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Radical Parenting

March 4, 2010 7 comments

Tonight I took some time to watch a special on Discovery Health called “Radical Parenting”.  I found out about the special through my Twitter feed because someone I follow, FeministBreeder, was featured on the show.  I have followed her blog for a while and was excited to see what she would have to share.  The special was interesting and I was glad to see many of the parenting styles that we have chosen being highlighted and shown to the world.  And I chuckled to think that any of the items were really considered “Radical”.  I learned some things from the show too.  The main styles of parenting that were highlighted were “unschooling”, attachment parenting, full-term breastfeeding, elimination communication, and gender neutral parenting.  Personally, Aaron and I have experience with attachment parenting including co-sleeping and baby wearing, full-term breastfeeding, and gender neutral parenting somewhat.

The first segment on unschooling followed a family with two children who do not attend any form of school.  Their learning is solely based on life experience.  Personally, what I found to be the most radical part of this family’s approach would be their non-discipline cooperative style of living.  They go far beyond not sending their kids to school to allowing their children to make almost all of their own choices (when to go to bed, when and what to eat, what to learn and how, etc).  They have a household with no rules or discipline.  There are safety guidelines, but that is about it.  I have to say, their kids seemed well adjusted, well behaved, and very bright, but this would never work for me or our son.  I think that some kids can thrive in this environment, but that some need boundaries and structure.  I agree with respecting the needs and voice of the child.  I agree with working with, instead of against, them.  I agree with avoiding power struggles.  The thing for me is that this seems like it is a major swing in the opposite direction of the “helicopter parent” and both seem to have some pitfalls because they are both an extreme.  What it really boils down to is the need to parent the child you have.  Each one is different and has different needs.

The second family was focused on attachment parenting.  I was so pleased to see them discuss full term breastfeeding and its importance and relevance.  I also loved to hear her talk about not using commercial baby food.  I was so disappointed in the “expert” who tried to say that her experience shows that children that nursed for years and years felt different from their peers.  Every ounce of evidence I have seen has supported completely opposite findings.  I have to say that this female expert definitely seemed to be the most biased against the various “radical” styles of parenting.  She made a statement about attachment parenting being “demanding on the parent”.  This really didn’t sit well with me.  So should we instead demand things of our children that are not developmentally natural?  I think that is a very bad way of looking at it.  Yes, we do have to be aware of our own needs and limits, but to use that as an excuse to not be an attached parent is a cop-out to me.  I love when the father said this: “They’re telling us when they are done being breastfed, done being carried, ready to move in their own bed.”  That really is what sums up attachment parenting to me.  It is about having that dialogue and raising your children in an environment where they know you are there to be the one to meet their needs while they have them.  So many parents spend their kid’s childhood battling with them to get them to move on to new things and new stages before they are ready.

Finally, Gina’s segment was on gender neutral parenting.  I honestly hadn’t heard this term much prior to this show.  Little did I know that this is something that we already kind of do.  A and I have agreed early on that we should not impose things on M.  We should support his interests no matter what.  Now, yes A will joke about not letting him have dolls or other “girly” things, but the reality is that he is pretty supportive.  He does have a comfort zone, but does recognize the importance of not making M feel negative about any of his interests.  M has walked around in my heels for as long as he could walk.  He loves ponies and to cook in his kitchen and ours.  He also loves to use tools and play football.  He sees both mommy and daddy use tools around the house, do the dishes, and cook.  We recognize that he will be a better partner and father if he is comfortable in many roles and comfortable in his own skin.

Overall the show was pretty good.  I was disappointed with the one “expert” and her consistent negativity and ‘Debbie downer’ role.  And of course I was annoyed with the formula commercials aired during the show.  But any time these parenting styles are shown and talked about the parents on these paths gain validation and a greater chance of support.  The reality is that none of these parents were really radical.  They all looked pretty normal.  And the real triumph… it was great to see so many happy, healthy, and well adjusted kids and families on TV for once!!!

