Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Neverending Period

It has been three weeks since I had a Mirena IUD inserted to fix my heavy and frequent periods.  And it's worked. . .

if your definition of "fix" is to just bleed nonstop all the time. 

I mean, I can't complain that my period is coming too frequently when it never freaking ends!  Yeah, thus far I am significantly underwhelmed with how well the IUD has worked for fix my bleeding difficulties.  Though the flooding/gushing isn't occurring so I do have to admit that that's a plus because at least I can function and have a life.  A life filled with thinking about my bloody cooch and wondering when it will knock it off, but a life nonetheless.

I received a speedy response from my doctor after I wrote my last blog post and he indicated that "irregular bleeding" is common after an IUD is inserted.  Call me crazy, but I think mid-cycle spotting and stuff like that is what should be called irregular bleeding and I darn sure didn't expect to be experiencing the neverending period.  I suppose he is technically correct though because it's hardly regular to bleed for weeks on end. 

He also totally understood my Kobayashi Maru comment and I've been thinking he's a great big dork, but a friend pointed out that I'm the one who initially made the connection so I'm the bigger dork.  Worse is that he corrected me in my assessment that my period is like the Kobayashi Maru because that is the no-win scenario and that's not the case here because there are other options to try and, ultimately, a hysterectomy is the atomic option that will guarantee relief if nothing else works.  So it's no big deal that I'm bleeding all the time and he corrected me on my dorkdom.  Talk about adding insult to injury. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

I Think My Period is the Kobayashi Maru

Does the title of this make sense to you?  Congratulations, you're a dork!  Just like me.

For those of you who spent your youth doing things like getting laid and making friends, the Kobayashi Maru is a test at Starfleet academy.  It is unbeatable unless you change the rules of the test.  That is, the only way to beat it is to cheat it.  In case you're wondering, I just felt any measure of coolness that I might have totally disappear by writing this paragraph.

Enough with the Star Trek nerdiness, on to my favorite topic!

So I had the Mirena IUD inserted two weeks ago.  I've detailed my awful experience with insertion and in the immediate aftermath.   I've also detailed some welcome side effects.  All that is very good and interesting, but at the moment I'm concerned that I have been bleeding nearly every single day for two weeks.  I had three days of sweet freedom - three glorious days!  Once I started spotting again, the bleeding resumed in short order.

At this point I'm starting to feel like my period is the Kobayashi Maru.  It can't be beat!  I have a message in with my doctor because I'm unsure if this is normal, but it's definitely not typical for me. 

IUD users - write anonymously if you'd like, but do chime in:  I know some of you have indicated a total absence of menses, but did you bleed after insertion?  If so, how long?

Friday, February 8, 2013

Motherhood. . .Sooo Gross!

My baby has been cutting the same teeth since around Thanksgiving.  He's been drooly, pukey, weepy, clingy, and screamy.  He's demanded snuggles, cuddles, nursie, and chewie toys.  One tiny tooth finally started peeking from his pink gums a couple of weeks ago.  I took a breath and enjoyed having my sweet & happy baby back again.

Then the molars started erupting.  His upper left gum gave the first indication of what was to come when I noticed one night that it was swollen and black.  My first thought was that the poor little guy had a rotten tooth before it even showed up.  No, he had an eruption hematoma.  It looked terrible, within a week, he had another one show up on his lower right gum.  I have never seen gums nearly this swollen and it was painful just to look at it so I really felt for my baby.

I've tried everything to relieve the poor child's pain and nothing really works for long.  The only thing that seems to make him happy for very long is to be cradled and nursed.  So I've done a lot of that in the last few weeks to get the kid through this tough time. 

Those molars finally started appearing and I was looking forward to getting my sweet baby back.  I probably would have, but he caught a little cold.  Or, at least, I think it's possible that he has a cold.  He tends to get a runny nose when teeth are coming, but it normally only lasts a couple of days.  He's had a runny nose now for several days and it doesn't seem to be improving. 

