This one might be a little “woe is me” and “woe are women”, but I do hope you bear with me.
Sometimes, it’s hard to be a woman.
I don’t mean it in the “Stand by Your Man” kind of way (this time). I mean that the stuff we have to put up with sometimes totally sucks.
I had been on the pill since I was 15. Obviously I went off the pill after my ex and I decided we wanted to have a child. It was the only time we had sex on a regular basis – every day, in fact (we are very goal oriented). I was lucky in that it only took three months before I was pregnant.
Within a week after giving birth, my ex suggested he go and get a vasectomy. While we had agreed that we would only have one child, it seemed a bit rash. I suggested we give it some time.
I didn’t really want to go back on the pill – it’s annoying to have to take a pill every single day. So I went to the Doctor and they suggested the Nuva Ring. If you aren’t familiar with it – it is basically a small round rubber ring. You would think it’s a washer for something if you didn’t know any better. You keep it in for three weeks, take it out for one week, then put a new one back in.
The Nuva Ring and I had a falling out. Literally, the stupid thing kept falling out. And don’t get all “if you only did kegel exercises” on me. I do, thank you very much. If I was having sex, I’m sure my husband would have speared the thing (it happened to a friend of mine who actually did have sex with her husband). But since we weren’t it was just left to me to try to find to get a way to keep the damn thing in.
So, back to the Doctor I go. Next up? Mirena IUD. Insertion is not the most pleasant, but I’ve had a child so it’s all relative.
Seems great. For several months, it’s all good. Then one day, I realize I’ve had my period for three. fucking. weeks. It doesn’t stop. When I finally get in to see the Doctor, they tell me it’s called “breakthrough bleeding” and can happen with IUDs. So, out it comes (that part is unpleasant).
At that point, my husband suggested that we’d had enough with messing up my body, so he had a vasectomy. He spent a TON of time telling me it was not a big deal at all, then when I didn’t go with him to the appointment (he told me not to) he was super pissed off and used it as an example of how I didn’t care about him in the least.
Fine. No birth control at all. This was before our “open marriage” phase so it wasn’t an issue. However, within a month, I started getting migraines. Regularly. At least my body has the courtesy to provide a warning “aura” that lets me know the pain is coming. Back to the Doctor, who prescribed something that at least eliminates the worst of the symptoms.
I got them every couple of weeks. Even with the medication, I lost one if not two days of work each time. I was running a huge project with a strict deadline and just couldn’t afford to be out. I tracked the migraines for a few months and discovered they were timed to my cycle.
Back to the Doctor I go (you see why I say being a woman kinda sucks at times). I ask to be put on the pill to regulate the hormones. It works; since then, my migraines happen infrequently.
Being on the pill was handy when it came time to having an open marriage. But that wasn’t why I did it.
Here’s the thing though. I don’t want any more children. I didn’t with my husband, and I certainly don’t now. Even if there was a remote chance I could fall in love with someone who spawn I simply must have, I am 40. And…there’s nobody like that in sight. So, it ain’t going to happen. I’m tired of being on the pill and messing with my hormones. I’d like to give my body a chance to just sort itself out (although if it fucks with my sex drive I will be exceedingly peeved).
Here’s the added fun bonus!! I went for STI testing in August and was asking the Doctor about birth control alternatives. Since I’ve already tried the Nuva Ring and an IUD…there’s not much else. I tell her about my migraines. She tells me that there is now a correlation to significant increased risk of stroke for women on the pill who have migraines with a warning aura. So she couldn’t actually prescribe the pill if I wasn’t already on it. Are you fucking kidding me?
So you know what the next option is? Getting my tubes tied. Fan-fucking-tastic.
Well. The first Doctor suggests that it’s rare to do so unless I have another kid – because Doctors like to do it if you are already, ahem, all opened up. But they send me to a specialist. At least this guy – the best in the city – agrees that I should stop messing about with something that could give me a stroke, and proceeds to tell me all about what they do with one’s tubes these days.
Turns out, they don’t tie them anymore, but there are two options. They “occlude” them (called “tubal occlusion”) – which basically means they get rid of them, because they now believe that 50% of ovarian cancers start in the tubes. No tubes = less risk. Huzzah. Oh, but they need to put a hole in your belly button to get at them, and they give you a general anesthetic, so there’s that whole surgery risk thing to contend with. 1 in 1000 have issues.
Now, I’m not the type of person who worries about getting hit by lightning, or freak accidents, and I certainly take risks. But of course I ask about an alternative. Which is such – basically a piece of spirale pasta gets inserted and prevents any eggs from traveling past the tubes. No surgery, but you keep the tubes. And no, he didn’t actually say it was pasta, but he used the analogy so that’s what stuck with me. Pasta in my tubes. Got it.
So…back to why being a woman kind of sucks? My choice is surgery, with the associated risks, but no tubes to possibly cause trouble in the future. Or pasta, with no surgery risks, but no reduction in chance of cervical cancer either.
The next time a guy complains about the outpatient surgery known as a vasectomy – I may just send him the link to this post. A little bit of freezing, bit of smoke coming from your balls? Suck it up, dude.
I have a decision to make, and a procedure to book. It will be on the list of things I did on my summer vacation. Read a book, drink gin and tonics on a dock, make myself sterile. I’m going to add “reduce change of cervical cancer” to that list…so if one day I just disappear…would someone call emergency for me please?