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06/17/2009

Are you there, Internet? It's me, Margaret

Attention!  Attention!  I am about to talk about my period!  I warn you so that if frank talk of menstruation unnerves you, you may hastily click away, because I'm about to gross even myself out.

I am having a little problem, Internet, and I don't know what to make of it.  Rather than calling my doctor, a qualified, compassionate, and licensed medical practitioner, I thought I'd turn to my experienced friends inside the computer.  The Internet's not going to ask me questions I can't answer, like, How long has this been going on? and When was the last...? and How many days?  Because, I mean, who can be bothered to keep track when the subject is abnormal vaginal bleeding?

My periods have always been regular.  My particular flavor of infertility — Drāno lutefisk fiberglass ripple — has never had to do with ovulation.  I do it — did it? — like clockwork, day 13 or 14 of a 28-day cycle.  A reassuring and dependable sequence: blood-mucus-mittelschmerz-nothing-blood.  It didn't do me any good, but, like a beloved pet that thinks he's people, my reproductive system thought it was normal, and, well, that was something.  (Who's a good right ovary?  Who is?  You are!  Yes, you are!  Okay, not good exactly, but...)

But everything's recently gone haywire.  For the last few months I've had basically a week on, a week off.  A seemingly normal period begins.  Maybe there's blood for a shorter time than I'd been accustomed to in my younger years — oh, my God, listen to me, it's like at age 38 I am declaring my vagina a sacred burial ground.  Apply to tribal elders before digging —  but basically normal.  Then comes the mucus, that clear and stretchy stuff all the books assure me is the fertile kind, which I swear to you on a stack of little red books I never once in my life saw before I met exogenous gonadotropins.  Then the little bit of fullness and cramping I feel right around ovulation, earlier than I'd normally ovulate.  And then...blood.  First as streaks in the mucus, then as real red bleeding.  With mucus, and plenty thereof.

Which, well, huh, that's weird.  But it goes away after a few days and I figure it was just a strange short period, so I take off my white bikini and reluctantly stop riding bikes and doing gymnastics and straddling a white horse cantering down a beach with sugar-white sands.  I bid goodbye to my attractive friends, also coincidentally menstrual.  It's a shame because you know that slumber party we were having in that all-white room on that fluffy white down comforter?  You know, where we were laughing like assholes about a joke you, the impatient viewer, don't actually get to hear?  Well, the joke was real damn funny, and we all had an awesome time.

Aaaand now back to our show.  Except not!  Because instead of the 28-day bloodless, bikiniless, balance beamless furlough I'd expected, about ten days later, there I am bleeding again.

It's strange and I don't like it.  I haven't done a lot of — oh, let's call it research, real doctors loooove it when we call our half-assed late-night Googling research — because virtually every pixel Google owns wants to tell me that I'm entering menopause, and who needs to hear that when I have years of fecundity ahead of me?  And I haven't called my doctor because, as I said above, I haven't yet done careful enough tracking to do anything but stammer equivocally when asked a sensible question.  (Help me, President Obama.)  So I'll ask you, tiny corner of the Internet: What's going on here?  Has anything similar happened to you?  And will you come over in about ten days' time and join me in a pillow fight?  Do wear your white pajamas. I want us all to match.

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