Monday, April 18, 2011

One Month (and Three Days) Later

It is exactly one month and three days since my March 15th procedure. Things return to normal, and I'm still okay.

After meeting with my OB/GYNE last week, I've decided to have the Mirena IUD inserted. We ordered an IUD, and now we wait for insurance paperwork to clear. This process can take up to a month. The ideal time to have an IUD inserted is during menstruation (soft cervix!), so it's too bad that I couldn't have an IUD inserted last week when I happened to have my period during my visit to the doc.

While I'm physically back to normal, and I apparently gained 0.6 pounds in my Post-Abortion Chocolate Chip Cookie Recovery Plan, returning to a normal sex life with my boyfriend has been a bit rocky. The bumps on the road to sexual bliss have nothing to do with any physical ailments related to the procedure or the complication and may not have even anything mental-emotional to do with the procedure or complication either. (I was having infections and vaginal pain prior to the pregnancy.) But, as my gynecologist put it the other day, me and my cervix have been through an awful lot in the last month alone. My boyfriend and I cope with understanding and taking things slow. It seems to be working as my libido is on the rise (hooray!) and sex hasn't been painful in the last several days.

Emotionally, I feel more and more like myself with each passing day. There's no question that the abortion will be a part of who I am, but it will not comprise my entire being as it did during the process and my immediate recovery.

I'm a strong believer that things happen for a reason, though we must have the strength to seek those reasons, make sense of them and then build and follow the paths that lay before us. I feel like I'm emerging from the dark pain and difficulty that obscured my vision and entering into a clarity and light where I'm doing just that. It feels right and good.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Oh. Hey there, Monthly Visitor.

How about that? I got my period!

It's strange and awesome to get a period again, especially when I haven't seen one in four months.

Way back in September, when I switched to the three-month cycle on oral birth control, I hated that I felt out of touch with my body. I actually missed my period. As relieved as I was that the three-month cycle solved other problems for me, I would never do it again. Ahem...

**Soap Box Alert! If you are taking Seasonale, or simply taking monophasic pills three months at a time like I was, please consider keeping pregnancy tests on hand just to check in with your body every month or six weeks or so. If you can avoid a pregnancy progressing for a full three months and just have peace of mind that you're not knocked up, believe me, IT'S WORTH IT.**

It's quite possible that all those crazy emotions I wrote about yesterday were partly/mostly related to a wild bout of PMS. I have never PMS'd before, so I'm not familiar with how I might feel if I were experiencing it. Physically, I'm much crampier than normal too.

I have an appointment with my OB/GYNE tomorrow, which I am so ridiculously psyched about. We had discussed the possibility of inserting the Mirena tomorrow. She told me at our last appointment that the best time to insert the Mirena is immediately following or toward end of menstruation as the cervix is softest then. Since I just started my period, I'm not sure that will be possible.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Your Love is Like a Roller Coaster

I am a hormonal mess. Surges of sadness, happiness, rejection, acceptance, love and otherwise wave over me and overwhelm me.

My boyfriend and I have fought like crazy for about two weeks now. I feel so easily hurt by him these days, and I cannot figure out if the normal strains in our relationship and our lives are causing this, or if it's excacerbated by the changes of hormones in my body.

I've read in some other abortion blogs about experiencing wild swings of emotion following the procedure and your body's hormonal readjustment. Because I was entering my second trimester, my body was pumped full of more pregnancy hormones, so it may take me a bit longer to adjust...

Then there's the hormonal change of birth control. I have read a few experiences of women who feel emotionally unstable on the Depo shot.

At this point, I'm not sure which it is, but I'm wondering if anyone out there reading this has experienced mood swings following their procedure and/or a Depo-Provera shot???

Friday, April 8, 2011

I Have Sex and I am Political

I didn't expect my blog about my abortion to wind up being so political. But unless I only focus on the physical aspects of the process, which was never my intent, it's bound to get political and fast.

