Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A Bit More Buggery

I read the post "Lock up Your Eyeballs" over at The Pissed Kitty Cometh today and was inspired by the Pisser's challenge to locate the vagina. Old Pisser was kind enough to provide a link. So, I checked it out, then left the following as a comment to this post.

Hey Pisser. I lost my vagina a few years back in a tragic accident at the National Zoo. I was happy to see your link to locating it, so I figured I'd check it out and look for clues. Here's what I learned.

I've been trying to get preggers for some time now. Sadly, though, I must report that after a blissfull two days of amenorrhea (the absence, discontinuation, or abnormal stoppage of the menstrual period), I realized, thanks to taking those Flomax tablets (wait, I don't have a prostate), I've got a bout (or is it a drought?) of anovulation (the term for the absence of ovulation).

Well, here's to one more try. As self-correction is always an issue with me, I think I'll avoid artificial insemination (the placement of a sperm sample inside the female reproductive tract to increase the chances of fertilization and pregnancy), grab me a man whore, and revert to taking my basal body temperature (the body temperature taken at its lowest point of the day, typically in the morning before getting out of bed) and attempt the basal body temperature method (a method of predicting the time of ovulation by taking daily recordings of basal body temperature and charting the results). If I hope and pray, this may help me correct problems 1 and 2 above and prognosticate my egg-ready moment.

Day 12. Huzzah! It's mere moments later and I can totally feel a blastocyst (the mass of cells that form after several days of cell division by the fertilized egg) forming inside me. But shit, what the hell is that? Damn this breakthrough bleeding (bleeding that occurs between periods and is usually heavier than spotting); I thought this time I was properly knocked up. A moment please: I must away to discussion with my cervix (the opening to the uterus)---or at least to hammer the hell out of it with my trusty old vibratator (is that like a tator tot? but I digress).

Day 13. After that therapeutic moment *sigh*, I think I'll ask my OBGYN for some clomiphene citrate (a commonly prescribed drug used to stimulate ovulation). I'm sure that in a couple of weeks, she'll ask for a look at my corpus luteum (the mass of cells that form once the egg has been released from the ovary. [Incidentally, the corpus luteum produces progesterone---am I deficient there as well?]), to make sure I'm not faking it just for the drugs. I'm sure to deny this request as shoving an electron microscope in me after the pounding I took from that vibratator (tot) would not be pretty.

Day 29. I believe I've developed a cyst (a growth or mass filled with fluid or soft material. Ovarian cysts can cause difficulties with ovulation). Damn. Perhaps I'll rush to hospital for some dilation and curettage (a medical procedure where the cervix is manually dilated by a physician and a sample of the uterine lining is taken). I hope this isn't premature. But I've been dropped to my knees for the pain. Perhaps it's dysmenorrhea (difficult and painful menstruation), or I've got an ectopic pregnancy (also known as a tubal pregnancy, an ectopic pregnancy is the term used when the pregnancy occurs outside of the uterus, usually in the fallopian tubes). Better check on the old embryo (the term for the baby from the point of conception through the 8th week of pregnancy), where the hell did I shove that electron microscope? There it is. Oh, and apparently so also is a bit of endometriosis (a condition where the uterine mucous membrane (the endometrium) or other similar tissue grows in areas other than the uterus. This can affect the ovaries, fallopian tubes or abdominal cavity).

Day 67. Is it time for my routine check for estrogen (sex hormones produced by the ovaries. A rise in estradiol (E3G) is indicated by high Fertility on the clearblue easy fertility monitor---wow, product placement even).

