So it’s five days into 2013, and already I’m on Plan B.
Okay, that’s not entirely true.
I’m not technically on it anymore, but I was on January 5. And ladies, lemme tell ya, what a delightful experience! Simply a rainbow cornucopia of pleasure! A veritable fruit salad of Nausea, Fatigue, Dread, and A Longing For Sweet, Sweet Death!
(FYI – Most folks might find this entry contains more than they care to know about me, in which case, seriously, what are you doing here, anyway? Have you learned nothing? Go read some Berenstain Bears books and play with your sexless little Kens and Barbies! Off with you!)
Suffice it to say that on Saturday, the Finance and I were “celebrating” our return home from various family vacations when –
…let’s just call it a wardrobe malfunction.
Initially I wasn’t worried. In fact, given that I’m almost hypervigilant about my cycle (more on “why” later), I already knew I wasn’t in Prime Ovulation Territory. Not to mention the condoms we use are as thick as kitchen gloves (sorry, hon) and are chock-full of spermicide. No, as a general rule, we have that thing strapped, tranq’d, and in lockdown, and in the nearly five years we’ve been together, we’ve never had to change the (BLANK) Days Since Our Last Workplace Accident billboard.
But then – shock of all shocks – for the first time in my entire life, I thought, “Well, I’ve already deemed 2013 The Year Of Glorious Mistakes… maybe this is the Universe’s way of doubling-down on my bet! Calling my bluff! Ha ha… oh… hrm…”
I reclined there for a few minutes, all warm and vaguely amused, imagining – me! a mom! what hath Hell wrought? but maybe in a good way? – when I turned to the Finance to share all this shit out loud, y’know, have a good chuckle.
Which is when the Finance asked, “Well, but – what about your meds?”
And holy scheisseballs on a Saltine, Brunhilde.
Way to snap me back into reality at Mach 1,000. My cervical vertebrae are still vibrating. (Which sounds a lot dirtier than it really is.) (Pity.)
You see, one of the medications I’m on for Bipolar II increases the chances of birth defects. If I ever decide to actively plan to get pregnant, in order to be on the safe side, I’ll have to stop taking this medication. So more bipolar crazy, but less birth defects. It’s a trade-off.
However, as my shrink has reassured me time and again, this medication doesn’t necessarily cause birth defects, it just increases the chances of them.
Now, I don’t know about you, but if someone told me that going to the mall on Tuesdays increased my chances of having my head chopped off by a psychotic clown, I would definitely find another day to go to the mall.
And thus suddenly that nice warm maybe feeling evaporated like water on the surface of the sun—ffft! Instantaneous. And –
“Oh, shit,” I said out loud.
“Oh, fuck,” I said out loud.
“Oh fucking fucking fuck fuck,” I said, and launched myself upright and into the kitchen, still naked, grabbing my journal, where I meticulously keep track of my only-slightly-less-than-clockwork cycle. Flipping through the pages like an Evelyn Wood valedictorian (look it up, young’uns), I doublechecked my math over and over again.
Seventeen days. Seventeen days.
If my cycle’s this long, on the seventeenth day, I’m fine.
If my cycle’s this long, on the seventeenth day, I’m fine.
If my cycle’s that long, on the seventeenth day, I’m… should be fine.
And that “should be” is what screwed my mental. So to speak.
See, I can’t abide “should be.” In my experience, “should be” is the equivalent of “definitely isn’t.” Because over a decade ago I took a gamble on “should be”…
So big that – to boil it down – “should be” left me sobbing in a corner three weeks later while a man screamed, “You fucking babykiller!” at me.
After that, keeping track of my cycle just felt like self-preservation.
Yet all these years – and SO MUCH THERAPY – later, I realize that this situation is about as far from that situation as you can possibly get while on the same plane of reality. I can’t even picture The Finance thinking those words, much less screaming them, but all the same that “should be” slammed me right in the fucking gut like a steel-toed boot. We’re talking flashbacks, projectile tears, pure panic-attack adrenaline.
But never again, I’d said to myself then. And never again, I said to myself now.
“Should be” is not an option.
So I called the nearest drugstore: they had Plan B. Check.
Need a prescription?: nope. Check. (Thank you, FDA… AS OF ONLY THREE YEARS AGO.)
Check drug interactions with my shrink: and…
You’ve gotta be fucking kidding me.
The very same medication I’m on that increases the chances of birth defects? Makes Plan B less effective. Apparently it accelerates the rate at which Plan B is metabolized – the bottom line being: you have to take TWO DOSES of the super-potent one-dose version. That is, take one super-potent pill, wait 12 hours, then take the other super-potent pill.
Twice the side effects with still no guarantee the shit would even work.
But… should be…
“Honestly, you’ve gotta be fucking kidding me,” I thought. And not for the first time, “Why is being crazy so fucking inconvenient?”
(Oh, and I should probably note here that if you wanna get all screamy rageful anti-choice in the comments, I’ll be deleting you. I mean, please, feel free to express your opinions calmly and respectfully – even if they differ from my own. But be a dickbag, and I’ll chuck you out on your ass. My house: them’s the rules.)
So within an hour and a half of the first “Oh, shit,” I was taking the first dose.
And then commenced feeling like shit for the next two days, as I followed up with the second dose 12 hours later.
It was like having a low-grade stomach flu, except you can’t throw up or you’ll have to take the pills All. Over. Again. Which, at fifty bucks a pop, is some expensive fucking vomiting, so you just lie on the couch and feel barfy and gross and have that oversalivation thing where your mouth fills with spit and you think If I have to swallow one more mouthful of spit… which just makes you feel even more barfy, and your stomach grumbles aggressively — aggressively! angrily! like, “Fuck your stupid libido, Smith!” — and it’s like you weigh north of 600 lbs. because you sure as hell can’t get up and why can’t you just pee right here? — upholstery can be cleaned! — since the bathroom is miles away and you’re just… so… damned… tired… but you can’t sleep as you’re nauseous and when you do doze off you have nightmares, and even watching TV is too much effort and dying would just be so much easier, wouldn’t it?, because suddenly there are only three circles of hell: Pregnant, Nauseous, and Dying, and Dying is the least worst one by far…
…all this because I was blasting my body with a tera-fuckton of hormones that I barely survived, much less any random cells lying around in my uterus.
Actually, I’m pretty sure I’m going to be sterile for the next four months or so.
Poor Finance, though.
He’s going to be celibate.