Birth Control? Really? – PAIL July themed post!

PAIL July 2012 monthly themed post – Considerations on Family Planning

A few months back, during my final postpartum visit with my midwife, she asked me a question that took me entirely by surprise…”what are you and your husband thinking about in terms of child spacing and birth control?”  I was stunned, startled, speechless…to be honest, I just assumed I’d be lucky to get to have another child period.  I guess when you spend years and thousands of dollars struggling to conceive your first child, the concept of interrupting conception for any reason ever or of actually having any kind of control whatsoever over when your next child will be born, never really enters your mind.

After this little visit with the midwife, I went home and had a chat with my husband…

“Honey, do you think we should be worried about birth control?”  His answer, “Yes!”  Now, I understood where he was coming from…there was that whole WHAT IF factor, especially when I was still recovering from my labor and postpartum trauma.  What if we did get pregnant right away?  Sure, we want another child, but how would we manage having two in such quick succession? How would it affect my health?  How would it affect Simran’s happiness and sense of security?  Plus, we were just barely hanging on to our sanity, not to mention our finances: both completely sleep deprived, stressed, pushed to our limits…what would it do to us to throw another baby thrown into the mix?

Then again…a spontaneous pregnancy would be such a miracle…and perhaps the old saying holds, “beggars can’t be choosers.”  Shouldn’t we at least try, maybe give my body that chance; a little time to just forget about fertility tests, LH strips, temping, and just see what happens, knowing all along that if a year were to go by and we hadn’t yet conceived, no worries; we would have our answer with no time lost and could calmly head back to the RE ready for the road ahead?

Our “final” decision – heavily influenced by my husband who remains the more practical one of the two of us – barrier birth control until we are ready to start actively trying again; with the plan of starting again earlier than we might otherwise, so that if I don’t become pregnant within a year there is still less “time” pressure once we head back to the RE.

So, here I am, an infertility veteran at six months postpartum, using birth control.  It seems a bit odd and wrong, practical yes, but emotionally wrong.  I guess I “know” it’s the right thing for all of us, particularly for Bean, yet in my heart it just doesn’t feel like the right thing for me; call it fear, call it doubt, call it selfishness.  I guess in my heart of hearts, I’ve given over to the belief that infertiles don’t really get the luxury of family planning.  If you want another child, how can you ever stop trying?  If you do, and down the road you find yourself unable to conceive again, how will you live with yourself knowing that you missed a year or more of opportunities to make a baby…hell, I used to go mad missing just one cycle?

Now, in all honesty, I haven’t actually had my first postpartum period as yet.  I don’t know what that experience will do to me, or how it will make me feel (i.e., will I suddenly freak out, change my mind completely and insist on no birth control until we are completely done having kids).  I know this is a very personal thing for each woman who goes through it, and for each couple, but still I wish I had some guidance to go on.

My midwife was certainly no help in this arena…she is currently pregnant, after trying for about a second, and actually perfectly timed her pregnancy with another two midwives in her practice so that their maternity leaves will not overlap…oh the world I will never know.

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About uncommonnonsense1

Stay at home mom of two.
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18 Responses to Birth Control? Really? – PAIL July themed post!

  1. J o s e y says:

    Ugh, the “WHAT IF” factor. Part of me chose to say no to BCPs, just to SPITE fate (and pray that my body worked, but feel validated when it didn’t). Of course, I’m still BFing, so I’m sure that’s part of why I havent’ gotten my period back yet, but UGH, I hate that we have to worry about timing and spacing and how little control we’ll probably have over any of it.

    • I think that’s why I haven’t gotten my period yet either. I’m still pumping – now every 5 hours – and I’m pretty sure I still haven’t ovulated. I keep wondering when it will happen and if it will be like before, or if things will suddenly normalize now that I’ve had a baby (some doc told me this could happen and now I can’t stop hoping for it).

  2. Courtney says:

    I was put on BCP for some endometriosis they found when my son was delivered. Funny enough, the endo never came up during all of our tests and treatments. So here I am, unable to get pregnant (we have MFI), and I’m on BCP. What the hell? I agree with you that it just feels emotionally wrong. It feels wrong on all levels, to be quite honest.

    We ditched the BCP a few months ago in hopes of getting my period back. It worked and I was due for my second post-partum AF yesterday (not getting my hopes up, but I am curious to see when I get my AF given that I just finished nursing). What’s insane is that the minute we ditched the BCP, I became delusional and thinking that maybe we could get pregnant naturally.

    Please post how you feel once you get your first AF. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be hoping that you can miraculously get pregnant now. 😉

    • Will definitely be updating once Ms. Flow decides to return, and yes, I’m pretty sure I’ll still be hoping for that miraculous conception! I’m even avoiding BCPs out of some foolish hope that my body will have “normalized” from the pregnancy — so I’m afraid of monkeying around with my hormones.

  3. Cathy says:

    In a lot of ways, I’m glad this is a non-issue for me. I have to be on endo suppression, I physically cannot get pregnant when I’m on it because my ovaries are shut down. It was never a choice – I can’t function as a human if I don’t take my medications. So there’s no worries, no hopes, it’s all very cut and dry.