Teething and a cold. . .just the ticket to getting a good night of sleep!  Yeah, no, it pretty much is guaranteed that I won't sleep tonight any more than I have the last three nights.  The upside is that I can doze a little while he's tucked in bed and nursing.  The downside is that I have a bitey baby in bed with my breast in his mouth.  Babies don't use their teeth at all when actively nursing, but he tends to clamp down as he drifts off to sleep.  That's right, I've ended up with bleeding nipples a time or two this week.  Yeouch!

So bleeding nipples and two eruption hematomas are gross enough, but it's nowhere near the zenith of grossness.  You might even think that it doesn't even warrant a blog post whining about the grossness of motherhood.  Keep reading you sickos.

One of the things that is most amazing about breastfeeding is that the body will produce antibodies in response to what the mother is exposed to and this helps strengthen the immune system of the breastfed child.  It is one of the reasons that breastfed children tend to not get ill as frequently as their formula fed counterparts.  With this in mind, I frequently kiss my kids.  Well, I'd kiss them anyway, but I make sure to up the kissy-kissy stuff when anyone in the family is feeling poorly so that baby can get the maximum benefit. 

I fed my baby some chicken dinosaurs for lunch earlier this week.  Yeah, yeah, I fed my baby chicken dinosaurs - go ahead and judge.  They take less than a minute and he eagerly eats them.  Heck, even I like them and I generally hate kiddie fare.  I suspect that the secret ingredient is crack.  There is  no secret ingredient?  Well, damn, I just like crappy chicken dinosaurs!

So baby has had a runny nose and I've been all kissy monster on him lately because I want to help him fight whatever he's fighting.  Or he just has a runny nose from teething and I don't need to kiss his sticky little face.  I'll stick with kissing. . .but I'll make sure from here on out to really look where I'm planting my pucker. 

I kissed his cheek after lunch and something ended up in my mouth.  Typing that makes me realize just how gross it is, but it was not my thought process at the time.  "Hey, a little bit of chicken dinosaur.  Awesome!  Hey, this chicken dinosaur bit is kinda salty.  Why was it on his cheek?  What is this bit of whatever in my mouth and why am I thinking about eating it??"  I pulled it out and it was not a tiny bit of a chicken dinosaur.

It was a booger.


Another gross thing happened.  I know, another thing?!  Yes, another thing.  Some people ride the gravy train, but I apparently have a round trip ticket on the gross train.  All aboard!

My baby was toddling around one day and I caught a stinky whiff of something.  I figured that he had either tooted or pooped so I did the normal mom thing to check.  No, not the novice mom thing where you sweep their crack with your finger.  I just pulled the back of the diaper open and took a quick look.

A quick look - ha!  Some things can not be unseen.  Even things that were seen with a quick look!

What did I see?  What was so gross?  I saw him actually pooping in his diaper.  Remember how I mentioned that he's all drooly & stuff from the teething?  Liquid pouring out his mouth usually means liquid pouring out of his butt.  I saw soft & liquidy poo filling the diaper.

I will never eat chocolate soft serve again.  Never!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Sounding the Well of Grief

I was watching my husband and our older son today and felt a pang because it made me think of my brother and his youngest son.  I thought that there were surely countless times that my brother and my nephew chatted about any number of topics.  Conversations that are forever lost because the two people who had them are gone.

I was startled to realize that it's been almost 2 1/2-years since my brother died and 1 1/2-years since my nephew followed his father in death.  Can that really be?  Was it so long ago? 

Time passes so quickly and even very loved members of your family eventually will slip through your memory.  You still love them and miss them.  Of course you do.  It's just that eventually you learn to live without them.  And, as much as I hate that I haven't constantly attended the altar of grief. . .life has gone on because that's what life does.  It goes on whether you want it to or not.

Sometimes I still feel an ache in my chest. . .a pain that I can only describe as my heart actually breaking.    That pain is rare, though blindingly painful when it happens.  At one time I felt that pain every second of every day.  Words are inadequate to describe that sad, sad time.  I never would have believed that there would come a day that I didn't feel the physical pain of grief in addition to the emotional torment it imposed.

