Looking at the Bright Side

So after yesterday’s post chock full of body self-hate, that body I’d been hatin’ on decided to remind me that every now and then it does stuff right.

I got my first period in three months.

I know, I know, that might be TMI for some folks. Whatever. My personal blog, and my reproductive health is just as important as my physical health and mental health.

I’ve mentioned before that the pill my OBGYN switched me to in July had some crazy side effects. Sure, there was the rapid weight gain (which I honestly think was a lot of different factors colliding and creating a perfect mental and emotional storm for me). But then other stuff started happening.

The first month I had almost no PMS symptoms (which, honestly, I would never complain about), and had almost no cramps and a super light, super short period. The next month I spotted a little bit. Month three I didn’t even spot.

To top it off, in month two I started having pregnancy symptoms. Tender, swollen breasts. Nausea in the mornings. Weight gain all in my tummy. Achy lower back. Cravings. They only got worse through month three, to the point where I called my OBGYN’s office, and the on-call doctor (mine just came back from maternity leave yesterday) responded with, “Well, any form of hormonal birth control can make you have pregnancy symptoms.”

No shit.

I’ve been on birth control for 11 years. I think I know that by now.

At this point I’d been doing a lot of research anyway, and decided to just get off the pill. It wasn’t a decision I made lightly, considering Phillip and I still aren’t sure if we ever want to have kids, and I really don’t want to go the IUD route.

It’s been about four weeks (maybe five) since I got off the pill, and I’ve been a bit stressed for the past few months with all the missed periods (let’s just say I’ve taken more than a couple pregnancy tests, and have a stash of them “just in case”). Two weeks ago I had an odd pain in my pelvic area, left side, close to my hip bone. I’d never had it before. I was noticing other physical stuff, hopped on to Google and my hunch seemed to be right–my left ovary had decided to release an egg. Last week I got all moody and bitchy and had physical symptoms of PMS (which admittedly seem to be amplified without birth control–again, not shocking, but I’d forgotten how bad my PMS symptoms could get without b.c.). At that point, I was thinking, “Okay, If I’m going to start it should be next Wednesday or Thursday, I think.”

I was a day off.

Yes, it’s only one month, and it might take a while for things to get regular, but I’ve never been so happy to have period cramps in my life.

Today now marks the beginning of me trying my hand at Natural Family Planning (NFP). For those of you not familiar, it basically means you need to really know your body. Take your basal body temperature every morning before you get out of bed. Chart it. Note any time you have sex and if it’s protected or unprotected. Note drastic mood changes, physical changes, etc. If you’re doing it “right,” you also get to know your cervix so you can tell when it’s hard or soft, low or high, and be able to note any changes in mucus or discharge. Once you have a couple of months of data, you can really begin to see patterns and be able to predict when you’re most fertile so that you and your hubby can either get it on like Donkey Kong or know when you need to be extra careful.

Granted, as a result, I’m feeling all kinds of fat and bloated today. Ugh. But for someone who never had regular periods as a teen or young adult, knowing that–at least right now–my girly parts seem to be functioning normally gives me a sense of relief. It’s also pretty cool that it didn’t take my body long at all to figure stuff out. Here’s hoping things stay this “normal” and regular.

Also, if anyone’s interested, I’m using an app called Selene to chart everything. I downloaded the Kindara app, to, but don’t like it as much. The Selene app lets you chart temperature, cervical fluid, cervical position and menstrual flow. It calculates the number of days past ovulation, and you can also record all kinds of notes. There are some already pre-populated, so you can record stuff like interferences (alcohol, sickness, travel, etc.), secondary signs (ovulatory pain, increased libido, bloating, elevated energy, etc.), intercourse, medicines and vitamins, tests (ovulation, pregnancy and their results), and activities (aerobic exercise, strength training, yoga, etc.). You can add your own, and you can also add text notes that go beyond the short, simple notes. You have charts, calendars and statistics, too. In other words–it’s something for me to obsess over if I let it (I don’t know that Phillip will mind me obsessing over something if it keeps me from getting pregnant, though). 😉