Up the proverbial river and past the fallopian tubes (the paired tubes which connect the ovaries to the uterus and conduct the egg to the uterus. The fallopian tubes are where fertilization most often occurs), to gradmother's house we go. Don't trip over the fetus (the term for the baby from the beginning of the 9th week of pregnancy to the time of birth) or it's stem cell research for everyone. Yay! Wait, it's been nine whole weeks and no fibroids (benign tumors in or around the uterus that sometimes can cause miscarriages); but Jesus these hemroids are killing me. Hey look: follicles (the group of cells surrounding the egg in the ovary)---am I regressing through this pregnancy? Stupid alphabetical order. Hmmm, looks a bit damaged, better spray some follicle stimulating hormone (follicle stimulating hormone stimulates the development of ovarian follicles (eggs)) and spark the follicular phase (the beginning phase of the menstrual cycle during which the egg is ripening for ovulation). Apparently i've got several additional pieces to my feminine quarters making this all possible. Or impossible, whichever comes first.

Back along the fallopian highway, is that some human chorionic gonadotropin, or "hCG" (the hormone that is produced by the placenta. hCG is the hormone detected by pregnancy tests) on the side of the road there? better whip out my trusty XXXXXXXXpregnancy testXXXXXXXXX. Oh no, you may want to avert your eyes to this one: it's a gamete intrafallopian tube transferm, or "GIFT" (a surgical procedure in which a sperm-egg mixture is transferred into the fallopian tubes where natural fertilization may occur) gone wrong. Guess I was wrong above and went artificial after all. And I'm potentially suffering from infertility (a couple is considered infertile after having regular unprotected sex for one year and not having conceived or carried a pregnancy to term), although I haven't had any sex for the last 10 years.

Day 93. I've lost another one. But I must continue. Now my OBGYN wants me to try intrauterine insemination (a method of introducing a quantity of washed sperm directly into the uterus via a catheter to enhance the chances of fertilization. The purpose of IUI is to increase the number of sperm that reach the fallopian tubes and thus increase the chance of fertilization occurring), but I told her I'd rather try in vitro fertilization (a method of artificial insemination where both the egg and sperm are retrieved and fertilization takes place outside the body in the laboratory). She tells me that I have to wait until I've reached the luteal phase of my cycle (the third part of the menstrual cycle, immediately following ovulation until the next period, when progesterone is released by the corpus luteum) and take some supplemental luteinizing hormone (a hormone that triggers ovulation and is produced by the pituitary gland. A surge in LH is indicated as Peak Fertility on the Clearblue Easy Fertility Monitor and is when your chances of conceiving are at their highest) to increase my chances.

Later that day, I began suffering from menorrhagia (heavy, prolonged menstrual bleeding), so I poked around the old oviduct (another word for fallopian tube), looking to see whether I had begun ovulation (the release of an egg [or ovum, in latin] from one of the ovaries). I'm sorry, but I'm really becomming tired of all this and I think I might have developed polycystic ovarian syndrome (a condition where multiple cysts form on the ovaries. This may cause infertility) somewhere along this long line. But it could just be premenstrual syndrome, or "PMS" (a combination of both physical and psychological symptoms occurring before the menstrual period).

Either way, it sucks, and I'm down right angry about my current levels of progesterone (the female sex hormone, produced in the corpus luteum, that creates a nourishing environment in the uterine lining after ovulation). Perhaps I'll make an appointment with a reproductive endocrinologist (a physician who specializes in fertility-related issues), tell him that I can't stop spotting (a slight discharge of blood via the vagina), that I long for ice cream and testes (the male sex glands that produce sperm), and that my proverbial tubes are tied but I really don't want any kind of tubal ligation (a surgical procedure that involves ligation (closure) of the fallopian tubes to prevent an unfertilized egg from reaching the uterus [the location where the baby grows during pregnancy. The uterus is also called the womb]). I'm sure he's really only interested in the location of my vagina (the female organ of sexual intercourse and also the birth canal) though.

The last day. Looks like it's curtains for me. I guess I'm simply stuck admitting that I never really had a functional zona pellucida (the protective coating around the egg and early embryo), nor any shot at producing a healthy zygote (The term for a fertilized egg prior to it being an embryo), so I won't even bother with zygote intra-fallopian transfer, or "ZIFT" (the placement of fertilized eggs that have not yet begun cell division into the fallopian tube), and throw in the towel.

Incidentally, where is the penis in all of this?