Monday, March 5, 2012

The Control of Birth

Since Kaia is now almost 8 months old, I'm technically 2 months past the point where I could be considered to be 'effectively' using the lactation amenorrhea method of birth control, since it's recommended only in the first 6 months postpartum. Although, I looked it up today and according to Wikipedia, I never really was doing it correctly since I pumped rather than breastfed and you technically have to have your boobs in your kid's mouth in order to be doing it right. Huh? Who knew? Oh well, since my period hasn't returned, it's hard to feel as though I really have to worry, although I know I could ovulate prior to having my period.

Although I really don't want another child right now (I'd like to sleep through the night again at least once and maybe have a few more dollars in my bank account before that happens), I'm finding it really difficult to contemplate taking 'control' of my fertility. I'm a little apathetic if you really want to know.

Both my family doctor and my cardiologist have asked if we're planning to have any more kids, prescription pads at the ready in case I want The Pill. When I sort of shrug my shoulders and say "we're not sure...", they both say "oh yes, given all the problems you experienced, it would be a big decision..." The problem is that I don't know if we'll ever be ready to MAKE that decision. Both Brian and I are so torn on this issue. Brian's exact words were "I'm leaning towards 'no', although I'd love another child". A wishy washy statement if I ever heard one. My feelings are so all over the place that I can only boil it down to monosyllabic *sighs* and *ughs* and shrugs of shoulders.

It's totally ostrich head in the sand of us, but starting some form of birth control seems a little ironic since it's hard to feel like we ever really had any control of our fertility in the first place. It took awhile to get pregnant both times, it took added progesterone both times to make our babies 'sticky', and it went totally off the rails both times with the same complication that is so rare as to have almost zero info about it on the internet. One baby died, the other survived. We had no control in either case.

Deciding to use birth control means then you have to pick a type. I'm not suppose to use any which have estrogen in them since that can up your chances of blood clots and my cardiologist has nixed that. So that basically leaves the 'mini' pill with progesterone only, Depo provera which I tried and hated, an IUD which looks like a teeny tiny torture device and kind of freaks me out, condoms which seem kind of 'casual partner' for people who've been married for almost 4 years, and sterilization which is a little too permanent.

What I would really love is a form of birth control that gradually 'fades out' over time. Like a pill that dissolves over a two-ish year period. So it would be super effective right now, but at some point, unbeknownst to us it would become less so, until around the two year mark it would be all gone and we'd be fertile again without even knowing it. Then if it happens, it happens. That way, I wouldn't have to make a decision along the lines of "Yes, we've 'decided' to have another child! Now we're going off birth control! Pregnancy soon to follow!" Ugh. Just the thought of deciding when and how and if we're ready makes me kind of nauseous...but not pregnant nauseous I swear.

I have also fantasized about being one of those moms on that ridiculous show "I didn't know I was pregnant?!" I would gradually just start to get fatter and we'd all think "gee, Emily's been digging into the sweets a bit too much lately hasn't she?" and then at some point after 'viability' I'd go in for a doctor's visit saying "I don't know what's going on Doc. I've gained a lot of weight lately and I'm tired all the time, and my feet are a bit swollen, and I think I have indigestion!" My doctor would look at me like I'm crazy and say "Emily, I think you're pregnant" and then I'd have an ultrasound and a perfectly healthy baby (with a perfectly healthy placenta and lots of amniotic fluid) would be found swimming around, content as can be. Gosh! I'm pregnant?! What a surprise! Boy...I have no idea how that happened! But we'll take him or her anyway!

*Snort* Yeah right.

I'm thinking about this more because last week I had J. and her daughter C. over for lunch. She told me she's pregnant. First try. Zipidee do da!

Friend me is happy for them. Dead baby mother/difficult pregnancy me is jealous as hell.

Then Saturday morning Brian wakes me up with, "I just got a text message from J.'s husband and J. is having some spotting. Could you call her?"

I immediately felt my stomach do that weird little flip flop, and my heart jumped into my throat. Oh yes, THAT feeling. How could I ever forget it? It's almost like an old friend. Panic, with an edge of despair. Like trying to hold tight to water. Nothing you can do.

As far as I know, things are fine with J. but it really smacked me upside the head: You're not ready.

Don't know if we'll ever be.

If you'd like to share, how did you 'decide' you were ready for a/nother child? If you got up the courage after a loss, how did you do it? What type of birth control do you use? Do you like it?


  1. What your hubby said is exactly right, "I'd like another baby"... It's that whole "getting there" piece that is scary as f*ck.

    As for birth control, I have nothing- we used the highly scientific pull (and not pray) method... Worked for us for 7 years!