  4. LisaB says:

    That would be SO odd! I honestly don’t know what I would do! I think condoms are a good method…rather than to mess with hormones using BCPs. I don’t know, I’ve seen a lot of my IVF friends getting natural miracles lately 😉 All in due time though.

  5. Pingback: july 2012 – monthly theme posts – family building – PAIL Bloggers

  6. --E says:

    My LO came a month early via an emergency C-section, so I’m under strict orders from my doctor to absolutely not get pregnant again for 18 months. (I actually laughed when she told me that…it took YEARS to get this one, what are the odds a second one would just pop-up naturally. She said that it happens more often than I might think.) She doesn’t think that my uterus could handle the stress of pregnancy again that before 18 mo. She really wanted me on hormonal BC, but I didn’t want to mess with my hormones. The only thing that has me rethinking this deal is that my postpartum AF has been an absolute beast in ways prepregnancy AF never was. And while it is a real pain, the difference also makes me a little hopeful that if we decide to purse a second one we might not need the aid of six docs and an endless parade of residents, interns, students, nurses, MAs, sonogram techs, etc looking at my nethers. But that’s probably asking too much.

    • Wow, I had no idea that an emergency c would cause that much trauma!
      My AF was always a beast, and it was actually because of that that I started BCPs back in the day (I think I was 14 at the time). Then, it was the BCP that covered up the fact that I had PCOS and an irregular cycle, so we didn’t know till we started TTC. Anyway, I remain hopeful (probably in vain) that my periods will actually be better than they were before – more regular, lighter. I know that is a pretty big dream, but it’s a nice dream for now.

  7. Esperanza says:

    I was in a very similar situation to yours, where I wanted to just see what would happen (honestly, we had SO LITTLE sex in the first year it would have been a miracle to randomly get pregnant even I we were fertile) but my husband would in no way participate in that. We also used the barrier method, in hopes of not messing with my hormones. In the end we had such a hard time determining when to start trying again we had to go to counseling. I never did get to have my six months of “well let’s just see” and that was hard for me. Now we’re back to charting and timed sex and I’m resentful about it sometimes. This is all so much more complicated than I ever thought it would be when I used to dream about building my family.

    • Hah, yes our sex life in the last 6 months has also been pretty limited and something tells me that once or twice a month wouldn’t cut it for most fertiles let alone for us. I’m sorry you didn’t get that time. I don’t really know if we will either.

  8. Sarah says:

    Here from PAIL. When my OB asked me about birth control I actually laughed at him. He said, “stranger things have happened, dear. As long as you’re OK with the chances of having kids really close together.” I like you was grateful to get the one. Yes we’d love more and are planning on beginning treatment again soon for an FET, but the chances we’d become pregnant on our own are extremely slim…the whole lack of sex life for one and the other…well that whole Infertile thing….it’s a tough decision and a weird place to be in…not one I ever expected to be in…nor do I think any of us did.

  9. Coco says:

    Oh wow. I was just there. We decided to stop trying to prevent, starting just this month. I admit, using protection felt so strange and wrong… and pointless. Like, haha, we’re going to get pregnant, wink wink. But I’m glad we gave ourselves at least that time, free of all the worry and stress.

  10. Julie Anita says:

    I have really been dancing around this one myself. I don’t like a single birth control option. At all. Especially the hormonal stuff… it’s always messed me up (and after going off the pill, it took me a year to ovulate– don’t know if that’s the PCOS’s fault, the pill’s fault, or both). But I know a woman who was told she could never get pregnant without IVF, and she had twins, and then when her twins were 8 months old BOOM! Surprise pregnancy. With no functioning fallopian tubes. Yeah, she doesn’t know how it happened, exactly, but it did. So I should probably figure something out soon…

  11. SRB says:

    At my 6 week postpartum “check-up” at the OB (quotes because it was like, 4 minutes long) the resident was like “So…what kind of BCPs do you want?” pen POISED AT THE READY. I was stunned and furious. Not just because she never even looked me in the face, but just made the assumption that all women want to a) prevent another pregnancy and b) want to swallow synthetic hormones to do it. I don’t remember what I said, but knowing me, it was…terse.

    “It seems a bit odd and wrong, practical yes, but emotionally wrong.” Yes. This. It is such a HUGE shift to go from trying and trying for YEARS to suddenly doing the exact opposite. It’s like having to suddenly drive the British way or something, except, you know, with all your years of emotional baggage in “the boot”.

  12. AL says:

    I felt much the way you did – beggars can’t be choosers. In the end hubs and I decided not to use birth control if we got pregnant, it may be a hard few months, but in the long run it would be for the best. I didn’t get pregnant, but honestly I would have been terrified if I did. It was probably a silly move, but I guess it worked out for us. I didn’t get my first post partum period until about 7 months out. Hope when you guys decide you’re ready, #2 comes easily!

  13. Alissa says:

    I’ve totally thought about this before and had all the same feelings as you. Would I be upset if I magically got pregnant while I already had a baby? Not really. But I also don’t want to miss or not fully experience all that I should with the child I worked so hard for. So I think your plan sounds good! Just put the possible conception off long enough to feel good about where you are at in your life. Then again…aren’t you supposed to be more fertile after giving birth (obviously once you get your period)? Oh, so difficult.

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