Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Grand Finale

This post is for the, fair warning. If you're one of my few male readers, you will want to just go ahead and click that little 'x' in the top right corner and come back to read my next post. This one isn't for you.

I guess it's also not for the squeamish ladies out there, or the ones who don't want to talk reproductive systems. If that makes you uncomfortable, you might want to pass on this one and come back for my next post, too (but please come back!).

As I've talked about a little bit, we have (had?) fertility issues. I had surgery for and was diagnosed with stage IV endometriosis . During what was supposed to be exploratory surgery, they found that my ovaries were adhered to my abdominal wall with endometrial tissue, and that my left ovary had a large tumor. My outpatient, 20 minute procedure became a two hour ordeal that bought me an overnight hospital stay. I left the following day down one ovary and more than half of my fertility.

Fast-forward about five years.  We went through IVF to conceive our little darlings, knowing full-well that this was probably it for us in terms of having children. Still, somewhere in the back of my mind and heart, I held on to some stupid hope. I mean, it's really really, I don't know--FINAL--to say you are just done having children. My mama heart is more than full with A & A, but it just felt weird to think it was over in terms of family expansion.

Unfortunately, endometriosis isn't something that just goes away. You can do things to slow its growth--take various forms of birth control, take Lupron to put yourself into temporary menopause and give your entire system a rest (which I did--and let me tell ya, I ain't looking forward to real menopause! Hot flashes are serious business...)--but until you have a hysterectomy, it isn't going to just stop. Most women with severe endometriosis end up having a hysterectomy at some point, some earlier than others.

I've done two sessions of Lupron, and years of birth control. Unfortunately, that's still not keeping my endometriosis and symptoms at bay. At this point, I have spotting every single day. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Do you know how annoying that is???? It is incredibly, horrifically annoying and inconvenient. So, I went to my doctor. And that's when she told me about endometrial ablation.  I was fascinated and sold--a way to make yourself not have periods, and still keep all of your girly bits? Sign me up!

I won't go into too much detail, but essentially they burn the inside of your uterus, which then prevents the development of endometrial lining each month. If you're like me and intrigued by medical science, you can read the above link to hear all about the procedure. Apparently some crazy places do this in-office, but my doctor does the procedure under sedation because she likes to do a D & C before the ablation procedure. Thank god--when you read the fine print, it sounds pretty...well...horrible. I'll take my happy drugs and go to sleep, thankyouverymuch.

The downside...once you commit to this procedure, you're essentially sterilizing yourself. You have to use birth control as prevention (which is a non-issue for me) because if you WERE to conceive, it would most definitely end in miscarriage--there's no endometrial growth to sustain life. Now...I KNOW that we weren't planning another IVF procedure. I am HAPPY with the gorgeous sweet babies that we have. But it just seems so odd to say I am just done.  It's signing on the line, committing to never mothering again. So, while I will be happy to no longer have periods (I mean, who wouldn't be??), I'm also a bit sad about the true loss of ability to have children. It's just bittersweet.

My procedure is scheduled for August 28th. I think I'm going to have some kind of party for myself, or something, to celebrate the end of fertility. I read the blog of a woman who is young like me (HA!) and had an early hysterectomy, and she had a uterus cake to celebrate before-hand. Anyone have a uterus-shaped cake pan?

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