Having the benefit of hindsight and the emotional buffer of years passing allows me to look back and realize that I was in a bad place.  I know that and I fully recognize it now, but I was unable to see it at the time.  My grief didn't just blind me.  It strangled me.  I was being smothered by it - held down, pushed further than I could have possibly imagined.

Grief is a well - and it is deep.  It can seem to go straight to the center of the Earth, it is so damn deep.  You find yourself treading water, desperately trying to keep your head up.  Trying to pretend that you aren't sinking lower by the moment.  Eventually, you stop fighting it.  You let go and give yourself to that well.  And it begins to drown you.  If you're lucky, you hit bottom fast so you can bounce back up.  If you're not as lucky, well, you feel smothered just a little longer.  Eventually you hit bottom too.  You push back up and gasp in the sweetness of life again.

I've sounded the well of grief.  I know just how deep it truly is and it's terrifying.  Yet, here I stand.  I was knocked flat and one day I was back up.  I don't know when it happened, it probably happened little by little, but it did happen. 

I am present.  I am me.  I am back.

More Interesting Side Effects

I've had my Mirena IUD for a week now so I thought that I'd give an update. 

I no longer have cramping and I'm not nearly as aware that it's up in my ladyparts.  My period stopped very quickly, but now I'm inexplicably spotting.  I woke to a spontaneous orgasm one day and I'm soooo hopeful that that will become a regular occurrence.

I also have noticed that my attitude seems somewhat improved.  I'm less likely to lose my shit and become a screechy harridan.  My husband noticed this too and I have to assume that it's because of the hormones from the Mirena.  I've read that some women experience the opposite and start flying off the handle over every little thing so I wonder if it's a situation where women without hormone problems do not benefit from the addition and women with hormone problems end up being more balanced with the addition.

I have also lost five pounds in the last week, but I did just end my period so I have to believe that water retention was a real problem for me this month.  Time will tell if the hormones will have any effect on weight loss and I do need to lose at least 25 pounds so I'm hopeful that watching what I eat and being more active will help counteract any potential for weight gain.  I've dusted off my trusty old scale so I should be able to detect any problem in short order.  In other words, not waiting until I've totally porked up again.

So far, so good with the IUD.  I'm kinda eager to see what my next period looks like because I went through this whole thing to get a little relief from my flow.  :::fingers crossed:::

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Everybody Poops. . .Sometimes

My husband and I were talking about my blog yesterday and I think that it's read by so many (even if not officially "liked" or "followed") because I don't shy away from talking about topics that people may want to know about though they are too embarrassed to ask questions about.  That said, I feel very awkward writing this blog post and that's strange since I've detailed some terrifically disgusting things in this blog.  Dearest readers. . .brace yourselves. . .I'm getting scatological tonight.

My strange confession is that I didn't poop for days on end since having the Mirena IUD inserted early this week.  Five days, to be exact.  It's not that I couldn't, but more that I wouldn't

I'm not usually a poop-machine or anything, but I can usually count on my colon to deliver the goods every other day or so.  More than four days without dropping a deuce is pretty unusual for me.  I finally realized early today that I'm going to have to poop at some point.  And that terrified me.

Why was I so spazzy about relaxing my sphincter?  Well, I guess because I was afraid that the IUD would somehow fall out and then I'd have gone through all the pain of insertion for absolutely nothing.  Worse is that I figured that I wouldn't even know that it fell out since I'm not accustomed to sifting through my crap for tiny contraceptives.

I know some of you smartasses are thinking, "Where in the world did her doctor put her IUD???"  Relax, wiseguys, it's firmly ensconced in my uterus.  But I still feel that I had valid fears that were logical so hear me out.

I was concerned because a little pushing is sometimes necessary to get the poop out.  Pushing is also required to get a baby out.  Babies are in the uterus, an IUD is in the uterus.  I gather that pushing a baby out is kinda like the similar to pushing out poop.  If a turd were like ten times bigger.  Except the whole thing about one being a human being coming out of your vagina and the other being biological waste coming out of your butthole, it made perfect sense to me that I should be concerned.

