Sunday, December 16, 2012

my love/hate relationship with my vagina.

so i started writing this a few weeks ago, but got sick in the middle and just didn't have the heart to finish. i can't really remember where i was going with all of this, but it has to do with why i was so scared to have a pap smear at my 14 week dr app. 

i have a love/hate relationship with my vagina.
maybe it's more, "i fear my vagina."

either way, my vagina is not my friend.

as a kid, i didn't know i had a vagina. i can remember sitting in front of a mirror in my bedroom and examining "down there" and wondering what all that equipment was for. i knew boys had a 'penis', and suspected what i had was called a "china" but i didn't know for sure. i didn't worry about it too much.

then in 4th grade my mom sat me down with a book and showed me pictures of all my sex organs, (although i'm sure the clitoris wasn't present) explaining that i would bleed every month when i started my period. this concerned me, but i hadn't started my period yet, so i put it out of my mind. and of course 5th and 6th grade introduces the maturation program, the most embarrassing hour of the school year, if not your entire life. it wasn't until 7th grade sex ed that i knew that sex was how babies were made and that the vagina was quite important with that whole process.

i was raised in a very conservative religious culture that teaches sex outside of marriage is a sin. and let me get this straight, i'm not angry at my religion. i'm not blaming anyone for my vaginaphobia. i think it's great to teach kids to wait until marriage. (and here i'm opening a huge can of worms- teaching abstinence is all well and good, but kids are going to do what they're going to do so i also think we should be teaching kids how to protect themselves, blah blah, also we should teach kids how much of a drain on our economy teenage pregnancy is etc etc etc whole other topic here and it you are/had sex outside of marriage i am not judging or condemning you in any way etc etc bases being covered.) 

we should teach kids about how emotions are involved in sex too, and how important it is to feel ready and what true consent is, etc. but in a religious context, i really wish they would teach in a different way than i was taught, that my body was somehow a sexy temptress, that boys wouldn't be able to help themselves and it was up to me to help them be "gentlemen," and that i had to somehow evade all sexual anythings until i was safely married.

i can remember sitting in a church meeting listening to a man, who was someone i considered to hold authority, speaking about a rattlesnake. how if you got too close, the rattlesnake would bite you. how you had to avoid the rattlesnake at all costs. how it was almost impossible to come back from a snake bite.

i was in 5th grade. he never said "sex" but i knew as well as anyone else in that audience, that the rattlesnake was sex. and to my 5th grade understanding, sex meant anything having to do with sex, including those strange body parts i was always cautioned not to share with anyone. i felt that even just asking about sex, would mean i was interested and therefore, getting too close to that rattlesnake. i can remember sitting in that audience vowing to never get bit by the snake. i had no idea that sex was anything besides dirty and wrong.

meanwhile, i was starting to notice more and more that boys were interested in sex. a boy i sat next to in class always looked up the definition of sex in our webster dictionary, which only defined sex as being a male or a female. it seemed there were no clear answers to be found. and i felt dirty when he showed me the word on the page, like my curiosity was a sin. i remember listening to britney spears and seeing how she dressed and how all the boys in my class liked her. it seemed so opposite of what i had been taught. and i didn't know exactly how my vagina fit in with all of this, but i knew that it was a part i was supposed to protect and control.

i can also remember watching videos in school about protecting yourself, not ever letting anyone ever touch you "down there" or anywhere else you weren't comfortable. i even remember the name of the man who tried to touch the boy in the video, "uncle rico" and that at recess everyone made jokes about it. again, the message was that i had body parts that gross people might want to see or touch, and that i was to guard them.

all of this discouraged any self examination as well. if gross people were out to touch me, why would i want to touch myself? i didn't learn what masturbation was until 9th grade, and even then the boy who explained it to me was very vague. how awful and gross, that someone would touch themselves! i thought. i had no idea that someone might want to touch themselves for pleasure.

fast forward to the end of 9th grade, when i was sexually assaulted. by 9th grade i understood that boys only liked you if you were attractive and that a big part of being attractive is being sexy, and being sexy had something to do with having sex, except that i wasn't allowed to have sex, nor did i have any interest whatsoever in doing that dirty thing i wasn't supposed to do until marriage. something i was keenly interested in, was kissing. the movies made it seem so romantic, and i had this grand idea of being kissed in the rain. trumpets would sound, there would be a camera panning around us from all angles, and i would be a great kisser, even on my first try. i hadn't connected sex with kissing in any way.

