Returning from Sabbatical (II)
It had been approximately thirteen or so weeks since my last menstrual cycle, but I had been so busy with work, chasing after the dog, cat, and hanging out with friends that I had not noticed. I was running around living my best life that I lost track of my cycle.
I remember spending weeks thinking I was about to start my cycle. My breasts were tender for what seemed forever, but my cycle never started. I thought it was odd but blamed my hectic work schedule as the culprit for delaying my cycle and for the fatigue.
There were days I would come home from work and be asleep by 8:30. I did not know why I was growing more exhausted by the day, but pregnancy did not cross my mind. I knew I had a full plate and was over worked. I thought that perhaps I was wearing myself thin, but not asleep by 8:30 p.m. thin.
In December of 2021, I had asked my doctor to run tests to determine my hormone levels and egg count. To my disappointment, the results were not good. It turns out my body was not producing enough AMH (anti-mullerian hormone). In fact, I was producing less than 1.0 which is indicative of not producing eggs or having a low to non-existent egg reserve. My gynecologist “comforted” me and told me to be hopeful. I had just stopped using birth control and it takes months for your hormones to regulate.
Although it was relieving to hear that the preliminary tests were not final and there was a possibility that my hormones would balance out and I could conceive in the future, I felt defeated. I started to question my decision to be on birth control for so long. Perhaps it was my fault for my body not functioning properly.
Sadly, I am not alone in blaming myself for my body not functioning properly. Most women blame themselves and start spiraling trying to pinpoint the moment we fucked up and ruined our chances at conceiving. Unfortunately, that is not how it works. Sometimes our body needs time to heal and recover from the torture we put it through. However, when you are in your thirties and are told that your egg reserve is nearly non-existent, panic sets in.
The news was depressing, and my body started acting very wonky after that. Perhaps it was the stress from receiving the news, but I decided that I would put it out of my mind and leave it to the heavens when the time came that my partner and I wanted to start trying to conceive and grow our family, which currently consists of our two fur babies.
After a few months of inconsistent menstrual cycles, I was relieved when old aunt flow started visiting regularly because that meant my body was working the way it was supposed to, or so I thought. When I didn’t get my period in August, I assumed it was my body playing tricks on me again and didn’t think anything of it. We traveled out of state, so I was preoccupied with having fun and spending time with my favorite dog and partner in crime.
In September I started feeling pre-menstrual symptoms: tender breasts, chocolate cravings, and onset fatigue. As I continued grinding at work and staying active, I lost track of how long the symptoms persisted. When my partner pointed out that it had been weeks that I had been talking about having tender breasts and being tired, I dismissed it as my body not knowing what it wanted to do because my hormones were obviously being cruel to me.
After witnessing someone being murdered [See Returning from Sabbatical (I)], I started suffering from severe cramping. I was concerned because I do not typically get cramps during my cycle. These were different. They were strong, twisting, gut wrenching cramps that made me sweat. When I started bleeding, it wasn’t the slow progression of starting one’s period. It came on suddenly and heavily.
The next day my cramps would come and go, but the landscape of what was going on downstairs was concerning. I called my gynecologist and shared what was happening. I was concerned because I had never experienced the type of period, I thought I was having. To my shock, the staff did not seem concerned and told me to monitor the situation while they tried to get my doctor to call me back. The call never came.
I called the gynecologists office another two times until they scheduled a Tele connect appointment with another doctor, who happened to be available. For starters, the doctor was not very sympathetic to what I was going through. She was dismissive of all my symptoms and told me to go to the emergency room if I continued to experience heavy bleeding and cramping.
As a side note, it is disgusting how insensitive gynecologists are when a woman is expressing the pain they are experiencing. Perhaps they have become desensitized, however dismissing a patient who is clearly going through a miscarriage. I just cannot recover from how insensitive they were.
When all was said and done, my body had expelled a future MARIREYINLA baby and I was left feeling very confused about the entire experience. It has taken months to process what I experienced. First, witnessing a person’s final moments, and second the loss of a baby.
To be honest, I have not entirely processed either situation. A part of me feels like I had an awful nightmare that I keep having flashbacks to. Watching someone getting dragged across the road by a high speeding vehicle is heartbreaking. The feeling of hopelessness sinks in every time I think about it. I have this urge to save this innocent man and defeating knowledge that there was nothing that I could have done to help.
I am shocked about having a miscarriage since I had resigned myself to the idea of not being able to conceive. I have had difficulty putting my feelings into words. There is a part of me that does not know how to compute what I am supposed to feel. There are women that are completely devastated by a miscarriage, but I am not. I feel guilty for not feeling devastated. I am sad, of course, but there is a part of me that cannot grieve over what I did not know was happening.
Perhaps it is my own way of grieving the loss… What I am trying to say is that I had not started to prepare or imagine my life with this little miracle. I did not have knowledge of their existence so all the joy that I would have had in imagining myself as a mother was never there so the loss does not feel big. Or maybe it is big, but I have not yet allowed myself to feel it?
Of course, I do not have all the answers. Healing starts when you start talking and sharing your experiences, but I do plan to do the work in mending my body, heart, and mind.
Photo Credit: All pictures are Mari Rey Originals.