Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Guest Post: "My journey toward Fertility Awareness, or why I don't use hormonal birth control..."

I married my husband when I was 22. Before getting married, I enjoyed a lovely pap smear and was told to get on the pill by my Doctor. So I got my prescription filled, and started faithfully taking the pill, months before our wedding.

My husband used to have a reputation as the plate cleaner when we were hanging out in college. He would eat a full meal then start mooching off of everyone else’s plate. So it was a complete surprise to me when he mentioned that I was out-eating him. On my end I was starving. STARVING. So I stepped on the scale, and discovered that in the two months I was on the pill I gained a little more than 20 lbs.

Not cool body. Not cool.

Since we were not having sex before marriage, and actually accomplishing this task, I stopped taking the pill. A few months later I had another conversation with my doctor, and this time I tried the NuvaRing. It seemed like a good idea, localized birth control hormones=less hormones in my body screwing things up.

The NuvaRing was good for a while, but never managed to line up with my cycles. You are supposed to insert it vaginally for 3 weeks, remove for 1 week (and have your period on this off week) then insert a new ring and repeat. This works great if you have 28 day cycles. My cycles were 35 days long, so I ended up inserting for 3 weeks, removing for 1, reinserting and getting my period. Or keeping it out for 2 weeks, trying to “catch up” or something. After our wedding we used condoms on the off week, because I wasn’t getting satisfactory answers from my doctor about why this was happening or how to “fix it.” We were not planning to get pregnant.

But then I had a positive home pregnancy test. Umm, what? Then I had a second positive home pregnancy test. Oh crap.

Called a friend. Called my doctor. Freaked out with my husband. Bought a baby book and tried to get excited about this unplanned but very much wanted new life.

We went to the doctor, like you are supposed to. She congratulated us, and thought we were crazy to ask for a blood test after two home positives, but sent me to the lab anyway.

A week later I got the news. A very bubbly office girl, who I assume had no idea what in the world the test was for, cheerfully told me the lab results were negative. Have a great day!

I couldn’t make it through the rest of my work day. I came home and cried with my husband. We set up another appointment with my doctor who told me about a chemical pregnancy. It was probably a chemical pregnancy, when egg and sperm meet and do their thing, but are unable to implant in the uterine lining, for multiple reasons. Its no big deal, she said. We weren’t trying to get pregnant right now anyways.

The ring is supposed to make you not ovulate, supposed to prohibit sperm from going where it wants to prohibit accidental ovulated egg meeting great swimmy sperm. It is not supposed to prevent implantation, but it might prevent implantation sometimes.

During the next few cycles we continued to use the ring while doing much soul searching, research on how various forms of birth control actually work, and looking for personal stories of NuvaRing users in the same boat. I found a lot of other women had also experience chemical pregnancies while on the ring, and it seemed like the ring did a better job preventing implantation of a fertilized egg than its promotional materials would tell you.

Many tearful nights lead us to the decision to only use a barrier method to prevent pregnancy. We chose to use condoms, knowing that if a condom fails, it was important to us to allow the possible baby a chance to find its way to a uterus that would be able to receive it.

All this before our first marriage anniversary.

Codi is a mom of almost 2 from Southern California. She spends her days getting ready for baby #2 and giving her daughter those last only child days. If you'd like to connect with Codi or ask her questions, please comment!
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