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Bringing back diapers

November 22, 2009 19 comments

I wish I didn’t have to write this.  I am so upset and disappointed in myself.  If you read my last post you already know the back story to our toilet learning process with M.  It has been very frustrating because we have gotten mixed signals.  He will work with his preschool teacher on sitting on the potty, but not us.  He likes wearing big boy underwear, but won’t potty in the potty or anything else, including diapers at school.  And finally, he ended up hitting a wall on Friday.  It was like the holding it in thing at school was just physical training for the main event.

On Friday, as I mentioned in the last post, he had an accident at school at about 9am and then didn’t go the rest of the day even though he had a diaper on.  Well, here is the kicker… he went to bed that night without going potty, woke up dry, and was dry the whole next day.  Friday night he woke up at 1:30am wiggling and whining.  I tried to tell him to just go in his diapers, let it out.  I tried rubbing his tummy, etc.  He fell back to sleep, but did the same thing at 2:45am, 4:30am, and 6:00am.  Between him and A’s snoring, I only managed 4 hours of sleep.  I had to be up for a work retreat that morning so I headed out.  I was stunned when I got a call from A asking if I had changed M’s diaper before I left because it was still dry.  We agreed to have A talk to M and tell him that we are not going to work on the potty stuff for a while and that it is totally fine for him to use his diaper.

My mom picked him up later and brought him to Brown County where I was so they could spend the day and then stay the night at the hotel with me.  I kept calling to see if he would finally let loose.  By 4 pm he still hadn’t and I was freaked out.  He was still begging to change his diaper even if he was dry and would sometimes do the pee pee dance.  At this point I asked A to call our doctor and see what we should do.  His text back made my heart sink!

“Not good baby.  We need to take him to the ER.  He said it is unheard of that a 3year old could hold it for close to 24 hours.  It doesn’t happen.  If he hasn’t had a wet diaper then something else is up. It’s not a UTI either.  He said, with a UTI he would automatically have spasms and it would be coming out even if it hurt when it did.  He said we need to get him to the ER to have an ultrasound done.”

Now, please keep in mind that by this point it had actually been 33 hours since he had peed!  And a full 2 days since a bowel movement.  I read this in my retreat and was instantly in tears.  Being me, I had been talking to everyone about him so they all knew what was going on when they saw my face and heard me say ER.  I remember hearing one person say “Hold it together Crystal cause it won’t do him any good”.  I gathered my composure, grabbed my mom and M and we set out for the ER in Bloomington.

I was very thankful that it was a slow night there.  We got right in and they started gathering information.  They took us to a room and brought in a special bladder ultrasound to measure the amount of urine in his bladder.  We had to restrain him for this because he wouldn’t lay still.  I felt so horrible just because I knew he was scared.  At least I knew they weren’t hurting him.  After it was done, which was very quick, I picked him up.  Suddenly I felt warmth radiating from his diaper and I shouted “He’s peeing he’s peeing!!!”  Sure enough, he let totally loose as we all (even the Nurse Practitioner) did the pee pee dance.  I think it was a mixture of the relief of not being restrained and the slight vibration of the ultrasound tool that did it.  I was so relieved.  It was a miracle.  They basically laughed and said he should be fine.  The doctor that came to see us just before we left said that there is always one that will prove you wrong (about the other doc saying he couldn’t be holding it) and that that was some determination (you’re telling me!!).  He also mentioned that his own grandson is 4 and just became daytime potty trained.  I got what he was saying… don’t worry about backing off, it will happen.

When we got back to the hotel he began insisting that I change his diaper even though it was dry.  After 3 hours of this, (at 1am!) I decided to make the 2 hour drive home, just to change the scene if nothing else.  I am glad I followed my gut.  About 30 minutes into the trip he peed and pooped.  He then slept the rest of the night.  He did the same thing in the morning, but each time the insisting was for shorter amounts of time before he produced something.  So, I feel we are on the right track now.

