20 June 2012

Joyous in Pain, Blood, Guts, and Gore

WARNING: This post is not for those who are squeamish about the subject matter of female bodily function. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Here's an unrelated, random cutesy picture for you to
enjoy while all of the squeamish people leave the page
or move to the next post.
Post continues after the jump. I know, I hate those. It just seems kinder to put the blood & guts on the post page and off the main page...

Lately, I've been praying prayers that seem a bit odd, even to me. Some things I never thought I would be thankful for are things that make me rethink life. Truth be told, as a newlywed, nearly everything in my world is being rethought. I've commented on this before. Even things I *knew* I had nailed down are being dragged out and thought over, all over again, from this new and interesting perspective of Wife.

The catalyst for this post is my period. (Hey, I warned you.) Actually, the cramps in particular. For those of you who have at some point or another experienced menstrual cramps, you may or may not understand. (I've heard there are women who never cramp, but I don't know if that's true or not.) Those of you who have dealt with endometriosis or PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome--my diagnosis), on the other hand, are probably closer to understanding, because we tend to get the cramps-on-steroids version. It used to be that every 2nd or 3rd cycle, I'd get cramps so bad that I wouldn't even be physically able to uncurl from a fetal position. One doctor suggested that may be caused by ruptured/rupturing cysts. It doesn't happen as often, as I get older. Maybe that's good. I don't know. Is it better to keep the cysts? I don't know, but I have a hard time thinking that's the better deal.
Random sidenote: I read a book(shocker) about women's reproductive health not long ago that was talking about contractions during labor, and it made the off-hand comment that women with endometriosis or PCOS tend to downplay contractions, not think they're real, or not experience them as pain to a much greater degree than other women, because of how miserable our periods tend to make us.. They (we) are used to that level of discomfort and figure it's nothing.Weird, eh? Truth: period cramps are similar in nature to contractions. The uterus is doing the same thing in both circumstances--sloughing off and pushing out..  Unexpected bonus for PCOS sufferers!
Here's the thing. PCOS can suppress ovulation. When some women don't ovulate, they don't menstruate, either. That's one of the reasons that PCOS "causes" cancer-- the lining of your uterus isn't sloughing off regularly, and you're not protected from cells that grow irregularly and take over. (Yeah, I know that's the dumbed down explanation. Yes, I know "causality" hasn't been proven, but there's a strong link.. Give me a break.) Some women have anovulatory menstrual cycles that go just like clockwork, but some don't.

Over the last few months, I've become very grateful that my period works the way it does. Does that seem strange to anyone else? As a hopeful future mother, I dream of the day that a baby will grow in my womb. The fact that my body is in working order to some regularly-observable degree or another, is a joy-producer for me. I can't prove that my body ovulates, necessarily, or that my reproductive system goes through regular fertile cycles, or that I'm capable of implanting a child. Those things require more sophisticated technology than the observations I can make routinely. But I definitely know my uterus works! It's doing it's magic trick, peeling off the old, useless lining, and shoving it out with cramps like getting kicked in the gut by a mule. Wahoo! Yay, me! Go, womb, go!

So I pray this, in all honesty and sincerity (and not a little shock and awe):

Thank You, Papa God, for this time of discomfort that reminds me that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Thank You for the cramps that tell me that my womb knows how to give birth. Thank You for the blood-letting that keeps me healthy. Thank You for the physical reminders I used to take for granted that teach me about Your grace. Help me to be faithful with this body You've given me, and treat it well and with respect. 

Have you prayed any strange prayers, lately? Do tell!

Much love,

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