    Ps. I take no responsibility for any accidental pregnancies which result... It was obviously something we were okay with if it happened. ;)

  2. 16 years of marriage and condoms are the only BC we use.

    I wish I had some useful advise re: more babies, but I believe I am the wrong person to ask..I jump first and ask questions later and I'd already be knocked up if I was you :o

    So there are my two cents...

  3. I want that birth control! And the 'I didn't know I was pregnant!' moment.

    J wants more, I think I do, but the stress of another pregnancy - which is nowhere near what you went through by the way! - seems like too much to handle. And I want time with just B too, I don't want to be pregnant and caring for a baby.

  4. We don't believe in birth control and to "space" pregnancies we just keep track of my cycle and avoid the fertile periods.

  5. I had an IUD for years and thought it was great (no hormones or condoms), but you definitely have to decide to take it out at some point.

    After our daughter Elizabeth died, we couldn't stomach the thought of using birth control and our second pregnancy (ended in miscarriage) was a surprise a few months later, since I hadn't gotten my period yet since Elizabeth's it does happen that way. We were ok with it, though. After the miscarriage our doctor gave us strict instructions to use birth control for three months, so we used condoms. I agree - it was weird to use them with my husband. I guess there's no perfect option, is there?

  6. I'm off the mini pill now that I'm done pumping. I'm not ready for another because the fear is back. I can't put myself through the risk of another late loss any time soon. We are using condoms. I wish we could be all eh I don't care, lets stop using BC, but I can't.

  7. Oh man, this speaks right to my heart.

    While I don't have any health restrictions on what type of b.c. we might use someday - I agree with everything you said.

    I also fantasize about "accidently" getting pregnant again. Can't quite say 100% we're done having kids, but maybe 99% sure. But still - if I just "somehow" got pregnant in a couple of years - I could live with that!

  8. This is a tough one. I guess I'm not the best person to give advice about birth control - my husband and I haven't used anything for years. Of course you know that I have a difficult time ovulating and getting pregnant in the first place.

    Just after my son was born, the nurse asked if I wanted a prescription for birth control pills. I said no - cause I know my history. She chuckled and said, "well, see you back in within a year with your next pregnancy." I smiled, hoping that it would come true!

    No such luck for me. In my more childish moments I wish I could see that nurse again rub it in her face.

    As far as knowing when you are ready for another baby... that's a tough one. Of course, if I could see into the future and see other children I would go for it. But what if all our efforts and trying are in vain? What if I create only more heartache for us? What if there is no more children for us, and I spend years and years being sad?

    I see it as a risk - am I willing to risk disaster and another nightmare to have a baby? There have been times in my life when the answer to that is NO! HELL NO! And then there are other times when I am willing to take the risk - even knowing that it might end up badly.

    I guess that is a non-answer. I think about these things all the time. I wish I could pass along some "moment of clarity" that would be helpful.

  9. I was in a mother's group with Angus and when all the kids were about one, two girls got pregnant again. And I got jealous. Because all of a sudden, they'd have two kids when I should have already had two. So it flipped a switch in me, and all of a sudden we (ok I) wanted to be pregnant. Angus' birthday is the November and we had said we'd wait til after his birthday, then I even thought we'd wait til after Christmas and the New Year, but I was pregnant the week of his first birthday. I'm lucky fertility isn't a concern for me. I had only just got my period back and we'd only been using condoms.
    Really I'm not sure we were overly ready, but I know that my family will never feel complete so we threw our hats in the ring again so to speak, and we got so lucky. The pregnancy was risky and troubled (though not as bad as what you've been through) and we got there in the end. And having had a girl this time, makes me feel pretty sure we're done. I really don't think I can do that again.
    Good luck with whatever you decide.

  10. I also have a hard decision to make, but the one thing I do know: even if you are scared, you might still be ready one day. In fact the fear will never go away. It's just that the desire is bigger. But now it is absolutely too soon, have a little breather first...get the depo shot, it wears out, get it religiously in the first year and then maybe take longer and longer between never know...

  11. Glad I'm not the only one who fantasises about finding myself accidentally pregnant. Like Sally, I started trying for another baby when Jessica turned one. I fell pregnant straight away but, sadly, that pregnancy was a blighted ovum. Then, I couldn't seem to fall pregnant again for a while. Reuben wasn't conceived until Jessica's second birthday. So the best laid plans etc.
    It's tricky, I want another baby so desperately that I don't want to use b.c. at all. I'm hoping that a combination of breast feeding and rather hit and miss pill taking will work. Or perhaps I'm hoping it WON'T work. Who knows? I'm kind of crazy about the whole.
    But I know in my heart that it is not the right time yet and perhaps it never will be. Sigh. I loved this post but I'm sorry you find yourself in this complicate position, glad that J is alright.