Can you believe this?  A 3.5 year old so persistent and stubborn that he would withhold urinating for 34 hours!?!?!?!  I told you he is MORE!  During all of this I was a mess of guilt and frustration.  I was crying to my mother that I felt so bad but was doing all I could do.  There are just no books for a kid like him.  The only books that talk about strong-willed kids talk about discipline or just living with them and understanding them.  No one talks about the other things, like the weaning off things, toilet learning, sleeping alone, etc.  There are no guides for parents like me.  I looked at her and said “They don’t make a book for him!”.  She looked at me and said “Maybe you are supposed to write it”.  Wow… what an amazing and scary thought.  So, maybe I will one day.  Until then, I will share these experiences as openly and honestly as I can here.

We have decided to remove the underwear (unless he requests them) and just stick with diapers, forget the potty, and just let him be.  We told him that he can tell us if he ever wants to try, and after a few weeks will begin the discussion again.  But for now, we are taking a total break.  There is nothing like the ER for a wake up call.  It doesn’t matter when he does it, just that he does it in a way that builds him up as a person.  It has to be on his schedule and his pace.  No one else matters.  And until he is done, when people ask us if he is potty trained, I will be confident in saying that a trip to the ER puts it all in perspective so no, not just yet.

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EDIT: This post has been featured by Annie from PhDinParenting and Jennifer from Blogging ’bout Boys
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A whole new weaning… Diapers be gone!

November 21, 2009 12 comments

Oh where do I begin?  I just posted this to my twitter: “i have no idea what I am doing with this potty learning with my STUBBORN 3.5 boy. this is such a battle and I don’t want it to be.”  “NOTHING is working!!! He is so ready, but it is a power struggle. I am just done! My gentle parenting side isn’t finding anything works”  “Even “No Cry Potty Solution” says “sometimes you just have do it” just like when he used to fight teeth brushing and I had to hold him down”  “I hate hate hate that I can’t be the mommy I want to be!!!”  Can you sense my desperation??  Within moments I had 17 responses (can I tell you how much I LOVE my tweeps!? A shout out to them at the end…)

In order to really understand and offer advice, I need to give you the whole story since every kid is different.  So, get ready to know M better than you ever thought you would.

M is amazing!  I am about to talk about a lot of things that might seem negative and that is hard for a mommy to do, so I want to say that first.  I love and adore him and I am constantly amazed by him.  (here it is…) Buuuuttttttt, there are many parts of his personality that make him VERY difficult to parent.  Everything with him is an extreme.  M is just MORE.  He is MORE persistent, MORE stubborn, MORE independent, MORE active, MORE whiny, MORE clingy, MORE needy.  He is the poster child for “strong willed”.  I LOVE Dr. Sears, but I have a hard time when he talks about working with your child’s natural desire to please, because that part seems to be missing with M.  He is fairly defiant.  If you want him to do something, he is VERY likely to do the opposite even if he KNOWS he will receive a negative reaction.  Discipline with him has been just as difficult as potty learning because of these traits.  He seems to LOVE negative attention!  You can’t bribe him usually, everything just has to be on his terms.  He is also a perfectionist!  He wouldn’t let anyone but me, (not even A) see him on his new tricycle when he was 2.5 until he knew he had it down pat.

I learned VERY early that, because of these traits, potty learning would need to be handled carefully.  We did everything we could to make this an easy experience for him.  We have talked about what our bodies do, what our pee and poop are, how bathrooms work, etc.  We have allowed him in the room while we go, read many books, we have potty seats and a chair that he picked out.  We have sticker boards in each bathroom.  We have gently offered to take him to the bathroom and made it very non-pressure.  This has all been over the last year and a half.

He knows what he is supposed to do completely, so his issue isn’t preparedness with that. We have also had his friend from next door potty in front of him and encourage him (she is 6 months older).  He does say he is scared of the potty.  I don’t know why or where it came from.  He has never been afraid of the flush (still isn’t).  He told me one time about alligators in it.  So A got a book M has that shows how things work (love Usborne books!) and showed him how it worked.  We even took off the back of the toilet and showed him and we showed him how no alligator would fit in there.  He hasn’t said any more about that but still says he is scared.  I think he uses that sometimes as a resistance.

