Monday, May 18, 2009

Response to Birth Control

I was randomly wandering through my friends friends on twitter and came upon this blog:

Well, the post that happened to be the first one on the page was about birth control, the chemical kind. And since that is always a sensitive subject to me, I had to read their thoughts. 

Wow! I am kinda dumbfounded on their take on birth control. I was also taken aback by the majority of the comments about the post. Apparently, according to them I am a horrible person because I take Seasonale (I really do take that specific one).  The thing that no one is really taking into account is that it isn't always an easy choice to be on this stuff. I would almost give my left arm not to take birth control, but that isn't an option.

My Story- 

I was 12, I had been having my periods for about 3 months. I started waking up in the middle of the nights screaming in pain in my abdomen. My parents (being good parents) took me to the emergency room. After hours and hours of test and no real answers the doctors sent me home, saying to talk to my primary doctor about the problem. Everyone kinda thought that it was an appendicitis that never fully developed. So we went to the doctor and he thought that it might be a minor problem with my ovary, so he put my on birth control.  Well the pain went away. 

I was only on it for about a year, and then I came off, thinking that the problem was over, and that no 13 year old should be on this stuff. Well, slowly the pains started coming back. Also, I started having real problems with my periods... they were missing randomly, they were long, they were very heavy and painful, and just horrible. So, the doctor put me back on birth control. It had been about two years since I had taken it last. They figured that my ovulation should have worked it self into a normal routine, but it hadn't.

So, fast forward 7 years. I had taken it fairly normally for that long. OK, I did my research, I wasn't sexually active, I didn't like what it was doing to my moods (come to find out the hormone levels weren't what I needed from that particular brand), and I didn't like the cost. So, happily off I come. It was amazing! I was free from that crap.  

Well, turns out stopping taking it was one of the worst ideas I had ever had. During the last year I was taking it I was starting to have pains in the abdomen again, and spent many a night in the ER and getting no answers. It kept coming back that they thought it was a problem with my appendix.  Turns out it wasn't. 

One day I was out running errands. I got the most horrific pain in my side and stomach I had ever felt to that point. I rushed myself home and was sick as a dog. I took pain killers, and no help. I called a friend who rushed me to the ER. This time there was something major going on. I was in the ER for 18 hours. The final conclusion was I had an ovarian cyst - the size of an orange on my ovary. The first doctor sent me home. Told me to see an OB/GYN later and not to worry.

Four hours later, I was being rushed back to the ER. A new level of pain was occurring. I get back into the ER, they rush me in, put in a morphine drip (which come to find out has absolutely no effect on me), and call the OB/GYN on duty. He takes one look at the CT scan from the night before and starts getting me prepped for emergency surgery.

My "minor" ovarian cyst had flipped itself upside down (an ovarian torsion) and was killing the ovary. I later discovered that this is fairly rare, and the doctor was impressed to get to see one because as he put it, "You can go your whole career without ever seeing one of these in OB/GYN." Yay, thanks! He tried to save the ovary, but by the time I got to surgery it had already gone necrotic. So, I am down to one ovary.

The next week for my check up, the doctor laid out some hard cold facts for me. I have to be on birth control until I want kids, or their probably won't be another ovary to have kids. I was floored. I didn't want to do that. So, I choose not to for about 6 months. I wanted time to heal and to think about what that meant. Well, my body knew what that meant... make more cyst on the remaining ovary.

Two more ER visits later with small to medium cyst on the remaining ovary convinced me the doctor was right. Back onto birth control I went. I talked to him about other hormone options or natural methods, basically for my problem there are no real other options. They don't work as well as the birth control does. And, honestly, I still have a lot of problems. I still have lots of pain, I still have rough periods, but not as bad as they were.

So, we played around with about 10 different versions of the pill before we landed on Seasonale. Some versions allowed more cyst, some allowed bigger cyst, some I bled continuously for the three months that I was on them testing them out, and others made me suicidal. I felt like a guinea pig, but I want kids. I have had the fake "morning sickness" more times than I can count as my body tries to get used to a new formula.

This journey and this "choice" that I have sucks! I would never wish it on anyone. I would honestly give up anything to not have to live like this, but I don't want to give up my future kids. It hurts me to have to live with this choice. I cry every time I have to get a prescription filled. It makes me feel horrible. 

My husband knew all of this going into our marriage. He knows where my faith is and that I believe life starts at fertilization. He knows this isn't an easy choice for me to make. And, we both know that the last 15 months of our marriage have not been the time to start trying to have children. We both have prayed over this choice - both to continue the pill and to wait on kids, and we know when the time is right God will show us that. 

My husband even came to one of the OB/GYN appointments to talk to the doctor himself about what the pill does and why I have to be on it. That is strength in my world. We have both fought this situation. 

I just want people to understand that God fearing Christians do occasionally have to take this stuff, even when it is the last thing they want to do. I hate looking at that purple box sitting next to my toothbrush, but I have to keep in my head... "If I want kids, I will do this. If I don't want more surgery, I will do this."

Honestly, my other options are - stop the pill and freeze some eggs and then have to go through InVitro, or stop the pill and know there will be pain and surgery.  Neither of those sounds healthy. I know that after we have our kids I am going to have to have the last ovary removed. I also know that for me that means I am on hormone replacement therapy for the rest of my life. This last one is a life sentence, but taking that stupid pill every morning means one more morning that I put off loosing the ovary. It means that I could have kids (there are some other issues to worry about in actually having the kids - all as an outcome of the surgery).

Just be careful how fast you judge a person and their motives some times.


Jes said...

I apologize for not taking into consideration people like you who are on the pill for medical reasons. I was informing people of what the pill can do, when doing that I was only thinking of people who are on the pill just so they do not get pregnant.

I'm sorry that you live with this condition. I am under the assumption that there are natural ways to control it, have you looked into them? I am just wondering so I can be informed. if I am wrong, I apologize.

Again, I am sorry for hurting you and not thinking about people like you and my sister in law (Lori from the comments) who took/are taking the pill to control a medical issue.

dax248 said...


Thank you for the apology. I know you weren't out to hurt anyone.

For my problems there are no "natural" treatments or cures. Plant estrogens only make the problem much much worse (I used to drink soy milk and that made the cyst HUGE!). There is no real natural progesterone that is an option either. Also, I would have to come off the pill for a couple of months to get a baseline again, and then start trying to come up with things that might or might not work or just plain make things worse.

The thing about the Seasonale is two fold. The not having a period but every three months is a blessing to me, it means that I only am supposed to ovulate once (not really in my case, but it controls it to some degree) and that keeps the number of cyst down. Also, it treats PMDD which is a horrible thing to have also.

Thank you for being willing to learn more. This is a scary thing even for living with it this long, and we pray that I would be healed of it, but God doesn't always work the way we want.

Again, thank you!

Amy said...

Thanks for sharing this, Molly. That probably took courage.

I could go on and say more, but would probably be best if I didn't as I'm tired, need to be studying for a certification exam, and in print, would probably end up putting my foot in my mouth accidentally.

Saw the pictures of your house! Lovely. I've been SO out of the blog-world that I feel very disconnected from many of you.
Hope all's going well.

Amy Van-Mod said...

Congrats again! So cool to see how God has blessed you with pregnancy after all the medical issues and wondering if it would be possible. So excited for you guys :)

Molly said...

Thanks Amy! God is pretty darn AWESOME!