(i should also mention that

yeah i have no idea what i was going to mention, because that was as far as i got. 

the first time i went to a gynecologist, i was almost 18 and just out of high school. i went alone, because i didn't think it would be a big deal. when the doctor began the exam, i couldn't believe how painful it was. he couldn't finish the exam before i had passed out, fallen off the table, and banged my head. when i came to, he told me to stay there while he got the nurse. instead, i put my pants back on, grabbed my keys, and got out of there.

because i hadn't had enough scary things happen to my body.

at the 18 week dr appointment, dr barton came in to do the pap smear and i started crying when i had to put my feet in the stirrups. he asked me what was going on and i told him i was afraid of the pap smear and that i hated having things done to my vagina. he said we didn't have to do it, but that because i had never actually had a pap smear, (as the only one i'd started had ended in fainting.) it would be smart just to make sure everything was healthy. he was gentle and used lubricant and i survived, but it was awful. it's not even that it hurts that much, it just brings up a lot of old wounds and terrifies me. oh PTSD, what would i be like without you?

anyway, dr. barton told me he suspects i have a condition, and i can't remember the name, where my vaginal area tissue is extra sensitive, making it difficult to have exams and in many cases, sexual activity.

okay, i don't share that many personal details about my own sex life, but i will tell you, i have an amazing sex life, or i used to before getting pregnant and sick and becoming a born again virgin. (celibacy, how i have not missed you.) but it took a long time before i could trust travis and before i felt pleasure instead of sharp pain down there. it wouldn't have ever happened if travis wasn't so patient, sweet, and giving.

so i think where i was going with this had to do with giving birth and how terrified i am of anything having to do with my vagina. i've been considering a C section just to avoid having to deal with vagina stitches, tearing, etc. i'm more afraid of having my legs up and people poking and prodding down there than i am of the actual pain of child birth. i don't know what to do. i've always felt that i should go natural, and forgo the epidural, but maybe that would help? would a C section be so bad? i have a small pelvis, so if remy is over 7 pounds i would probably need one anyway. if you have any thoughts on this, please share them.

also, we need to change the way we teach our children about sex and their bodies.

i don't know how it can be that i am so fearless when it comes to discussing a clitoris and how education about our bodies needs to change, but when it comes to my own body, i am a crying mess. well, yeah i do.

let me know if you have any advice.

:) xo

15-19, mood swinger, vomit pee-er, and vagina fear-er

so tomorrow is my 20 week mark.
the halfway point. 
i was so sure i'd be back to "normal-ish" by now. by that i mean, able to eat and have it taste good, not be puking, have a little more energy, surely enough to go to kickboxing a couple times a week, and back to showering and grooming on a daily basis. 
oh, how naive and clueless i was. 

my last post was about week 14 and how i was starting to feel a little better. i'll give you the brief summary of the past five weeks. 

migraines, colds, vomit, sinus infection, peeing in my pants. 

no really, i started vomiting so hard that i peed my pants, multiple times. if you want to talk about adding insult to injury, it's laying on the cold tile of the bathroom floor with pieces of puke stuck in your nose, splashed on your face, the worst migraine you've ever had, and your underwear and sweatpants being soaked with your own urine. this was when i felt i had hit rock bottom. 

until an hour later, when it happened again and i had to borrow some new sweats from my mom. 

you lay there in all your filthy glory, sobbing, your husband stroking your hair and whispering, "collette, i'm so sorry." and you just wish you could die. 

instead, you get back up, change your clothes, brush your teeth, blow the chunks of throw up from your nose, and force yourself to eat a bowl of cereal. 

that pretty much sums up the last month. 

these pictures are all so deceiving. i put the sunglasses on so that you wouldn't see the purple bags under my bloodshot, unmade up eyes. the hair is just my natural curl, not fixed whatsoever. the outfit is cute, though! 
this week, i caught a terrible cold, tried to drink orange juice to combat the cold, ended up with crazy sores all over my tongue from throwing up the orange juice. but the belly also started to poke out a little bit. 

i think this was the week i ended up inviting 6 strange men over to my house to hang out while i wore nothing but a bath towel. 

it was sunday morning. travis was at the fire station. i got gotten up, eaten breakfast, thrown it up, and hopped into the shower. a normal morning. but while i was in the shower, a strange thing started happening to my body. i started getting dizzy and dry heaving. then i lost almost all the feeling in my feet, legs, hands, and arms. tunnel vision started kicking in. i'm going to pass out in here and no one would come looking for hours, i thought, so i crawled out of the shower, hoping it would pass if i got my head between my knees. i felt nauseous, so i bent over the toilet, but there was nothing left but bile. everything was blurry, i was so dizzy and numb and weak. i scooped up my phone and clumsily dialed travis's number. no answer. i was panicking, not knowing if something was going on with my baby, or why i couldn't seem to stand or make my body do anything. i dialed 911. 

there are few things more surreal than laying on your bathroom floor (why am i always laying on my bathroom floor??) the 911 operator jabbering away to keep you conscious, (seriously you want me to give you my phone number? i barely know my name at this point.) hearing sirens in the distance, growing louder, and realizing, oh, they are coming for me, aren't they? 

then the paramedics come inside and you are dripping wet, clutching a towel around your naked body, barely able to stand up on your own. 

for weeks after this incident, i cried every time i thought about those men, the 911 operator reassuring me on the phone that help was coming, and those six paramedics who made me feel so safe. they took my blood pressure, blood sugar, heart rate, etc. everything was okay, it was just my low blood sugar and blood pressure that made me almost pass out. i felt a little silly that i had called 911 and nothing was seriously wrong with me, but the paramedics reassured me i had done the right thing. when they came in through the garage, they noticed the fire plates on our cars and asked if my husband was a fireman. they called his station and let him know i was okay and that they had been there. those men really did feel like family, and i was thankful for that firefighter family love. 