There have been a few short spurts (the most recent back in July) when he showed interest.  We would embrace it and encourage him gently.   In July, he would sit on the potty while I read book after book.  He never made any “deposits” and after a few days lost interest.  We took it as a sign he wasn’t ready and backed off to avoid any power struggle.

He started going to a daycare/preschool 2 days a week in Oct.  He is with 7 kids (ages 3-5) and is the only one not totally potty-trained.  I thought this would offer great encouragement.  He does sit on the potty there, several times a day.  He doesn’t like it but he does and counts to 30 with the teacher.  He even takes off his own pants and everything!!!!  But, never gets anything deposited.

2 weeks ago his teacher asked us to bring underwear for him.  He had an accident the first day and cried, but was proud of himself for being in big boy underwear (he even told me “I have accident just like my potty book!”).  At this point he would be diapers with underwear over them at home and during naps at school and then just underwear the rest of the day at school.  The next day he just didn’t pee all day!  They went ahead and left him in his underwear and when we got home and he was playing he had an accident and cried.

After that he started holding it for a LONG time… even WITH his diaper on.  At home we were still doing a diaper with underwear over it since he wouldn’t sit on the potty.  Well he would constantly be asking us to change him.  We think he would feel the need to pee and then hold  it and ask us to change him.  We tried to help him identify this as the feeling that means he needs to sit on the potty but he won’t do it at home!

Then this week came along.  He is only peeing 2 times per day!!  He is just holding it for a long time diaper or no diaper, until he can’t anymore.  He even went 3 days without a poop!!  So, we feel like we need to really get moving on this at home because it scares us.  He doesn’t want to go in his pants or diaper, so we HAVE to get him started on the potty!!!  His teacher felt that Weds. might have been too much pressure (when he finally did put a few drops in) so today she went to underwear with a diaper OVER them.  She said he was a so much better and was all involved with the day.  He even went to the bathroom himself, but still no deposits.  If he is so willing there, then why not at home or grandma’s?

So, how do you get a VERY stubborn 3.5 yo boy on a potty he will run from?  Hell if I know!  I had a total break down tonight and held him there.  It was awful. I am not proud of it and hated myself for it, but I am so freaked that he won’t potty!  (He only went once today at about 9am!!!!! And he didn’t poop all day.)  Of course it didn’t end well.  After I gave myself a time out I talked to him and this is what I told him… “When you were little you didn’t want to brush your teeth, but you had to or they would hurt.  So when you wouldn’t do it, mommy had to hold you down and do it anyways.  I didn’t like to do that, but I had to until you learned that you needed to do it.  This is the same thing.  You don’t want to use the potty, but you have to or your tummy will hurt.  So, until you decide you are going to do it yourself, I will have to take you to the potty and keep you there.  I will stay with you and snuggle you, but we are doing it no matter what, even if you cry.  So, I am going to count to three and then take you in there, sit you down and count to thirty.”  Then I slowly counted to three and carried him into the bathroom. He fought at first, but then it went well and we snuggled while I counted.  Nothing happened, but at this point I just need him to get used to the potty first, right?  Once he is getting used to it, he will be more relaxed and then try letting things out.  right?  After that, we let him pick a sticker and put it up.  He seemed a lot better, but I still feel lost.

So, please, ANY advice?!  We have done all we can.  Am I doing the right thing now??  Here is a list of all the things I can think of that we have tried:

  1. The big Lego when he made his first deposit, no matter how small
  2. Putting his diaper over his underwear (he just shuts down if you take diaper totally away for a few days it seems)
  3. Being consistent with what is happening at school
  4. let him pick his potty seats
  5. I even promised an iTouch when he stays daytime dry for a week (cheaper than diapers!!!!)
  6. sticker board for any attempt
  7. lots of praise for any try
  8. cheerios in the bowl
  9. pick out his own big boy undies
  10. books and conversations that he leads
  11. Been very positive about any accidents, etc
  12. tonight I assured him that being a big boy that uses the potty doesn’t mean he can’t snuggle or sit on our laps or be carried
  13. Made a big deal out of any attempt
  14. I even called my family doctor who I trust tremendously. I spoke to his nurses and they said to take the diapers away.

