I received yet another letter indicating that my insurance authorised an IUI cycle. This is actually the fourth time the procedure has been authorised, but we've yet to start the process. I took note of the date on the letter, previous authorisations were for a duration of six weeks; this most recent one was from 1 March -15 June. I figured that the woman who obtains insurance authroisations (who by the way, is probably pretty annoyed with me) felt that I could get 2-3 cycles within that stretch of time. I am hoping I can do at least one.
The process of stopping the birth control pills and having the hysteroscopic resection of my uterine cavity essentially reset my cycle and theoretically, I should expect my next cycle to start in 4-6 weeks. However, I pointed out to my RE that I have post pill amenorrhea on my resume. He initially doubted that ten days of pills would suppress my ovarian function, but I reminded him that just one tablet of emergency contraception delayed my cycle for eight weeks. He asked me to keep him posted.
I didn't expand upon my first experience with post pill amenorrhea. During my second year at University, my 'boyfriend' went to study in Spain for the spring term. Assuming that we would remain faithful to each other, I decided to stop my pills in order to conserve supplies. I completed the pill pack and had my withdrawal bleed around Christmas time, about a week after our final act of coitus. It didn't dawn on me until the middle of February that I didn't have a period in January. At first, I didn't panic. I blamed the process of going home for the holiday break and returning to school, and I figured it would arrive any day. It didn't. By the first week of March, I started to entertain the possibility that I could be pregnant.
Like many teenagers, I was knee deep in denial. How could this have happened? I thought I did all the right things to take precautions. I also questioned how it could be possible as I didn't actually have sex since my last period; but until AF arrived, I considered myself pregnant until proven otherwise. It was time to take the test. I drove to a pharmacy a few towns over, just to avoid running into someone I knew. My strategy was to purchase the test and get out of there as quick as possible. I picked up a few other miscellaneous items in order to hide the test in my shopping basket and hopefully distract the check-out girl. It didn't work. As other customers stood behind me in the queue, she carefully studied the box containing the POAS test, and asked me, "Is this brand any good?". I wanted to die. It was so hard to accept that I was in this situation and this woman was looking for a consumer reports survey.
I went to a public restroom to take the test and paced around the stall as I meticulously timed three minutes. The instructions noted it would show a 'plus' sign if positive and a 'minus' sign for negative. I took a deep breath and prepared for the reveal. There was a prominent line that looked like a minus sign, but there was another fainter line present. However, it looked more like an 'X' than a plus sign. Confused, I used a pay-phone to call the advise line listed on the instructions. The woman simply told me to interpret anything with two lines as being positive.
My next call was to Planned Parenthood to schedule an appointment. It felt awkward that I couldn't discuss any of these details with my 'boyfriend', as he hadn't given me any of his contact information in Spain. Alas, it finally occurred to me that he really wasn't a 'boyfriend'; we were merely friends with special privileges. I arrived at the clinic and was instructed to provide a urine sample, before returning to the waiting room to complete paperwork. I had barely finished the first page when the receptionist opened the window at her desk and called my name. "You can leave, Honey" she announced to the entire waiting room. "You're not pregnant."
WHAT!?! I felt such an immense sense of relief, but I was still so confused. If I wasn't pregnant, what happened to my period? I asked to speak to someone to get some answers. After waiting for over an hour, a medical assistant called me back to an exam room. I explained the situation to her. "So you stopped the pill, had a period and didn't have sex, but thought you could be pregnant?" I realised how ridiculous that sounded when she said it out loud. I told her about my positive home test and she simply replied, "Oh, that brand is really cheap." I thought about going back to the pharmacy to share this information with the enquiring check-out girl.
I met with the Nurse Practitioner, who explained that I had post pill amenorrhea. My ovaries were just taking their sweet time to resume functioning (oh, they were such bitches even back then). She reassured me that my period would return in time and offered me a shot of "Pee-in-oil" to help bring on my period. I declined, and decided that I could wait a little longer. She recommended resuming the pill once my period did start, as she advocated the many benefits of the pill; including being immediately contraceptively protected if I were to engage in any spontaneous behaviour, or start a new relationship. I'm sure she mentally added the words 'with someone who actually respects you' to the end of that sentence. A few days later, I was driving while rocking out to Madonna's Immaculate Collection and the cassette player ate my tape right in the middle of 'Material Girl' (those of you who are old enough remember how devastating that was). I burst into tears, but felt so happy as I knew what this emotional outburst was hearlding. Sure enough, I had a visitor arrive that night. I had never been happier to be reunited with AF. Until now.