I'm a political person generally. I've been to rallies in D.C., knocked on congressmen and congresswomen's doors, demanded to be heard by my leaders, made calls from home for politicians' campaigns, joined political groups on my college campus, led political groups on my college campus...

I now live in a liberal area and am no longer registered to vote in my home state, where I often felt I could influence state (but not local) politics. Since then, I haven't been as political as I once was. In fact, I burned out a little bit on being political. It's exhausting, and I don't know where people get the energy for it. It took me two weeks leading my campus College Dems to realize I had no interest in politics as a career.

But only two weeks before I found out I was pregnant, I had a conversation with my boyfriend about how nothing brings out the liberal warrior in me like an attack on women's reproductive rights.

Mostly, I have only seen those attacks at a distance as news about government spending. It had been years since I had seen those attacks up close. Back then, I was a liberal teenager in a conservative town in a conservative state with (mainly) conservative friends. It was those friends who launched ideological attacks on women's rights. It wasn't personal then, and I would try to argue my perspective to them, try to find a middle ground, excuse their judgmental and uncharitable attitudes. We'd usually wind up agreeing to disagree, and I'd excuse their nasty rhetoric and move on.

Even when we discussed my "liberal warrior," my boyfriend asked me how I could be friends with some of these people from my past on Facebook. I'm even relatively close friends with one anti who, on the day I returned to work from my procedure, posted an article about why rape and incest are not reasons to 'justify' abortion. (The article used the film Rob Roy as the basis of its argument... simultaneously laughable and pathetic.)

I made excuses for this friend and others from my past, explained that their judgment of women was something they were raised with, they are good people otherwise, and on and on. He rolled his eyes, expressed that he can't understand how I excuse the behavior of a "friend" who would limit my rights, and we reached our ususal impasse on the topic.

Then I got pregnant, and then I had an abortion.

From my perspective, since then there has been a confluence of personal attacks and political bullying that turns my stomach.

I've seen and experienced in great intimacy what kind of churlish, self-righteous, un-Christian people it takes to personally attack women's rights and choices--be it by commenting on the blog of a woman who is just coping with her experience, by posting judgmental rhetoric on Facebook or by protesting outside of a Planned Parenthood in hopes to intimidate at least one woman and force their opinion upon her. And the political attacks have taken on an even darker tone. What kind of politician will shut down a government and leave his fellow Americans out to dry over pap smears and STD testing?

I could add plenty here about how disappointed I am (and expected to be) by President Obama's weak political hand, or how I wish that other Dems would stand up to the schoolyard bullying by Boehner and his cronies.

But I don't want this blog to become another Internet political blather bucket, so I'll leave it at this: I am incredibly frustrated by this country and its leaders on both sides right now.

In the meantime, I am posting this video (Thanks for linking to it last month, OmMama!!) and calling my leaders to tell them that I support Planned Parenthood. I'm turning off comments on this entry and ask that you, whether you agree or disagree with me, direct your energy toward calling your political leaders instead.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

About the Complication and Being Okay

The lovely ProSanity commented on my lengthy entry about the complication's chronological breakdown, "We need every side of every story. We need everyone to know that an abortion ISN'T the end of the world and a complication after one isn't a death sentence."

Yes, exactly!

I wrote at great length about the complication as that's my style. I personally wanted as many details as possible about what to expect before my procedure.

But I also want to offer up an abbreviated version:

About the Complication

My complication happened because my uterus did not evacuate its lining and blood clots on its own. As the doctors put it, there was tissue left in my uterus.

The complication happened ten days after my D&E procedure. I bled a lot for a few hours, went to the ER with my boyfriend, met some nice medical professionals and was discharged and prescribed Misoprostol (or Cytotec) to help contract my uterus and push out whatever tissue was left.

I took two doses of Misoprostol on two different nights, passed clots, bled more, had some mild cramping, and then, that was it.

That was it. I was just fine, felt good and doing well.

I do not mean to suggest that serious complications never happen or that this is a topic to be taken lightly.