So, please, if you have a VERY VERY strong-willed child, I need any advice you have about ANYTHING!  But, seriously, please help me.  I have struggled as his mother since day one because his needs do not fit well with my personality.  I don’t get to be the mommy I always thought I would be because he needs something totally different.  It is hard and there are so many times when I feel completely unprepared and unqualified.  I wouldn’t trade him for the world.  I just need to keep learning how to be his best mommy.  So, please help me with that!!!

Thanks everyone!  And a special thanks to @jet_set @butterflysnbees @StayAtHomeMaven @Crunchynurse @LLeighMartin @Momalom @arlenetorres for your support and thoughts on Twitter!  If you are not following these folks, you should be!!

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Response to a Weaning “Guide”

November 13, 2009 11 comments

I was monitoring my twitter account today and kblogger posted this: “Hi Sofia, Quite a bit of misinformation in that article. 😦 @ssofia: just wrote: When & How 2 Stop Breastfeeding http://cli.gs/2sYaH”  I took a look at the article and was stunned.  So, I had to share my thoughts with the author.  I just couldn’t let this type of information go without speaking up.  Here is what I submitted, in case it is not approved as a comment.  Please share your thoughts on the article, and also here to ensure they are posted.  I would  love to hear what you think of the article and what I wrote in response.  Thank you all!


Submitted as a comment to http://momsnbabies.com/when-and-how-to-stop-breastfeeding-2/ on November 13, 2009 at 11:28pm EST

 

After reading this article I have several items to comment on.  First of all, it is unclear who wrote this.  At the top it states that it was written by Sofia S, but the bottom states that it is by Alan Murray.  What are the credentials of the person who wrote this?  I ask these questions for several reasons as stated below.

I feel that every person that writes about breastfeeding has an obligation to be informed about the facts because breastfeeding is closely tied to the health of a baby/toddler. Yes, breast milk is necessary for optimal health of toddlers too.  Unfortunately, your author is misinformed about the benefits and necessity of extended nursing.  La Leche League International, an organization that disperses widely used and valued information on breastfeeding, states “All the benefits of human milk—including nutritional and health—continue for as long as your baby receives your milk. In fact, as your baby takes less human milk, these advantages are condensed into what milk is produced. Many of the health benefits of human milk are dose related, that is, the longer the baby receives human milk, the greater are the benefits.” http://www.llli.org/FAQ/bflength.html The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends “Exclusive breastfeeding for approximately the first six months and support for breastfeeding for the first year and beyond as long as mutually desired by mother and child.” http://www.aap.org/advocacy/releases/feb05breastfeeding.htm The World Health Organization recommends “Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended up to 6 months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond.” http://www.who.int/topics/breastfeeding/en/
You will notice that no one recommends weaning due to breast milk eventually getting ” to a point in which is does not matter whether or not the child takes breast milk or regular milk.”  This is a complete fallacy and goes against all scientific studies.

I also have a very big issue with any article about babies and toddlers which refer to the child as “it”.  These children are people and not things.  This shows a level of respect for the child missing in the article.

I do appreciate the attention to weaning slowly, as it IS very important for a mother to wean in a gentle and slow manner, preferable led by the child.

It is also not very helpful to encourage women to wean to a bottle, requiring them to wean yet again.  Since the author is talking about weaning to “regular milk” (by the way, human milk would be the “regular” milk of a human being, but I understand that in this article the author is referring to  cow’s milk as “regular milk”) I can assume that the author is talking about children over the age of 1 year since it is widely accepted that cow’s milk should not be introduced before the age of 1.  http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002448.htm It is also recommended that bottle use be discontinued by 12-18 months of age, so this is again, poor guidance.  http://www.ucsfchildrenshospital.org/education/baby_bottle_weaning/#2 And it is also worth pointing out that many pediatricians will tell you that your toddler does not need cow’s milk at all.  http://www.askdrsears.com/faq/fn1.asp

I believe that by providing inaccurate information regarding breast milk the author of this article is doing a great disservice to the mothers and babies he or she is reaching.  Inaccurate breastfeeding and breast milk information can easily equate to shorter lengths of breastfeeding and, in turn, higher risks of health issues for the child.  I hope that in the future the author will take their responsibility to mothers and babies personally and research thoroughly before providing advice or any type of “guide”.

