much as women out in the workplace, in both the same and in different ways. You deal with the same stuff and different stuff.

I'm about to begin what most people would consider my "career"- I don't see it like that at all- this is my 'temporary' professional move until it is time for us to start having kids, and I know there will never be a 'right' time and I know I will be completely unprepared and that for as much experience as I have with children, the experience of being a mom is something COMPLETELY different. And people can think that I'm naive and that's fine too. But, it is my desire to use my body to be a baby making machine, and with my husband to raise and teach our children and watch them grow up; that is my ultimate dream for our lives.


SerenitySprings said...


I don't really want to go into all of the scientific reasons that I don't believe that life begins at conception but I think I might've posted some of those before so you might check the "abortion" tag or something similar.

I believe that life begins when the fetus is viable outside the womb. That could be anywhere from about 32-40 weeks in utero. I wouldn't abort a fetus at 20 weeks because that fetus could survive with extreme medical intervention but for me, true life begins when the fetus can safely exit the womb and be viable without extreme intervention.

SerenitySprings said...


You're right, this post wasn't geared towards those women who choose to stay home and be "baby-making machines." No offense was intended and I'm sincerely sorry if any was taken.

I was only talking about me and what I want out of my life. The world needs people who are willing to raise children and the women or men who stay home to do that are amazing. They learn and handle things that most people can't.

As a woman who is staying home now to raise my child and care for my house and family's needs, I know that it's a full time job that requires much patience, time management, and energy. But for me personally, this is not what I want to do with the rest of my life. I have plans for my future that don't involve staying home.

I completely respect your decision to stay home with the kids and hopefully if you start have them soon I'll even be able to help out by babysitting or even just keeping you company sometimes. My mom stayed at home until all of us were out of the house and I had one of the best childhoods of anyone I know.

Again, I was not trying to take a dig at those who choose to stay home, I was only trying to express my own confusion and emotional state about the after-effects of the miscarriage.

Anonymous said...

no offense was taken, just thought i'd share the flipside... I'm sorry you are dealing with all this, on top of still not feeling well. I hope things even out soon..

stu42j said...

I did not find any posts on your blog that address this issue but, for anyone else's reference, I did find a good website on it. It certainly doesn't answer the question but it does give many different arguments on both sides of the debate.

Talley Images said...

someone always trying to play the conversion card, eh?

well, Im sorry that youve had to experience the loss, but Im glad that it turned out with a good outcome (not being pregnant)....

Im still here if it matters...

Lisa J said...

Glad you found me and enjoyed my blog. Sorry you went through your experience but so glad to know you are doing well. It was good to reconnect with you and you have not changed from when I had you in class. Stay in touch!!