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Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Loving movies, Hating doctors

Last night we saw a movie which wasn’t about pregnancy or fertility. It was about immigration and nation formation. But of course, because maternity and fertility are the best metaphors going, a lot of the plot for this movie was generated through a central character who couldn’t conceive (she couldn’t reproduce the nation! Her husband was sad! He became a racist soccer hooligan! Oh no!). All this to say, even thought he movie wasn’t “about” infertility, it came up a lot. I kept whispering to B about the poor infertile mom, and asking him what he will do if I become crazy like she did and start lurking creepishly around playgrounds. Oy.

He had no real thoughts. But because the movie motivated me, I have chosen for my reading-over-breakfast material this morning the always wonderful Our Bodies, Ourselves. Whatever would we do without it?! In it, under causes of infertility, I found this paragraph:

3. Endocrine problems may exist. Failure to ovulate regularly or irregular menstrual periods may be due to a malfunction of the ovaries, pituitary, hypothalamus, thyroid or adrenal glands. Normally, several specific hormones are secreted at specific times in the menstrual cycle. If any one of these is not produced or produced in insufficient quantity, the whole cycle can be thrown off. In addition, when ovulation is unpredictable the chances of conception are decreased, as women cannot count on a consistent cycle with a known fertile time. Women often develop amenorrhea (absence of menstrual periods) following the use of birth control pills, which can result in infertility. Women who have irregular periods or who are older when they start their first menstrual periods seem to be more prone to this so-called post-Pill syndrome. (502, the 1992 edition).

And I would say: this is me! I don’t know, of course, if any or many of my hormones are weird. By I know that my “cycle” is so irregular as to not really be one, I started my period rather late, and have been on the pill for oodles.

What this little self-diagnosis means to me is mostly that I will need to be really patient because it makes sense to wait a while to see if my body can cure itself of this “so-called post-Pill Syndrome.” It would make sense for it to take a while.

But the other thing that it makes me realize is that I have been asking since I was 14 what it meant that I hadn’t gotten my period yet—and I was even more worried by the time I was almost 16 when it finally happened. Yet at no point have I successfully gotten a doctor to seriously discuss ovulation/my lack of ovulation with me…it was only this last time at my regular yearly poke-n-prod that I got the doctor to concede that “it might take four months” before I could plan on a healthy conception.

I understand that doctors are not particularly motivated to talk to young girls and women about increasing their fertility. But I hate not being taken seriously—and it seems like it would be good to know any important information about my fertility before I got to the time in my life when I was really primed to have a baby. You’d think that, at the very least, when I got married a doctor would have talked seriously to me about when I should think about going off the pill. I’ve been asking about getting pregnant probably for the last three or four years.

Anyway, this morning I hate the doctors. They suck. They will be the first against the wall when the revolution comes, and we will register a new breed who are required to carry pocket-sized Our Bodies, Ourselves with them at all times in their lab coats.

***

In passing, the movie was really good, up until the last two minutes when the soccer hooligan business started in ernest. But there were several plotlines besides the soccer one. It’s called Up and Down, and just now is playing at the Music Box. Trot yourself over there, already.

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