Complications happen--I'm proof. And extremely rare serious complications also happen, as with any surgical procedure, and a patient should be fully informed and seek out information from her trusted medical professionals. I found fascinating and concrete statistics on abortions, complications, and more on this stat sheet from the Guttmacher Institute, a fabulous resource that I recommend reading just for starters.

I will also happily add that abortion is legal in my country, and therefore the complication and mortality rates are significantly lower than they would be if the procedure were illegal.

My personal experience with abortion was far from perfect. I saw an ultrasound I asked not to see; The OB/GYNE team I knew was called off my case last minute, and I never met the attending physician who operated on me; I had a complication when my uterus retained tissue and I wound up in the ER.

And guess what? Even with all those less-than-perfect things, I am fine. I am not traumatized, and I am healthy and happy. So are millions of other women out there today who have had this procedure. And if you are in the position I was in, facing an unplanned pregnancy that you know you want to terminate, and you are reading this entry and feeling scared or upset or angry or frustrated or sad, it's okay.

You will be fine too.

Help Indiana Women Out

Indiana's state House just passed one of the most restrictive bills on abortion rights seen in this country.

Most abortions after 20 weeks will now be illegal. In addition to its other restrictions, there is no exemption for women who are pregnant as a result of incest or rape and no exemption for women whose pregnancy threatens their life or may result in serious, irreversible harm.

The bill is passed, but I still feel there is so much we can do to support the women of Indiana.

I suggest making a donation to Planned Parenthood Indiana on behalf of Rep. Eric Turner R-Cicero, who authored the bill. (Or make a donation on behalf of whatever other co-signers you wish. A donation for each, by all means!)

Don't forget to include Rep. Turner's office address so you are sure he receives a Thank You note for your donation:
Rep. Eric Turner
5541 S. Harmon St.
Marion, IN 46953

See also Abortion Gang's write-up on this bill's passage.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Recovery Update - 3 Weeks Later

Three weeks after the procedure and eleven days after my complication, I am doing really, really well!

The spotting has dropped off to barely-there, if it's there at all. At this point, I am not sure if this spotting I occasionally see is related to the procedure, the complication or because I had a Depo-Provera shot. The "Birth Control Shot" is known to cause spotting and irregular bleeding.

My appetite is returning to normal too. I realized after the fact that pregnancy made me, well, way healthier. I couldn't get enough veggies, virtually cut out alcohol, and most shockingly, my notorious sweet tooth was replaced with a citrus tooth. (I remarked to my boyfriend after we found out that I was pregnant that the time I ate a whole lemon should have been a clue to strange cravings and pregnancy.) But in the last week or two, I have been happily eating ice cream and cookies and indulging myself. Planning to cut that out before it becomes a problem!

Over the weekend my OB/GYNE called me just to say hi, check in and see how I was doing. How awesome is that? What a great doctor. We scheduled an appointment for next week to discuss future birth control options. I had planned to have a Mirena IUD inserted, but the complication left me feeling relieved that my uterus is finally empty, so I'm a little hung up mentally. I'm debating between continuing with the Mirena IUD plan and scheduling another Depo-Provera shot. Looking forward to discussing my options with an OB/GYNE I trust!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Bills, Bills, Bills

The medical bills are beginning to roll in and are about $8,500 for the procedure. My insurance covers everything except for a $250 deductible.

I know that my procedure is a bit more expensive for two reasons: First, I had the procedure in a fancy urban hospital. Second, I was in my second trimester.

My decision to do the two-day procedure at the hospital was primarily impacted by both my former and my new OB/GYNE recommending this particular hospital. One OB/GYNE had just sent a physician friend there for a surgical abortion, and the other OB/GYNE explained that this hospital's ultrasound team (a key component of a second trimester abortion so the physicians can best see the surgery as they perform it) is top-notch.

I remember when I first called the hospital's family planning clinic to begin scheduling appointments, their administrator explained that surgical procedures after 13 weeks can top $10,000. She told me this fact before we knew whether my insurance would cover the procedure. I spent the rest of the day waiting, worrying and wondering what my options were if I was not covered. I am incredibly thankful for my insurance.