later my dad teased me, "did those paramedics ever send you a thank you card? i bet that was a call they won't forget." love my dad. 

here's a more honest picture. this is the week of thanksgiving. my mom and grandma got me out of the house, but i had to bring a blueberry pancake to snack on. this week i added the drug pepcid to my zofran routine, and it has really made a difference. i'm not exactly sure how it works, but it settles the acids in your stomach? anyway, ask your doc for a prescription if you have a pregnancy vomiting problem. 

thanksgiving was nice enough. we drove up to idaho falls and travis was able to go goose hunting with my grandpa. dinner was a huge let down. i had really been sure i'd be able to eat normally by week 16, keeping thanksgiving dinner in mind as the finish line. i was thankful that i had a pretty good day thanksgiving, no vomit at all, but i was still nauseated and unable to eat anything but mashed potatoes and gravy. 

this picture isn't a lie at all; i felt amazing that sunday. travis and i went to church, i did my hair, and i even ate a few pieces of fried fish for dinner! (strangely fish has been the only meat i've been able to eat sporadically during this pregnancy, sporadically as in three times in the past four and a half months.) it was a wonderful day, and i was convinced i had finally turned that corner and that things would be better from here on out. and then the next day was the day i started peeing my pants while vomiting. so not really. but for this one day, it was incredible. 

oh i think this was the week i had my first public puke, in harmon's parking lot. travis and i decided from now on, whenever i vomit publicly, he is going to tell passersby that i can't give up the drink. 

it's the little things, right? 

this was an exciting week, because we had our ultrasound and discovered bean is a boy! (which i was pretty sure of all along.) 

a couple of weeks into "trying" to get pregnant, i was feeling nauseated and told travis, "i'm pretty sure i'm pregnant, and i'm pretty sure it's a boy." he was like, no way, it's too soon, and why do you think that? i just did. 

so when the ultrasound tech announced, "yeah, there's the penis!" i wasn't surprised at all. travis was floored, like for 20 minutes mouth gaping open because he had been sure it was a girl, but i was like, duh there's the penis, he's a boy. 

then dr barton saw the ultrasound pictures and said, "whoa! that's a weiner!" 
i'm kind of in love with our doctor. 
so he's a well endowed fetus. 
props, remy, props. 

but you know, i helped grow that giant fetus penis. so props, me, props. 

also, side note about weight gain: 

at our 14 week appointment, i was freaking out after finding out i had gained 9 pounds overall. (the whole impeding pap smear thing played a huge roll in the freaking out, no really, this was me the whole time waiting for dr barton to come in the room.

crying. "i suck at being pregnant. i puke all the time and somehow i've still gained too much weight. and i have to have a pap smear! i don't want a pap smear! i told that stupid nurse and she is guilting me into it! plus she had the nerve to ask me if i'm exercising. i can barely walk down the stairs! and if i'm this freaked out about a pap smear, how am i supposed to push a watermelon out of my vagina? i hate my vagina! i hate being pregnant, i'm never doing this again, i suck at it, and i'm a fatty fat fat!" 

travis: "..." probably thinking, good holy heck (sorry i'm still not swearing) what have i done what have i done??!???! no, he tried his best to be reassuring and all, but i was out of control. 

then the stupid guilting nurse comes in and tells me it's going to be a while longer. 
i sniff, "well i'm getting hungry. so do you have anything to eat?" 

it's okay to pity the poor soul who has to be in my delivery room. i do. 

anyway, long tangent, so at the 18 week appointment, i was terrified to see how much weight i'd gained. and then it turned out i hadn't gained any. still at 9 pounds. so then the nurse was like, okay, well try not to lose any weight. 


moral of the story. don't worry about weight. i'm pretty sure the reason i had gained those 9 pounds at 14 weeks was because i had gone up over a cup size in the boob department. seriously, these things are out of control. but don't read those stupid pregnancy apps about how much weight you are supposed to gain and then hate yourself for a month if you have gone over. just listen to our body and eat when you're hungry. if you gain "too much weight" it's okay. you can lose it later. 

(also, this was the week my sis in law delivered her baby at 29 weeks. my new nephew is a champ! to read their story, go {here} and then say a little prayer or send some positive thoughts their way?)

sorry, this is turning into the longest post known to man. this was last week. feeling a little rounder these days! got to spend a few hours at instacare to find out i have a sinus infection, which was awesome. because you can't just be pregnant and sick. you also have to just be sick. went christmas shopping for remington and found the CUTEST coat and boots. i have become that woman at the store who goes, "ahhhwhwhwhhw look at this coat!!!!!! omgomg the cutest thing ever!!!" 

how embarrassing right? 

kind of like this. 


but yeah, i'm hanging in there. travis has been a real champion, waiting on me hand and foot, cooking for me, cleaning the house, kissing my belly every night. seriously, that man is a hero and i couldn't imagine doing this with anyone else. (hopefully not, right?) 

pregnancy is hard, so use protection unless you really are ready. 
and then say goodbye to your life as you know it and just hang in there. 

remington, i love you. i don't simultaneously vomit and wet my pants for just anyone, you know? 


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