I probably wouldn't have pooped today, but my body said, "Enough of this crap!"  Have you ever pooped while kinda-sorta trying to hold it back in?  Yeah, I have now and I can assure you that it doesn't work.  There's just no stopping a freight train. . .certainly no stopping a freight train of poop!

Did I poop out my IUD?  I don't think so. . .considering the pain that I felt while inserting it (I knew I never should have done those Cervix of Steel workout videos!), I'm fairly certain that I'd have felt immediate pain if something was poking around my os.  That's a fancy name for the opening of the cervix.  And here I'll bet you thought you couldn't possibly learn anything in this post! 

Remember kids, everybody poops.  Not everybody worries needlessly about pooping out their IUD.  That's my special neurosis.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Big O

I've had the Mirena IUD since Tuesday afternoon.  It sucked epic levels of ass for the first 36-hours and then the cramping started easing up quite a bit.  Tylenol helped a lot and having help with my kids was necessary so I'm very thankful to the friends & family who stepped up to help me out while I was busy crying about my snatch.

My period abruptly ended late Friday morning.  This was entirely unexpected as I can't recall the last time I had such a short period.  I was like, "Uh-uh, I know this game," and I wore a liner all day today because I fully expected another downpour of blood because that's what my body normally deals me.  It never happened so :::thumbsup::: to a super-short period.  I'm hopeful that it's a sign of things to come. 

Speaking of coming. . .

I woke up having an orgasm today!!! 

What's that, you say?  I woke up having an orgasm today!!  I don't customarily have spontaneous Os and I've only had what can only be called wet dreams in pregnancy so I can't help but wonder if the IUD is to blame.  Or, more accurately, to thank. 

I have often suspected that the hormones of pregnancy are why my libido spikes to the stratosphere while I'm PG and this teenaged boy sex drive yields the occasional orgasmic wake up call.  Pregnancy orgasms are the best anyway - something about the uterus being so much larger, I suppose - and getting one without even trying is like a special gift.  If having the best wake up call ever is a side effect of having the IUD, I'm pretty sure that I will insist on having one in my uterus until the day I die. 

Doctor:  But, Mrs. My-Name-Here, you're 75-years old and went through menopause decades ago.  There is no reason why you need an IUD.
Me:  Oh, yes, there is!!

Friday, February 1, 2013

"Shouldn't He Be Weaned By Now?"

This is a note that I wrote on my personal Facebook page.  I thought it was important enough to publish on my blog.  Why am I so passionate about defending rights to breastfeed?  Well, that's probably another blog post but the simple answer is because it's my baby, my breasts, my choice.  Not your baby, not your breasts, not your choice.  End of story.


"Shouldn't he be weaned by now?"

Surely I'm not the only breastfeeding mother who has heard this question and here is my answer.  I will refer to this note each and every time I am asked the above question or any variation of the question that subtly implies I should not be breastfeeding my son.

The answer is the same if you're family, friend, or foe: I will do it until we're ready to quit and I have no idea when that will be so there's no sense in pressing the topic unless you're deliberately trying to antagonize me. There are zero negatives, it's so incredibly beneficial to child and mother, and he is barely even a year old so I haven't even once considered quitting yet. He won't be doing it forever and I'm so very glad that you're so concerned about my baby and me. The next time you ask, I'll be sure to gently enlighten you further that mammals are designed for this nurturing & nutritive activity and it is as normal a biological function as you eating your meal or drinking your beverage. Feel free to try to argue with me, but your problem isn't with me or my position- your problem is with science, history, and research. I know, I know, those darn pesky facts always getting in the way of an uneducated opinion!

Why is it that people feel that it is acceptable to ask such a question to a breastfeeding mother, but they wouldn't even think to ask a similar question to a bottle feeding mother?  A friend put it very well when she said:  my baby doesn't need to get off my boobs, but you need to get off my back.  Indeed!

