Sunday, October 16, 2011

My period

I joined in on a monthly Period Chat on Friday hosted byYou ARE Loved. I met her on twitter are few months back and think some of my stories might help others.

Of my five children two are girls. They are in the fifth grade and are going through some changes. As the Mom I want to do this right. For me it was horrible and for them it doesn't have to be.

I started my period at about twelve years old. It was about a month after I got a box of period products in the mail from my parents insurance company. My Mom gave me the box and that was it. There was no talk. The box had a brochure in it that included some information but I wasn't sure what it was talking about.

One day I was on a bus coming home from school in my new white pants. I got up to get off the bus and a kind woman handed me her newspaper and told me to cover my rear walking off the bus. I didn't ask questions and did what she said. My stomach had been hurting all day and couldn't imagine what I was covering up.  The woman saved me from being teased by the kids who were on my bus. I started my first period.

I got home and searched for my box. There was dry weave pads with wings. Not very many so I wrote a note and placed it on the back of the toilet before going out to babysit two boys. My night babysitting was rotten. The boys were wild, I couldn't focus and set the stove on fire. Yes I caught the kitchen of the house on fire. I got it under control and cleaned up. The parents kept me as the sitter for years. No hard feelings but I was sick.

My mom put a bag of maxi pads on the back of the toilet. They were huge! I was a girl, small. I did not know how often to change them. I layered them in my underwear because I didn't want to leak on my pants again. Walking out in to our family room my dad told me I looked like I was walking with a corncob shoved up my butt. It was such a bad first experience.

My periods lasted for weeks. They were heavy and gross. I stopped smiling and started hiding in my room. By the time high school came around I was cutting school whenever I had my period. My end of the year report card showed I missed classes 154 times, My parents were called to the school and I was given the option of going into a program at my high school called Start Now or to be transferred to Olympic High School. I school for 'bad' kids. I was signed up for Start Now. I had four classed with the same kids for the remaining three years of high school. My mom was called when ever I missed a class. I still cut class I just got smarter about it. I had stacks of blank papers with my Mom's signature on them. I used them as needed to excuse my self from class and I made up work. My grades stayed good.

I had a friend Freshmen year who showed me that her Mom had tampons. We both tried them out. Cardboard tubes. They were hard and we didn't know that the cardboard was not suppose to be left inside our bodies. Now I know how lucky we were in not getting TSS from that experiment. I didn't try a tampon again until my sisters wedding a year after I graduated from high school. One of the bride's maid told me how to use it.

At nineteen I read that birth control could make your period lighter and went to Planned Parenthood for a prescription. They discovered I was very anemic. I was given iron pills. My periods got lighter the birth control pills made me neurotic. I stopped the birth control and found out that calcium, magnesium and zinc would control my period cramping fro a school nurse who was the first person I ever talked to about my period. It worked for the most part.

I got married at 22. We never used birth control. I was never at risk of being pregnant. I had my regular- irregular periods. At one point it was so heavy I had giant purple blood clots pass. I thought at this point it had to be a miscarriage. I went to a doctor. The doctor thought I had one of two things happening. endometriosis or my ovaries were swelling to the size of racket balls when I ovulated.  I was going to be tested. I was 24 at this point and dealt with a painful heavy period for twelve years in the dark.

The test I was going to have involved filling my uterus with a blue radioactive serum on the first day after my period. I didn't have a regular period. In fact it was March and I hadn't had one since passing the blood clots Christmas shopping. I called my doctor and asked if there was something I could take to make my period start so I could get the test over with. There was but they had to make sure I wasn't pregnant. My home pregnancy test was negative. My blood test from a week earlier was negative but they wanted me to do one last pregnancy test before I could pick up the prescription. This test said I was pregnant.

OMG! I was pregnant. I delivered a 9.3 pound baby girl in December, two weeks before my 25 birthday. I was given a depo shot for birth control. It worked great for two years. No periods. No worry. Then I started to get horrible leg pains and I had to stop my shots. The period did not come back heavy and was more regular. I was on a mini-pill that was better than my pill experience before and when my husband and I got divorce in 2003 I stopped birth control all together. My periods were still irregular but not ever as heavy as when I was a teen.

I got remarried in 2005. In 2006 I found out I was pregnant again. I carried this baby for twelve weeks and lost it. I had a post part um bleed for almost 6 weeks. I was told not to try and get pregnant again for six months. I didn't try but I got pregnant again giving birth in February 2007. The post part um was short. A few weeks and here it is 2011. I  had maybe two periods since. I even got pregnant and had another baby 2008 with out a period in between. This time it's an IUD keeping me from a regular period. I do have monthly moods and occasionally bloating or spotting but no period.

Here I am a mother of these beautiful girls who will be women soon. I am frantically trying to find the easiest way to help them with this change in their life. Since my experience was not that ideal. In fact it was crappy. Chats on Period talk are invaluable to me. Parenting classes on how to talk to your preteen and in the works and anything I can do to make it fun we try. My oldest went to see a teen doctor who thinks it will happen soon. We prepared by making a game plan, sewing cloth pads if she doesn't like the feel or disposable pads like me and lots of girl talks.

I can only pray she'll stay close to me and feel good about asking questions and talking to me. No one should have to grow up into a woman in the dark like I did. It's kind of funny now, my sister has a daughter two years older than my girls and for the first time I can ever remember we talked about our periods and how she grew up in the dark too. It's nice to have her here going through at least this part of growing up as a woman together. Knowing I'm not alone in wanting for my daughters to walk into  the light as they grow up..