Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Going Regular Again

I delivered Regina Cecilia on December 11, 2008, giving me a 9-month-no-period time. Then I breastfed until she was 6 months old, giving me another 8 months more of no-period-time.

Continued exclusive nursing meaning, breastfeeding without added bottles of formula or solids tends to delay the return of ovulation and menstruation. In fact, the lactational amenorrhea method (LAM) is a well-studied method of child spacing which is 99% effective in preventing pregnancy in the first six months as long as exclusive nursing is practiced. Breastfeeding is a more effective method of birth control, world-wide, than all other methods combined — without taxing the household’s financial resources or endangering a woman’s health. Mothers who breastfeed exclusively -- that is, frequently, on demand, including during the night, and with no supplementation -- generally enjoy a significant period of natural birth control. Lactation-induced infertility serves to increase the spacing between births.

But I was too scared to get pregnant immediately even if I knew the benefits of pure breastfeeding so I asked my OB-Gyne at my 2 week postpartum visit to prescribe me breastfeeding pills. She gave me Cerazette.

Cerazette tablets are a type of hormonal contraceptive commonly known as the “mini pill” or progestogen-only pill (POP). They contain the active ingredient desogestrel, which is a synthetic progestogen, similar to the natural progestogens produced by the body.

I took this until May 2009, when I was about to wean Cecilia from breastfeeding. Then I wanted to try the Injectable, as it was always being shown in TV commercials.
Depot Medroxyprogesterone Acetate (DMPA) is a hormonal injectable contraceptive administered to women every three months to prevent ovulation. It stops the ovaries from releasing an egg every month (ovulation). DMPA also thins the lining of the uterus, which makes it unfavorable for implantation. DMPA also thickens the cervical mucus making sperm penetration and fertilization impossible.

This was supposedly my choice of Family Planning Method for us, since I did not have headaches, nausea, or moodswings, And I didn’t feel the “drying effect” – it could be the pills, or simply because I was breastfeeding and co-sleeping with Cecilia, waking up every two-to three hours every night to nurse, and feeling oh-so-losyang. And for a forgetful girl like me, I’m assured Cecilia will still be my unica hija (for the meantime), if I fail to drink pills at the right time everyday.

A woman on the “injectable” is supposed to have lighter periods, or even none at all. But I was not one of them. I haven’t had my period for the longest time – 17 months, but on the injectable, I had light bleeding for 30 days! This is actually worse than having a period for 3-5 days.
So come August, I was due for my supposedly next shot of the three month contraceptive, my Ob Gyne gave me pills, this time the ones containing two female hormones, estrogen and progestin. These are similar to the natural hormones women produce in their ovaries.

These combined pills -- I’m taking Diane 35 -- works as the cyclical production of the female hormones and the maturation of a follicle (egg) in the ovaries are controlled by a small organ (size about 1 cm) connected to the brain, the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland is not able to distinguish the hormones contained in Diane 35 from those produced by the ovaries. It, therefore, stops inducing the natural hormone production by the ovaries and eventually the process of egg growth and release. This hormonal feedback mechanism is based on the same principle which blocks the maturation and release of further eggs during pregnancy.

However, in my first month of using it, I’m suffering from its terrible side effects:dizziness, nausea, and unusual tiredness and weakness. I know these side effects may go away as my body becomes used to the medication.

My pack of pills has the 21-day cycle, and I’m on my 7 day pill-free week. Meaning I get to have my menstruation anytime during these 7 days.

Despite my preference for injectables for the reasons I have said, I have decided sticking to my pills for the next month. I’m so happy I’m going regular again.

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