Thank you.
Crystal Gold
TheVervePath.com

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Saying goodbye

July 26, 2009 5 comments

On Saturday morning, I received a phone call from Dr. Henry. Let me emphasize that it was HIM that called, not a nurse… I love having him as a doctor! He wanted to check in on me and to tell me the results of the chromosome screening. They found that it was an abnormal pregnancy. Something in the splitting of all the chromosomes didn’t go as it should. He said it is a very common cause of miscarriage. This was a relief in the sense that we now don’t have to move forward with surgery and we can feel confident that our next roll of the dice will go better. He is keeping me on estrogen supplements for a week and then will have me on birth control for a few weeks. After that, everything should be back to normal, at least physically.

Emotionally is another story. We also found out that it was a girl. I wasn’t surprised… somehow I already knew. I have said for a while that I would be the mother of boys, yet from the moment I found out I was pregnant, I knew it was a girl. Aaron and I talked and as soon as I knew the sex, I felt a need to give our baby a name. So, we thought it over and we have named our baby Sidney. Before we were even pregnant I had brought that up as a possible girl’s name. I like it and it is the name of Aaron’s paternal grandfather that passed away last year. So, it seemed fitting that our little angel share the name of her great-grandfather who she is in heaven with.

Healing from this so far has been an interesting ride. It is so different from the last time. That was our first pregnancy and the normal feelings of loss were compounded with a fear of never being able to have kids. I wasn’t able to be around women that were pregnant or young babies. It was all too overwhelming. So it is a blessing this time around that I don’t have to deal with those fears. I don’t have to overcome jealousy and fear. However, that time we never saw an actual baby, it was more the loss of the concept. When we had the ultrasound that time they couldn’t find anything, so the baby never really “took”. That didn’t “lessen” the pain, but it was different than this time. Sidney was as real to me as M was when we first laid eyes on him. Seeing the shape of a baby and her heartbeat solidified her place in our lives. At that moment we became a family of four. So this time I face a true mourning of that loss. It is more concrete. It is more tangible. In is no harder or easier, just different. We are taking it a day at a time and trying to find our way. It is good to have M to keep us moving and laughing. And there is the need to be there for him that keeps us moving forward. But I do find myself totally overcome with emotions, usually out of the blue. I will simply just be moved to tears at a given moment. I try to just let it come when I feel the need.

I pray that the healing continues and that Sidney is in heaven and knows that, although we never met her, we loved her all the same. She was a blessing to us, truly a gift from God.

The latest on the reproductive issues

April 14, 2009 1 comment

Oh where to begin… first I have to say thank you to the best friends and family in the world! I appreciate all of your love and support more than you know! I know there are so many people out there with harder things going on in their lives than this, but you all have been so sweet and supportive.

I am going to go ahead and give the background for those that aren’t sure what I am talking about. Guys – some of this might be TMI.

Well, I hadn’t had a period since Sept of 2005 (yes 2005, that is not a typo). That is when I got pregnant with M. At first this didn’t seem too odd because I nursed M until he was 2.5. But, he weaned dramatically last fall and still nothing happened. In December I had really bad cramps and what I would consider a “cycle” without the period… I had the pain, fatigue, hunger, bloating, etc. I called the doc and went in because the pain seemed abnormal and I still hadn’t started. They did a cycle of progesterone at this point to “kick start” things. M also totally weaned at this time. Nothing ever happened after this though. Then 2 months to the day later, the pain and symptoms returned but still no period. I called the doc again and this time they did a cycle of estrogen. The estrogen didn’t do anything either. So, they did an ultrasound, pelvic exam and blood work. Everything came back normal. So, we tried a month of birth control and the doc said if it didn’t work we would head to surgery next to do a hysteroscopy. The BC caused changes like breakouts, etc. But at the 2 month mark from the last episode, the pain returned with no period. This was the weekend before last. This time the pain was off the charts. It was almost bad enough for me to have aaron take me to the hospital. It was absolutely horrendous. The pain during these times is basically nonstop cramping. It makes all of the organs and muscles in my stomach and pelvis sore and achy. It even hurts to use the restroom because all of the muscles required to do that are so strained. Even with percocet I was feeling the pain. So, on Monday (a week ago) I took the advice of a friend and called a reproductive endocrinologist. Dr Henry is wonderful and saw me that same day. He did an internal ultrasound (which has always been easy and not painful) and as soon as they touched my cervix I was crying. He didn’t see anything abnormal so he decided to bring me back in a week for an HSG (hysterosalpingogram where they inject dye into the uterus to look for blockage or damage under an XRay). That brings us up to today….

