Last year after I had that horrible infection and my IUD removed, I went on the pill for a while. Everything was normal, then SG's vasectomy was declared a success and I stopped taking the pill. That was November, I think. I had a normal December cycle, then January was kind of weird because I had two cycles. Then nothing in February. I freaked out a little bit, swore under my breath at SG's urologist and peed on a First Response test. Negative, thankfully.
March commenced much like February. Then I started waking up three or four times a night, kicking off the covers and letting the cooler night air dry off the trickles of sweat. Hot flashes. I made an appointment with Dr. A and he sent me off to the lab to have all my blood sucked out of my body some bloodwork done. Yesterday was my followup.
One thing I like about Dr. A, he gives you copies of your lab results and writes notes all over them as well. I enjoy going home and persuing my results and contemplating what a special snowflake I am because my something something is perfect and my something else is out of range and I get to take some more damn medication or supplement as if that will magically render me Normal.
So even though I finally had an actual cycle last week, according to my FSH and Progesterone levels, I am (or should be) in menopause. Technically I would say not, because the literal translation of 'menopause' is "cessation of menses." But I would expect that I'll see very few more trips to the Rite Aid to buy myself feminine hygiene products.
Its not like its any big dramatic thing. This is another natural progression in my aging process, it happens to women all the time. Its not horri-bad, scary-bad, or really even bad. But just like all of life's First Time's, this is MY first time in this place and you know my mind is running in teeny weeny circles trying to understand who I am in the context of Being Menopausal.
There's the mechanics of it, naturally.Now begins the more careful watching of my chemistry and finding out what will work best for me. I'm more than a little bit worried about what menopause will mean for me in terms of physical changes, but I'm also aware that starting hormone therapy carries more benefit than risk at this point in time.
There's perhaps a shred of regret that the baby years are truly over. I didn't really want any more babies, at least not at this point in my life. I would have been happy to have more kids altogether, but hey, I started late, so I'm grateful I lucked out with two. No, this wouldn't be the ideal time in either SG's life or mine to add a newborn, nor am I one of those women who enjoys pregnancy. To be precise, I loathed being pregnant with a loathing typically reserved for spiders and traffic tickets. So the Not Going to Have More Babies part is really just a twinge of nostalgia for the days when I held first Amazon Girl and then Race Car Man for the first time and for all the first times of everything they ever did after that. I loved nursing my babies and holding them. I loved their expressive faces and their first words and watching them learn to move and then crawl and walk and talk. I could never get enough of gazing into their faces while they slept peacefully in my arms. Come to think of it, in my arms (or their dad's) was pretty much the ONLY place either of them slept peacefully. And just like that No More Babies is just fine with me.
I suppose more than the knowledge that my child bearing years are behind me, its the thoughts that revolve around who I am as a person and what this stage of life means in grand scheme of things. There are a lot of adjectives that come to mind when you think of yourself as Still Young. "Menopausal" does not happen to be one.
Entering menopause has me feeling less young, less inviting, less pretty, less a participant in the swing and uptick of life. I'm sure I'm overthinking things, but I can't help but think that I'm somehow less. Which is silly, and not something I'd ever even consider applying to anyone else that I know. (See? Still harder on myself than on you.) Its the nuance between being more in the game than not. Its like menopause is the crossing guard between having your whole life ahead of you and having most of it behind you. I fear the loss of not just my sexuality, but my desirability. SG would likely disagree with this assessment and logically, so would I, but logic and feelings are not one and the same and my feelings at this point in time are more in control than my analytical skills.
Billions of women have charted these waters ahead of me, certainly the literature reflecting their combined wisdom and experience is waiting for me to find it. Short of that, however, it still remains to me alone to develop my sense of self, my understanding of who I really am as opposed to how I might feel at any given time.
Menopause is the end of something, but its not the end of the world and its not the end of me. New things lie ahead. I will adjust. We all will adjust.