I vividly remember the day I got my first period. I was in 7th grade and I entered the laundry room where my mom was completing the load of white. I whispered to her, “I think I started my period.” I was embarrassed and excited. Finally, I was a young women, joining my friends who talked about it at sleep overs and the sisterhood of the billions of women around the world. Not to mention, that having a period would mean that someday after meeting my prince charming, I would have the opportunity to carry and bring a baby into this life.
Ok I wasn’t thinking about a baby in the 7th grade, but I was excited to be a ‘WOMAN’. I would have a period every couple of months and my doctors told me that I would become more regular over time. When I was in high school, I was active in sports, playing competitive year-around volleyball. I was also exercising a fair amount in the off-season. My period was still pretty sporadic. Doctors told me it was because of my level of exercise and that once I stopped playing competitively, I would get it back. They also noted that I has Cysts in my ovaries and that I could have PCOS. I began preparing myself for the fact that I may not be able to have children once I married. They also mentioned in the meantime, it would be good for me to start on birth control to give myself a period. So I did. I was 16.
I entered into college and onto the college volleyball court to play 4 more years of competitive volleyball. I was still on birth control. The 3-hour practices each day were difficult on my body, but I had a love for the sport and I wanted to live out my college athletic opportunities. In the off season, I trained just as hard and fell into unhealthy behaviors with food and exercise. I began using exercise as a way to get rid of the food I consumed, so I could justify eating more food throughout the day. I now know this to be exercise bulimia.
Hoping to get my period back ‘naturally’, I went off of birth control at the age of 20, praying my body would ‘jump start’ itself into a healthy routine. Nothing.
I saw OBGYN’s, Endocrinologist, acupuncturist, massage therapists, and took herbal supplements… Nothing.
Moving to big city living to pursue my dream to be a CEO of a Fortune 500 company, I embraced the lack of a period. No monthly disruptions, no mood swings, no cramps… I’m IN! But my general practitioner saw a young women who may be entering early osteoporosis if I didn’t have enough estrogen in my body. That coupled with my need/desire to go onto Accutane which REQUIRED me to go onto birth control even though I was the FARTHEST person to be getting pregnant (unless I would be the modern day Mary). I was 23.
Every time I’m on birth control, I get a period. Every time I’m off.. I don’t. Labs conclude, my body doesn’t create estrogen. I am not a doctor (nor do I want to try to be one)- so I trust in their expertise and guidance (a bit ignorant, maybe).
I did go to UCSF PCOS clinic and they concluded that I don’t have PCOS. I was a bit bummed actually I was hoping for an answer. I think it was a mis-diagnosis really- I don’t have chin hair because I do laser hair removal and I’m no long over weight because of a food plan that helps me maintain my weight.
Fast forward to now- age 32 and married. When I met my husband, I was very open with him and shared that I may not be able to bare my own children. As much as it pains me, I have accepted this truth (with a flicker of hope). I have had 16 years to re-acclimate my idea of children to adoption and I am grateful to know my husband has the same heart. As we look into the process of adoption, our eyes are wide… 2+ years of paperwork and how much?! … Yikes! We are continuing to pray and leave our hands open to what God desires for us as parents.
I still hope to birth my own child. I have been off of birth control for a year and my body has not created a period. I know I still could be ovulating so haven’t ruled it out. Oh yes, I have been to all the specialists (again) and feel like I’m a broken record every time I am in to see another doctor. It feels as though I know my body better than they and I get frustrated at them for not having an answer. I feel as though my body is broken. What’s wrong with me? What did I do to cause this? Was it that I played sports at a young age? Was it because of my unhealthy eating or exercise? Why can others get pregnant and I can’t? God, I don’t understand! I have been living a healthy lifestyle for 10 years, balanced diet, exercise, down time, active time… I feel like I’m doing everything ‘right’.
I know it’s horrible to say this, but at times I wish for any answer (ANY answer) just to have one. I was in an MRI and CAT Scan recently and I found myself thinking, what if they do find something? Then I will have a reason for not having a period… not being normal (whatever that is). I’m married now, I can see the father of my children and we desire a family so it feels like I’m going through this experience for the first time, but now that the stakes really matter.
My recent appointment with the Endocrinologist concluded with another round of labs ordered, more blood to be drawn and more unknowns to try and answer. I feel as though my body is an ever changing science experiment. I long for a baby to call my own- to carry for 9 months, to lose sleep over, to see Gods creation between my husband and me in my arms… And still my hope remains in the Lord and his goodness. “He works all thing together for our good”-Romans 8:28.
So I will continue to hope, and write, as we journey on this road to a baby…