Friday, January 10, 2014

Seeing Red

This post is specifically for people who are interested in my infertility journey (which starts here). As this relates to infertility, I would advise you to draw the logical conclusion about the topic of this post based on the title, and decide before going any further whether you actually want to read on.

Still here?

(Hint: it's periods. This post is about periods.)

Continue reading at your own risk.


I have never known a woman who looks forward to a visit from Aunt Flo, regardless of any mitigating circumstances. As guests go, at her best, she is messy, smelly, and always outstays her welcome. Her visits are usually physically painful, and can make even the calmest woman an emotional, irrational mess. And for most women, she visits about once a month. The horror!

Within the infertility community, her visits take on additional horror.

To a woman who is struggling to get pregnant, a visit from Aunt Flo means that this is another month that she is not pregnant.

This is something that I never experienced, and not just because I lost my health and my savings and my income before I had a chance to try to get pregnant. But you can read all about that here.

I was never sure exactly what it would be like with clomid; whether I would have a period after an unsuccessful cycle or not. I had a vague idea that I would just have to depend on pregnancy tests, but I still don't know for sure. Even though I never experienced it, though, I can certainly empathize with how devastating it must be to see red month after month when you're trying to conceive.

But because I usually didn't have periods when I wasn't on the pill, visits from Aunt Flo were mostly a monthly source of aggravation and inconvenience for me when I was on the pill, and the furthest thing from my mind when I wasn't. They didn't seem to serve much purpose for me either way. In fact, if things had gone according to my plan back then, and I'd gotten pregnant and had a baby, I was planning to look into getting a partial hysterectomy (note to self: write future post on the reasons I hate that term) or endometrial ablation, because I didn't see the point of continuing to put up with my uterus's antics after it had served its purpose.

Of course, that's not what ended up happening. I ended up being forced to abandon the baby plan without ever having a chance to try.

But as I've written about before, despite the fact that I did not go back on the pill, something unexpected started happening in December of 2012: I started having periods. Not every month, but still with some level of regularity, approximately every three months.

That is, until this past October. Not that I had any idea at the time that something in my body was changing yet again.

In November, and then December, I thought it was a fluke. But now it's January. It's a new year.

And for four months straight now, I have had a regular, non-medicated 28-day cycle.

From what I've heard, I'm pretty sure this is rare even for women who have no fertility issues and have a generally regular cycle.

For me, it is nothing short of a miracle.

I don't even mind the mess and the smell and the cramps and the mood swings anymore.

Because after coming face to face with the possibility that my body would never function to its full potential, and now less than 2 months away from my 35th birthday (or as I have thought of it since I started this journey, my use-by date), seeing red means that there's still a chance that my body has the potential to do the one thing I've always wanted it to do: bring a child into the world.

And maybe, just maybe, it will be possible without fertility treatments.

For me, now, seeing red means hope.

Maybe 35 won't be so bad after all.

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