I don't think that people are trying to be jerks (most of the time), but I do think that there is a not-so-subtle pressure to wean long before now. It is sometimes disguised as concern (you must want a break from that baby), sometimes it's justified by anecdote (I had formula and I turned out fine), sometimes it's just sheer ignorance of human biology (they don't need breastmilk if they have teeth), and sometimes it's just douchebaggery. I prefer to believe that most people aren't in the last category. It's aggravating nonetheless and, in a less determined mother, it would probably shake her resolve to continue her breastfeeding relationship with her child.  That is a shame and many women find their breastfeeding goals are subtly or overtly undermined by friends, family, and society in general.  I'm a stubborn old mule these days and I will keep on keeping on because I'm confident in my decision. :-)

I can't necessarily blame people for thinking it's weird because society thinks it's weird and most people don't care enough about human lactation to educate themselves about it. They are just uniformed. Society says breasts are A-Ok for filling out bikinis, selling beer, and generally being sexy. Baby attached to something "sexy" is skeevy because babies are not sexy so on some level I do get why people get weirded out.  However, someone with a hangup about basic biology is not my problem and it darn sure is not my child's problem.  Educate yourself about it and you'll quickly get over it.

Once upon a time I was slack-jaw shocked to happen upon my 10-month old niece breastfeeding.  To be fair, I was only 13-years old and I'd never seen such an old infant nursing.  I almost laugh that I actually thought a ten-month old was pretty old to be nursing!  I got over it. . .boy, did I!  As my husband once teasingly said, I'm like Ms. La Leche League.  Oddly enough, I've never once been to an LLL meeting.  I just have a passion for helping women achieve their breastfeeding goals because I know that there is tremendous pressure to just give in and pop a bottle of formula in your baby's mouth.  Unfortunately, it's sooo easy for that first bottle to be the beginning of the end of a breastfeeding relationship.

I have found that most people who get weirded out by seeing my son at my breast will be weirded out no matter how many facts and truths I present. Most of you guys have seen me breastfeed and I'm hardly a whip-out-the-boob type of nurser. I don't prefer to call a lot of attention to what we're doing when he's nursing. I will, however, absolutely not withhold breastfeeding from my baby if he needs/wants it no matter where we are or who is there and that is that.  His right to eat is greater than your right to not feel icky about seeing him eat.

Did you catch that last part?  His right to eat.  It's breastfeedingFeeding!  My son has a right to eat.  Just like you do.  Just like I do.  My son happens to get his milk from my breasts.  He still has the right to eat.  Period!

Part of the reason why I'm so vocal about supporting a woman's breastfeeding goals is because women who choose to breastfeed really do need a cheerleader to encourage them. It is not easy and society really does not encourage it. Things are better now in some ways (laws protecting the child's right to eat!), but worse in others because breasts are more sexualized than ever and you can hardly turn on the TV without seeing someone displaying their boobs. But a baby on the breast? Well, that's just gross & indecent! I've also heard people say they find nursing to be immodest, tacky, and classless.  I'm glad that such backward thinking will eventually die out and hopeful that upcoming generations will be less likely to keep breasts solely in the "sexy" category.  I'm definitely doing my part to normalize breastfeeding to my kids so they won't even bat an eye when they see a woman nursing her child.

You know, that's something that should outrage everyone: things are/were so messed up if you want to breastfeed your child that laws actually had to be enacted to protect your child's right to eat! It is a damn shame that laws had to be written to allow the feeding of another human being! No matter your position on breastfeeding, nursing in public, or anything else, that is an outrage!

Equally outrageous is that no one would say boo to me if I were bottle feeding my son at this age. Well, one or two might, but in general no one would have a single word to say if I were bottle feeding my one-year old. Society's bias against breastfeeding will change one day, but even my husband (hardly the most crunchy guy on the block) has noted that the pressure to remove your breast from your child is intense from the moment you leave the hospital. Frankly, I think his observation depends on the hospital as I happened to deliver our boys at a very breastfeeding friendly hospital with knowledgeable and supportive nursing staff.  Even then, it was a horribly painful struggle with my first child and there were times that I questioned why I was still moving forward and trying to make breastfeeding work.  I ended up nursing him until he was 13-months and I still regret that I weaned him at such a young age.

The easiest answer to your question is this:  I'm not sure when he'll wean, but it will eventually happen.