So, at 11:00 I checked in for the procedure. When it was my turn to go in I was really nervous; I had heard the gal before me yelp in pain. I had taken a percocet and advil, but as soon as he began inserting the catheter I was in incredible pain. He was able to get it in somewhat, but not as far as he needed it to in order to get a seal to keep the fluid inside. He tried two catheters and couldn’t get past a certain point. So he ended the procedure and took me up to his office to have an ultrasound procedure. During this they injected me 4 times with a local anesthetic in the cervix to numb it. Then he used progressively larger catheters to dilate the cervix and the canal while watching on the ultrasound to see his placement. It was during this that they discovered that I have an incredibly small uterus that is shaped in a way that makes it very shallow. Also the canal to it is VERY thin. He felt as if there may have been a blockage (scar tissue?) at the base of the canal that he broke through. That alone may have made a difference for me. After all this it was time to go back to try the HSG again. We did that and he got it to work, but not as well as he would have liked. It was still incredibly painful. He reviewed the films with me and we discovered some things. There is a large growth at the top of my short uterus that makes mine a V shape instead of a triangle. This could be either a septum (where a woman is born with her uterus divided in two, but he doubts that – or it is scar tissue from my 2nd D&C I had – the one after I had M). He also got a better picture of the shape, size and how small the canal is. It was rather stunning to see.

So, after all this, we met back in his office to discuss everything. Basically, he has no definitive answers. There are only educated guesses at this point. From all the evidence, he would guess that it is scar tissue and that there was/is a blockage that has caused me to not bleed. The pain would probably be the uterus constantly contracting to try to push out the blood, the blood being reabsorbed, and possibly it spilling back up the fallopian tubes and into the stomach cavity and causing irritation. Our options are
1. do nothing and see what comes with my next “cycle”. It is possible that what we did today broke a blockage and things could be “fixed”. the good news with that is no more crazy pain and getting my cycles back to normal to get pregnant. The bad news with that is, if that large area is scar tissue, if a fertilized egg were to implant on it it would cause a miscarriage so my chances of miscarriage are much greater.
2. do a round of estrogen followed by a round of progesterone… not sure of pros and cons other than more hormones etc
3. do surgery. This is something that he doesn’t want to do unless we have to because he is concerned about the anatomy of my uterus and about puncturing the top of it accidentally and causing more issues.
4. go on birth control until I am of an age to not care and then have a hysterectomy… not really an option for us.

So, we have chose to go with #1. We will wait and see what happens. He said if I end up with pain he will prescribe meds to help that and then we will look into it immediately. Then he would feel more comfortable with the surgery because we would have tried all we can. The bad part of that is that the 2 months since the last “cycle” is right when we are on our way back from Florida… fun.

He was really wonderful and I feel I am in good hands. It is so frustrating though. I just want answers. The prospect of facing the pain I felt last week is terrifying. And the idea that even if this all works itself out I may have a really hard time getting and staying pregnant… not fun either.

I am trying to be patient and trust my body. After all, it sustained another life for over 2 years… I need to trust that it will do as it should. I am glad that today is over. It was supposed to be a simple, even if painful, 15 minutes and it turned into a VERY painful 5 hours. Thank god for the love and support of those in my life!! Love you all.