Pregnant or the start of Menopause?
I stood staring at the boxes lining the top shelf. I hadn’t done this in over ten years, and it seemed odd to be standing in the grocery store once again to buy a pregnancy test.
Oh, I knew the chance of me being pregnant was infinitesimally small, but when your menstrual cycle is off by a week, you need to rule out the possibility.
I say the chance is infinitesimally small because my husband had a vasectomy nine years ago after the birth of our daughter. The chances of getting pregnant after a vasectomy are less than 1% but there are so many stories out there of it happening, I had to rule that out.
Thankfully, the test came back as negative. My kids are 9 and 12. I am happily done with the baby stage and have no desire to have another one. (To be sure, a week later I took another test. By then I was 10 days past due and still negative.)
If I wasn’t pregnant…that would mean…menopause? Wow. Not something I was expecting yet. I just turned 45 in September, so I knew it could be coming, but I hadn’t really considered it. The average age for a woman to hit menopause is 51, so I was thinking my early fifties or at least 48 before this would start.
So, this technically isn’t menopause, which occurs when you go 12 months without a menstrual cycle. This would be perimenopause. Symptoms include irregular periods, hot flashes/night sweats, insomnia/fatigue, decreased sex drive and anxiety/mood swings/depression.
The most obvious symptom was the irregular period or in my case missing period. Thankfully no hot flashes or night sweats. But during the time I expected my period to start, I had been moody which I assumed at the time meant my period would be here soon.
And then there was the depressed feeling that I had been having. It wasn’t too bad, but I had noticed a lack of motivation and a general sadness that I don’t typically have. This had been occurring on and off since October when my menstrual cycle was actually three days early. (Yes, I keep track of this usually so I am not surprised by it while on vacation or something.)
I called my doctor’s office. I had not been to see her in quite a while. Since having Lexie, I have been seeing the nurse practitioner. My former insurance didn’t cover this doctor’s office and since no one loves having a pap smear or to be sent for a mammogram, I put off going back to the doctor when I got new insurance in February.
The next available appointment was four weeks out. Or in other words, it is today. My period did finally start 15 days after I expected it. I expect because of my age and symptoms, she will tell me what I don’t want to hear – perimenopause is here. In other words, I am officially old.