I am suffering from a bout of frustration as of late.
First, I’ll list my symptoms: amenorrhea, nausea (usually brought on by crying, bad smells, or certain food stuffs), occasional dry-heaves, occasional migraines, elevated blood pressure, edema, occasional dizziness, constipation, frequent urination, food cravings and aversions…I could go on, but I shouldn’t.
My last period started on September 5th. It was normal, nothing unusual at all about it.
My husband and I are not trying to make a baby, but we are also not NOT trying. I mean, condoms are uncomfortable and inhibit our enjoyment of the beautiful act of sex. And why should we use them? We are happily married, of sound minds and bodies, and not so impoverished that a second child would not be cared for. We are mutually exclusive, so there is no risk of STDs or STIs. In short, it is our business.
Of course, when I go to the health department to get a pregnancy test, I am given the third degree and then it is strongly suggested that I take home a sack of condoms and VCF. What is so intrinsically evil about making a baby?
Anyway, so were aren’t trying but we aren’t preventing. So we were both mildly excited and equally as worried when the posibility of our having concieved first came up.
My cycles last 27-33 days. It has always been this way. I was carefully taught to keep track on a calendar. I have an excellent system. I mark down a dot in the bottom right corner of the calendar for each day that I have bleeding. The first day of bleeding gets the number 1 next to the dot and in brackets next to that is the number of days it has been since the start date of the previous period. So if I started on day 27, the calendar for that day would have “1(27)” and a dot.
Also on my calendar, I take note of which days I have had sex, marked by a little letter S in the bottom left corner. If I have had spotting rather than a heavy period, I will drow a line like —– across the bottom of the day in question, or across all the days if it occured on more than one. Any other odd symptoms I note, such a change in color or consistency are also noted.
So any time that I am late, that is to say any time that I reach day 34 without mensus, I begin to consider the possibility of conception. On rare occasions, I have reached one or two weeks past day 27, that is to say I reached day 40 or so and then, after a negative test, I would start within a day or two. But this is not a common enough occurance for me to consider myself irregular.
And I have done a lot of research into the subject and learned that many women who are sexually active and of child-bearing age will have a missed or late period and assume that they were just late due to stress or some such thing, when in fact they had been pregnant, but the body miscarried before the pregnancy was even diagnosed. This is usually because there was actually something wrong with the pregnancy, and often happens so early on that women do not even know they were pregnant. I am not saying that I know for a fact this has ever happened to me, but that I know it does happen to women.
I have, though, had two miscarriages. One was my Freshman year of college. It occured very early in the pregnancy, and was probably a case of spontaneous abortion due to a defect of some sort. The second miscarriage was a pregnancy diagnosed right at 1 month; bleeding began at six weeks of pregnancy and the final miscarriage occured at almost three months of pregnancy. Three months after that I conceived Luna, who is now a year and a half old.
Every pregnancy is different, and every woman is different, but I have read that there are a great deal of women who have tested negative until their second trimester. In some of those cases the doctors assured the women that they had only just recently conceived, and that the negative tests were negative because they were not pregnant back then. When the “premature” baby is born at full weight and development, the mother knows for sure that she was correct.
There are also many non-pregnancy reasons why a woman might miss a cycle. Some of the less-scary are missed-ovulation, stress, miscalculated cycle date, etc. Then there are more ominous reasons such as cancer of the uterus, cancer of the cervix, cancer of the ovaries, endometriosis, poly-cystic ovarian syndrome, and various types of viruses and infections.
Now to the reason why I am frustrated.
As I said, my last period was September 5th, so when October 3rd came and went with no period, I began to wonder. On October 10th I took a home pregnancy test, a Clear Blue Easy Digital. It came up negative. Okay, at that point I really was not late if it was a 33 day cycle, so I waited until October 20th, and then took a second test. That one also came up negative. Alright, two negatives makes it more likely that I am not. But I waited a bit longer and took a third test on October 23rd. It too came up negative. By this time I was sure that I must be starting soon. Not so much, no. I continued to have symptoms akin to those I had with my pregnancy with Luna, so on November 3rd I went to the local health department for yet another pregnancy test. This one was just a strip of paper with the reactive ink on it, I forget what they are called. Anyway, the lady said it was negative, but that my blood pressure was highly elevated and that I should consult my primary care physician. Yeah, lady, cause I have one but still prefer the quality of health care my local DHS can provide…
Anyway, by this point I was of course very frustrated. Robert, my loving husband, purchased another two pack of home pregnancy tests, so I took another one on November 5th, with the same negative result. So today, I marched on over to the student health clinic on my campus and requested that they help me figure this out. After giving me another test identical to the one the health department had performed, I was told that I am definately not pregnant. My blood pressure again was elevated. The lady listened to my medical history, and then asked me some questions. Though she did no other examination, she insisted that I suffer from poly-cystic ovarian syndrom, and that I need to take a ten-day regimin of progesterone to force a menstrual cycle. I asked her if, for my peace of mind, I could have an ultrasound. She said the school will not allow them do ultrasounds for diagnostic purposes.
Now I am forced to make a decision. Do I believe her diagnoses of PCOS, and take the progesterone to force a period? Do I pay an even greater sum of money than that prescription would cost, in order to pay a REAL doctor to do a blood test and ultrasound? Do I wait it out for another month or so, and see what happens?
I know that stressing over these things could make whatever is wrong get worse, but I need to figure something out. I do not feel sick. I am not in any pain, and the only symptoms I am having are the same ones I would have if pregnant. So either this is a phantom pregnancy, and I need to take this lady’s advice, or this is a real pregnancy, and taking the advice could have adverse results. I researched progesterone, and sometimes it is used to prevent miscarriage, but other times women report a greater occurence of miscarriage after its usage. I just wish I knew what the answer was…perhaps I could benefit from one of my mother’s favorite sayings, “Sometimes the best decision to make is none at all.”